Ithaca T’ain’t Utica (Thanksgiving Pt.2)…

Every year when I go home to central New York State I get to go visit my favorite aunt… Aunt Eleanor. Aunt Eleanor is my dad’s only living sibling and is one of my favorite people. One day while visiting, I asked her about something that was happening that would have been stressful to almost anyone and although I’m sure it was stressful to her, she replied to me that it would just be added to her “no worries” list. I asked what she meant and she says… oh, I just have a little pad of paper and when someone tells me something that I’m supposed to be worried about, I just write it down and then I forget it. I haven’t gotten my own pad yet but consider this a little morsel of wisdom that could go a long way. Anyway, we stopped up to see her twice while at home and everyone had percolated coffee. Here she is with Sofia, who was fake smiling because she didn’t want to stop playing, and Kerry, my sister Cathy’s youngest…

A great thing that I got to do this year that I have never gotten to do is meet a fellow blogger. It turns out that my amigo, Gary, and his wife Maude live a couple miles outside of Ithaca, NY. I was raised outside of Utica, NY and after leaving home if I was asked where I grew up and answered outside Utica, inevitably the person would say something like… oh, I hear Ithaca is really nice and I would say, it’s Utica not Ithaca and I wouldn’t know because I’ve never been there. Anyway, I took a wee drive back west the day after we arrived and drove straight to Gary’s house. It was great to finally meet Gary because we’ve been in contact almost daily since I started this blog in February and have found that we have many things in common. So I went to his purple house which was easy to find and got the grand tour of the studio, gallery and house which is quaint and cozy and right next to a really picturesque river. There were pots everywhere as he was preparing for an open studio day. I also was very pleased to meet the famous beagle, Penny, who I have to say is even cuter in person than in the pictures Gary has of her on the blog. She took an immediate liking to me…

Even though I was under the weather, we headed for my favorite tavern that I had never been too, the Chapter House. On the way, Gary gave me a brief tour of apparently just a small part of Ithaca and Cornell… back to that later. At the Chapter House I met his beautiful wife, Maude and we had fun drinking good local pale ales and talking about all things pots and Ithaca and everything else. Here’s some pics from the Chapter House including one of Maude and me pretending to be in deep discussion…

After a couple beers we walked about 4 blocks, straight up, to a little Thai restaurant and had some yummy green curry and continued our conversations. Finally meeting Gary and Maude was one of the highlights of the trip and I wish I would’ve been my normal healthy self. Seeing what I did of Ithaca really had an effect on me. I’ve been longing to return to New York state for years (it happens with age I think) but Utica is not the most robust place in the world… but Ithaca, what little of it that I saw was completely awe-inspiring. I have a soft spot for college towns to begin with, probably because I spent 9 straight years in them but I think it was the geography that really moved me. There is a gorge that runs right next to (or through?) Cornell and this is a gorge. I’ve seen some gorges and this is an extremely deep and dynamic gorge and the campus and town seem to have been built right on the edge of it. There are bridges over it in places and the town is not flat by any means. From what Gary has told me, it is also a very progressive town maybe even the most progressive place in NY outside of the NYC. So now I want to move to Ithaca and Gary has already tried to get me to buy the house across the road from his house but I guess it sold very quickly and I couldn’t get my house ready to sell without taking half a year off to fix up the unsightly parts… so, I have Ithaca on the brain and if I ever did get there I could meet Gary at the Chapterhouse for beer.

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8 Responses to “Ithaca T’ain’t Utica (Thanksgiving Pt.2)…”

  1. Miri Says:

    A worry pad. What a great idea! Might have to try that… And how cool that you and Gary (and Maude) got to meet! Ithaca sounds like a cool place…if it only wasn’t so darn cold! 😉

  2. gary Says:

    COLD! There isn’t that much snow on the ground. hardly any!

  3. meredith Says:

    You had beers with Gary and the misses- we are very green!
    I need that worry pad- although this low dose of valium is pretty good about taking the edge off.

  4. ron Says:

    Very cool that you got to go to Ithaca and meet Gary and Maude. Jen Mecca (fellow blogger) is from Ithaca too and longs to move back there from SC. I would love to visit. Maybe we could have a little potters village there.

  5. ang Says:

    a clay inn perhaps…sounds like a great road trip jim…..i do love a good trip and meeting great folks..

  6. jenmecca Says:

    Ah, reading your post makes me want to go home….
    Wow, Gary does get alot of visiters( well, we just drove by his house on our way to the commons one day). So great that you got to go have a beer together. Such a small world! Being one who grew up in Itaca, I think its an awesome place to live if you can deal with the snow and cold. I had such a great childhood there and the school are great. I say…go for it!
    Jen

  7. Patricia Griffin Says:

    Will Ithaca become the new clay capital? Everybody living along Gary’s street in purple houses… Hey, we could block off the street and have a giant dog park in the middle!

  8. gco Says:

    i have been following you as of late with a newfound interest in ceramics and just discovered this post. im studying architecture at cornell and have to say that you have been doing some pretty neat stuff. i too am in love with ithaca and the terrain (which, coming from los angeles many people dont understand me) but am glad to see the fever catch. not to mention i am just next door to the chapter house.

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