August 2019

My cousin, Jimi, is hands-down one of my favorite people in the whole wide world, and we are always looking for opportunities to spend time together. In early August, we decided to meet in Buffalo, New York for a few days and visit Niagara Falls together. It was about a 7 hour drive for us from Vermont and for her from her home in West Virginia, and it was totally worth it! Buffalo is a really cool under-the-radar city with great food, really nice people, and plenty of fun things to do.

This cute little Buffalo welcomed us to our AirBnb.
James found a mural honoring one of his favorite inventors, Nikola Tesla.
Aunt Jimi spoils the kiddos with cookie treats. She’s the best!
This bottomless pit of a child ordered a breakfast so large it came on a surfboard!
And ate the whole thing! Which I absolutely can believe.

One of the highlights of Buffalo is, of course, visiting Niagara Falls. It did not disappoint. We were lucky enough to go on a beautifully warm sunny day and so could appreciate the refreshing spray, but I do not believe I would enjoy that same experience in the winter months. There was also group agreement on the desire to see it from the Canadian side in the future (if Jimi remembers her passport…)

Easy to see why everyone told Aunt Jimi what a beautiful little girl she had. They share those big blue eyes.
Ever the charmer, James got to share the trivia tidbits as we rode the trolley through the park.

The next day, Jimi and I took a kayaking trip on the Buffalo River with BFLO Harbor Kayak. It was really fun and we loved learning about the history of the area while we were out.

Life vests- check! Hats- check! Matching shades- check!
Paddling by the General Mills plant where the cereal is made. The air smelled of Cheerios! It was amazing!
My kayaking modeling shot.
We clearly worked up an appetite on the river, so time for margaritas and Mexican food!
Little Miss Ellie in her ode to Minnie Mouse is ready to explore the town.
Walking through the beautiful area we stayed in, Elmwood Village. So many lovely old houses.

No Shenk trip is complete without a visit to see old cars. Buffalo is home to the Pierce-Arrow Museum, which highlights the cars produced by the Pierce-Arrow Motor Car Company in Buffalo at the start of the twentieth century.

A filling station designed by Frank Lloyd Wright that was assembled per his drawings in the early 2000s. Best looking gas station I have ever seen.
Waiting (mostly) patiently for our Buffalo wings and Beef on Weck at the Bar Bill Tavern, recommended by our kayak tour guide.
An absolutely hilarious game of Speak Out ensued before bedtime.
Ellie decides to head off on her own while we wait for our table at Bertha’s Diner. Love that fiercely independent streak– most of the time.

Our last outing before the weekend came to an end was to Frank Lloyd Wright’s Martin House. Unfortunately, we didn’t realize we should have booked the tour ahead of time and there were none available before we had to head out. We were able to stroll the grounds a bit and see a portion of the buildings, but would definitely love to go back and tour the interior.

Love you, Jimi! So, so happy to have your in our lives and on our adventures!

After our fun times in Buffalo, we spent the rest of August at home in Vermont exploring our new area and enjoying the glorious summer weather outside.

James went to a Lego Robotics summer camp and helped create a very cool robotic hand.
This sweet little thing loves to snuggle in her bed with her stuffed animal friends.
Summer means car shows and the Shenk boys will always find the Porsches.
And this Shenk boy will always want to “drive”. Especially a tractor.
Coloring in the sunshine.
It’s a popular activity.
Enjoying a walk on the Stowe Recreation Path.
Finishing up that walk so we can head for pizza at one of our favorites, Piecasso.

One of the activities we are enjoying most in Vermont is family bike rides on the many local paths set aside for that kind of fun. There are great converted railways that take you through the beautiful countryside and small towns that make up the area. We relished an afternoon spent on the Missisquoi Valley Rail Trail soaking up the views.

A truly beautiful place to ride a bike.
Ellie was released from the bike trailer at one point and tried to make her escape.
Chris had to retrieve her while she was kicking and screaming. Bless her little toddler heart.
This gorgeous boy has my heart for sure. Look at that smile!
We took a slight detour along the river that turned out to be unpaved, but the extra effort was worth it for the view.
Meadows of wildflowers. My happy place.

Sometimes we like to just hop in the car and head out on a drive to see what we can find. So many lovely places to stumble across…

If you need me, this is where I’ll be.
And then it was preseason football time! Go Buccaneers!
Date night with Claudia and Ryan at the Shelburne Vineyard.
Live bluegrass concert at the vineyard.
Still my favorite person to do anything and everything with.

Vermont is home to so many wonderful farms and we spent a marvelous morning picking (and eating) blueberries from the Owl’s Head Blueberry Farm with our friends, the B family.

Love this ridiculous man.
Ellie and Andrew seemed to enjoy the eating more than the picking.
Busted! I enjoyed the eating as well…
My favorite part of this picture is Ellie taking advantage of the distraction to steal more berries from the pail.
She loves flowers.
A stunning backdrop for blueberry picking.

Our small town of Winooski has a great little library with fun activities for the kids to do. It was close enough to our apartment for James to ride his scooter over by himself and stretch his boundaries a bit.

He loved “Tinker Time” at the library where they took apart old electronics.
Ellie shares a snack with a friend at the library.
You know we love a playground!
Winooski River, you are always so pretty.

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