The Lost Trip

An autumn trip to upstate New York has much to offer. The drive north through the central part of the state goes through lovely country of welcoming rises affording broad vistas. The farms look prosperous with well-painted red barns offset by what are now the tawniness of fallow fields satisfyingly spent from the summer’s efforts. The fields are now highlighted with the yellows of goldenrod. You pass Indian lands with casinos and cheap smokes to find forests with tall pines spreading their green. But, of course, you want to see the maples and elms, the ashes and horse chestnuts. The colors become more vibrant the further north you go.

As you approach Canada, the late afternoon is not cold but crisp, and a deep breath opens the nasal passages to new smells. It all calls out for hot, spiced apple cider, and that can be found in abundance. Upstate New Yorkers have been known as apple knockers. Perhaps that was meant to be derogatory, but it should convey that upstate New York is a wonderful place for apples of dozens of varieties. No one should spend an autumn without the exhilaration of crunching into a crisp apple. And, of course, although it may be good all year round, an apple crisp for dinner’s desert with local ice cream (for there are many dairy farms in upstate New York) is almost required during the fall. And, for breakfast, go for warm apple pie with a wedge of sharp cheddar. Maybe not every day of your life, but at least once each year in upstate New York.

And then there is the town that is the destination. It has an uncrowded wonderful museum showing how photography transformed the world and its art. Another museum allows for thoughts about how play and amusements have changed as toys have evolved. You learn more about some nineteenth century Americans who lived in the town and made this a better America, and you wonder if there is still time for you to leave more of a legacy.

You stay at a historic inn and meet interesting people who are as eager as you are to see the fall colors. You eat breakfasts of innovative dishes there but eat dinner in the former railroad station that now houses an award-winning barbecue restaurant.

These were just some of things I planned to write about after our planned trip upstate this week. But instead, I got Covid—feeling better, thank you for asking, but still some lingering effects—and we did not make the journey.