And here I thought Minnesota was unique in all its Midwest charm with the cute town names, but I learned driving from Olean to Ithaca that there are towns in New York named Friendship, Harmony, Cuba, and North East! The adorable town names, coupled with the early stage fall foliage, and the fact that we were on our way to my alma mater for our anniversary (and my first trip back post-graduation) made for a charming morning.
Arriving on Cornell’s campus was an exciting moment, as it was buzzing with activity for homecoming. And having hit a bit of a low point in terms of productivity and motivation in Chicago, we approached Ithaca with a refreshed effervescence. We checked in to our room at the Statler – my first stay at the Cornell Hotel School run accommodation! I was very pleased to see we had a spectacular view of the mellifluous Cornell clock tower from our window.
Over at the tailgate for the football game (vs. Bucknell – my father’s alma mater!) we picked up my alumnus gift (a wine glass to go that fits in a cup holder… check this thing out! Awesome. My tuition finally paid itself off as we were awarded six drink tickets and free food just for showing up to the Arts & Science tent. We used our drink tickets to indulge in some boxed wine (oh the college flashbacks… slap bag anyone?) and BBQ chicken sammies.
Inside the stadium it began raining pretty hard, and I was disappointed to see that the Cornell way is to use your umbrellas during the game. Short folks like me disapprove.
Being a very unenthused football fan and witnessing a disappointing start to the game, we decided to try to beat the crowds at College Town Bagels post game and headed out early. (We found out later that Cornell came back for a win – oops… go Big Red!). CTB is best enjoyed on a sunny afternoon, sitting outside in the patio area with a pitcher of sangria and a vegetarian bagel (salivating so hard right now). Unfortunately we did not get the sun, so we sat outside under a tent that did little to keep the torrential (read: weak for Ithaca) rains off our backs, but it was still wonderful to be back. We snagged seats inside before we ordered our vegetarian (a bagel with veggie cream cheese, a slice of tomato, and melted muenster cheese on top). We switched it up a little and ordered it on a rosemary salt bagel (my go to is usually sesame). It brought me great pleasure to find the concoction just as tasty as remembered, and to see Alan enjoy it as well (especially given the fact that its called a vegetarian – my pork loving hubstah).
To walk off the consumption before we could justify ordering more food I gave Alan a tour of collegetown (the off-campus area most upperclassmen live in). We walked up to my sophomore year house (401 Dryden!), and having had a few beers and a pitcher of sangria in me, we knocked on the door and asked to come in since I’d lived there years ago. The furniture was the same, but it is now inhabited by guys on the baseball team and it was in a MUCH different state: the built in shelving in the living room was decorated with skoal tins. Just a touch of a difference in our decorating styles. After Dryden I took Alan to 211 Linden, my senior year apartment where we met a boy (who looked like a damn baby by the way – how old am I?!) who took us inside to a Tri-Delt’s apartment where they were getting ready for their centennial party. They indulged us “old” folks in a mini-tour of the apartment.
After my former home tour where I pointed out places that reminded me of my glory (or not so glorious depending on how you look at it) stories, we decided to get some more drinks at Dunbar’s. It was even more disgusting than I remembered, though an $11 pitcher of Shock Top never hurts. Except that we’re old and couldn’t finish it so wound up sharing with some other Cornellies we introduced ourselves to.
By this time we decided its acceptable to continue eating, and I went to my old regular spot – Asian Noodle House – for some pad thai. This one was nowhere near as delicious as I recalled. Alan knew what was up and went back for round two at CTB – ordering the Queens (egg salad, tomato and bacon) – one I’d never tried before. They have an extensive menu. My regulars were the vegetarian, eggs Melissa, and Brooklyn, but I really don’t think you can go wrong. We took our foodies back to the Statler and enjoyed them in our lovely hotel bed.