That is the beauty of the military. It sometimes send them to random places. And those random places can be gems - and places I probably wouldn't have visited otherwise!
Which a post about this is soon to come....
I fell in love with upstate NY.
I think if you took a normal person that grew up in, say, AZ .... they wouldn't find this part of the country that thrilling. But for me -- I felt at home at times. Rolling hills, tons of trees, snow, farms, rivers, lakes....hmmmm sound familiar? Yes - it reminded me of Minnesota. My 2nd home.
Now we visiting in the most undesirable time of the year. But I still just loved it there.
Syracuse itself is filled with beautiful historic buildings, great restaurants, and is such a lively place. Being a university town -- there really is a lot to do. If we would have had more time there -- we totally would have hit up a Syracuse basketball game (Ryan has been to one..and said they are very impressive!)
I got there Friday morning after a red-eye flight from hell. That's all I'm going to say. Guess what? There is a good story to that. I seem to run into weird situations in my life.Maybe it's because I spend so much time observing human behavior....
I had about 3 hours of sleep in 48 hours by the time I arrive Friday. So after some freshening up -- Ryan took me out for lunch a great Thai restaurant down the street from his hotel. Lemongrass was the name of the restaurant. If you are ever in Syracuse -- I HIGHLY recommend this place! And get the GREEN CURRY!! It is insane.
We then headed to the mall. And Syracuse has the 4th largest malls of North America! After a little shopping, we found ourselves at Dave and Busters drinking a beer and in a vicious battle of Ski Ball and Buck Hunter.
**The day Ryan and I don't get viciously competitive over games like Ski ball and Buck Hunter is the day something is wrong. I hope I'm never "too old" to find these games an absolute blast.....**
For dinner that evening - we walked to Pastabilities. Again - another MUST EAT. Diners, Drive-ins, and Dives had an episode here. It was this little, authentic Italian restaurant - where they make their pasta fresh every day. We had a 2-hour wait to get a table. But being we hadn't seen each other in 3 weeks - we enjoyed that 2 hours to sip on wine and catch up on life. We ordered the Wicki-Wicki Chicken Ravioli -- which was recommended by Guy Fierari. And that did not disappoint! Also - their brussel sprouts appetizer was to die for!
"Disapproving mustache look". I hate his TDY-mustache. He thinks it is hysterically funny.
Saturday morning we woke up, did a quick workout, had breakfast at Ryan's hotel and walked over to a great local coffee shop called Kubal Coffee. They make a REALLY good espresso drink! I thoroughly enjoyed my latte.
We hit the road to Ithaca. I am so glad we ventured here. It is a beautiful 1-hour drive from Syracuse! Ithaca totally has that "small town vibe" - and it houses Cornell and Ithaca Universities. It is filled with coffee shops, bars, local art shops, and the nicest people.
In the center of the city was a large "war memorial" - and each war had a different stone. This was the WWI stone.
My favorite part of this park was that it had an Episcopal, Lutheran, Baptist, and Catholic Church all surrounding this park. On Sunday mornings - everyone comes to the same area and parks in the same parking lot. Kind of cool!
After walking around and shopping a bit - we headed to an Irish pub for lunch.
We got seated right next to the fireplace and kicked off the afternoon with a pint of Guinness. Yum!
I had one of the best lunches ever! Scotch eggs (my favorite), Soda bread, provolone cheese, and pickled vegetables. It doesn't get better than that paired withGuinnessess in Abby's world!
We headed out of town to the "Finger Lakes" for some exploring. We hit up Taughannock Falls. We were told this is actually taller than Niagara Falls. Due to the wintery weather and snow - we could not hike down to the falls. But we did get to hike around the area a bit, and just take in the energy of the sound of that waterfall!
Pure smiles on our faces. If he just didn't have that mustache -- this would be Christmas Card worthy ;)
Oh, that's better! (that's my finger...in case you are wondering) Hahaha!
On our way back to Ithaca, we hit out a winery called Americana Vineyard. Upstate NY is known for it's Rieslings becuase of the cool, wet climate. They also do great iced wines - where they actually pick the grapes during a freeze, and they go into icy barrels as little ice-grapes!
And although Ryan and I are more into dry reds...we were very impressed with the wine. Our favorite was a blueberry wine! It was made from blueberries instead of grapes. It was so interesting!
Did you know that the "vineyard scene" came to Upstate NY before CA? It makes sense, since CA was such a late state to develop. But when you think of NY - One doesn't typically think of vineyards.
I didn't get any more photos of the weekend - because we spent more time talking and enjoying our time. We had very limited time together, and really made the most of it!
I will end this post with a picture I took at the beginning of my trip. I landed in NYC (Newark airport) with ZERO sleep. I found the quietest corner I could....attached my belongings to me, and fell asleep on the floor. I woke up to this view -- and It was the most energizing way to wake up! I have dreamt of this sight my whole life. It was kind of surreal to take in...
NYC Skyline from a distance...