Forgive the lack of recent updates. I made three separate sojourns into the countryside.
Two of them connected me with people whose existence I had almost literally forgotten about. The first drive into the country was to visit my Uncle Mike, cousin Nicole, and nephew Aloysius in Dansville. I was an ankle-biter the last time I saw any of them, and in fact I had never met my nephew at all.
The second drive was to the resort village of Ellicottville. Ellicottville is a fairly urbane little village, and it’s pretty rich for a small town cuddled up in the mountains. It had that hip, brick small store look to it, a bunch of recently-built condos, and one of the prettiest churches outside of the Buffalo area.
The third was out to some random stretch of road. A sentence like that is a way in which many horror movies begin, I know, but this drive was to buy a piece of pottery from a local small farm potter.
Ellicottville was definitely the prettiest of the three, and the most active. There were motorcyclists and bicyclists roving everywhere throughout the main road, and while the architecture was created in an old-fashioned way, it was cleaned up to give it a nice sheen.
I enjoyed going through the hills and looking at the sights and the local wildlife. At one point, we passed a shop that crafted iron sculptures, adding to the local color. The nicest thing about the drive was getting to know the wilderness once again. The mountains in New York seem bigger than I remembered – although I guess five years of seeing flatland made me forget what a mountain can look like. But this is the state I grew up in, and the state I knew as a kid. Not Manhattan or Brooklyn with the huge steel and glass pillars as far as the eye can see and the urban noise and clutter, but the peaceful, quiet wilderness and greenland.
I didn’t get to see much of the country in Illinois. What I saw was mainly on trips through Ohio and Michigan.