Rochester, New York | An Autumn Travel Diary

Saturday, November 17, 2018

Rochester has never been on my radar. I have been to New York City 3 times in my life but Rochester, although, located in the State of New York, is nothing like NYC. NYC and Rochester are like siblings that do not have anything in common. Most people know about NYC from movies, books, friends who have been there to see the Statue of Liberty or partake in its culture that the world seems to follow. Not many people that I know of have a knowledge of Rochester, NY. 

Rochester is located in Upstate NY. And you know what, despite Rochester not being a destination for many, I am glad that I had the chance to be here right now as I am writing this post. If not for work, I most probably will never get a chance to come here. My friends who have been to Rochester (I knew of two) told me that Rochester is pretty this time of the year. And they are so right!

Flight was brutal! I have been up at 6 am, left my house at 7:30 am, took the 7:50 am BART train and arrived at the San Francisco International Airport at by 8:40 am. My flight left at around 11:20 am. 

I had a layover in Charlotte, North Carolina for a little under 2 hours. I arrived in my hotel room in Rochester at past midnight! For that amount of travel which was 10 hours!, I could have gone to Asia or Europe (just add two or three hours more!)
I had a headache that was threatening to become a migraine. I am so happy, though, when I walked in to my room at The Hyatt Regency. The organization that hosted me has been thoughtful! They reserved   a beautiful suite for me with a lovely seating room, a fruit plate that was left  on the table to welcome me, and I have awesome views -- one of the river -- from two sides of the room! I went for a nice, hot shower, made hot chamomile tea, devoured the hummus and veggies that I bought from Charlotte, NC as well as some crackers and ginger cookies from Trader Joe's, Hersheys chocolate and the fruit plate! I was famished!  Good thinking on my part to bring goodies because I am tired of feeling so hungry when traveling and arriving at my destination without anything to eat because everything is closed! I finally changed that by making sure that I have plenty of yummy and healthy snacks. Mr Sweetie and I talked for a bit then I passed out from exhaustion. 
I slept well on the most comfortable king-size bed but I was cold all night!  Well, I turned the airconditioner to low 60's. Still the blankets were not enough. I slept in and did not get up until 10 am, New York time. It was really just 7 am in San Francisco. I took a shower, made coffee and made a breakfast of the crackers, fruits and cookies once again. I sat in the seating area and read while drinking my coffee. It was raining and I have an awesome view from my 24th floor room. I have a view of the river, buildings and "sea" of yellow and orange trees for as far as I could see. It was really a blissful fall morning. (Until I could not reach Mr Sweetie and I called the neighbor to make sure that he is okay. He is fine. He just slept in. Oooops!)
I decided to go out and chase fall. And I found it. First I had to get my bearings. I ended up at the Rochester Public Library which is architecturally romantic --- old-fashioned, formidable and elegant. It is small but it is beautiful. I was finally able to get a sense of where I was when I found the famous Dinosaur BBQ and the river. (I thought of eating at Dinosaur but I am not a big meat person. Luckily, our host took us here for our welcome dinner.)

The river was majestic! Because of the rain, it was roaring and looked terrifying! I also saw the falls. By the river were the autumnal trees! The trees that I have only seen in pictures and dreamed of seeing someday. And that day was today. I took bazillion pictures of the trees that turned to yellow, red, orange, etc because of the season. And on the ground are the leaves of different beautiful hues of fall. It was magical.

 It started raining and the wind picked up. I have not had lunch yet and it was already 2:15 pm. I found this eatery that I easily dismissed DiPisa Subs as an East Coast version of Subway fast food. I am so glad that I checked the reviews. It was legit and family-owned. I walked in and I was the only person there. It was cozy with Thanksgiving decors. I ordered a meatball sandwich and ate it while waiting for the storm to pass. I bit into my sandwich and it was the best meatball sandwich that I had ever had in my life, including my own meatballs which are pretty good! They were light as air and tasty! I also ordered a cream puff to go. I had a view of the beautiful church across the street from the eatery that displays a lovely fall foliage in its backyard as I was eating my sandwich. 
It was still drizzling but I could not help myself. I had to check out the church with the beautiful trees in its backyard. I crossed the street and it was the most magical place. The yard was a little park with benches, a grave and was surrounded by trees. It was a like a setting for a fairy tale. I was the only person there. I got to take pictures and explore the little yard. I  also collected leaves which I took to my hotel room.
After I had my fill of trees and leaves, I decided to go into a dollar store where I bought a Thanksgiving ceramic mug. I like drinking from a real mug even when I am traveling. I always buy one and take it home as a souvenir of my trip. 
I finally went back to my room. I was so cold. I made chamomile, read and ate half of my sandwich. For dinner, I ordered room service since it was already dark and it was cold! My co-worker and friend, Jen, came to see my room. It was perfect timing since the food arrived at the same time. I invited her to share dinner with me. The seating are really was a great addition to my space. I ordered a soba noodle salad and street tacos which turned out to be nachos, instead. The portions were humongous. I enjoyed having dinner with her. She left afterwards to go back to her room, and now I am blogging in my pj's, robe and thick socks. 
I slept in until 12 noon, New York time (9 AM in San Francisco).  I woke up feeling really sick. I showered and went out to look for a place to eat at 2:00 pm. I found Bar Bantam which was located inside The Metropolitan. It was chic with a lovely and very reasonably priced menu. I was so happy to see their menu as I was starting to get sick of hotel and airport foods. I ordered a fried egg, avocado toast and a really delicious potato dish called "potato rosti".  I also had a lemonade.  I went back to my hotel room and sadly, I threw everything up! I fell asleep again at 4:30 pm and woke up in time to meet  colleagues for welcome dinner. Our host took us to Dinosaur BBQ. It turned out to be a very enjoyable meal with a very lovely company who was so kind and welcoming.

It was the big day. My colleague and I did our presentation. It was a huge success! We, along with her friend who drove all across NY state, went to Bar Bantam again for the celebratory breakfast.
I decided to explore some more and buy some souvenirs for my family. I decided to keep on walking on the main street. It was cold and there were hardly any people out and about despite it being around just 1:00 pm. I finally found myself in front this beautiful architecture that turned out to be University of Rochester Eastman School of Music. The neighborhood had a very East Coast feel to it. There was a cafe that was so cozy that somehow made feel like I was in a romantic fall movie in New York. Well, I was in New York! I regret not staying in for coffee although I walked in to check it out.  I bought my nephews and niece sweatshirts from the university gift shop. Hopefully they get inspired to study real hard so they can go to the university of their choice someday and travel just like their aunt who spent $$ on these sweatshirts! I went back to my hotel room and stayed there all day as it was my last day in Rochester. I read, watched Gilmore Girls, drank tea and ate the leftover bbq from the night before. I went back to my favorite corner and look at the scenery in front of me.

I missed home but I was also sad to leave. At 9:00 am, I was on my way to the airport. It was raining then there were snow flurries when I got to the airport. It was a beautiful stay. I am so thankful that the Lord has given me this break in my very hectic life. It was very generous gift as I feel that I never get to rest enough. It is true that the Lord knows when we are close to breaking and with His perfect timing, he gives us that solitude that we long for. 

 And I found that beautiful fall solitude in Rochester.  

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