Thursday, November 20, 2014

Adventures in Downtown Troy, NY

The last day of our trip was Wednesday. Danny needed to work part of the day and then we would catch our plane back home.

I checked us out of the hotel and headed to downtown Troy. Parking was almost entirely parallel parking. Fortunately I found a spot that I could park our rental car mini-van without too much hassle. I had never parallel parked a mini-van before. I think I did pretty well.

I enjoyed walking around downtown. Here is an idea of what the streets looked like:

The street I parked on. Looking towards a couple of churches.

I love these older church buildings! They are all over the place.

Troy was home to Sam Wilson, an early settler of Troy, who later became the inspiration for the personification of Uncle Sam. 

As I was taking this picture and waiting for some other people to move so the statue was clear, I could hear a conversation between two people about various prison sentences they have served and how their stay in prison went. They were all minor offences so I wasn't too concerned. It's nice those two people found something they could share with each other. 

Uncle Sam Wilson statue in Riverfront Park, Downtown Troy, NY

As far as I could gather, recently the city of Troy encouraged artists to create Uncle Sam statues. They are displayed in various spots around the city. This one of Captain America Uncle Sam happens to be the only one I came across. 

Captain American Uncle Sam Statue in Downtown Troy, NY

The Hudson River looking south. Seen from Riverfront Park in downtown Troy, NY

I found a bookstore! I might have specifically researched ahead of time about a bookstore location. I love bookstores! I especially love local bookstores. I enjoy the local sections that include books about local history or by local authors. I also have a great time reading the staff recommendations. I browsed around the bookstore for a while. I ended up buying a small book of Robert Frost poems as a souvenir of my nature walk the day before. When I was in Oxford, Mississippi earlier this year I went to Faulkner's home and then purchased one of his books from the local bookstore. I think I will make this a tradition. I also purchased The Great Abraham Lincoln Pocket Watch Conspiracy: A Novel by Jacopo della Quercia as an early birthday present for myself. I read about it in the staff recommendations and it sounds like it will be an entertaining read. I look forward to reading it.
Market Block Books 

Must. Obey. (Outside Market Block Books)

For lunch I stopped at a place called Illium Cafe. I had a delicious corned beef sandwich with some dill potato salad. The interior of the cafe was interesting. It was, of course, an old building. It had been a jewelry shop and the cafe kept the structure of the the display cases and the original murals on the walls that depicted life in early Troy. 

Illium Cafe where I had lunch

After lunch I wondered around and looked at a charming home furnishing store. I enjoyed window
shopping and taking in a different city. As I walked around I stumbled upon a war memorial from the Revolutionary War through World War II. It was difficult to get a good picture. 

the war monument/memorial

I still had some time before I needed to meet Danny so I ducked into a tea shop I had seen on my way to the book store. This tea shop was called the Whistling Kettle and it was lovely! They had all types of tea. I was only interested in the herbal selections. They also had lemonade and hot cocoa. I selected a yummy herbal tea and they brought me out a personal kettle. I drank my herbal tea and read read my new books. I felt pretty content. The Whistling Kettle also had crepes, sandwiches, soups, and salads. I ended up ordering a Nutella banana crepe, a favorite of mine, and it was delicious! 

The Whistling Kettle

Sadly, the time came for me to meet Danny and go home. We arranged to meet at a park just outside of RPI campus. The weather was fantastic so I sat on a bench under a tree and soaked up the last cool autumn breezes of my trip. 

When we were getting in our car to leave I looked at the tree I had been sitting under and noticed how it was colored. It looks like someone sprinkled the autumn color, doesn't it? 

A tree sprinkled with fall color in Prospect Park

I am so glad I was able to go with Danny. I do feel a little guilty that he had to work and I had all that fun without him. He assures me that he didn't mind.

Basically it was a perfect vacation for me. It contained some of my favorite things: history, autumn weather, autumn color, trees, nature, books, food, mini road trips, and Danny.

Coming home was a little difficult. We happened to be having some warmer than usual weather and I wished I could be back in Vermont and upstate New York exploring and watching the leaves change. Repeatedly, I reminded myself how intense the winters are to snap myself back to reality. Now the leaves are changing at home and I think it's great that I experienced autumn twice!

With New York and Vermont in the mix, I have visited 28/50 states. I am looking forward to visiting the other 22!

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

My Drive to Vermont

Continuing the tale of our New York trip...

On Tuesday, Danny had to work. That was the purpose of the trip after all. 

I took the opportunity to have a little day trip to Vermont. In order to give myself a destination point, I looked up different hikes in the Green Mountain National Forest. Since I would not have a ton of time I looked for simple hikes. Nature walk is really the best phrase to use. I was alone, so I also looked for more populated nature walks. Not that I dislike being alone, I was trying to error on the side of safety. I found a nature walk that was not too long and well used. It ended up being The Robert Frost Interpretive Trail near Ripton, VT. 

I thought, "an interpretive trail? Really?" I mean, that sounds a little cheesy right? Poetry is a little too much for me sometimes. I decided to go for it though. It had good reviews and was a good way into the state so I would be able to see a large chunk of Vermont. 

Armed with directions and music, I set off on my adventure. Let me tell you something; when people tell you that New England has the best fall color, especially Vermont, they are not exaggerating! The amount of color was almost overwhelming! I fell head-over-heels in love. It was the most beautiful autumn drive I have ever been on. The highway would twist and turn and you would have these views of valleys surrounded by rolling hills with a patchwork of color. I was surrounded by red, oranges, yellows, greens all vibrant and gorgeous. 

Unfortunately some of best views were not from a safe location to take a picture and there were not as many 'stop and look' places as I would have liked. I drove along U.S. 7. 

Along the way I passed through some charming small towns. One town, called Brandon, had these scarecrows outside of every home and building. Even the churches! It looked like a dress-your-own scarecrow thing. It was cute! I really wish I had stopped. I don't know what I was thinking. 

The Robert Frost Interpretive Trail was lovely! It was a super easy nature walk. Along the way some of Robert Frost's poems were posted. I decided that I enjoy poetry about nature. Maybe it's because I get sappy and sentimental about nature? Sometimes poetry is the only way you can describe the beauty and wonder of nature. 

So you know, I have not retouched or edited any of these photos. I love my pictures, but being there in person was amazing.
A little explanation about the trail

Along the trail. I love this leaf.

Along the trail. I love fallen leaves floating in a stream.

A view of the trail. It's somewhere under all the leaves.

This trail is a little further north. I think I just missed the peak of the color when the leaves were still on the trees.

One of Robert Frost's poems along the trail. Yes, I added the golden leaf.

Poems were also presented on wooden posts.

More trees along the trail.

Along the trail.

This picture turned out slightly mysterious looking. What do you think?

Yellow leaves might be my favorite. If it's possibly to choose a favorite.

Most of the path was a dirt trail. The beginning/end had wooden planks or gravel.

More yellow leaves.

As I'm leaving the trail, I looked back and saw this lovely scene.

Off of 125 near Ripton. There's a waterfall in the bottom center.

Part of 125 near Ripton. I need to drive this again.

The trail only took about an hour and then I drove back to our hotel in Troy. 

I did not stop for maple syrup. I sort of regret that, even though I would not have been able to carry a bottle home on the plane. I still should have stopped. Oh well. That means I just need to go back to Vermont in the autumn time, right? Right. 

Vermont was beautiful. I am so happy I was able to take that day trip. 

Danny and I had dinner together at a New York style pizza place that kids on campus recommended to him. It was pretty good. After pizza we went to an ice cream place called Friendly's. I had a delicious sundae full of chocolate and goodness and peace and love.

I will continue my travel tales in a third post...Look for it tomorrow...

I 'Heart' NY

Time to take another stab at this whole blogging thing. To start things off, let's talk about a fun trip!

As part of his job, Danny had an assignment to help the recruiting team at his company with college visits and job fairs. Danny helped coordinate and set up events and interviews with soon-to-be college grads. His favorite part was actually visiting the colleges and talking to the students at career fairs. Danny went to Texas A&M, University of Texas, Oklahoma University, Texas Christian University, University of North Texas and Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (RPI).

The last school, RPI, is located in Troy, NY. Guess who got to tag along? I did! Danny's company did not have any issues with it. So we paid for my plane ticket and I finally visited the north-east!

Can I tell you how much I loved this trip? If you said no, you might want to stop reading right here because that's pretty much what the rest of this post will be about.

We flew up on Sunday with a lay over in Chicago. As we flew into Chicago I had a lovely view of Lake Michigan and downtown Chicago. I have been itching to go to Chicago so that was a pretty exciting bonus of the trip. Obviously, I still want to go to Chicago because, as awesome as it was, flying over it doesn't really count.

Danny's work events did not begin until Monday evening so we took a side trip to Palmyra, NY. Palmyra is where Joseph Smith and his family lived when he received the  first vision and translated the Book of Mormon. We visited the Smith Farmhouse, Sacred Grove, Book of Mormon publishing site, and the Hill Cumorah.

I am completely fascinated by history. To visit these places that I have learned about for as long as I can remember was exciting, to say the least. Being able to stand in a place that is so central and important to the history of my religion left me feeling awestruck and humbled. So combine that with my love of history in general and you'll realize I transformed into a big-ball-of-giddy-dorkiness that poor Danny had to deal with.

Looking towards the Sacred Grove from the Smith Family Farmhouse

E.B. Grandin Publishing office. The first copies of the Book of Mormon were published here. In downtown Palmyra.

One of the reliefs at the base of the Hill Cumorah monument. 

A lovely view from the top of Hill Cumorah

After our adventures in Palmyra, Danny drove a little out of the way so I can say hello to a great lake. We stopped in the middle of a lake front neighborhood so I could look over Lake Ontario. I felt like I was standing at the ocean. There was nothing in front of me but water and sky and a row of Canada geese (we assumed they were patrolling the border between US/Canada). The lake was beautiful and blue and much clearer than lakes in Texas.

Lake Ontario. The brownish splotch on the water in the middle of the picture is the group of border patrol geese.

It was time to start heading back to Troy. We drove through lovely towns and passed so many apple orchards full of apples. We stopped at a farmer's market for lunch and ate homemade apple sauce made on the premises with the apples from their orchard. It was the best applesauce I have ever eaten. We bought a small container of it to eat during the rest of our trip.
Where Danny and I stopped for lunch. Dang good applesauce.

Monday evening Danny had a dinner to attend. I opted to hang around the hotel and get ready for the next day's adventure. Which I will talk about in a new post because this one is already quite long.

Now onto my next post...