We wobbled and we wavered, but we finally decided to head ‘home’. As in, my original gangster home. The home where I grew up. The place I spent summers bridge jumping into creeks. The spot where I was sheltered from the larger, more diverse thinking and acting world.
We’re talking Owego, and for a plethora of reasons, we’ve ended up spending at least a month here each summer for the past three summers. Needing to bring our niece Eden home to her father’s in Western NY after a few weeks of fun and stink, we decided to plop ourselves in Owego for a week or two while we delivered her and returned Dexter to his Owego based home.
But then, we just stayed. Most of the decision to extend our stay by a month – and then two – revolved around COVID-19. Dexter was in need of some adult supervision. The virus had closed down or decreased accessibility of many of the joys we had hoped to partake during a trip up into the Northeast that was generally in our mind for the summer’s travels. Jake had heftier than normal work obligations. I generally enjoy being in proximity to family to assist with tasks and spend time. The COVID-19 numbers in the area were low, and masking and social distancing were being practiced by nearly everyone.
So, we stayed. From July 13th until September 28th, we sat in a spacious campsite at Hickories Park and worked, played, and enjoyed family and friends in ways that we felt were COVID safe. There were times where we had to weigh the ‘worth it’ versus ‘risk’ ratio, and for the most part, I think we did a decent job of that.
But, in case you’ve forgotten, or we didn’t mention them thoroughly enough, or you forgot to read my previous blog posts – which, how dare you – here are our top few things we enjoy doing in the Owego, NY area:
- Eat at The Kitchen. The Kitchen is my favorite Owego restaurant. It’s only open until mid-afternoon, and during COVID it has been a bit less enjoyable than in memories past – it’s great. They have Jamaican Me Crazy iced and hot coffee. Their Apple Cake is mostly crumb topping so that’s clearly a win. They have outside seating – even if most of it is kind of in a parking lot.
- Enjoy a riverside beer outside on the balcony at The Cellar. We haven’t been comfortable eating inside at most places, but the option of a drink and appetizers out back along the Riverwalk in Owego is very pleasant.
- Sip a hot or cold caffeinated beverage at Carol’s Coffee Bar. They’re very nice there, and they bake a mean Amaretto Biscotti. Also, the seating out front on the sidewalk is great for watching idiots get angry at the daily BLM vigils out front of the courthouse.
- The beer at the Farmhouse Brewery is good. I’m a sucker for their Carrot Bucket Cream Ale. Their outdoor seating options are very limited, however.
- Ice Cream Works has pretty creative homemade flavors – and soft serve. It’s nothing to travel from out of the area for, but if you’re in the area – it’s worth a stop.
- Hang out with my nephew. He’s wickedly funny (and sometimes just wicked). He will also let you know if you’re developing wrinkles on your face, or if your lazy eye is acting up.
And now, I present a photographic montage of our two-ish months in Owego:
Owego is a small, quiet town. Its streets are frequented by scrap metal semi trucks and clunkers. It’s a town where the majority refuses to honk for the daily BLM vigil, but beeps excessively when the church crowd holds up Jesus signs in the same location. Reading the local Pennysaver’s Reader’s Column is my weekly mental mush splurge when we’re in town – it’s a real car wreck that column.
I no longer feel drawn to living in the area, but I am drawn to the family ties that reside there, and the convenience of three pizza places and two chinese take-out shops serving the area of roughly 19,000 people.
And let’s be honest here: there is a likelihood we’ll be back another summer. And we won’t hate that. The city campground is nice. The running is decent. And Dexter is nearby for entertainment and hotdog pizza baking purposes.
But for now, it’s off to the Lake George area. And a Dyna sized oil change in Albany.