This morning, I woke up from a dream about pasta radio. That’s all I can say about that, really.
Anyway, we have returned from the wonder that is Upstate, otherwise known as the CNY! Not that you doubted it, but we had a fantastic time. Here are some things I learned while there:
1. Syracuse is great. I would love to spend more time there. We had a couple lunches in Armory Square, and visited the University for souvenirs. (Yes, the original reason I decided to like Syracuse basketball a few years ago was because of the orange thing.)
2. Parts of CNY are very, very remote. Matt was teaching a seminar at Colgate University, which is about 30 miles south of Utica. Once we were an hour out of Syracuse, we lost our cell signals, and didn’t have them the entire time we were there. That’s bizarre.
3. Hamilton is a super-cute little town, with good entertainment in the form of a few bars and one hockey team in the ECAC!
We’d looked into tickets a few months ago and figured we could risk buying at the door, but didn’t realize how far off our expectations were. First of all, we were able to park in a lot right next to the rink, for free. Tickets cost $6 (or $12 if you wanted a reserved seat with a back). There were maybe 500 fans there. We sat in the front row. I couldn’t believe that these were teams on the same level (in the NCAA, at least) as the ones we’re used to seeing here. It was fantastic, and made me appreciate the Mariucci experience a lot. I’ll try not to complain too much when we have 8,000 fans in the building instead of a capacity crowd.
We got to see a penalty shot, too!
4. While Matt was teaching, I drove to my 48th state, Vermont! I even got to see the tallest structure there:
The drive between Hamilton and Albany was kind of scary, re: 90 miles with no signal and maybe 10 other cars total. (And a lot of cute towns, but still.) Also, that part of the state looks like a slightly hillier version of Wisconsin. Past Albany, though, it’s gorgeous. And Vermont was exactly as hippie-esque as I was hoping.
5. We had to revert to the olden days form of communication: “I’ll meet you here at Colgate at 3pm. If I’m not here… well, maybe assume I’m dead, because there’s no way to get a hold of me.”
6. Saturday evening, we had a room at Vernon Downs. It’s a casino and harness racing track near Utica. I knew it would be entertaining, but it was even better than we’d hoped. Our room overlooked the track (we’d picked up a 6-pack of Saranac, so we were prepared for race-watching there), I tripled my money at video poker, and I won $90 betting on horses. Around 10, we went to go watch the cover band, which was being cheered on by a large group of Canadians and the Elvis impersonator who’s performing Thanksgiving weekend. Amazing.
7. Sunday morning, we drove to Cooperstown. I’d been there as a kid, and had since forgotten how cute the town is. My favorite thing at the hall of fame? Joe Mauer’s sideburns!
8. We flew Continental Express for the first time on this trip (Delta owns my soul), and everything about it was great: tiny planes, on-time departures, great flight attendants, no fiery crashes. I hope they can maintain that after the United merger.
Since this conference happens yearly, it’s entirely likely we’ll be going back next year. I didn’t think I’d be very excited to return to upstate, but now I’m looking forward to it!