Monday, July 14, 2014

Something Old, Something New

As I mentioned in my last post, we had a nice weekend.  I realized on Saturday that nearly every single weekend through the end of the summer has something going on.  It's crazy.  It's not that every weekend is booked, but there's something to plan around every weekend, at the very least.  Weddings and parties take up most of them, though I'm hoping that in between we can sneak in some family time, plenty of relaxing, and at least a little bit of "to do" list stuff...both the fun and the not fun lists.  We're planning on a week of mostly staycation next month, and I have a long list of stuff I need to try to fit in somewhere.

One of the things on my list for the summer was picking a day where we could drive down to a town called Avon (the "A" is pronounced like "apple", not like the cosmetics).  It's just a bit down 390, the highway that runs south from Greece, where we live, downstate where it changes names and heads toward Binghamton.  About 30 minutes south of Greece is the Geneseo exit, where you get off to go to my beloved alma mater, SUNY Geneseo.  I like heading down to Geneseo periodically.  So much has changed on and off the campus, but there is something about that town that still feels like home.  Every time I'm there, I would practically give up an appendage for just a regular old day back in college, going to a couple classes, hanging out with Mary, napping away the afternoon, complaining about the food, and watching a lovely sunset while I avoid my homework.  Oh, the simplicity.  I just love being there, though.

Anyway...back to Avon.  A friend of mine who has Celiac disease told me about this place there.  The original conversation was about the fact that they do donuts...real donuts.  And they only used to do them once in a while and she was all excited when they'd announce they were doing them again.  Turns out the place does a lot more than just donuts.  It's called the Livingston County Pizza Company and Gluten-Free Bakery.  Not only do they have a whole regular pizzeria-type menu, but 3/4 of that menu is available gluten-free.  Pizza, chicken fingers and wings, fish fry, burgers, panini sandwiches, pasta, etc.  All of the typical fried stuff is available gluten-free, which is very rare.  And, everything that the bakery side does is gluten-free.  I really wanted to go there to give Jacob a chance to eat whatever he wanted, though he insisted he still just wanted pizza.  Still, I knew the bakery portion would be a hit regardless.

We had to stop at my cousin Lori's my-parents-are-out-of-town get-together on our way south, and the GPS sent us on the back roads there, which wasn't bad at all since it was a pleasant day.  The place itself is down a side road across from some railroad tracks, in a very unassuming little building. It was a typical tiny pizza joint.  Who'd have known that little building would hold such a gluten-free powerhouse?

We ordered a pizza and a Buffalo chicken panini with fries.  We had to be creative to keep Carter happy while we waited, but the food was worth the wait.  It was so good!  Jacob was loving the pizza, deeming it his favorite ever.  The panini was great and very large.  And the gluten free food was basically the same price as the regular food!  We ended up with a couple slices of pizza and a section of the panini to take home.  Then it was time to pick cookies!

There's a place here in Rochester that used to have a number of local locations (including one downstairs from my old office) called Brad's Cookie Nook.  There's only one location left at one of the malls, and we used to get a coupon book that had a number of buy one get one free coupons - buy one, get one; buy three get three; buy six get six.  Whenever I'd remember to bring one of those coupons with me, I'd delight and agonize over picking the flavors.  There were so many and they all looked so good.  Well, when you have to eat gluten-free, opportunities like that are rare.  If there's anything gluten-free available at all, it's probably one type.  Well, this place was a different story!  It took me back to the joy and agony of Brad's Cookie Nook, because there were so many flavors to pick from!  M&M, chocolate chip, chocolate and coconut, peanut butter, snickerdoodle, molasses, chocolate crinkle, and s'mores, which they were out of.  They also had half moon cookies, which are awesome, frosted, cakey cookies.   There were also pastries and pies available that looked fantastic.  We ended up getting one half moon and a half dozen of the other cookies, and the nice lady working the counter gave us an extra chocolate chip to share with Carter before we left.  It was so nice to let Jacob have at all the options, since it's so rare for that to ever be the case with anything gluten-free.  Almost brought me to tears!

The bad news is that it's so out of the way for us.  My friend who goes there is just a short drive away since she lives further south, but for us it's an easy half hour, even on the expressway.  Still, the good news is that it's on the way to Geneseo as well as being near one of our local drive-ins, so we have a couple options to work it into a larger set of plans.  It takes planning, but at least we know it's worth it!

After dinner we headed further down the road to Geneseo.  It was a nice night so I figured we could walk around a bit, find a nice spot to eat cookies, and just enjoy the evening.  Turned out that Geneseo was busy!  It was reunion weekend, so there was a reception on campus for the "milestone" reunion folks.  A lot of the bars were crowded with alumni, too.  The Geneseo Airshow at the tiny airport nearby had been earlier in the day.  There was also the Geneseo Rotary Summer Festival, so there were lots of people walking along Main St. on their way to the village park for a concert, along with vendors lining the edges of the park.  The town was seriously hopping, which almost never happens, especially during the summer!  Of course, the townies and other unsupervised local kids were out in full force, so it was an interesting sight to behold and made me remember why I live in the 'burbs...even though I'm not sure most of what's around us is much better.

We walked down to the campus, which I love to do, and eventually stopped on the patio that overlooks the Genesee Valley and provides some of the best sunset views ever.  We snacked on a couple cookies and enjoyed the view before heading back up the hill to find a bathroom.  We walked over to the festival grounds in case there were port-a-potties there, but it appeared the academic building across the street was open for that purpose.  We finished up there and headed out for the night.  It had been a fun little adventure with a little bit of old and a cool something new.  The kids went to bed when we got home, and I headed back out to Lori's party for a little bit.  It was finishing up when I got there so I basically helped her clean up.  We chatted for a while before I headed home. 

Yesterday was a pretty low key day.  We did church in the morning, leftovers for lunch, and then Carter went down for his nap.  It was rainy and gross outside so I headed to the mall for a bit.  There were a lot of sales and I had a few coupons and gift cards so I gave it a shot.  I wasn't particularly successful.  Nice to get out, though.  We spent a little time outside in the evening and that was about it. 

Here are a few pictures...
Jacob only has a couple more games left in his season.  Part of me will miss his games, but the flexibility it throws back into our schedule will be nice.  He will miss it, I'm sure.

Killing time during the game.  Gosh, he's cute.

Seriously, where did this handsome little boy come from?  Where did my tiny little baby go?

A little taste of Geneseo...I walked under this arch countless times.

Sturges Hall...which chimed just as we walked past it.  Sigh.

Looking out over the valley...the union is down the hill to the left, a dining hall that was closed when I was there (and is now an awesome food court) is down to the right.  Down and to the middle was the reunion reception.

The boys eating cookies.  I love how Carter is laughing at Jacob!

Sunset as we were heading out of town...Jacob asked to see the sports fields so I drove around a bit to show him, and caught this along the way.
Good weekend.

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