Sunday, July 18, 2010

Niagara Falls road trip! Part 1

A week after I finished my summer class, my husband came to see me, and we went on Summer Road trip 2010!

NEW YORK:  Corning and Ithaca

I felt a little bad because I planned every day in advance: I reserved the hotels ahead of time, picked the restaurants, printed out the routes.  I didn't want to become a micro-manager.  But it all ended all right, and I think, let us be more relaxed for the actual vacation.

It began on a Saturday afternoon. I packed a snack--I even planned the snack: baby carrots, prunes, a lunch cup of mixed fruit--and headed to pick up my husband from the Capitol Airport.  Then it was to the mall in Capitol City to buy him a new pair of shoes (no sales tax on clothing and shoes in my state!).  The store was really neat--specializing in comfort shoes--the saleslady looked like she was a high school student, but she was very friendly and knowledgeable.  And, I got my feet digitally analyzed!

The next day, I finally got to take my husband to the church here, and introduce him to the people I knew.  Sunday was July 4th--so we grabbed my throw blanket, bought some sub sandwiches, and went to the university to sit, have a picnic dinner, and watch the fireworks.

Monday began our trip to Corning, NY.  I had been to the Glass Museum a couple of years before, when my brother had graduated from Cornell, in Ithaca, NY.  I wanted to show the museum to my husband.  They had a new collection from the last time I had visited.  I enjoyed the new collection more than the previous time.  I got a good refresher, and my husband, I think, got a better appreciation of how glass is made.  I would *still* go back again.  Oh, and the Steuben glassware talked about in the TV show Archer on FX--that's made in Corning, NY (and also owned by Corning Inc.).

That night, we stayed in Ithaca, NY, about a 45 min drive away from Corning.  The evening was a little disappointing.

There aren't many places to stay in Ithaca.  I had booked at a Best Western, with a chance to get a queen bed, or a double bed.  When we got there, there were only rooms with double beds available.  It was an older hotel, a little rough around the edges, but comfortable enough.

We had dinner at the Moosewood Cafe.  It was one of the first vegetarian restaurants to open in the 1970's, and I've cooked a couple of recipes from their cookbooks in the past, which I enjoyed.  I was looking forward to going to the place that started it all.  We had a good meal.  But it wasn't anything special, either.  The service was slow.  There were no free refills on anything besides water.  My husband had a Caribbean rice and beans dish.  I had a curry.  It was a little bland for a curry.  The portions were on the smaller side considering the prices.  Both of us cleared our plates.  My husband said he liked the meal, and that it was filling, but that best part was the bread basket (it IS local fresh baked bread).  It wasn't a bad experience, but it was a so-so experience.  I wouldn't recommend a special trip to go there.  I'll just stick to their cookbooks.

I couldn't sleep for part of the night.  I ended up spending a couple of hours surfing the web on my iPhone.

The next day was much better.  We had breakfast at the hotel.  We then drove/walked around the Cornell area of Ithaca a little, and took pictures of the bridges and gorges and waterfalls.

Unfortunately, all I have at the moment is this pic of one of the smaller waterfalls.  This year, there were 6 suicides at Cornell with students jumping off bridges.  The city/school has therefore put tall chain-link fencing around all the bridges.  My camera wouldn't fit through the holes of the chain link to take photos of the larger waterfalls.  My husband has a pocket-sized camera though, and so we did take some photos of the more spectacular falls.  (Though, for your enjoyment, here's a link to Cascadilla Falls)  I just don't have access to them at the moment, since his camera is now back with him in Metro.  

We then visited the Cayuga Nature Center, just outside Ithaca, and their 6 story tree house!  And yes, we took the stairs to the very top.

The nature center also had some live animals--turtles, snakes and lizards indoors.  Outdoors, there some hawks, some peacocks, and a fox.  There were baby peacocks the day we visited.  It was fun seeing them follow their mother around the pen.  

Then, it was to Taughannock Falls, just down the road from the nature center.  The falls are taller by 33 feet than Niagara:

Then before leaving to get back on the road, we lunched at another Ithaca-area hotspot, the Glenwood Pines.  They're known for their Pinesbuger:  A cheeseburger served on french bread, dressed with Thousand Island dressing (instead of mayo or ketchup):

I would say that it was the Best Cheeseburger I Ever Ate.  

Thus started the custom for the rest of the trip, of me sitting in restaurant, next to window on my right side, overlooking the water.  Glenwood Pines feels like it was a converted double-wide.  However, it has a nice patio in the back, and it overlooks Lake Cayuga.  

On to Niagara Falls!