New York State of Mind

When I went to college and told people where I was from I learned something. While New York may present itself as one entity, it is not. There is “The City,” and there is “Upstate.” At the time, I was eighteen years old and had never been to The City. I was clearly an Upstater. Me from the western most county of the state, my roommate from the center of the southern part of the state, our buddy from the Adirondacks, and my neighbor from the Catskills within easy driving distance from The City –  all of us were Upstaters.

Moving to Missouri I had to explain to people that growing up in New York did not mean that my lungs were ruined by pollution and my ears by the noise. I was from as pastoral a place that one could imagine, but am as much of a New Yorker as the kids in the Bronx. It’s a big state. It’s a diverse state. It is a beautiful state.

I haven’t written on the blog for a long time because life has been a whirlwind. Part of that was that we took a roadtrip back to Upstate New York recently. The trip revived my deep love for that area.

Driving from the center of the country, you really get the feel of it. It starts in eastern Ohio when the flat highway starts to get some rolling hills. By the time you hit Pennsylvania, the hills are everywhere and they continue into New York. Everything is green and speckled with farms and lakes.

Our base the first part of our trip was Jamestown, New York. On our route, to get to Jamestown, we crossed Chautauqua Lake via the Chautauqua Lake Bridge. The bridge has been there since 1982. Prior to that, you either drove around the lake, or you took the ferry. I’ve written before about my memories of the lake. This time I saw that many of the same landmarks from my growing up days were still there. It is some version of time standing still.

I’m feeling the need to break back into the blog life slowly. There seem to be many things that I have organized in my brain yet, let alone attempt to write coherently about them. However, because this trip was so awesome, I am going to share some photos that summarize the combination of beauty, silliness, love and fun that is my New York. The intent of my blog has always been to focus on what makes me happy, and boy oh boy, this trip did.

I was back in an area where a beer comes in a Buffalo Sabres glass!

2013-06-22 21.20.35

I got to eat a Johnny’s hot dog.


Sitting around a fire after a graduation party yielded more amusing stories than can be imagined, including conversing with a woman who everyone called Turd.

2013-06-23 17.48.05 Got in some serious family time that started at the Southern Tier Brewery, which occurred after I tripped, fell and bent up my glasses royally.


We got into Cooperstown and found a lovely place by the lake to eat and wait for Sam and Jean.
2013-06-25 15.22.01 It rained briefly, and even that was pretty lovely.

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We got to meet Jean.


Cooperstown and the Baseball Hall of Fame were as great as I remembered them.


But this display was no longer there, so I could not recreate this shot:


We got to visit one of the best breweries in the country.


And one of the more charming breweries that I have visited.


Where I got to buy this t-shirt:

photo (1)

Birds with personalities entertained us for a significant amount of time.

2013-06-26 15.36.20

This was the second time faces were inserted into cutouts that day.

2013-06-26 15.55.17Flowering baskets always looked as beautiful as this.

2013-06-27 08.09.20It was more than great. Wait until I tell about Louisville.

3 thoughts on “New York State of Mind

  1. Coming from Suffolk County on Long Island was the same way. But less so now, I suspect, because all the dairy and potato farms I grew up around are now just more suburbs.

  2. I, also live in this area we call “upstate”. I went to Eastern Kentucky University and the first thing they asked me was “How can you live with all that cement?” I didn’t even know what they were talking about at first. That’s when I realized that if you say you are from NY they always think of the city. I have traveled to many of the states but came back to Cassadaga to raise my kids and never regretted it. Now I have grandchildren. I hope and pray everyday they can be raised where everyone knows their names.

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