Saturday, January 10, 2009

A Trip Back Home

We recently took a trip back to my hometown in New York. This isn't my picture (there was snow on the ground when we went) but it's the sign we drove under on our way to Owego.

This is a view of my hometown looking across the Susquehanna River at the Village of Owego from the East. (Also not my picture)

This picture (not mine) had to have been taken from Cemetery Hill; that's the only place you can get the whole town in from the west. I have a number of these shots, just not in electronic form. While we were there, we couldn't get to the top of Cemetery Hill because of all the snow and the very steep, unplowed roads to get in. We'll have to go back in better weather to get these shots and to show you easily the most beautiful cemetery I've ever visited in my life.

Our first stop in Owego after just under 6 hours' driving time was our hotel. We got a room overlooking the Susquehanna River. This is a shot in the late afternoon before the temperatures dropped. It was kind of hazy, like it wanted to snow, but it didn't. Darn!

Here's that same shot the next morning after the temperatures dropped substantially and the winds picked up to about 40 mph! It was unbelievably bitter cold!

We had dinner at my sister's house the first night, but the next day, M and I drove about 30 minutes to Ithaca, New York, home of Cornell and Cayuga Lake, one of the Finger Lakes. Here's a shot of it in the Fall (not mine). I was busy driving and M was busy oohing and ahhing and neither of us thought to take a picture of it in the winter. While driving around Cayuga Lake we saw signs for wineries. M wanted to get a bottle of wine for a friend's birthday, so we followed the signs for awhile.

Before we made it to the winery, we came across this gorgeous waterfall. Ithaca's town slogan is "Ithaca is gorges," because of all the gorges in the area. This is the waterfall at Taughannock State Park in Trumansburg, New York, near Cayuga Lake and just minutes from Ithaca. Enjoy the video I took of these amazing falls in winter.

Taughannock State Park, Trumansburg, New York, near Cayuga Lake.

Stunning, huh? After we finished at the falls, we found the winery, got some wine and then headed back to Owego, or rather Endwell to go in search of my favorite lunch - SPIEDIES!!!

We went to Endwell to get Lupo's Spiedies. If you ever get to this area of New York State, you MUST try spiedies. Lupo's makes the best ever. I did a post on my favorite foods awhile back and discussed Lupo's spiedies. They're a marinated meat, usually cooked like a shish-kabob. They're of Italian origin, and the marinate is a vinegar, lemon and pepper base. Oh man - it's so tasty! Lupo's will ship bottles of their spiedie sauce if you want to try making your own. A bit of advice, pork or venison make the tastiest spiedies; let the meat marinate for a minimum of 3 days; save some of the sauce aside to pour over the cooked spiedies; and cooking them over charcoal or wood gives them the best flavor.

After our lunch of spiedies we went in search of doughnuts from my childhood - Spaulding Krullers. We checked every grocery store in Owego. I went on-line to find out the Stroehman Bakeries owned the doughnuts and then searched for a store that might carry them. I found a wholesaler in Vestal and went there, only to discover Stroehman's had sold that store, so no Spaulding Kruller for me! Like that would stop me! Next we searched Endicott and Endwell. We finally found them at the Giant grocery store in Endwell. After doing an Internet search, I've discovered a whole world of upstate New York Baby Boomers all in a desperate search for Spaulding Krullers! Apparently I wasn't the only one hooked on these wonderful doughnuts with their delicious nutmeg flavor. Okay everybody, Giant groceries stores appear to be the only grocery store chain carrying these Krullers in the Triple Cities area. Good luck on your quest to find them! Oh, and sorry about the picture of the empty box. I couldn't find any pictures on-line and the best I could do is take a picture of what was left of our 3 boxes of doughnuts. They didn't last long. *sigh*

Along the way looking for these doughnuts, M jogged my memory about other great childhood haunts. Another place to get great doughnuts and phenomenal fresh cider is The Cider Mill in Endicott, NY. They have the most flavorful and amazingly spiced hot cider. I've never tasted anything like it anywhere else. M was even blown away by the taste. Oh, and did I forget to mention, the cider was free?! Unbelievable! Oh yeah, they also have a theatre there for plays, but we know the real attraction is the cider!

After our morning trip to Ithaca and our trip to Endwell to get spiedies and cider, we went to my sister's house to chat before dinner. On our way back to Owego for dinner, M spotted this sunset sky and we had to stop to take a picture of it. It didn't come out as glorious as it actually was, but we had to try.

So on our last night in Owego (it was just a short visit) we decided to try a new restaurant, The Jailhouse Restaurant. Here's the bathroom.

Here's M pretending to be locked up. Did I forget to mention, they left all the metal bars from the cells in place and you could dine in the cells?

Here's a longer shot of the first floor. The metal catwalks on the second floor are still there as well. I didn't get a shot of that.

Here's M, Pat and her hubby, J at our table. There's another thing I forgot to mention. It was a little odd eating in the Jailhouse restaurant because my father spent quite a bit of time there, as well as both my brothers whose names begin with R. Pat and I both had visits to the jail and it was quite bizarre to sit in there to eat dinner. I told my brother Ralph we ate dinner there on his birthday and he said you couldn't pay him enough to step foot back in that place to eat a meal. Too many memories. Ah, the color of my family history. There's nothing quite like it!

So we had a short but sweet visit back to my hometown, got to spend time with Pat, missed out on meeting Marilyn (Maeve's Madness) I think she went down to New York City while we were there. Oh, my vehicle was a-salted while driving in NY so it got a nice bath when we returned home. Have any of you traveled back to your home towns? What things do you remember from your childhood that you like to relive?


tweetey30 said...

We went home last month like I mentioned. It was great seeing everyone except for the dang cold temps. it was -30 with out the windchill and boy was that even colder.. LOL.. Yikes.. Wont give where in MN because of Tshsmom but it was great seeing everyone..

Anonymous said...

Owego is one of those small town gems in New York. I get there every month or so and have taken many photos. The Strawberry Festival provides many great photo opportunities each June.

It's a fine town to spend a weekend or a week. It's an undiscovered treasure.

Vancouver Voyeur said...

Tweets, I can't even imagine the cold that is winter in Minnesota! Y'all come from hardy stock.

Anonymous, who are you? Where are you from? How did you find my blog? Just curious.

OldOldLady Of The Hills said...

This was quite a trip wuth MAJOR!
I admire your tenacity and not giving up till you find what you are looking for!
The weather sounds like it was impossibly cold....OY! I could not do "winters" like that any more!

tshsmom said...

What a beautiful area with all the hills and gorges!

Winter waterfalls are one of my favorite things! You can't beat the beauty of all the natural ice sculptures.

Larena said...

what a trip down memory lane for me !! thanks. I have pictures of falls in the summer with people swimming out to them....and some of cemetery hill....will try to send them to you. L

Vancouver Voyeur said...

OL, tenacity is easy when spiedies or Spaulding Krullers are involved.

Tshsmom, yeah, the frozen waterfall was the coolest thing! (No pun intended)

Hey Larena, great to hear from you. I'd love to see your pictures. I hung the Gettysburg photos in my conference room that you sent. Everyone is blown away by the cannon picture. (No pun intended there either, just in a punny mood I guess.)

maeve said...

wow I missed this post until just today! P was talking about it!! Sounds like home after reading it ... oh it is!! The gorges are my favorite, OK the wineries too!! AND you can not beat a Lupos PORK speidie!! (ONLY from the one on Main St., near North) You should do a piece on the Indian Princess buried up on the hill in the cemetery, interesting story about her. As for the dounuts I grew up on Krispy Creams, don't think if I ever had a spauling, now I have to go to Giant! LOL Great post.

Amy Bennett Teachout said...

I'm from Owego, too, and try to get back every year or so (I moved to FL as a teen). I'm actually heading to Owego tomorrow with my sister to visit our Grandmother. Looking at your pics was like looking at my own photo album. I love going home. We always make "our rounds", visiting places from our childhood, eating favorite foods (spiedies!) and the like. Thank you for your post! It was wonderful to see someone else who loves Owego as much as I go!

John Smith said...

Thanks for the picture of the Spaulding Krullers box. What wonderful memories that one photo brought back. I grew up in central New York State (near Skaneateles....actually in a tiny town with two names...Skaneateles Junction and Hart Lot) and went to college at Hartwick, in Oneonta. Spaulding donuts, particularly krullers, were my family's favorite when I was growing up in the 40s and 50s. Thanks for the memories.