The state, that is, not the city. We hadn’t been driving long before we crossed the border and entered Columbia County.
We were heading for Albany, because last time we were in these parts (on our New York to Montreal road trip a couple of years ago) we sailed right past the state capitol, and this time we thought we’d stop by. We had heard good things about the building itself and thought it would make a good stopping place on our drive up to Ithaca.
But when we arrived, it was tipping down with rain, the traffic was horrendous and it was hard to find our way around, let alone find a parking place. But we are nothing but determined, so with map in hand, we stopped by the side of the road for a few minutes, gathered our wits and took one last go. We found an empty space just about fifty yards from the front door!
We were delighted we’d persevered, for not only was this one of the most exuberantly designed state capitol buildings we’ve seen, we managed to join a guided tour inside and were pleased to see all the hidden details. Like the Million Dollar Staircase.
There were so many beautifully designed and lavishly decorated parts of the building, we could have spent longer here, but of course, we were on our way further west and so had to make on.
Still, we had time for a quick peek inside the House of Representatives
and a photograph of the state seal.
We couldn’t miss out on seeing the war room with the amazing painted ceiling, situated in the Governor’s suite. What a treasure!
Close by, in a cupboard, wrapped in acid free tissue paper for sure, were all the flags and colours of the state, including quite a few battle scarred ones. It was interesting to see them all wrapped up like that – I wonder how frequently they get an airing?
Once the tour was at an end, we hurried back through the rain to the car, from where I snapped a quick shot of the building. I’d have loved to have had chance to walk around and get a proper picture of the front, but in this weather, really the sooner we were in the dry, the better.
Once out on the open road, the skies brightened and we hoped that was it for the rain today.
But the clouds were never far away and the lush green countryside got the occasional soaking to keep it so for a few weeks yet.
We were heading westwards along US 20 mostly, staying off the Interstate in favour of the smaller, more scenic route.
Around lunchtime, we took another break in Cooperstown where the main focus of all things centres on baseball, for it was here that it’s claimed the sport was invented. I’m not sure that’s strictly true, but the Baseball Hall of Fame is here and every other shop is baseball related too.
So, what were we three non-baseball fans to do here?
Have lunch of course! Asking for recommendations from a charming gentleman in the information booth led us to the Depot Deli, where Jung entertained us with her lively chatter and satisfied our appetites with delicious sandwiches. Great place, lovely people and exactly the kind of experience which makes road trips like these special. She’s the third or fourth person we’ve found ourselves chatting to and she’ll appear in the travel journal, bringing it to life and prompting conversations which begin “do you remember the Korean woman in the deli in….where was it? Cooperstown”
The other claim to fame is that Cooperstown was the home of the Fenimore Cooper family, which includes James, author of the Last of the Mohicans amongst other work. But feeling full and ready to move on, we didn’t explore further than the loos at the back of the Cooperstown General Store, where there was a priceless notice on the paper towel dispenser.
Thankfully, it worked first time.
The last part of the journey to Ithaca was rainy…
At times, it stopped and the sun tried to shine, but then it rained some more.
As we neared our destination, we looked at those clouds and hoped we’d get there ahead of the storm.
We did, just. But half an hour later, going out for a pizza, we had to make a run for it.
We are staying at the Homewood Suites, whose mascot is a duck. Why? Well, there is a long and convoluted explanation at the reception desk which made us smile but which we instantly forgot. I think, however, that it is most appropriate considering the weather we’ve had all day today!
His name is Lewis, by the way.