“It’s pronounced colonel. It’s the highest rank in the military.”

This past weekend we drove down to Ithaca, NY. In part to check out Cornell, in part to check out the town itself, and a little bit to check out the drive there and back. Just in case it becomes a regular thing.

We took the scenic (read: non-toll) route there, which led us through some scary country. More than one Trump sign. Ugh. Not a good start.

Finally we pulled into Ithaca, checked in to the Marriott on the Commons, and set out to find some lunch. And, more importantly: beer. We hit the Ithaca Alehouse, ate some great burgers, drank some good beers, and had a long conversation with a local guy named Mike. Turns out he’s a musician / actor / comedian / etc. named Mike Brindisi. He calmed our fears about the town, confirming what we thought, that it’s not unlike the Austin of New York State. So we felt a bit better.

Mike told us about a good restaurant — Gola — to try that night, and we made a reservation. A few hours later, though, Lindsay felt sick. Then sicker. Then pukey. Then…post-pukey. Maybe the burgers weren’t so great after all? So we didn’t go out to dinner at all, just had them send up some plain food (and a few local microbrews for me) and got some rest.

The next day, after a big breakfast at Monk’s and some shopping at Home Green Home and a quick stroll around the rest of the commons, we had lunch at Coltivare. Or, brunch, rather. It was a cute place with a jazz band playing, but the service was off and all the menu items were creative to the point of being misleading. Like, the chicken and biscuits I almost ordered were actually just biscuits covered in gravy. And Lindsay’s gravlox & carrot wasn’t salmon, it was carrot shaved and smoked and sliced to look like salmon. So…yeah. Anyway, it wasn’t bad, but it felt like a bit of a (pricey) miss.

On the way home we bought some used books at Autumn Leaves and bought coffee at Ten Forward (definitely the only Star Trek-themed vegan cafe I’ve visited), dropped everything at the hotel, and drove up to the Cornell campus to visit the Herbert F. Johnson Museum of Art. After that we crossed the street to see the waterfalls, which are We stuck our head into the Uris library too, which is gorgeous.

That night Lindsay had a dinner at Simeon’s so I posted up at the bar at Monk’s, ate dinner, plowed through their (very good) beer list, met a Cape Bretoner (!) at the bar next to me, listened to music (it was St. Paddy’s), and waited for Lindsay to get back. The night ended with more drinks and long heartfelt talks with the Caper’s wife. Anyway. Happy St. Paddy’s?

Monday we (somehow) got up early, had more breakfast, and drove back up to Cornell for more appointments. While Lindsay had her meetings I walked back to said gorgeous library, set myself down on a couch at the window, and worked for a couple of hours. Not a bad venue!

With that done we said goodbye to Ithaca in hardcore-American style — burgers and shakes at Five Guys — and drove home. We took toll roads this time, which took us up and along the shore of Cayuga Lake, which was far more picturesque than the drive down. Apart from a whiteout along the way, it was a pretty solid return trip.

Fun trip, if kinda tiring. Whatever happens next, at least we’ve seen Ithaca. And the colonel.

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