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back from the east, no silk or spices to be had

we’re back from a week spent in new york (and briefly in new jersey). we visited with my family, for the first time in a number of years. it was a good trip! exhaustive & boring details follow.

a picture of my mom's greyhound, spirit, sleeping with his christmas bells on

a picture of my mom’s greyhound, spirit, sleeping with his christmas bells on


we arrived in newark tuesday night on the 20th, rented a vehicle and drove to saugerties to sleep for the night.

they didn’t have any more “jeep grand cherokee or similar” so they upgraded us to a durango SLT. i bought more gas in the last week than i have put in my focus in months. (granted, i drive my focus a round-trip of about 4 miles a day).


anyhow, wednesday morning we drove to albany to check the city out and stop at Mahar’s Public Bar (BeerAdvocate review). turns out we were early — they didn’t open until 4. we had planned on being on the road to buffalo by then, so we skipped it. loved albany, however.

to buffalo, where we stayed with my parents & their kitty & their 2 greyhounds.


we got up early (by pacific time standards) and went into downtown buffalo, for a couple of reasons.

first was a stop at the currently-being-restored Darwin Martin House. much activity there, couldn’t get too close to it of course. (stark contrast to when the University @ Buffalo School of Architecture & Planning first acquired it — i remember having a professor say we would meet @ the Martin house, and got to walk around and sketch it from all angles.)

second stop was Pearl Street Grill & Brewery (BeerAdvocate profile) in downtown buffalo.

great beer, great food, great service. waiter found out we were beer freaks & homebrewers and we were in town from seattle — so he arranged for us to be able to bug the brewer for a while. Paul (self-described as a part-timer who was previously the master) was quite nice and seemed to genuinely enjoy a grilling about their beers. maybe he doesn’t get enough beer geeks coming in?

upon prodding for a recommended local package store we were directed to Premier Gourmet, and we were not disappointed. many many local micros, as well as the better-distributed micros from other regions.


drove out to visit my brother & his wife and family. was good to see his little farm & kitties & dog, and my nephews and niece.


christmas eve means family gathering at my aunt & uncle’s house. the whole extended clan was there, many of whom we hadn’t spent any measurable amount of time with since our last christmas visit (in 2000).


christmas day was fun, got to spend a lot more time with my brother & sister-in-law and the kids. hopefully they’ll actually recognize their uncle mike next time he shows up.


back to the reportable action. we left monday morning to head back down to joisey. drove I-90 out for a while, cut down on rt 96 to go to ithaca. there we stopped by Finger Lakes Beverage Center and picked up 12 bottles of local NY/PA microbrews.

we continued down 96 though many charming little towns, to the Southern Tier Expressway. then it was east on 17 through binghamton and through the southern foothills of the catskill mountains. what a gorgeous little collection of towns nestled in nooks and valleys, all covered in snow.

about 60 miles outside of NYC, we started hitting rushhour traffic. but we got to the Courtyard Newark within an hour of projected ETA. our room contained the most comfortable king bed we’ve ever slept on in a hotel!


on a plane at 9am, out of newark and back to seattle. we kept alive our travel traditions of parking at doug fox parking, and enjoying lunch & a pint at bison creek pizza in burien before returning home.

overall, i think a great trip. the only downsides would be the fuel consumption of the durango, and the fact that newark is unbelievably confusing. would we do it again? next time we’d probably drop the extra coin to fly to buffalo. we’ll visit albany again, but it will be a more deliberate and more encompassing vacation.

now we’re almost still on eastern time (maybe central time) and we’ll probably stick to this schedule for a week, since we’re heading back to new england to visit with carrie’s family soon!

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