A weekend in New York – 30 hours in Rochester

Even the lead-up to the weekend was a bit exciting. (I guess my life is that ho-hum.) Friday was a major deadline and amongst other deadlines, I had to get all of my things in order before taking off from work for a week. The Canucks faced San Jose in Game 2 at 7 and I didn’t get off work until 6 and we went where everyone else went – Canada Place – and couldn’t get a table at Cactus Club or Mahoney’s. We have a friend who lives in Coal Harbour so we crashed his place and caught the game in comfort and were well fed on his Costco grilled excess. I listened to – rather than watched – the game and finally downloaded and started playing that addictive little game, Candy Crush Saga.

We anticipated the question the border guard would ask: “What are you doing in Rochester?” “Sightseeing,” I prompted Lil Sis to answer. The border guard seemed taken aback, “Sightseeing … in Rochester?” “It was her idea,” Lil Sis in the driver’s seat indicated me. He asked if we were visiting some Corning Ware/Hill museum but I piped in – to prove I had done my research – that we were visiting the Eastman House. If pressed, I would have answered, that we’re going to Rochester because we’ve been to Detroit twice and Chicago, Boston and New York City are too far by driving and expensive by flying!

Driving through Buffalo prompted Lil Sis to recall that a local diner had appeared on Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives [YouTube]. No kidding, it was a bit of a dive and we ordered what had been featured, a giambotta, and a short stack of apple cinnamon walnut pancakes. It was a good start.


We started downtown and sought out the Rochester office of my firm but they are within the Bausch + Lomb building so we didn’t get anywhere. Spiderman 2 (#SpideyROC) is currently filming in Rochester but was on hiatus for the day to make way for the Color Run. Then we were off to the open-air Rochester Public Market which was really colourful. We saw caged lived roosters, hens and adorable goats. It was a warm weekend and I hadn’t packed for summer but the worse thing to do was to draw attention to it. We tried two locations before finding a vintage Abbot’s Frozen Custard location which was a nice and chill moment.




For more years than I can count (about eight?) I’ve been following a blogger in Rochester, Jennifer Cisney, who is creative and curious about the beautiful things in life. She is also a corporate blogger for Kodak. Her husband used to work for Wegman’s (a local supermarket chain) so she is very excited about their work brands. Her recent posts about being out and about in Rochester were good starting points as well as an article she shared claiming that Rochester is one of ten world cities poised for greatness in 2012. Her enthusiasm was infectious.


We checked into the hotel, the Marriott Courtyard in Brighton at which our room was upgraded to a suite and it did not disappoint. Then we were back to the city to Dinosaur Bar-B-Q which was full at 5:30 and had a fun vibe lent from the number of motorcyclists who also patronize the place. We ordered and shared a platter at the bar – the perfect amount. Then we were off to Vintage Drive-In, New York’s best drive-in. Indeed, the price was great ($8 for a double feature) and we could even bring our own food for a $5 car permit. We had a front row seat (because we arrived 75 minutes before showtime) and I took a nap because I was getting through the day on only three hours of sleep on the red eye flight, caffeine, walking around and the stimulus of a different environment – meanwhile, I invited Lil Sis to play Candy Crush on my phone … just to lure her in. It was dandy to be so comfortable while watching a movie and eat the food I want to eat (Terra Chips Exotic Harvest and Paprika Lay’s)! We watched Iron Man 3 but left at intermission before Oz the Great and Powerful.



Candy Crush Saga won out and we didn’t head out as early as I thought we might on Sunday but nothing was lost. We picked up Dunkin Donuts iced coffee (when in America, do as Americans do…) and found Highland Park after a couple of missteps. The Lilac Festival begins in one week but perhaps we’d catch the early blooms? We hit upon tulips and cherry blossoms first and explored the grounds of Warner Castle before finding the lilac area of the park. Uhm, I don’t know if I care for lilac at all, the flower or the colour.




We drove to Park Avenue for brunch and had a Cinqo de Mayo lunch at Dorado and then I thought we would go to view Kodak Tower but came across the George Eastman House which was later on my itinerary but I’m glad we arrived at that time. A tour started shortly and we learned a lot about the life of George Eastman, founder of Kodak and confirmed bachelor, through the design and furnishing of his great house. The extent he was capable of going to get his way regarding his house design is just proof of his success and affluence. In the the Schuyler C Townson Terrace Garden after the tour and wandering around, we played some Candy Crush! Of course, there was also a camera and technology exhibit; I hadn’t imaged such a visit to the museum and house and felt greatly enlightened.








There was just enough time to go to look for a party dress for Lil Sis (no decisions but some ideas) and pick up a Garbage Plate from Nick Tahou’s Hots. It was satisfying and fortunately not too much when shared. Then, the weekend was over and we were headed back to Canada.

While we queued to cross the border, Lil Sis freaked out because our checkpoint guard was talking to people for a very long time. And I warned her that each of us declaring that we were each only bringing $20 of purchases back would be a red flag. And I was right. He didn’t ask what constituted our small haul and asked where we stayed and if I could prove it. Uhm, I had declined a copy of the receipt but by some coincidence, kept the “special edition” folder they gave me to hold the hotel room key cards. I think that was such strange and awkwardly honest answer, he waved us through. Woohoo!

Reality begins again for two days in Toronto while I hole up in Lil Sis’ apartment and finish off an assignment and I’m not even staying in Toronto (Richmond Hill, actually). Next up – on Wednesday – 24 hours in Toronto ….

On this day..