Friday, May 11, 2018

New York - Day 10 - Rochester

Lakeside Beach State Park
Thursday, 10 May 2018

I’ve figured out at least part of the reason I’ve been cranky lately: I’m getting frustrated at not having time enough to see all the things I want to see.  Take today, for instance.

I drove in to Rochester, intending to go to at least 3 specific sights (Susan B. Anthony Home, George Eastman’s Home, and the Seneca Art & Culture Center at the Ganondaga State Historical Site) and do 2 specific chores (laundry & grocery shopping); what I was able to do was 1 chore and see 1 sight.  That’s been happening more and more, and I’m finding it hard not to be disappointed at what I’m not able to see, rather than pleased by what I am able to see.  I need an attitude adjustment fast, because the next 4 years are going to be like that.

I got started a little later than I’d intended, then encountered a very rough road that slowed me down to under 40 mph, then got lost.  By the time I got found again, it was already 10:30 and I knew I’d have to pare down my list.  This was disappointing because I’d already had to pare it down – the International Museum of Photography is closed for several months and the Strong Museum of Play (huge building with toy collection) charged a high admission cost and seemed to be currently displaying mostly toys from the last 15 years or so, which I’m not interested in, though I did want to see the original Monopoly set and Barbie.

Anyway, I decided on 2 sights I really wanted to get to, got Google directions from where I was to the first one, and then got lost again.  I was aiming for the Susan B. Anthony Home and kept telling myself my difficulties were nothing compared to the battles she fought, and that helped.

Once I found it, I learned they have lots of photos of the house taken at various times while she lived there, including many of the rooms, so they’ve been able to reproduce or track down original furnishings for much of it.  The house next door belonged to Anthony’s sister, and that’s being used as a gift shop and office and exhibit room.  The docent who showed me around the home was tiny – about 4’9” maybe – and probably 20 years older than me, but she knew a lot about her subject and enjoyed talking about it.  Her tour took us to the 3rd story of the home, which Anthony had converted from an attic into an office, and I can’t even imagine how that docent managed to climb those steep stairs every day.
The house on the left is Susan's, on the right is her sister's
She explained that Anthony’s father had to declare bankruptcy when she was young and, because women could not legally own property, her mother’s inheritance from her parents (and her mother’s eyeglasses) could be taken to satisfy her father’s debts.  This experience, coupled with those of all the married women she knew, convinced her to fight to win the right for women to own their own property.  The right to vote sort of trotted along with that fight, because women were more likely to gain the right to own property if they could vote.

She worked her entire adult life, usually in collaboration with others such as Elizabeth Cady Stanton, her friend for 50 years, to gain these goals.  She traveled all over the country as a guest speaker, earning a living on the payment for these speeches.  The right to vote was gained after she died, but the bill in Congress was called the Susan B. Anthony Law.

By the time I was done with that visit and then walked the dogs and fed everybody, it was nearly 1:30.  My 2nd priority was the Seneca Culture Center, located about 30 miles southeast of Rochester.  My campground is northwest of town.  Very reluctantly I decided to give up the idea and looked for a laundromat instead.  There I got lucky, finding a clean, staffed place almost next door to a Chase Bank branch.  So I got 2 things done at once.  And by then it was about 3:30 and traffic was already picking up.

I’d been thinking Rochester was a small town, like Ithaca, but I finally looked it up and learned it’s New York’s 3rd largest town, with 209,000 in town and nearly a million in the metro area.

Not far from downtown, I was surprised to find a wall mural proclaiming the Little Italy Historic District.  I hadn’t really thought about Rochester’s history much beyond the Eastman Kodak thing.  In downtown Rochester I saw a huge building with “Gannett Newspapers” carved in stone on at least 2 sides; it’s been there long enough to have been able to afford the craftsmen to do the carving.  Maybe some of those Italian immigrants.
I've never seen a Methodist church that looked like this one.
The ride back included that same very rough road – it’s so rough the highway department has signs up warning motorists of a rough road.  The slowdown made the drive longer.  The compensation was that the road, called Lake Ontario State Parkway, ran mostly alongside Lake Ontario with lots of vineyards along the road and really was pretty.

Across the road at intervals are a number of attractive arched stone bridges.  The problem with them is they have a low clearance, and the highway dept. announces that in very large numbers, though without giving anybody a chance to get off the road if they don’t fit.  I’d go under a section marked “11’5”” and tell myself I measured my RV myself and know I’m lower than 11’.  It was unnerving, though.  Over and over, because there are quite a few of those bridges.

I saw a wild turkey by the side of the road.

On the radio I heard there’d been a celebration today honoring the New York Canal System’s 100 years in existence, and from somewhere they produced one of the shovels used way back then in digging the canal.  Digging by hand.  Imagine the work involved.

The only TV stations I pick up in this campground are Canadian.  Of course they give the temperature in Celsius, and I haven’t looked up a translation but getting down to 3° sounds cold.

Without being able to pick up a wi-fi signal in this park, I’ve been unable to use this time to plan the rest of my New York trip, or post on this blog, or answer emails.  It’s relaxing but now I don’t have anyplace planned to stay after tomorrow night near Niagara Falls.  At least that’s a KOA and I’ll definitely have wi-fi.

No comments:

Post a Comment