By Bruce Stambaugh
My wife and I share a mutual love for travel. To explore and learn together about new locations, people, and their mores substantially enriches our married life.
Adding family and friends into our forays gives us even greater joy. Our son recently moved to upstate New York, which gave us the perfect excuse to visit him and the Rochester area for the first time.
Nathan had moved to Rochester for a new job opportunity. He was effusive about the natural beauty and the many cultural and culinary opportunities that the city and surrounding area afforded.
Even before our flight from Virginia had landed, we saw what Nathan meant. The side-by-side Finger Lakes became elongated mirrors, beautifully reflecting the morning sunshine. That sight alone refreshed our spirits since rain persisted in Virginia.
The plane’s final approach to the airport took us right over downtown Rochester, a metropolitan area of a million folks. I caught a brief glimpse of a lovely waterfall in the heart of the center city.
Nathan picked us up, and we headed straight to his new apartment, a considerable downsize from his old Dutch colonial Ohio home. We immediately shared his satisfaction with his housing selection. He had bright and spacious living quarters in a stately Victorian that had been converted to accommodate several apartments.
His new digs are ideally situated among other splendid old homes on tree-lined streets and boulevards. His place affords many amenities. It’s near downtown, trendy eateries, renowned museums, and art galleries. Nathan had chosen well.
Another personal plus for us was that retired friends from Ohio live just a mile away from our son. We caught up with them over brunch the next morning.
Of course, Nathan wanted us to experience a sense of his new stomping grounds. So off we went, walking and driving to area attractions over our long-weekend stay. The moderately rolling landscape dotted with mixed woodlots and ravines carved by ancient streams felt like home, both Ohio and Virginia.
We packed a lot in during our short stay. We toured the art gallery, wandered through an old mansion and accompanying gardens, dined at locally-owned and operated restaurants, discovered lighthouses, felt the cool north breeze off Lake Ontario, and sampled delicious home-made ice cream more than once. We admired the cityscape view from Cobb’s Hill and watched the autumnal equinox sunset from atop a skyscraper.
I found familiarity driving up Mt. Hope Avenue to Mt. Hope Cemetery. I had served 21 years as principal at Mt. Hope Elementary School in Mt. Hope, Ohio. More importantly, we toured the historic cemetery that holds the graves of social pioneers Frederick Douglas and Susan B. Anthony.
Though I had never been there, it felt like I had. The old cemetery was established on glacial kame and kettle topography. It was the same glacier that formed the similar rolling hill and valley landscape of Holmes County, Ohio where Neva and I had built our homes, cultivated our marriage, raised our son and daughter, and fulfilled our careers.
Of course, we had to find those downtown waterfalls, too. Soon we stood on the Pont De Rennes footbridge admiring High Falls with the cityscape as its backdrop, and all the sights and sounds of a busy 21st-century city. I absorbed all that I could, ecstatic for our son.
Like most travelers, I greatly enjoy exploring new haunts and all they have to offer. When the excursion involves family and friends, the trip becomes even that more meaningful.
© Bruce Stambaugh 2018
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