Treman State Park

Treman State Park

Ugh, early morning flights are a bummer, but there weren’t a lot of choices of flights to Ithaca from Northwest Arkansas. My first connection was through O’Hare. I felt like the old t.v. commercial in which OJ Simpson is running though the airport. My flight came in at the end of the G terminal, and I had to get over to the middle of E with a close connection time. Yikes! The second connection was in Philadelphia and from there to Ithaca.  All three flights were uneventful except for the last leg. Actually it wasn’t the flight, but the terminal that was memorable. I had to take a shuttle, in Philly, from the main terminal to a remote terminal. If you have done it, you know what a hassle it is getting on the shuttle bus and all that jazz. What was most notable though, was that just inside the remote terminal there was a guy playing VERY loud, hmm, acid jazz?, new age?, soft jazz. It was jarring–not the music itself, but the volume. Wow. I felt like a grouchy old lady, “These kids and their loud music!” One thing is for sure. It certainly motivated me to quickly get to my gate.

View From Cornell's Clock Tower

View From Cornell’s Clock Tower

By now you might be wondering why I was traveling to Ithaca. The reason for the trip was a very special invitation from The Labor Law Group, to attend the Group’s Conference as an invited guest. Because of the stature of the members of the Labor Law Group, and of its work, it was an honor to be invited to participate. You can read more about the Group here. Kinda buried the lead, huh? More on The Labor Law Group and the conference in the next post.

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View from McKenzie-Childs Pottery Workshop

In addition to the Conference, I was excited to see my most excellent friend Betsy(Elizabeth) Lamb, known to me affectionately as “Betsy Bug.” I’ve called her that for so long, I can’t even remember why. Betsy is a horticulture Professor at Cornell. Her specialty is ornamentals. We met during orientation, my first year at Arkansas. Betsy was an orientation group leader. We hit it off immediately and have been fast friends ever since. Betsy is the type of good friend with whom I laugh lots; and no matter how much time passes between our visits, we pick up right where we left off. We have lots of wacky stories over the course of our friendship, but it would take much too long to share them all. 🙂

Newfield Covered Bridge

Newfield’s Covered Bridge

Ok, so back to the travelogue: When I arrived in Ithaca, I went immediately to the rental car desk. My plan was to explore the area a bit before connecting with Betsy, once she got off of work. Since I’d never been to Ithaca or the Finger Lakes Region,  I thought it would be a good idea to see as much as I could during the trip, which brings us back to the rental car. I rented a compact to be economical, but when I told the agent why I wanted the car, he gave me an upgrade, at a special price, for safety and comfort. (I’m certain that was his sole motivation for encouraging me to upgrade.)  I have to say though, I really came to appreciate the sturdiness and stability of the car during my forays, especially when it was pouring rain.

Newfield Covered Bridge

I’d arrived in Ithaca at 3:00, and I had until around 6:00 p.m. to explore. So I set off for adventure! The first place I went was to (yep) Ithaca Harley Davidson, which is located down NY 13 in Cayuta, to get a t-shirt with a silk screen the local scenery. The folks at Ithaca H-D were very nice, even when my card was declined for fraud. We got it all straightened out (hafta remember to call when traveling), and they gave me a super cool riding map that listed area attractions, and they pointed me in the right direction to see a few sights before I had to meet Betsy Bug. If you’re in the area, stop in and see the good folks at Ithaca H-D!

Treman State Park

My first stop after leaving the dealership and heading back north on 13, was to see a covered bridge in Newfield. It wasn’t on the map, but there was highway marker for it so I turned off to see what it was all about. That’s one of the luxuries of having time to meander (which by the way is also how I like to approaching riding Bea the Blessed Harley). The bridge was charming and covered the west branch of the Cayuga Inlet. There’s a quaint little park there too, perfect for contemplation.

Treman State Park Swimming Area

My next stop was at Robert H. Treman State Park to see the waterfalls. There are 12 falls in all, including the 115 foot Lucifer Falls.  The fall closest to the entrance was lovely, and lots of folks were swimming in and under it. My pictures give you a feel for it, but I’m not sure they truly captured the beauty of the setting. I tried to find the Lucifer Falls and the Old Mill, which were further in. However, after driving up the road for what felt like quite a ways, I was concerned about time so I headed back towards Ithaca. On the way back, I was able to squeeze in a visit to the Buttermilk Falls, which was also quite lovely, and fortunately not far at all from Cornell’s campus.

Buttermilk Falls

Buttermilk Falls

My last sight before meeting Betsy was Cornell Law School. I couldn’t visit the campus without a peek at the law school. Former Dean Stewart Schwab, by the way, is also a Labor and Employment Law academic and was one of the Reporters on the Restatement of Employment Law, which is the context in which I’d previously met him. Sadly, the building was locked and the folks watching me try the door looked askance at such a scruffy individual, so I had to leave my self guided tour of the building for another day.

Cornell Law School

Cornell Law School

Betsy arrived shortly and we met her friends, Brian Eshenaur and Margaret Kelly for dinner at Sangham Indian restaurant. Margaret and Brian were delightful dining companions, funny and interesting and I liked them both right away. We had a great meal, replete with rambling, lively conversation that could not have been a warmer welcome to Ithaca. As far as the meal, I’ve blogged before about my love of Indian cuisine, so I won’t belabor it again. Just know that the food was scrumptious, and yes I had samosas, saag and a Kingfisher. After dinner, Betsy, Brian and I headed to Purity, THE local ice cream establishment, for dessert. From there, it was time to say goodnight and to head to Betsy’s lovely home for a good night’s rest after a very full day. Before turning in though, we looked over my maps,  (My sweet friend Jeanne Marie gave me a NY highway map and AAA guide to NY for my trip, plus I had the riding map) and plotted my next day’s adventures.

Crocs

It was rainy on Wednesday, but not chilly when I left for a day of sightseeing. Betsy was kind enough to lend me her croc-like shoes which were perfect for the wet weather. I headed into Ithaca to find route 89 north. I got turned around in town and once I found 89, decided it was best to make a pit stop while still in town. As I pulled into what turned out to be the aquatic center parking lot, two school buses pulled in and unloaded what appeared to be several classes of first, maybe 2nd graders. A teacher saw me get out of the car, assumed I was a parent, and handed me a box of materials to carry inside for one of the other teachers. I did as I was told. Guess it’s OK to be viewed as someone who looks responsible enough to be a parent and who might have a 1st grader (or maybe she thought I was grandma…).

Back on the road. 89 tracks Cayuga Lake, and alternates between views of the lake, farm land and wooded areas. There are many wineries along the way , but those weren’t my priority. My first stop was to be Taughannock Falls State Park, which was breathtaking even in the rain.

Taughannock Falls State Park

Taughannock Falls State Park

The next stop was Seneca Falls, NY. It rained off and on during the drive up, but with the pleasant scenery and my upgraded car, it was a piece of cake. Here’s a little bit about the history of Seneca Falls, taken from the city’s website:

In the mid-1800’s, “Seneca Falls gained a reputation for social and religious reform. Abolition of Slavery and the Underground Railroad, the Temperance movement and women’s rights were among issues supported by local residents.On July 19 and 20, 1848 the first Convention on Women’s Rights was held at the Wesleyan Chapel on Fall Street in Seneca Falls. Organized by Jane Hunt, Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Mary Ann M’Clintock and others, it was the birth of the Women’s Rights Movement.”

Seneca Falls Visitor Center & National Women's Hall of Fame

Seneca Falls Visitor Center & National Women’s Hall of Fame

After a quick trip to the Visitor Center, to get my bearings, I popped into the National Women’s Hall of Fame.  The Hall’s mission is “Showcasing great women…Inspiring All.” The docent, Irene, explained that the Hall is breaking ground on a new, expanded location that it hopes will open in a year or so.

The Women’s Rights National Historical Park is also located in Seneca Falls and is right down the street from the Hall of Fame. The Park “preserves the sites associated with the 1848 Women’s Rights Convention.” The exhibits were quite well done. My favorites were anything work related, and fortunately there were several of those exhibits.

Seneca Falls Women's Rights National Historical Park

Seneca Falls Women’s Rights National Historical Park

Although I didn’t go through them, Seneca Falls is home to several other museums including the Museum of Waterways and Industry and the It’s a Wonderful Life Museum. I headed west on NY 5 & 20 towards Geneva, to see Seneca Lake, and a bit more of the Finger Lakes area. On the way, I passed through Waterloo, New York, the birthplace of Memorial Day, and home of the National Memorial Day Museum. Keeping an eye on the clock, I opted not to stop but did note the attractive patriotic bunting throughout the city.

Memorial Day

I had an additional, unusual motivation for wanting to get a feel for the area. One of my favorite fictional heroines Jane Whitfield, is a Seneca woman who helps people who need to disappear. Though I haven’t read the books in a while, I recall vividly the images Thomas Perry painted of upstate NY, and it was fun to see it for myself. I drove through Geneva for a bit, not stopping, and headed north on route 14 over to 318 and then down 90 which is on the opposite side of Lake Cayuta from route 89. It was another lovely drive, and from 90 I could see a lot more of the lake.

Grounds of Mackenzie-Childs

Grounds of Mackenzie-Childs

My last stop of the day before checking into the Statler Hotel for the Labor Law Group Conference, was to visit the MacKenzie-Childs Pottery Collective. Here’s how it is described on the website:

“We are located on a 65-acre former dairy farm overlooking Cayuga Lake in the heart of the Finger Lakes region. The grounds–open to the public–house our production studio, a Second-Empire farmhouse that is open for tours, and a retail shop filled with MacKenzie-Childs tableware, home furnishings, and gifts from around the world. The picturesque farm is also home to a small herd of Scottish Highland cattle, dozens of birds roosting in the Gothic Revival-style Chicken Palace, a duck pond, a former Cornell horse barn, a 1930’s greenhouse, spectacular and ever-changing gardens, and plenty of hay fields.”

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I didn’t stay long, but took a few pictures of the beautiful grounds and some of the pottery. It was raining again and time to get back to Ithaca to check in, and to prepare for the opening dinner of the conference. I’d squeezed a lot into a short time, and very much enjoyed having the ability to enjoy a brief exploration of a very beautiful area.

MacKenzie-Childs

MacKenzie-Childs

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