Category Archives: Ithaca

For future reference: how to go glamping in Moab

I used to love to camp – but my bad back makes sleeping in a tent on the ground, even with a pad, out of the question. So glamping – which presumably mixes glamour and camping but most importantly, offers the promise of a firm bed inside a tent – seems like the way to go. Our friends Denise and David went glamping in Moab and report that: “It was just great! Love sleeping in a tent, AND in a bed ;)”  Denise’s photo (above) of the tent at sunrise has me in heavy daydream mode…

For future reference, here’s the appropriately-named glamping outfit they went with: Under Canvas

More information on how to glamp (including in my beloved Ithaca) is here.

The NYTimes is also on it….


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Filed under Adventure travel, Ithaca

bye bye ithaca header

Time for a new header photo and to reveal the location of the previous header photo above – the gorgeous Enfield Glen gorge at Treman State Park  near Ithaca, N.Y. Can any one figure out what the location of the new header photo???

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Filed under DESTINATIONS - Iowa, Ithaca, New York

A site to see in Des Moines – the Salisbury House, now with new leaders.

I’m having a small (blogosphere) world moment. Reading about the new leaders of  Des Moines’ Salisbury House in in the Register this morn,  I thought one of them looked familiar. Turns out he’s someone I’ve met through blogging –  we’ve exchanged a comment or two. He’s J. Eric Smith,  formerly of Albany, N.Y. (not far from my favorite upstate NY town, Ithaca) and now Salisbury House’s new executive director. Good luck to him. The Salisbury House is an unexpected treasure tucked in the woods south of Grand  –  a museum full of old stuff in what was built in the 1920s as a stone-and-brick mansion modeled after a 13th century manse (in, you guessed it,  Salisbury, England).  My kids used to get a kick out of the suits of armor on display. More recently, my husband and I have tried not to miss the annual “Shakespeare on the Lawn” performances on the gorgeous grounds of  Salisbury House (perfect backdrop for Shakespeare) by the Repertory Theater of Iowa.

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Filed under Des Moines, Ithaca

Little too chilly for the High Line in NYC

It was sunny and clear but a cold breeze kept us from enjoying the High Line, a city park along Manhattan’s Hudson River today. We did catch a glimpse of the next portion of the High Line which is under construction. The first section runs from Gansevoort to 20th Street and opened 2009. It’s built on a once-abandoned 1930’s elevated freight rail line that delivered milk, meat, produce etc. The goal is to open the full lenght of the line to 34th Street. (To help fund the expansion, contribute to Friends of the High Line.)

We took refuge from the cold – along with hundreds of others – in the Chelsea Market which is full of one food shop after another. The nice tea parlor we visited last year appears to have been replaced by a Sarabeth’s Kitchen. We visited the seafood shop and watched some men making what looked like fantastic sushi. We also passed a shop selling “Gimme Coffee” coffee, which I last saw in Ithaca, N.Y. (and I think began there.) We ended up having overpriced but very good cappuccino at a stand across from the Gimme Coffee shop.

We also dropped by Eataly but it was way too packed for us to grab a bite to eat. We ended up at another restaurant on Broadway and 21st – Bar Stuzzinchini. It had an old world French bistro atmosphere, a reasonable  $21 brunch special that included an appetizer, main course, and alcoholic drink. I went Italian – with fried artichoke, spaghetti Bolognese. My friends had poached eggs with salmon.

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Filed under DINING, Ithaca, New York City, Uncategorized

No more “Ithaca”?

Trying to find time when our family – including three young adult children – can all get away for a summer vacation is becoming increasingly difficult. Too many conflicting schedules, especially with two kids soon to be in college and one a newbie  in the work world.

So finding a time when two families can get away together for a summer vacation is even harder.

The net result is that this summer, it doesn’t look like my Iowa family will be able to continue a cherished tradition of sharing a vacation and cottage on Cayuga Lake north of Ithaca, N.Y. with our dear friends, a Connecticut family whose parents are old friends of mine from college (Cornell U. in Ithaca.)

We’ve managed to do this every other year – seven times I think – since our kids (three of theirs, two of ours) were really young. And try as we did last weekend – talking over the phone between Iowa and Connecticut, with our respective calendars in front of us, comparing our kids’ college schedules and possible summer jobs, plus other family obligations from parent’s birthday celebrations to family reunions – we just can’t find a week that works for us all to get away together.

Actually, the biggest problem is the kids’ unpredictable schedules. So we parents are now considering a new option – the four of us sharing a summer vacation, sans kids. It’s better than nothing – we figure. And maybe in a few years, some of the kids will be able to join us again. Here’s hoping. But it still feels like the end of the era – and that’s sad.

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Filed under Ithaca, vacation rentals

Road Trip/Pilgrimage

Heard about an interesting travel book today on Rick Steves’ NPR show about how to make your road trip into a pilgrimage. Religion is the first thing that pops into my mind when I think “pilgrimage” but it doesn’t have to be a trip to Mecca or Lourdes. From what I gather about the book “The Road Trip Pilgrim’s Guide: Witchdoctors, Magic Tokens, Camping on Golf Courses and Everything Else” by Dan Austin, a pilgrimage can be to seek out all kinds of things you’re passionate about. Which got me thinking about 1) Have I already unwittingly gone on a pilgrimage or two? 2) What kind of pilgrimage would I like to wittingly go on, what shrine or sacred place would inspire a journey?

My travel tends to be inspired by 1) a desire to see  friends and family 2) a desire to see new places I’m drawn to because of the landscape, the culture, history and, yes, the food.  Nothing much deeper – to be honest. But it’s given me something new to ponder as I travel and think about traveling. I’m been to some places that are prime pilgrimage territory – Rome, Jerusalem, Istanbul, Marrakesh – but I didn’t go  in search of myself or religion or some great truth. Which leads me to the next question – where would I go if I was looking for myself, or religion, or some great truth?

My husband brought up an interesting point – perhaps the closest I’ve gotten to making a pilgrimage is my frequent trips to Ithaca, N.Y. where I first went as a child with my parents (who met at Cornell) and where I later went to college and where I now take my kids for summer vacations with dear friends from my Cornell days.   Ithaca is my very special place, for many reasons, and when I’m there, I feel happy in a way I don’t   feel anywhere else.  It’s a place that connects me to my family – past and present, my parents, my childhood, my college years and college friends.  But also, I have always been very drawn to the landscape and way of life in Ithaca – the gorges, the Finger Lakes, the farms, the quirky alternative charm and, okay I’ll admit it, the ice cream.   But does “special place” equal “sacred place?”

pilgrimage: a journey of a pilgrim; especially : one to a shrine or a sacred place

pilgrim: one who travels to a foreign land/to a shrine or holy place as a devotee

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Filed under Ithaca, New York, TECHNOLOGY/GEAR

Dreaming of: (gorgeous) Ithaca

Okay, the photo location contest is over.  And yes,  the location is… Ithaca, N.Y., more specifically Upper Treman Park – and my sentimental favorite of the area’s several beautiful state parks showcasing deep gorges and mesmerizing waterfalls.  From Upper (Robert H.) Treman, you can take a spectacular hike along the gorge (known as Enfield Glen) past 12 waterfalls (including 115-foot Lucifer Falls) down to Lower Treman where the gorge disgorges (hmm, never connected the word “gorge” and “disgorge” before) into a wide stream-fed pool that’s perfect for swimming, albeit very cold, with diving boards (popular with daredevils, young and not-so-young) and a waterfall rock face you can try to claw your way across while getting bombarded by gushing water.

The hike is easy and lovely – a wooded narrow passageway with cut stone steps that winds along the gorge, with bridges crossing over the rushing water.  One time, we found a lone bagpiper playing at the bottom of one waterfall – an image and sound I’ll never forget. Last summer when we took our 7th  every-other-year  Ithaca family vacation  (or was it our 8th? My friend Myra can set me straight –  we’ve shared a cottage on Cayuga Lake with her family during all these wonderful upstate New York get-aways from the real world), the gorge was full of water – making it particularly dramatic but unfortunately upping the bacteria count, or some such, which ruled out swimming.  Another favorite is Buttermilk State Park, just down the road from Treman – it too has a gorge that bottoms out into an icy cool pool for swimming.

My other favorite gorges run right through the Cornell campus – including Cascadilla Gorge, which was technically closed last summer because of damage caused to the path by the intense water but we hiked it, carefully, anyway.  And the hidden area known locally as flatrock in the sweet little enclave of Forest Home on Fall Creek near the Cornell Plantations is a quiet beauty – not high-dropping falls but water rushing past and atop flat rocks you can wander around. With its elegant Greek Revival houses, two one-lane steel-truss bridges built in the early 1900’s, and remnants of old stone mills, Forest Home is where I dream of living in Ithaca.

Taughannock Falls State Park is the highest of the area’s falls (at 215 feet, it’s reportedly 33 feet taller than Niagara and  the northeast U.S.’ s highest  free-falling waterfall, whatever that means) but the hike to it has  never grabbed me quite as much as the other parks’ hikes – it’s flatter,more open, without the stairs of the other gorge hikes, less rugged, winding, and mysterious.

Any wonder why I drive around Iowa with a bumper sticker that reads “Ithaca is gorges”?

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