Adventures in Upstate New York

My husband Ross and I were eager to begin our RVing adventure with a few days exploring parts of New York we hadn’t seen before. What began as a dreary day turned sunny and warm while we drove. We passed some gorgeous towns in New Hampshire and Vermont, including Woodstock and the Killington area, but Quechee was the best and perhaps worth a return visit. A tad touristy but in a super New England way; driving over the Quechee Gorge was amazing!

Ross’ favorite parts of day one were napping and using the walkie talkies. Upstate NY thus far wasn’t as scenic as VT or NH but we got some really neat views and bridges here and there. We took a great route that only had us on the interstate for about two hours.

On day two, the explorations began! After waking up from a pretty good night’s sleep at a travel plaza in Warners, NY, I did my morning routine and fielded emails before reheating my breakfast on our stove for the first time! Ross had to help me figure it out but it was worth it.

After Ross was up and had his coffee and breakfast, we headed toward our first destination – the National Women’s Historic Site in Seneca Falls! I had wanted to see it since I was 16 and passed the sign on the highway during a college trip. Literally a dream deferred but it was worth it! After some fun games getting the RV parked (tons of free parking available but not oversized), we headed into the site.

We saw a brief film that gives an overview of the movement (and I had a coughing fit) and we saw some wonderful exhibits. Having worked up an appetite, we headed to the RV, grabbed the lunches we had packed and walked across the street to the Elizabeth Cady Stanton park to have lunch by the canal. (The foliage here is wonderful!) We even stumbled on an open air market with live music, where we bought some local coffee for Ross and shared a few gluten-free chocolate chip cookies as a treat. (Not on the diet but the cookie indulgence went well.)

We stopped in the Wesleyan Chapel, where the Women’s Rights Convention of 1848 was held, and we dropped off our things before beginning the walk to the Elizabeth Cady Stanton house. While we were there, we checked out some locks on the canal. After the guided tour we experienced an absolutely moving performance by a woman who portrays Elizabeth Cady Stanton.

I idolized her in many ways (not all) as a kid and getting to experience this was seriously as good as it gets. After a brief stop at the National Women’s Hall of Fame (free because they were closing in a half hour), we packed up and did a driving tour of the Montezuma National Refuge before finding a place to crash for the night.

On day three, we awoke at the Petro “stopping plaza” in Tyre, NY to a gorgeous sunrise. Well, I awoke to that. Ross was asleep of course!  We loved it here! They cater to truckers but it was perfect for travelers and I slept like a baby too.

We managed to pull ourselves onto the road by ten o’clock. Our first destination was the Harriet Tubman house in Auburn, NY, which has been designated a National Historic Site by President Obama. Our tour guide was phenomenal and accommodating, full of animation and humor. The house had been maintained by the African Methodist Episcopal Church which I found fascinating.

After learning a lot, we headed to the Cayuga Museum and the Case Research Lab. The museum is cute, with rotating galleries in a gorgeous mansion, and we walked amongst Native American art displays and a fascinating prison exhibit highlighting Auburn’s prison and its roll nationally in the prison industrial complex. The mix of races and classes in Auburn for hundreds of years must mean we’ve only heard the tip of the iceberg in terms of interesting history here.

The reason for visiting the museum was to check out the lab. Case actually was the first person to figure out how to put sound on film, literally, and Ross was especially excited to see the old equipment and learn about this rich man who achieved his life’s dream and then quietly sold it to Fox who continued using it on the West Coast.

Our final destination was the House of Guitars in Rochester. Our two earlier visits had cost us $5 each, not too bad! The visit to this historic music store would have been free, but Ross finally found the loop pedal of his dreams…luckily he had set aside money specifically for it!

We really loved upstate New York, especially in the fall, and we could have easily spent another week or two visiting foliage, locks and much more. Definitely plan a visit when you’re out this way!

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