On August 1st, 2018, Jake, Lucy and I packed up some clothes and sundries, battened down the hatches, and ditched Dyna in the yard of our friend Jeffy’s parents’ home in Brockport, NY. We popped a few laundry baskets of random crap into the Jeep and moved into a short term lease apartment at the Sibley Center in downtown Rochester.
For 72 days we basked in the glory of unlimited hot, high-pressured showers, a dish washer, unlimited unwrinkled laundry powers, and the ability to regulate the temperature of a room consistently. We didn’t have to ‘flush twice’ (empty our poop tanks), and we didn’t have to limit how many vegetables we could buy due to the limited storage space of an RV refrigerator. We had 24/7 access to the streets of downtown Rochester, a sweet rooftop patio, and a fitness center that we used less than we should have. It was awesome.
We love Rochester, NY. It’s where we point to when asked ‘where’s home for you?’ It’s a small, Western NY city with deep history, trying its damndest to stay modern and interesting. We think Rochester, NY is doing a pretty good job.
Little to no traffic, affordable housing, a variety of cultures and interest groups and enough activity and entertainment that you won’t get bored if you’re willing to get out and see what’s popping off. Sure, Rochester has her issues – and some of them are pretty big. But we love this city. It’s where Jake and I found each other – and started to figure out our ever evolving adventure. It’s where much of our support crew resides – or comes back to.
We’ve been planning to be in Rochester for the months of August and September 2018 for about a year now. After much back and forth about whether we wanted to throw a big wedding party, or just elope, we decided we wanted to make a party.
We spend a lot of time as ‘just the two of us’ – and Lucy. Throwing a wedding would be an opportunity to party with a bunch of the people we miss all the time. So, we decided to get hitched – and throw a party – in Rochester, NY. We thought it might be smart to plan the party. And we figured we should spend some time in Rochester to make that a bit easier. It’s totally cool to plan a wedding two months before the wedding date – right?
This blog is dedicated to the things we did and people we absorbed love from in the two months of pre-wedding. As per usual, we somehow failed to see everyone we love and enjoy. Even being in town for two months. And, I failed at taking photos of everything and everyone. As per usual. But I remembered to capture a few things and people.
I’m not going to go through (again) all of the many awesome to do and see in Rochester (if you need ideas – hit us up! We will give you more than you’ll want to hear about) this blog around. We played in our old haunts – and we found new places and activities to entertain ourselves too.
We were tempted to never leave Rochester again. Being ‘home’ and having people within happy hour meet-up proximity is a wonderful thing. Knowing where the Polar water and Jamaican Me Crazy coffee is located in the grocery store (Wegmans, duh) is comforting. Living downtown, within walking distance of Hart’s breakfast sandwiches and ’emergency groceries’, several breweries, and my favorite coffee shops spoiled us.
We almost did not leave. But, by the time late September rolled around we were both getting ‘antsy’ to get Dyna’s wheels rolling again. Which could have been due to the horrors of wedding planning. Spoiler: we’re never planning a wedding again guys. One and done. (That’s how it’s supposed to be – right?)
We couldn’t have asked for better Dyna sitters as she chilled 45 minutes away from where we laid our heads. Naomi and Eric (Jeffy’s parents) kept a watchful eye on our big lunk – and texted us photos frequently. According to Naomi, Dyna was lusting for Colorado while we had her brake engaged in Brockport. I’m sure Jake can’t blame her.
One of my favorite parts of being in Rochester is running in Rochester. I spent 12 years growing as a person, and a runner, in Rochester. While being able to run in new places all the time has its perks, running in a place you know well has benefits too. I know what loops are good for long, slow, mindless runs. I know where you shouldn’t run alone. I know where you can catch the sunrise. I know where that crazy dog who will make sure you know he owns the area behind his fence lives. I know great asphalt loops. Great non-trafficked loops. Great rooty, hilly, trail loops. I know where the bathrooms are located – and what times of day and what seasons they happen to be open.
Rochester is a great place to run.
Wedding planning will drive you to drink. Lucky for us, Rochester has plenty of breweries to support that coping mechanism.
As mentioned before, Rochester also has a plethora of our favorite people – and favorite people are another good way to cope with self-imposed stresses like wedding planning. Probably a healthier way.
We spent many an evening in Rochester either hosting people over on the rooftop of the Sibley Spectra Apartments, or meetings friends out for drinks and grub. We ate too many (?) garbage plates, enjoyed a variety of Rochester style pizza, worked on our bride/groom bods with Jilly Pies, cheesecake, and donuts, and hydrated mostly with beer, but sometimes with bubble tea (there was a shop within a 5 minute walk from our apartment).
We also stumbled upon a newer restaurant called Naantastic, which is officially my new favorite place to eat. Naantastic is like the Chipotle of Indian food. And they have beer that fills from the bottom of the cup. No shit. I think I drove my sister and Jake crazy with my constant requests that we go out to Henrietta to pick up some Naantastic.
I also love a good coffee shop – and Java’s was a 2 minute walk from our apartment. Java’s has Capri cookies. Those damned things are delightful – and have been a constant in my Rochester life since my freshman year of college.
Being in town also let us take in some of the new(ish) things in our friend’s lives. Since leaving town, our friend Tricia formed a band with two of her (talented) friends, and we thoroughly enjoyed sitting around listening to them play around town. Our friends Ricky and Matt are now the First Mate (Ricky) and Captain (Matt) of their own water craft, and we got to hang out on their vessel one Sunday (that event has its own slide show dedicated to it later in this post). My sister somehow tricked a man into hanging out with her often, and we got to meet him. Our friend Jeffy somehow did the same with a lady suitor – and we got to meet and enjoy her company as well. My friend Jen bought her first house. My friend Rita added a puppy to her family. Getting to check out all of the new things in our friends’ lives is pretty damned neat – and is something we took for granted before we weren’t physically around anymore.
While we were in town, Rochester hosted a few festivals. We hit up Park Ave fest, and caught the Labor day and Caribbean Festival parades – which ran down East Main St – right outside our front door. Fringe Festival also went down while we were in town. We love Fringe Fest, and living downtown made the variety of activities spread out over 2 weeks wicked accessible. We attended dance shows, stopped during evening walks to observe street performers, sat on the rooftop of our apartment complex and listened to a giant karaoke extravaganza take place on the streets below, and hit up this year’s Spiegel Tent show with a group of our favorite Rochester fools.
Rochester is also ‘near to’ some of our friends who have moved a bit out of the Flower/Flour City’s grasp – and also near to some of our family. This makes Rochester convenient for spending time with even more people we love!
And when some of those friends have a boat, which we will call the Naughty Ginger until said friends decide to freaking settle on a name for said boat… we invite ourselves onto that boat for an afternoon.
Diving contests ensued. Sunburns were earned. Blocks of cheese were consumed. Bags were slapped.
This was one of my best days. Ever.
Thank you for this day, Captain Matt. And by extension, First Mate Ricky.
Jake also made a trip out to spend some time with his sisters. They went to the Erie County Fair (outside of Buffalo) to celebrate his sister Jillian’s birthday. She rode a camel.
Dexter and Andy came up and spent Labor day weekend with us. We traipsed around Rochester protected by a real life member of a SWAT team. We learned that Dexter is really crappy at collecting candy at parades. We went up to the beach (on the shore of Lake Ontario) and watched Kay play volleyball – and Dexter reconnected with one of the loves of his life, Chris R.
We also spent a weekend in Owego, NY (my hometown area) attending the two separate weddings of childhood friends – which were on the same day. Shannon, I love you – but really? SAME DAY?
Being in Rochester is good.
Fun sort of Rochester area related fact: Jake’s BFF Scott has been working through hiking all 46 of the Adirondack high peaks.
Funner Fact: Scott decided to come up Rochester from his current home in North Carolina for the month of September and finish out his high peaks.
Jake spent a weekend in September hiking 13 peaks with Scott. I didn’t go, instead hanging back in Rochester and forcing my sister to do wedding crafts with me. But, they sent some pretty epic (and slightly terrifying) photos back to me in Rochester to let me know they were alive.
Jake’s clothes and gear STUNK when he returned, just FYI.
Lucy really liked that about Jake’s clothes and gear. Actually, she really seemed to like the whole ‘stationary home’ thing. She was a little hesitant at first – the air system in the apartment we were renting sounded different than she was used to. And I ran the dishwasher and laundry machines A LOT, which are two things she also doesn’t love. But after a few weeks…
Yeah, Lucy got comfortable.
And not too long after she did, it was time for the event that we came to Rochester to go down.
But that’s for another blog. Because damnit, we planned that damned wedding for months. And I made statues out of lollipops.
IT’S GETTING ITS OWN BLOG.
(Next up in the Adventures of Liz and Jake: Liz and Jake get married!)