On the road, Northeast trip: #4 Rochester, Finger Lakes region, & Bennington, VT

I’m still catching up from the weekend’s travels, so I’ll pick up with Rochester, NY.  We spent Friday night there and started Saturday at the art gallery, had lunch, then went down to the Finger Lakes area and ended up Saturday night staying at a motel just off the New York Thruway before heading into Vermont and New Hampshire on Sunday.

El Greco’s “The Apparition of the Virgin to St. Hyacinth”

Karla and I drove through downtown Rochester on Friday evening and went back Saturday to the Memorial Art Gallery of the University of Rochester.  I wanted to see their El Greco, plus both Karla and I love art galleries.  We’re not sure quite how it happened, but we both got an art-loving gene.  This museum has a nice collection of international art of a wide variety of time periods.  I’m drawn to mystical work, thus the attraction to El Greco, but there were many lovely pieces.  There were two Tiffany windows, which photograph pretty well (as you’ll see at the bottom of this post).  We took our time in the museum and had lunch in Rochester at a coffee shop very near the museum.  It was a perfect day to sit outside and enjoy the weather.  It was a day full of celebrations – graduation festivities at the museum and in the shopping center, first communions (where the couple on the elevator at our motel were headed), and imminent Mother’s Day.  So my end-of-cancer-treatments celebratory trip fit right in.

Japanese Garden at Sonnenberg Gardens and Mansion State Historic Park

We went from Rochester down toward the Finger Lakes.  I’ve always heard that that area is especially pretty, and the drive took us to Canandaigua.  My upset stomach kicked in again when we were in town, and the signs indicated a stop on the Finger Lakes Wine Trail, so we headed there for a bathroom for me.  It turned out to be a fortuitous stop because it was the Sonnenberg Mansion and Gardens.  There was lots to see, and they even had trams (long golf carts), so I didn’t have to walk much.  Karla did a wine tasting, but I didn’t partake since my stomach was so unhappy.  They have nine formal gardens there.  We didn’t see them all but did spend a little time in the Japanese Garden.  There were tea parties (for Mother’s Day) in the mansion, but you could still look around.  Karla and I started a little tour with a volunteer who offered to show us around the upstairs, but I had to find a bathroom and missed most of it.  I’ll be so glad when this bug is through with me.  But compared with chemo, it’s not a big deal.  By the time we left the grounds, it was late afternoon and time to find a motel room.

Who knew that Mother’s Day was a big weekend for motels??  I didn’t.  But we tried several motels in the area, both stopping by and calling on our cell phones, and most were booked.  At least they were booked for rooms with two beds.  We drove to Geneva, which is at the fingertip of Seneca Lake, but the motels there were full or too pricey.  We ended up at Verona, NY, just off the New York Thruway at a brand new motel.  I guess it wasn’t full because it wasn’t on all of the internet sites yet.  We had dinner at a locally-owned restaurant in Oenida, home of the Oneida Community, a religious utopian community in the mid-1800s.  And we set off the next morning on the New York Thruway, headed for Merrimack, New Hampshire, where I am now at Karla’s and Ken’s house.  Our route was partially on the Thruway, and then on pretty state roads through southern Vermont and New Hampshire.

View of the Green Mountains from atop the Bennington Battle Monument

We made a stop at Bennington, Vermont to see the Bennington Battle Monument.  Bennington is a quaint, lovely New England town, one that fits my ideal of what a New England village should look like.  The monument is a stone obelisk commemorating the Revolutionary War Battle involving General John Stark, whose toast became New Hampshire’s state motto: “Live free or die.”  It is the tallest man-made structure in Vermont, and you can see the Green Mountains from the top.  I was hoping for an open top like at Wilder’s Tower in our battlefield back home, but here you had to look out of windows.  An elevator goes to the top;  otherwise, I wouldn’t have seen the views because I wasn’t up to climbing all of those stairs.  We had lunch on the other side of town and headed farther east to Merrimack, New Hampshire and arrived in time for dinner with Ken.

I’ve spent the last couple of days recovering from the trip.  As I’ve said before, my stamina isn’t up to speed yet, plus I’ve had this stomach bug that keeps hanging on.  Monday Karla accidentally took my car keys to work with her to her Massachusetts office, but I had no plans of going anywhere.  It was nice to be in one place on a rainy day, taking it easy with the cat.  Yesterday I only went into Nashua to my favorite shoe store.  But today I plan to venture out some.  Not far and not long, though.  I’ve done lots of driving and riding and have the return trip south waiting for me, so I don’t want to spend my time in a car.

License plate in Nashua

Tiffany window Memorial Art Gallery U of Rochester

A new setting has been a balm for me.  Looking out the window at New England homes, which look so different from Southern ones.  Seeing azaleas and rhododendrons blooming now, when they bloomed a month or two ago back home.  Hearing New England accents.  I love the differences from home.  I love travel because of that.  And in this case, it’s celebratory travel, blessed travel.  I feel just like the owner of this license plate I parked behind yesterday.  Yes, so blessed.

Another Tiffany at Memorial Art Gallery, U of Rochester

With Phillip the Patriot at the Bennington Battle Monument

One thought on “On the road, Northeast trip: #4 Rochester, Finger Lakes region, & Bennington, VT

  1. WOW, Phillip is SO hot! and l laughed that Karla took your keys – no sister payback there…? just great synergy for you to take it easy.
    The gardens sound magnificent. Please write me before you head back south, I have a fabulous outdoor gallery for you to stop by in NY if you can.
    Will miss you this afternoon in the circle but certainly feel your spirit. Love to you both for doing it all, and sharing – it’s like an art history tour from my desk!

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