Tuesday, August 11, 2015

The Northeast in one week! (Part 1 - Philly, Seneca Falls, Niagara)

"Talk to the hand", Boston, Bunker Hill Monument
My mom had a trip to Seneca Falls (update New York) on her mind for years now. My Italian family originally immigrated there and their history is ingrained into the city (or should I say town? haha). Anyway, she finally said "now or never!" and booked a flight. Luckily, I had enough vacation to join. It was a whirlwind.

She arrived in New York on Thursday night. I was able to take off work at lunch on Friday so we spent the afternoon together shopping in the city. We went to see Aladdin that evening. The set designs and costumes were just incredible. Disney really knows how to do Broadway. And, the guy who played the Genie...I mean, wow. I snapped one illegal photo just to make sure I don't forget those colors. To continue click below...

The next morning we headed down to Coney Island for a little beach time.

That's one beautiful lady digging into her handbag ;)

 We just had to take my momma to Brooklyn Farmacy. So yum! That night some friends of ours were having a party. My mom was such a good sport to join us and I think she had a great time.

The next morning we left really early to bus to Philly. It was my second time in the city so mom was gracious enough not to drag me around the tourist sites (besides the historical stuff, which I didn't mind anyway). We ended up on a hop on/hop off bus tour. So great! Just taking a ride around the city with some really funny, entertaining tour guides. And we were able to condense the entire city into one day.

Oh, I love these people.

My favorite thing in Philly this time was the country's oldest continually residential alley street. I mean, look at these row houses! *swoon* We learned so many fun things about them:

1. They were taxed on two things: the width of the building and the amount of windows. This means they built up and back, rather than wide. Also, they put shutters on the doors. I guess if the shutters are shut when the tax man comes around, that window doesn't count. Funny, huh? I would of though the tax man might figure that out !

2. They used these funny little window mirrors to spy on the neighbors and look out for that tax man. They look just like rear views but sticking out of the window. Crazy!

3. The small plaque you see in these photos shows which fire insurance you carried. Each fire company had their own brigades. Can you imagine the chaos?!


One of the bus tour guides let us know about a restaurant he loved called Mixto. Modern Cuban cuisine. Spectacular! One of the best scallop dishes I've ever had. Elevated Cuban seafood rice dishes and fantastic slushy type mix drinks. Needless to say, it was the perfect end to a long day.

Next up, we rented a car and headed due north. Who new New York state is wine country!? It seems like there's a wine country in every state these days. Americans are getting really into local wine and craft beer. I can't say I'm not in favor :) Some snacks, water, and a breakfast pit stop. The 4.5 hours went by really quick. We also hit a waterfall on the way. 

This house is where my great grandmother lived, where my grandmother grew up, and where my mother went to visit as a child. The woman living there let us go inside. 
It was a highlight of the trip. Unbelievable home. If it wasn't in Seneca Falls (e.g. nowhere New York), I'd figure out a way to buy the thing. Original chandeliers, huge working class kitchen, 6 inch trim, 12 inch door casings...it oozed old world class, but still a home. Perfect dining room and room-to-room layout. I don't know much about my grandmother's upbringing but this house was built to raise a family. I envision my mom running through the circle (kitchen, dining room, living room, front room, kitchen, dining room...) and playing with throwing toys down the laundry shoot. Getting afraid of the basement and sweating out the summer stuck up in the attic with the other kids. My great grandmother Ludovico sitting at the big kitchen table (before we had kitchen islands) rolling out pasta. I bet her big boiling pasta pot never got cold. This is the kind of home that feels American. I just really love it.  Unfortunately, the person living there had it all piled up with Costco merchandise. Not to mention that hideous siding. It was originally brick on the bottom with shake on top - perfect New England home. They built a ridiculous wooden deck off the back. That's where my great grandmother's chicken coup sat. I would just love to see the house in its original glory. I hope sometime in my life to be able to restore an old house like my great grandmother's. I think I'll add that to my life list.

I'm not sure who's in this photo exactly, I'd have to look it up in my notes. That man is definitely one of my great grandmother's brothers. But look at that veil!  Each of the siblings' wedding photo is very similar, same headpiece. If I ever get married, I'll wear a flower crown just like my family did. In the part of Italy that they're from, the veil represents the years of love. There should be one meter for each year the couple shared before the wedding. Um, love that.

The next morning, mom and I headed off to Niagara Falls! We did all the traditional stuff.

After Niagara, which only takes a couple of hours, we went to take a cruise on the Erie Canal.  These photos do not do it justice. The locks are so neat. If you have a chance, read about it - so interesting (and it's affect on history)!

Back in Seneca Falls, we spent the next day exploring the town. My uncle Frank donated this sculpture trail to the city. It was really nice to walk along the canal and enjoy the art. The trail goes right past his backyard (which opens to the water). I think my mom really enjoyed seeing all of the places she visited growing up. She hadn't been back in over 30 years.

The other Ludovico site to see in Seneca Falls is the location of the family-owned laundry mat on the corner of Main St. This is a photo of it when my family owned it. Now, it is a women's suffrage museum. They even have the original laundry mat sign in the museum! haha I think they may have been struggling for exhibit options. Regardless, kinda cool.

This is my grandmother's senior photo. Can you believe that little description!? That could never happen these days. Everyone would be offended.

That's it for today. Part 2 coming soon!

Here's just a few little things from lately:

When do insecurities become faults? The answer: when you let them.
Simple list.
Love these!
Fun x4.
So spot on.
Facts will protect our rights.