As 2021 ended and 2022 began, I spent some time reflecting. One of the questions I asked myself was what were my favorite memories and experiences from the past year. And I was surprised when I included my one day with my cousin in upstate New York on the list.
It isn’t a particularly exotic location. And we made no advance plans. After waking up late (we are both early risers, so it wasn’t really that late) we just hopped in our rental car and played it by ear.
Stop #1: Lake Ontario. It was a COLD morning but after stopping for a cup of tea we drove to the lake shore and walked out on the pier and to the 1812 lighthouse.
Stop #2: The Jell-O Museum in Leroy NY. Neither of us knew such a thing existed. We both love quirky museums and this was a fun stop.
Stop #3: Leroy cemetery. My cousin loves cemeteries. It was also a beautiful fall day and we got some fantastic photos!
Stop #4: Mini-Statue of Liberty. In 1950, on their 40th anniversary, the Boy Scouts donated several mini Statue of Liberty replicas across the country. One is downtown Leroy NY.
Stop #5: The mini-school bus and giant dragon! Both really fun to see. I couldn’t find much of an explanation for either of them.
Stop #6: Rolling Hills Asylum. Established in 1827 this institution has a storied history. It is abandoned today and used regularly for ghost tours. Even just the outside was pretty creepy and interesting.
Stop #7: Aurora New York. We looked up the best independent bookstores in the area. This is always a great way to find a cute small town. We loved Aurora and have plans to return. We were able to visit the Milton Fillmore house, who has got to be the least known President of the United States, the Bookworm, and the Elm Street Bakery.
Stop #8: Our final stop on our way back to the hotel was the Livingston County Veteran’s Monument which was both beautiful and unique.
I offer what we did as some ideas if you are in the area. But more than WHAT we did. I thought it was worth reflecting WHY it was such a special day. What is the “formula” so it can be repeated? Here is what I’ve come up with:
- Company matters! My cousin and I get along well. We only see each other a couple of times a year so we always have something new to talk about. And while we don’t have a ton in common, our interests intersect just enough to keep the conversation flowing.
- No preconceived expectations. We were there to see a mutual friend the following day. So this was really a freebie. There was nothing we had to do. We weren’t watching the clock to make sure we made it to the next thing on time or to fit it all in. We let whimsy rule the day. We didn’t rule out anything …
- We did a wide range of activities. We were outside. We got some exercise. We had some good food. We learned a little about the area. We laughed.