Wednesday, October 26, 2011

On The Road with My Husband and His Other Sweetheart

Fall Trip 2011
Upstate New York - From Ithaca to Cooperstown

As the title to this post indicates, my husband brought his other sweetheart along on the trip we took this fall.  He insisted that he was not making the trip without her.  Since the trip was my idea, and since I love to take a road trip, and since I insisted that we could handle traveling unknown territories by taking roads we had never taken before, I had to give in when he insisted that the only way he was going along with my idea was if he could take along his other sweetheart.  

Yes, he has another sweetheart.  "She" is a GPS.  "She" tells my husband what to do, what way to go, when to turn, and even when to make a u-turn, and he listens.  He even talks to her.  He says, "Thanks sweetie."  "Ok, sweetheart, that is what I will do."  "She" is the bane of my existence.  I consider her constant direction giving a nuisance.  Needless to say, he and I do not agree on how one should take a trip.  I think maps work just fine, but since my husband really loves his little sweetheart, and likes to take her on our road trips,  I try to co-exist with her when we are all in the car together.

Somewhere between Ithaca and Cooperstown, my husband and I had to have a little talk.  I called it our "Come to Jesus Talk" about his other sweetheart.  You see, there had been some damage to roads between point A and point B due to flooding.  My husband's other sweetheart didn't seem to understand this situation, but he listened to her anyway.  I, on the other hand, kept consulting the map.  You see, I can read a map.  I am rational.  I can problem solve. I am not programed!  I finally said to my husband, "You must make a choice.  Either you listen to this sweetheart who is beside you with a map in hand, or you listen to the one you program, but you can't listen to both of us.  Make a choice."  

He chose me.  We made it to Cooperstown.  Unfortunately, we had to have this same conversation about his other sweetheart a few other times during the trip.  But, it all worked out.  He and I are still together, and his other sweetheart is somewhere upstairs in a drawer.

The landscapes we saw on this particular day were simply beautiful.  I kept thinking I was viewing scenes I had  admired as a child when I looked through a book we had of lithographs by Currier and Ives.  

We stopped in Bainbridge, New York to take some photos.   For some reason, when I saw this structure in the park in Bainbridge, I thought of my grandfather and how my grandmother described him as looking as if he "just stepped out of a bandbox."  I imagined attending a band concert in the park back in the 1890's.  I loved this cute little park that was surrounded by several churches and a cemetery that dated back to the Revolutionary War.

Unfortunately, we couldn't stop in every little town along our way.  We wanted to reach Cooperstown in time to visit a few attractions in that town before nightfall.

Cooperstown, New York

Cooperstown is really a beautiful little town.  As visitors to this town, we sometimes felt as if we were stepping back in time.  Many of the tree lined, clean swept streets are lined with beautiful Victorian houses.  The shops all seem to close when the National Baseball Hall of Fame closes.  The gas stations are not modernized because the city fathers want to keep things as "they were."  The town seemed to scream, "Americana" to me.  Patriotism and nostalgia are very much on display at every turn in the museums, the shops, the restaurants, and of course, especially at the National Baseball Hall of Fame.

Our first stop was the Fenimore Art Museum.  I had really looked forward to visiting this museum after reading so much about James Fenimore Cooper in David McCullough's The Greater Journey.  Perhaps because I never taught any American Literature classes when I was teaching, I hadn't thought much about the works of Cooper for many years until I read McCullough's book.  Then, a desire to see the area that inspired all of Cooper's great works was awakened in me.

The Fenimore Art Museum itself was a great disappointment to me.  Most of the walls were blank.  I even took photos, which I decided not to share here, of all the blank walls and the packing crates that were on display in place of piece of art.  It seems we visited between exhibits.  In fact, I had missed by a few weeks an exhibit called, Frida Kahlo:  Through the Lens of Nickolas Muray.  A fan of Frida Kahlo, I would have loved this exhibit and was disappointed to have missed it.  The museum has exhibits of interesting early American art works, and of course an exhibit that featured the portraits and memorabilia of the Cooper family which was quite interesting.

The Fenimore Art Museum as a building is really beautiful.  It is located on the shores of Otsego Lake which was a prime piece of real estate when James Fenimore Cooper's father established Cooperstown. 
I kept wishing I had at least read The Pioneers as background reading before we took our trip.

I hope you enjoy a few of the photos we took as we toured the grounds of the museum.

The back view of the Fenimore Art Museum

Looking toward Otsego Lake from the ground of the Fenimore Art Museum

The Museum viewed from the shore of the lake.

A path that runs along the side of the lake.  Can't you just imagine how it must have been in the days when the Iroquois roamed this area?

Isn't this just an amazing place?

Lake Otsego
Fenimore Art Museum

A lakeside exhibit called, "Otsego: A Meeting Place."

The day we visited the Fenimore Art Museum and drank in the beauty of Lake Otsego was a perfect fall day.  There seemed to be no better way to capture the memories of a bright, colorful, golden day that my hubby and I spent together than to photograph this simple sunflower growing with great splendor along the shores of the beautiful Lake Otsego.

*  A Reading List Suggestion:  William Cooper's Town - Power and Persuasion on the Frontier of the Early American Republic.  ~ Alan Taylor  

I am working my way through this Pulitzer Prize winner.  While it is not an entertaining book to read, it is certainly informative about the settlement of this area in the early days of the American frontier.  It is called a work of "biography, social history, and literary analysis."