Contributing Monkie Boise Thomas
Published on October 8, 2007
Last weekend, I flew to the Empire State to visit my home town of Cortland, New York, and no, I didn’t carbon offset my airfare. (Call the Ecorazzi!) I did see my grandmother, all 94 years and 6 months of her. In between hugs, kisses and yelling four inches from her nose so she could see and hear me, she reminded me of her three favorite things: don’t worry about money, never quarrel and be grateful/don’t complain. My grandmother is my hero and my favorite person on the planet. It was great to see her again.
But there was only so much Gramma-time to be had, so while the wife and I were there, we did some traveling. We visited another city I used to call home: Ithaca, NY. Home of Cayuga Lake, Cornell University, Ithaca College and the famous gorges (including, but not limited to, Buttermilk Falls). If you ever see a bumper sticker that says, “Ithaca is GORGES”, you now know where it’s from. If you see another sticker that says, “Ithaca is GANGSTA” – same place, different generation. Some names of note to come from the area: the founder of Cafe Gratitude, the creator of Spoken Glass and yours truly (site under construction).
We had lunch at the Moosewood Restaurant — one of the country’s most infamous vegetarian restaurants — which was very tasty. My wife (being a chef) has always wanted to go there, and seeing as many a dish has been made in our kitchen from the Moosewood cookbooks, it was destined to happen.
Afterwards, we walked it off on New York’s premiere pedestrian mall, the Ithaca Commons. Most cities have some shopping district like it, where they sacrifice a street for a local marketplace. In Santa Monica for example, the Third Street Promenade works well inside the California climate.
Ithaca has a whopping four months of summer (on a good year, with the help of global warming) and surprisingly, it’s doing just fine. Teeming with local fare: antiques, hemp clothing, cooking supplies, books, second hand clothing, restaurants, boutiques and an info/tourism kiosk, many are the type of stores one might expect from a progressive forward-thinking community… but how many have their own currency? Check this out. Even Santa Monica with their fancy sunshine and lack of precipitation still uses old-fashioned greenbacks! So good on ya, and Go Ithaca! (unless you are playing Cortland…then Go Red Dragons!. BTW, Gramma Jo, Cortland State Alum, class of ’33!
The reason for this article (I’ve never been a travel writer… if you’ve made it this far, thanks, and it’s almost over…) was not to bore you with Central New York, but to highlight a store I found on the Commons. We were strolling when I noticed a sandwich board with the 11th Hour movie poster on it and a sign saying “See this movie on us!” I’d already seen the film, the sandwich board caught my interest. What store offers free movies? How about a store called Home Green Home?
And with that, I walked in.
The interior was unlike most furniture/linens/book stores you go into. No really bright lights or linoleum floors. This was not Sears. It was a locally-owned retail establishment aiming to position themselves as a valuable resource in what they say is the “pursuit of sustainable living in the Finger Lakes Region, focusing on the home.” And Home Green Home it is. If you’re a NorthEaster, check them out as everything they have there is made/grown or produced locally.
Well, I’ve focused on home long enough but if any of this has inspired you to visit Cortland or the surrounding area, great. You’ll love it, especially in the fall when the leaves change. Happy travels and Keep it G!