Day 4: Buffalo and then on to Watkins Glen

19-year-old Helena Muffly wrote exactly 100 years ago today: 

Thursday, August 20, 1914:  I was the first one up this morning. Addressing some cards for the folks at home, and managed to while away the time until the other girls were ready to go down to breakfast. We spend the fore-noon in the Orphans Home. One had her arm around my neck nearly all the time. It commenced to rain while we were there but not very hard.

Our friend entertained us at Statler’s Restaurant. It is a very fine affair. We left that afternoon for Watkins. I soon began to weary of riding on the train. One gets so tired. We reached the place after dark and to my dismay learned that we were still a mile and a half from the town. We had to take the bus and did not reach our boarding place till after nine, tired and hungry. We didn’t get our supper so we went straight to bed, as we intended getting up early the next morning in order to see the glen. I slept like a rock that night. Daylight was streaming through the windows when I woke.

Statler Restaurant in Statler Hotel, Elliicott Square, Buffalo NY, circa 1915  (Source:  Western New York Heritage)
Statler Restaurant in Statler Hotel, Elliicott Square, Buffalo NY, circa 1915 (Source: Western New York Heritage)

Her middle-aged granddaughter’s comments 100 years later:

Even the most awesome vacations have days that are tiring. This was the fourth day of the whirlwind trip that Grandma, her sister Ruth, and two other young women took—Niagara Falls, Toronto, Buffalo, and now Watkins Glen in the Finger Lake Region of New York. Whew, I’m feeling tired just listing the names of all the places they visited.

The early portion of the day was spent in Buffalo with a friend who worked at an Orphans’ Home—probably St. Vincent’s Female Orphanage Asylum. The previous day Grandma wrote:

. . . There we took the train and went on to Buffalo. We arrived there about six, got our supper and started out for the home of a friend. It was dark when we reached our destination. This friend is a governess in an Orphan’s Asylum.

39 thoughts on “Day 4: Buffalo and then on to Watkins Glen

  1. So nice that you have a photo of the restaurant. (As a race fan, I recognized the name Watkins Glen as the modern location of a Nascar track!)

  2. I got home yesterday from a trip of my own. I helped my daughter and 5 children drive from IA back to the DC area. It took two days on the road. I stayed two days before flying home. Traveling can be tiring.

  3. I love the photo of the restaurant. It reminds me of the old tearoom in the Yonkers store in Des Moines, Iowa. When I was young, that was a very special occasion — to dress up, and go to the tearoom for lunch.

  4. This trip and her account continue to be exciting — a pleasure to read. I can’t help wondering about the child clinging to her. I wish I knew the child’s age — and what she was like as an adult. Can’t help it – the psychologist Mona went immediately to thoughts of attachment disorder. Or was it just a lovely positive attraction to grandma.? Sometimes a cigar is just a cigar.

    1. I’m not a psychologist, but I also felt concerned about the child. The way the child clung to someone who was basically a stranger does not seem typical.

  5. Lovely, Grandma. Just lovely. And the photo she took the other day was just great. Too bad there weren’t any tourists to take the shot with Grandma in it too. I hope she loves Watkins Glen, after the difficult time getting there. It’s almost as spectacular as Niagara Falls — in a quiet way.

  6. What a great trip. When she wrote that they were still a mile and a half from town, I was afraid they were going to have to walk to town. Thank goodness there was a bus. I love that the sun was coming through the window in the morning 🙂

    1. The logistics seem so complicated for this trip–yet everything seems to work out. I wonder how a couple farm kids managed to figure all of the details out.

        1. For most of her adult life she lived on a dairy farm and I don’t think that she traveled very much. When she was older she went on a couple trips. In particular I remember that she visited Florida one time.

          1. That would be something fun to write about if you can remember the details. Do you know if she liked Florida? Being on a farm does make it impossible to do much traveling.

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