The big news this week: we’re home! Arrived back in Connecticut on Wednesday after several days of travel through upstate New York. For 22 years, I grew up in this region, so in many ways, it was a stroll down memory lane. I really loved sharing these places with Jen and the boys, who heard plenty of old stories along the way. It was great final leg to our historic Gold Family Road Trip!
Vestal, NY: Our first stop was in my hometown of Vestal. For Jen and I, this was our second visit since my parents moved in 1992, but for Miles and Owen it was their first. Needless to say, we attempted to squeeze in as much as possible. Food was a top priority, and we savored the fine flavors of Little Venice and Mario’s Pizza. We also caught up with a couple of old friends, including longtime next door neighbor Eric G. It was great to see him and his three girls. Touring the neighborhood, we saw the house in which I grew up, former schools, the houses of old friends, the JCC and temple, sports fields, locations of past jobs, and many other storied places from my youth. I even dragged us all through the woods in search of the old tree fort (which has gone to the ages). Overall, it was a very nostalgic visit that brought back great memories. Our tour of America just wouldn’t be complete without a stop in Vestal!
Cooperstown, NY: By Monday, we were on our way to Cooperstown. This quaint, lakeside town has so much to offer: scenic farms, old homes, and a vibrant arts community. Our main interest, however, was the Baseball Hall of Fame, where we enjoyed the historic glimpse into our nation’s pastime. They had good exhibits on important figures like Babe Ruth, Hank Aaron, and many top players from each of the teams. The Hall of Records was especially interesting, seeing the different ways in which leaders of the sport have achieved their fame. We ended the day with some classic viewing: Abbot and Costello’s Who’s on First and the terrific movie, A League of Their Own. The Hall of Fame got us excited for all things baseball; hopefully we can catch a game or two this summer.
Clinton and Herkimer, NY: On Tuesday, we traveled to my alma mater, Hamilton College in Clinton, NY. It was great to be back again and share this part of my life with Jen and the boys. The campus looked great, with several new buildings and senior students enjoying their last week before graduation. Like Vestal, there was plenty of nostalgia at every turn; fond memories of my time on the Hill (Go Blue!).
Our last stop in New York was the town of Herkimer, which is famous for a unique rock, the Herkimer Diamond. Actually a type of quartz, the Herkimer is the so clear, hard, well-faceted, and sparkly, that it’s valued amongst jewelers and collectors. Mining for Herkimer diamonds was great fun; we attacked the rock ledges with sledge hammers and pick axes in hopes of discovering the next mother lode. The boys kept it up for about an hour, until they were exhausted and learned the simpler method of sifting through the dirt to find stones which has already been dislodged. In all, we came away with several small Herkimers and other cool pieces of crystalized rock. I found the whole experience to be a metaphor for our trip… hard work and a slog at times, but great fun, good memories, and several nice jewels to take home.
West Hartford, CT: Yes, there’s nothing better than arriving home after a long trip. As much as we loved being on the road, and there are many things we’ll miss about this year of travel and togetherness, it sure is great to be back. Our return to the neighborhood has seen a few friends and family, with more to come this holiday weekend. The RV and truck are back in the driveway, with “For Sale” signs on both coming (please send us any leads!). It’ll be hard to say goodbye to Jake Jr. (the truck) and Harvey (the RV), but they’ve served us well and gotten us home safely. For now, we’re appreciating the comforts of home: soft beds, full-sized bathrooms, free laundry, good wifi, a regular kitchen, and the space of a real house. we’ve reunited with Little Grey Kitty (thanks, David and Marna, for taking care of her!) and are happy to just sit back, relax, and declare, “mission accomplished!”.
This may be our last Four Foto Friday, but the blogs will continue for a few more weeks. Our “school” will wrap up with a bit of reflection, final projects, more books and movies, and a trip to New York City (without the RV). Please stay tuned for more postings and photos. And, as aways, thanks for following us on this great American journey.