As I mentioned a few days ago, this week I’m partaking in one of my favorite wife-approved guilty pleasures—traveling to upstate New York to see the opening of New York Jets training camp.
They say getting there is half the fun, and although I can’t always vouch for that most vacations, on this particular trip, I go out of my way to make it possible—literally, as I make odd stops along the way to break up the long ride a bit. It’s a great way to see a little more than just what’s within view of the highway.
Anyway, this year, there was a major storm a-comin’ while I was a-goin’, so I didn’t make as many stops as usual. Still, it was interesting getting to Cortland, and here are
Five Points of Interest From My Road Trip
1. I Have a New Love in My Life
Yeah, I’ll be just referring to her as “The Six”—hmmm, where I have heard that before? In this case, rather than a cylon, it’s a 2010 Mazda 6, and she’s rides as smooth as she looks. I’ve wanted a “grown-up” car like this for a while now, so now that I have it, I have to make sure it survives. Of course, there’s one problem—
See that—the speedometer goes to 160 m.p.h. Why would they have that number on there if they didn’t want you to drive it that fast …
2. The New Grave of the Old Leather Man
As many of you know, the legend of The Old Leather Man is something I’ve written about for Damned Connecticut (follow the link if you don’t know the story). Anyway, last year, his grave was controversially moved to “a safer place” in the Sparta Cemetery in Ossining, New York. I decided this time to head back to see the new grave and say “hi” to Old Leathery.
I had no idea where the new stone was, and since it’s an old historical cemetery, there’s no real signage or upkeep to help you. The grass is knee-high (ticks much?), and the place is a bit overgrown. As I did start to wander around, I stumbled across this, which I thought was pretty cool and relevant to my interests.
If you click on it and embiggen it, you can see it says, “This stone was pierced by a cannon shot fired from the British sloop-of-war Vulture …” in September 1780. The HMS Vulture was the British ship that had sailed up the Hudson to aid Connecticut jerk Benedict Arnold in his escape after his treachery was exposed. Although you can’t see the river from here because of the trees and houses now, it obviously was a key spot back in the day. A fortuitous find!
Eventually, I got the idea to follow the most tramped-down grass, which led me straight to the cemetery’s most famous resident.
It’s definitely a more impressive monument than his old stone, and farther from the road; the old stone was literally five feet from Route 9, which was very scary. It was interesting that there were all sorts of little trinkets on top of the stone.
Don’t ask about the dog, I have no idea.
Anyway, I paid my respects, left a few items and was on my way.
3. The Students in Ossining May Be Getting Left Behind
I saw these two signs in the men’s room of the Ossining McDonald’s—
They both say the same thing: “NO WORK SORRY.”
NO LEARN SORRY!
4. Eat Where the Locals Eat
Cortland is a college town, the home of a satellite campus of the State University of New York, a.k.a. SUNY. Like many places with college students, there are lots of chain restaurants, which are full of Jets fans this weekend.
I don’t eat at chain restaurants at home, so why should I eat at one out here? One of the best local places is Doug’s Fish Fry (owned by a rabid Jets fan), but I’m not much of a seafood fan—actually I’m happy to see giant underwater bugs staying underwater.
The place in this picture is Bob’s BBQ—a roadside stand that on a rainy night with legitimate threats of tornadoes and severe lightning storms, was packed with regulars getting good. That’s all I need to know—I got the pulled pork and rib combo, and it was awesome!
5. Cortland Loves the New York Jets
Seriously, this little town goes all out for Jets training camp. In addition to a big welcoming event on Thursday, there are signs like this everywhere, banners hanging up in downtown, billboards on the roadsides, all warmly welcoming the team and the fans …
Oh, and their money.
And mine, too!