My sunrise departure from Lake Champlain differed this year as I drove through the Adirondacks on my journey across the State of New York. I had no idea how many undeveloped, low-key lake towns exist in this area and I’ve circled a few on the map to return another summer or two.
Rochester is my destination. Not a new place for me by any means, but I’d not seen a friend here for more than two years nor one of her daughters for nearly four. The added surprise was that a friend from Portland, Oregon just relocated here (his hometown), and it was 2015 when we’d last connected.
So Rochester, here I come. The city felt very familiar and it was easy to fall into walking in the beautiful parks, biking the Canal and River trails, and finding the local food spots. While Rochester may have some city issues (and cold winters), it still seems like a highly underrated place with much to offer.
With a push southwest into Pennsylvania, I arrived at my dear friends and adopted family, The Newtons. While a week early, this was designated as my birthday week this year, and oh boy, there was fun and festivities for days! It started with pizza alongside a bit of Idiocracy; biking small hills, kayaking a lake, cocktails on the patio, a farm stop for pie, the celebratory Reuben dinner, and a bit of BBQ. Let the year begin anew!
In the Valley
Hanging west has become the smart choice when pushing south, and during the past year I’ve enjoyed the small Virginia towns of Winchester, Harrisonburg and this week, Staunton. Settled by a Scots-Irish immigrant in 1732, it became an official town in 1761, the birthplace of Woodrow Wilson in 1856, and the architectural landscape of TJ Collins for 20 years. While Staunton was a key supply depot during the Civil War, it remained mostly unscathed. A town of nearly 30,000 today, it has five historic districts and leans fairly liberal. It was an enjoyable stay though Idalia pushed me out one day early.
I’m now enjoying sunshine in the small town of New Bern, North Carolina for a month or perhaps a little longer.
Cyclist, writer, teacher, avid reader, bike/ped advocate, nomad, pie lover