I spent last weekend with some of my closest friends from school.
Justin was utterly generous to come via bus and train to Rochester from Maine to stay a few nights at my house. He showered me with gifts of the Avett Brothers CDs, blueberry jam, blueberry syrup and blueberry honey (blueberries are, apparently, a Maine thing). Saturday we went to the Rochester Public Market, which was voted as the best in the country! It was actually my first time visiting too because I live pretty far from the city to begin with. Jenny, another friend from school, took us there with her mom and showed us the ropes!
Checking melon densities :)
If you're from the Greater Rochester region, or even New York State in general, you're obviously familiar with the Erie Canal which is hailed in our elementary educations from first grade onward (remember the song?!). For those of you who don't know as much, it's the revolutionary waterway opened in 1825 that connects the Great Lakes from Buffalo to the Hudson River in Albany. Expedited travel and trade ensued; today, commercial travel, recreation and tourism at the various canal towns is frequent.
Jenny's mom asked one of the lock operators if we could watch him in action. Haha, it wasn't that mind blowing, but you had to appreciate the ingenuity because the locks change water levels and keeps boats moving through the different elevations in the canal (there's 36 total).
And then we came back to my house in the countryside and plated a beautiful dinner on the back porch after a team effort in the kitchen. The Menu:
Grilled shrimp with a lemon, honey and mustard vinaigrette
Grilled summer squash and zucchini
Sweet potato fries (that didn't exactly crisp), finished with cinnamon sugar
Italian pasta salad
Couscous salad that had raw sunflower seeds, craisins, cucumbers and a multi-cheese blend
And for dessert, a homemade peach pie that we brought from Jenny's house!!!
there were sooooo many leftovers...George Eastman House (the man who founded Kodak, basically the Henry Ford of photography and huge proprietor of Rochester). We went for the Norman Rockwell exhibit that was quite impressive, though the gardens ended up being off limits because a monsoon/typhoon was raging through Western New York that day. When I had called my mom, she was panicking about the flash floods on the thruway and the water coming over car tops-- hahaha.
Java's Cafe. I have friend who attends Rochester Institute of Technology, where they have a Java's on campus. There is also one at the Roc. Public Market, but I was adamant to visit the first location, which is across from the University of Rochester's Eastman School of Music. The Cafe is low-lit with an off-beat ambience; artwork and vintage posters adorn every inch of the walls and there are cozy nooks to sit and just be in your own zone. Besides specialty coffees and baked goods, they have an entire wall devoted to loose-leaf tea that you can have brewed there or buy per ounce. There was also a pool room lounge in the basement near the bathrooms. Basically, I was in love. If I only resided closer to the City, you'd find me there everyday (and we also noted that it's a hipster hideaway, makes for good people watching).
On Monday, I brought Justin to another one of the Finger Lakes, Canandaigua. We strolled around Main Street and bought artisan chocolate, he displayed his musical talents at an instrument shop, we had coffee, gelato on the pier and sent him off with food from Wegmans for the train ride.
By 2:45, he was gone.
I won't see him until the end of January, so I was ridiculously fortunate that he came to visit! And I'm really spoiled because another one of my close friends, Kate, came to my house Monday night for dinner. I met her on the Cross-Country team and since I'm going abroad this fall and she is applying to go to Kenya in the spring, it's likely we won't see each other for a while. As you may or may not know, I'm studying in France this fall semester. I'm leaving Thursday, and I'll be back for Christmas. It's odd, hearing about all my friends going back to school and starting and I won't have left home yet! My family didn't even realize that I was leaving this week, and they thought I was there for the year... there tends to be a lot of hearing but no listening around here.
Listening: the Avett Brothers albums "Emtionalism" and "I and Love and You", courtesy of Justin.