Syracuse and New York Fair USA – August 2014
We just got back from a wonderfully long Labor Day weekend with Elisa’s family in upstate New York. The trip started out well with free flights (thanks to our Southwest Companion Pass!) into Rochester, NY. It was an hour’s drive from there to Syracuse but it saved us approximately $700 and Cindy was nice enough to shuttle us back and forth (thanks Cindy!).
Our first activity was a Cheaptrick/Journey concert at the New York state Fair, which is one of the nation’s largest fairs and has been running continuously for 150+ years. I didn’t know many of the Cheaptrick songs but Journey put on a phenomenal concert, full of Neil Schon guitar solos, power ballads, and jam sessions and confetti.
We spent all of Friday (the next day) at the fair, and I feel safe in saying that it takes at least that long to see all of it. I am sure that you could fill a whole weekend though. There are loads of exhibits, events, food stalls, free music, and competitions. It’s definitely the best fair I have ever been to. I was surprised too by how diverse the attendees were – all sizes, colors, economic class, etc. In comparison, most of the fairs around Tennessee seem to be attended by a largely Caucasian, rural population. We made up our own food tour highlighting the classics of the fair – salt boiled potatoes, 50 cent cups of chocolate milk, Dinosaur BBQ, meat on a stick and cheap beer.
On Saturday Elisa’s mom Cindy joined us for a roadtrip to the Alexandria Bay area a few hours north of Syracuse. We took a ferry out to a nearby island and toured the Boldt Castle. The castle was built by the manager of the Waldorf Astoria hotel in NYC for his wife. However, his wife died midway during construction of the castle, all work was stopped, and the castle was left half-finished for almost a century before restoration efforts began. Today, about half the property has been renovated and brought to a finished state, while the other half is eerily empty, ramshackle and bare. It’s a neat experience and definitely worth the visit. It’s also another example of a rule which I have taken for my life after touring a number of places with similar stories: If I ever get filthy rich, I am going to be very careful not to build some massive house as it’s a guarantee that myself or someone very close to me is going to die during construction!!
We stepped into a blues music festival back in Alexandria Bay, and then drove over to the small town of Clayton for dinner before returning to Syracuse. Clayton was particularly quaint and reminded us of the small towns dotting the New England coastline (but much more affordable to live in!)
The remainder of the weekend was doing family stuff – visiting Elisa’s dad John and having a Labor Day brunch at her uncle Tom’s house on a nearby lake. It was good to see everyone and for Mayne, meeting those extended family members that he had not already met.