Summer travel season is here, and with it – the first trip we’ve taken out of town since (I think?) December! And it was a good one – up to Ithaca, New York for my fifteen-year college reunion. Also: how has it been that long? Get ready for a massive photobomb of a post…
We rolled into town around lunchtime on Thursday – the kids were excited. We left Virginia at 6:00 a.m. and they were up, bright-eyed and raring to go, at 4:30, wanting to help us pack the car and demanding to know when we were going to Ithaca. Keep in mind, these children had never been to Ithaca. Our reputation for delivering awesome destinations is just that impressive.
Anywho, our first stop was a no-brainer. Since it was lunchtime, we hit one of our favorite spots: Collegetown Bagels. CTB, as Cornellians call it, is situated right at the intersection between Collegetown (technically off-campus) and Cornell proper. It’s open early and late and was one of our regular haunts as Cornell students – especially after Steve and I started dating, we spent many a late night sitting at a table inside CTB, extending our evening and getting out of the cold. The CTB patio was our meeting spot for dates, too; it was a good middle point between my sorority house and Steve’s grad student apartment complex. Long story short, we love CTB.
Iced coffee and vegetarian bagel melts. Clearly the bomb.
(This was my favorite order at CTB: veggie cream cheese, sliced tomato, and melted Muenster over the top. Perfect.)
Post-bagels, the campus food tour (apparently) continued with a trip to the Cornell Dairy Bar for ice cream. The best ice cream comes from the smartest cows, and the smartest cows come from Cornell.
The kids went with classic strawberry, Steve had “Big Red Bear Tracks” (vanilla with chocolate swirl and caramel pieces, I think) and I had “Ezra’s Morning Cup” (coffee! my favorite). I can’t say that Cornell Dairy was one of Steve’s and my special places on campus, but I came now and then with my sorority sisters and ate way too much of this stuff in the dining halls. Plus, we’re trying to convince the kids to follow in Mommy and Daddy’s footsteps (and go to Cornell – but not be lawyers, let’s not go crazy here), and ice cream is obviously the way to do that.
Tummies full of bagels and ice cream, it was off to North Campus for us – time to sign in at the Class of 2003 Headquarters. (Fun fact: Steve is actually class of 2002, but he kindly goes to my reunion instead of his own. I’ve offered to take one for the team and go to both, but so far we’re on my reunion cycle.)
Class HQ located, it was time to sign in, get our nametags and our schedule of activities, and see who else was lurking around. Peanut put on a concert for the class volunteer crew while I chatted with a friend from my major who also happens to live in DC about her son’s awesome hockey jersey. #ALLCAPS! A group was gathering to watch the game that night (which ended up being the Caps’ Stanley Cup victory) but we sadly had to beg off – kiddo bedtimes and work beckoned. We grabbed a small dinner at Wegmans, headed back to the Airbnb, tucked the babies into bed and then fired up our laptops for a long evening of way less fun than our classmates were having celebrating the hockey victory. Boo. What can you do?
Anyway! We were up bright and early on Friday morning for more bagels, followed in short order by 9:00 a.m. ice cream to try to nip a Nugget tantrum in the bud. It sort of worked. Then we rushed back to the Airbnb so I could churn out a document and take a work call before we headed to Treman State Park – another of our favorite haunts from the early days of our relationship – for a hike, which I’ll recap separately.
We were all hungry after the hike, so we refueled at another favorite Collegetown haunt – Aladdin’s, a café serving up Greek and Mediterranean food. Aladdin’s was an extra special place for us: the site of our first date! I had to snap a picture of the little corner table where we sat for three hours one late August afternoon, eating fruit salad (me) and gyro (Steve) and talking about school, our families, and Altoids for three hours… and the rest was history! We were sorry to see that they didn’t have their delicious artichoke on the menu anymore, but the dolmades and sangria made up for it. Back to the Airbnb for more work and attempted (failed) naps, and then–
Back to campus! Hurray! Peanut and Nugget found a stage. Obviously, singing and dancing happened.
We took the kids to the Johnson Museum of Art (super cool building designed by I.M. Pei) because I had thought that there were kids’ activities going on there all day. Either I misread the schedule or we were too late, but we made the most of it by taking in the view of Cayuga Lake from the gigantic windows on the fifth floor. I spent a lot of time at the art museum as an undergrad – first in my freshman art history seminar, and later just soaking in the peace and beautiful views whenever I needed to relax and breathe. Peanut was pretty impressed with the view, but more impressed with the collection of ancient Chinese and Japanese decorative arts. She asked for several of the teapots for her birthday. (Sorry, kid, but that’s not going to happen.)
After the singing and dancing and art museum-ing, it was time for one of the events I’d been most looking forward to: the ILR reception. New friends: ILR was my major, and while Cornellians like to refer to the school as “I Love Reading” because of the volume of reading assignments, it actually stands for Industrial and Labor Relations. (I do love reading, though.)
I was so excited to be back. Some of my happiest memories took place inside the walls of Ives Hall – lots of learning, studying in groups and alone in the depths of Catherwood Library, jamming to Vietnam protest songs in my “Recent History of American Workers” class, and plotting to take over the Administration building.
Home sweet home! While I am hoping for two Cornell Engineers, I would not be sad if one or both of my kids ended up an ILRie. Just like Mom!
We made our way to the Ives Hall courtyard, where there was a big tent full of familiar faces. ILR ’03 turned out for this reunion, let me tell you.
We had promised the kids that there would be cheese and crackers at the reception. Fortunately, ILR delivered.
A loved face! That’s Julia, my sorority sister (not an ILRie, but we throw a great party so she came anyway) meeting my munchkins for the first time. She has a little one of her own, but came from Texas for the reunion and didn’t want to fly with baby. So she snuggled my kiddos instead. Love!
After pretty much shutting down the ILR reception (party animals!), we wandered up to North Campus in a herd for a Class of 2003 dinner – tacooooooooooos. I loaded mine up, sipped an Ithaca Brewery apricot wheat beer, chatted with more friends and watched my kids run around with the daughters of one of my sorority sisters. (Does that make them my nieces?) We hung out on the soccer field where my freshman intermural team (the Tower Pterodactyls! Eeeeeeeeeaw!) suffered a humiliating defeat at the hands of the Vet School (but I don’t want to talk about it, you guys) until the sun went down and we had two sleepy future Cornellians on our hands.
This post is getting out of hand, so I’ll save the rest – our Saturday adventures – for next week.