The Ring of Fire

Geneseo, NY

When we arrived at Dave and Sue’s beautiful site along Conesus Lake way back on June 1st, we intended to stay for two or three days.  Dave described a neat activity along the lake they call the Ring of Fire that takes place “on the third.”  We said that was great as it was only two days away so we would be there to see it.  Dave said it was not held on June third, but on July third.  That’s a month away, we told him!  But when they invited us to stay longer and Mr. David’s Sewer Pump Installation Service arrived the next day to get the sewer working, we began to re-think our stay.  A full hook up site along a beautiful lake!  Great local guides to show us the area!  A golf course nearby!  A Starbucks in  the nearby college (SUNY Geneseo)!  Are you serious!  We’re in ! ! !

The month quickly passed and the third of July soon arrived.  Now it was time for the famous “Ring of Fire.”  That night tradition says that everyone around the shores of Conesus Lake builds a bonfire to be lit at dark.

Wow, they even sell shirts for this shindig!

Apparently  in past celebrations Dave took great pride himself in building one of the largest fires in the area.  Although maybe not up to those past standards, he said he would bring some wood down the morning of the 3rd for a small (for him) blaze.  Sure enough, he arrived bright and early (ok, we’re retired – early is around noon!).

Just a few pieces of kindling, right?

John helped Dave unload the wood, which they threw down the bank to the lawn next to the lake.  One large piece had a mind of its own and rolled across the lawn, over the break wall,  into the lake.  Of course, the log couldn’t drift back to shore, instead  it headed out toward deeper water.  Dave was afraid a boat might hit it, so he sent his trusted assistant in to the water to fetch the wayward log.

Got it!

While ignoring a short rain shower, the boys quickly assembled the fire structure, carefully following the MDBCI methodology (Mr. David’s Bonfire Construction Instructions).

The boss and his helper, Igor, survey the final structure

Proper supervision is the key to a successful project

This bonfire stuff is not Dave’s first rodeo.  He knows that if you wait until it is dark to light the fire,  it will not produce good hot coals for toasting marshmallows until you are ready to go home.  So a bit less than an hour before dark he set the pile ablaze.

Flames quickly rise up from the kindling in the middle of the pile.

Soon it is a rip roaring inferno!

At dusk the fireworks begin across the lake from us.

These people must have spent a few bucks on fireworks as they continued to shoot them off for hours!

The activity is called the “Ring of Fire” because at a designated time everyone lights flares along the shoreline on their property, creating a “ring” around the lake.  At the appointed hour (10 p.m.) John helped Dave light up the many flares Dave had set up earlier in the day.

The effect of the flares was spectacular!

While the flares put on their show, we settled in to the time honored tradition for enjoying a bonfire: S’mores!

We sat out until almost midnight enjoying the many firework displays up and down the lake.

The next evening Dave made another fire from the still hot coals and we enjoyed a final dinner by the lake.  Although it was the Fourth of July, things were much quieter than the previous night!

Benjamin Franklin once said “Guests, like fish, begin to smell after three days.”  Wow, we must really stink!  Its now time to end our great stay along the banks of Conesus Lake.  So Saturday morning  we fired up the motorhome and headed north about 150 miles to the banks of the St. Lawrence River.  Pam’s mother and sister live in the village of Clayton in the Thousand Islands.  Her sister’s daughter just graduated from high school and they are having a party Sunday afternoon to celebrate, so we need to be there.

Thanks so much to Dave and Sue (Buluga’s Great Adventure) for your great hospitality!  We will miss you and the dogs (Sasha and Lewis) but know we’ll see you soon somewhere in our travels (San Diego this winter ? ?).

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36 Responses to The Ring of Fire

  1. Ingrid says:

    Fun times 🙂

  2. Sue says:

    It was a great night and a great month with you two. We surely will see you down the road, sooner than later we hope!

  3. What a fun and cool event! I think I would have stayed for it also!

  4. Gay says:

    Awesome pictures Pam and John! Love the fireworks and reflections on the water. We missed fireworks this year, thanks for sharing yours. What a neat tradition! And your s,more looks squishy and yummy…I can tell you have had some practice!

    We have made reservations at the San Diego Metro KOA in Chula Vista for January with a hold until Feb 20th…

    • placestheygo says:

      Yes, Gay, I’ve had lots of practice with smores. I was a Girl Scout leader for years! We, also, used the new square marshmallows that Kraft makes just to fit the graham crackers. They toasted up great and filled the cracker.

      We are thinking December for Mission Bay, then part of Jan. in Borrego Springs. We want to spend more time hiking and Jeeping in Anzo Borrego State Park. Have you been there yet with your Jeep?

  5. RJRVtravels says:


  6. Now that is the perfect 4th, oops 3rd, of July! Sounds much better than the one we had in Portland! Looks like Dave and Sue were awesome hosts too!

    Northward…in anticipation of Westward!

  7. Laurel says:

    What an absolutely fantastic time you guys have had! Nothing better than hanging out with good friends in a great location. And that looks like the best fourth of July celebration ever! The fun you’ve had really comes through in your post. 🙂

    • placestheygo says:

      Thanks, Laurel:) I told John he must have needed a blog break because this was a great post with his great sense of humor. Of course, he and Dave have similar senses of humor so we were always laughing at something. Our great time did really come through in this post. It was the best fourth we have ever had.

  8. pmbweaver says:

    Wow….that was so much fun just reading the post. What a cool experience. Glad you two stuck around to enjoy the ring of fire. The photo looks so cool. I can just image how much better it was in person.

    That was some spectaular fireworks display for just a small lake community. Better than some of the big displays. But I thin the huge fire takes the cake. My gosh. Where in the heck did he have all the wood?

    Well now for some family time. I know your sister will have you over for diner many nights, so I can’t wait to hear about that. Lol. Enjoy the party on Sunday. Hope mom is doing well.

  9. Fantastic times with great friends. I missed the fireworks this year so just happy to see your pictures as well as Sue’s.
    Time flies when you are having so so so much fun with friends.

  10. Nothing better than watching a fire…..and fireworks. Like my s’mores without the graham cracker and marshmallow! Hope you guys decide to drive through South Dakota. We really love it here in the Black Hills.

  11. Sandra Silva says:

    I Love the story of the Ring of Fire. How fun. If you are in San Diego this coming Winter we may see you there. We plan to spend the Winter in Southern California. Were you OK in the storms that just passed last night? We spent the night in Corning, NY and the worst of the storms missed us. Just a bit of wind and rain here. Enjoy and stay happy and healthy. Love Sandy and Bob Date: Tue, 8 Jul 2014 22:36:52 +0000 To:

    • placestheygo says:

      Sandy, you are so close!! When we were in Geneseo, Corning was only 60 miles away!! No, the storms passed to the south of us. We only had rain and a little thunder. Thanks for asking:)

  12. LuAnn says:

    I loved this post! I cannot imagine a better 4th holiday…great friends, wonderful fireworks, no crowds to fight, and s’mores! Doesn’t sound like you could have had a better experience this past month. 🙂

  13. LuAnn says:

    BTW, we were wondering if you were anywhere in the vicinity of the storms that blew through last night? Hope you are safe!

    • placestheygo says:

      Thanks for thinking of us, LuAnn:) We had rain and a little thunder but most of the storms went south of us. That seems to be the trend here. We are just north enough that weather passes about 20 miles south.

      We certainly did have a wonderful month with Dave and Sue. It was nice them so close.

  14. Janna says:

    What a wonderful “camping” spot–do they take reservations?? :))

  15. Amanda says:

    I can see why you would spent a whole month there! Looks like there must be a nice community around the lake. I live the ring of fire idea! Thanks for sharing 🙂

    • placestheygo says:

      Because there are so many houses around the lake and many are very close together, you really get almost a solid red ring around the lake. Since the lake is one of the smaller Finger Lakes it helps the effect, also.

  16. Sherry says:

    What a great 4th you had. I just love these traditions. No crowds just you and your obviously very good friends with a bonfire and fireworks. Sounds perfect to me. What a month you have had. I love your photo captions. Igor….Great supervision – LOL!

  17. Jodee Gravel says:

    Definitely my favorite hometown tradition yet! It looks spectacular – and front row seats are always best. Good job on the log retrieval – likely saved a boat from a ruined weekend :-). Can’t believe you were there a whole month – the time really flew by !!

    • placestheygo says:

      It was a wonderful tradition, Jodee. We are very glad we stayed for the month to take part. It was to believe we were there that long. Time moves right along when you are having fun:)

  18. ThoseYoungGuys says:

    This looks like so much fun, all of it, the ring of fire, the fireworks, AND the s’mores! It must have been great with the light all the way around the lake. Would love to see it.

  19. frankeeg says:

    What a great idea. The fires and the flares at night all around the edge of the lake. How spectacular that must be.

  20. Sherry says:

    I responded to your comment on my Frontier Fort post and couldn’t find another way to contact you about it. If you didn’t see it, could you email me at Looking back at this post, I really love that Ring of Fire T shirt. Such a great tradition.

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