Two weeks in New York

Since I hadn’t seen Jordan in two months, a trip to New York was in store. I planned to make the most of my Labor Day weekend by taking a week-long trip padded by two weekends, but then my boss got involved.

“Cassie, have you already bought your plane ticket?”
Ut oh, I thought… “Yes,” I said, hoping there wasn’t a problem with my plans.
“Oh, that’s okay,” she said, “I just wanted you to do a story for the magazine while you were in New York, but I don’t want to take any of your vacation time away from you.”
I couldn’t believe my ears.  “Well, I could stay longer, my flight wasn’t THAT expensive…”

And that was that. Next thing I knew the PineStraw magazine booked me another return flight, and that’s how my two week Labor Day vacation/business trip began.

My trip began in Raleigh randomly running into two of my old college housemates and then meeting up with my friend Patrice for dinner. Patrice convinced me to watch a Columbian action movie at her house that began around 11pm despite my early departure the following morning. I immediately got hooked and had to watch the whole thing while Patrice snoozed on the couch beside me.  I finally got to bed LATE and next thing I knew my phone alarm was waking me up at 6am. Jordan’s parents picked me up once the sun was up, and that’s when our ten-hour drive to Grandpa’s began.

I shared the backseat with Josie, Jordan’s parents’ standard poodle that is bigger than me. But the drive wasn’t so bad, I dozed on and off the entire way, resting my head on the seatbelt to not cramp Josie’s personal space. I got several phone calls from Jordan, who was also driving. The destination? Jordan’s grandpa’s farm in Dundee, NY (ie: the beautiful Finger Lakes). Finally, we made it to Watkins Glen, the nearest town outside Dundee where wonderful things exist, like pizza. As we were waiting for our takeout pizza to take to Grandpa, guess who pulls into the parking lot? JORDAN!!! I apologized to Jordan’s mom in advance, “I’m sorry, I know you’re Jordan’s mom, but I’m gonna be the one who gets the first hug!” When Jordan stepped out of his car, he was sporting my favorite collard shirt of his, a hammy down from my brother, a blue and brown plaid that I always adored even when it was my brother’s shirt. Even though Dundee was only 20 minutes away from Watkins Glen, I hopped in with Jordan and we caught up while holding hands and kissing at stoplights.

Jordan’s grandpa’s farm made me feel right at home. I’m a country gal, and let me tell you. Country does exist in UPSTATE New York. We picked pears, apples and grapes at Grandpa’s. We took a cute picture of ourselves out front of the red barn with Jordan’s film camera, which is still undeveloped. We got baked goods from the Mennonites and let Josie romp around the hay fields without a leash. The days were warm, and the nights cool. Nearly every day, Jordan and I went on a daytrip. The first of the daytrips, Grandpa served as our chaperone. He drove us around the Finger Lakes, through Ithaca and to Cornell University. We went to some beautiful gardens on campus and walked around. After the gardens, Grandpa hung out in the car and told us to take our time in the Johnson Museum of Art. And that we did. We (need I say?) began with the photography exhibit, then headed to see the American art, European art, and then skipped past the Chinese art on the top floor only to see the view of Cayuga Lake, the longest of the glacial Finger Lakes.

Grandpa and Jordan at Cornell University’s beautiful gardens.
This bench is Grandpa’s favorite spot.

The view of Cayuga Lake from the top floor of Cornell’s Johnson Museum of Art.” Notice all the tiny white triangles in the water, yep you guessed it, sailboats.

Pretty Gothic architecture in Ithaca/Cornell’s campus

Day 2: Our next day trip was hiking up and down Watkins Glen. In just two miles, the gorge’s path beautifully winds past 19 waterfalls and alongside 200-foot cliff overlooks. Sometimes ducking under the cool spray of waterfalls, this is the first destination I regretted not having my camera for. I can’t even describe the glacial landscape of being inside a glen, which I didn’t even know exactly what a glen was. But, the centerpiece of Watkins Glen National Park is a 400-foot-deep narrow gorge cut through rock by a stream – Glen Creek – that was left hanging when glaciers of the Ice Age deepened the Seneca Valley. The rock walls on either side of us looked like giant slate rock versions of delicious layered buiscuts…

Day 3: Our third day trip was to Mexico. Actually, both Mexico and Texas. The real destination was Lake Ontario, but we decided to go through Mexico, NY (we’d leave Liverpool, Rome and Amsterdam, NY for another time). We went up to the sleepy town of Sodus Point, where not much seems to happen, and then on past countless apple orchards to a sandy beach/national park area on Lake Ontario, which by the way, looks like the ocean. We didn’t swim, we just had a nice picnic and Jordan skipped some rocks before light showers began.

Day 4: Our fourth day trip was probably my favorite. If you know me well enough, you know that I LOVE blown glass. I also am a collector of blown glass ornament balls. Well, Jordan and I got to go to the Corning Museum of Glass in Corning, NY. And not only did I get to see a lot of amazing glass work, I got to watch glass blowing demonstrations and then the kicker— I BLEW MY OWN GLASS BALL ORNAMENT TO ADD TO MY COLLECTION.

Me: “Hey, Jordan— that’s a pretty awesome sea creature isn’t it? That’s a Dale Chihuly, he is like THE MOST FAMOUS (American) glass sculptor in the world.”

Setting up the timer

Think we could pass as a teenage couple? Well, we did.

These glass canoes were photogenic from all angles:

And the moment we’ve ALL been waiting for…. Drumroll please…. doo doo doo DOOO! Cassie blows her own glass ball!!!

So, that is my perfectly round blown glass ornament. That’s it at like 4,000 degrees, but when it cooled, the colors I picked out were more beautiful than I could have ever imagined. The brownish background/base color is actually BRIGHT ORANGE and the speckles on top of the orange are baby pink and Carolina blue. It is so pretty. I just HAD to bring it into work once I got back from NY on TWO different occasions for show and tell :)

and that’s just the first week…