Ithaca Blog

Friday, August 31, 2007

Ithaca Weekend, 31 Aug. - 1 Sept.

We are a bit surprised to note that there is not a glut of entertainment this 3-day weekend, when people presumably have more time for fun. Maybe the performers need time off, too.

Friday, 8/31: Richie Stearns and Friends, in the alley at Felicia's Atomic Cafe, "Happy Hour" show, with $2 Yuengling pints and other specials. 5:30 pm.

Johnny Dowd and Fiends (including headliners Tsar), Lost Dog Lounge, 10 pm.

Saturday, 9/1: The Lansing Harbor Festival. This is the first annual, we believe, and it was thwarted by near-tornado like conditions in last Saturday's thunder- and lightning storm. Organizers are betting it won't strike twice. The Burns Sisters perform from 2-4 pm. Other acts include Pete Panek, Tom Knight, and their respective ensembles. For full schedule and details, check

Wingnut and Hank Roberts bring heady, exciting jazz to the Chapter House, 10 pm.

Happy Labor Day -
Steve Burke
for Ithaca Blog

Major Cause of Cancer Deaths: No Health Insurance

The American Cancer Society will spend its entire advertising budget this year on a campaign citing lack of health insurance, and of access to health care, as a leading cause of cancer deaths.

John Seffrin, chief executive of the society, said in an interview, "I believe, if we don't fix the health care system, that lack of access will be a bigger cancer killer than tobacco."

Despite advances in prevention and treatment, cancer rates are not dropping as rapidly as hoped.

"The ultimate control of cancer is as much a public policy issue as it is a medical and scientific issue," Mr. Seffrin said. 47 million Americans lack health insurance.

Studies show that uninsured cancer patients are twice as likely to receive late diagnoses as insured patients. Late treatment is impeding the cancer society's goal of reducing cancer death rates by 50% between 1990 and 2015. If present trends continue, the goal might be missed by half.

Without increased access to health care, Mr. Seffrin said, cancer "will become the leading cause of death in the world, needlessly," while impovershing afflicted families. Financial ruin comes to one in four uninsured families afflicted by cancer, and one out of five insured families.

Stephen Burke
for Ithaca Blog

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Bush in New Orleans: What He Didn't Say

In his visit to New Orleans yesterday on the second anniversary of Hurricane Katrina, President Bush said, "We understand."

He didn't say, "We care."

He understands, all right. He understands that New Orleans is not to his liking: culturally, politically, or demographically. He understands it is a city that is largely impoverished and non-white. That means low priority. Real, real low.

President Bush doesn't know any poor or working-class non-white people and he sure doesn't want to start now, with any who are in crisis.

He understands that no one can really make him do anything, so he sure won't, except visit on anniversaries, and get photographed moving around the city a little, and then get out. Fast.

The last time he visited, he was barely there. He didn't stay in the city. He stayed on an aircraft carrier in the Gulf of Mexico.

Hurricane Katrina was a natural disaster. It didn't have to be a catastrophe of years, with no end in sight. As in Iraq, for that you need George Bush, who simply doesn't care.

Stephen Burke
for Ithaca Blog

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Post-Katrina Help from Ithaca

The second anniversary of Hurricane Katrina has arrived, and the situation in New Orleans is still dire, as federal aid stays stagnant.

As is often true, however, ordinary people are taking extraordinary measures to act where leaders fail.

In Ithaca this past weekend, the Rotary club held one in a series of rummage sales to raise funds to bring supplies and workers from Ithaca to the Mississippi coast.

The group Love Knows No Bounds conducts similar relief efforts for New Orleans, particularly the city's Seventh Ward. The group is working with the city of Ithaca to create a "sister city" relationship with the ward to formalize and co-ordinate relief work.

Ithaca Hours, the local currency system, is negotiating a place in the proposed relationship, with the goal of bringing a local currency system to New Orleans, to replace absent dollars in New Orleans, and resusicate their local economy.

A local currency can be a particularly potent tool in a situation where there are great needs, and people and resources to meet needs for labor and trade, but no dollars to connect them. A local currency system in New Orleans would be a systematic way to create and perpetuate economic vitality.

A proposal for a New Orleans currency will be reaching Mayor Ray Nagin soon - perhaps sometime this week. Ithaca Blog will have first news of all developments.

Meanwhile - find out more about Love Knows No Bounds at,/ and Ithaca Hours at

Stephen Burke
for Ithaca Blog

Friday, August 24, 2007

Weekend Picks, Aug. 24 - 26

Friday, 8/24: We wouldn't call a band the best of its type you might ever hear just because we have relatives in the band. Would we?

There's no way to know, in this case, because Burke, Burke, & Bone really are the best acoustic country blues band you might ever hear. They do originals, and classic material by Charlie Patton, Rev. Gary Davis, John Hurt, Fred McDowell, the Mississippi Shieks, and others. They play it right, with a lot of technical skill, and a lot of love for the music and the good times it brings, which is just as important. Free "Happy Hour" show, Friday at 6 p.m. in the alley at Felicia's Atomic Lounge, next to Gimme Coffee , 508 W. State St.

Saturday, 8/25: Country rock and rock rock original music from Hubcap and the Splendors, Castaways, 10 p.m.

Roots rock at two locations in Trumansburg: the El Caminos at the Pourhouse, 7 p.m., and the Billy Eli Band at the Rongo, 10 p.m.

Sunday 8/26: It's just a coincidence, we think, that the other fine acoustic country blues performer in Ithaca is - no relation - Gerard Burke. Performing at ABC Cafe's brunch, 11 a.m.

Steve Burke
for Ithaca Blog

Another Unsurprising Headline

This is a little too easy to include as a regular Blog feature (see last Saturday's post), but here's another unsurprising headline from the world of politics. From today's New York Times:

Now a Lobbyist, an Ex-Senator Uses Campaign Money

Since leaving Congress, Robert G. Torricelli has made donations from his Senate campaign chest to politicans with influence over his business interests.

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Musefest: August 24 - 26

Musefest, the self-styled "best end-of-summer party in the Northeast," comes to Newhart's Lodge in Newfield this weekend, 24 - 26 August.

Musefest focuses on regional talent, and has quite a roster: Jsan and the Analogue Suns, Thousands of One, Five2, Blue Sky Mission Club, the Settlers, Seth Feldman, Urban Horse Thieves, the Native Earthling Band, Linda Stout, Pete Panek and the Blue Cats, Alan Rose, Technicolor Trailer Park, and many more.

It's the 8th annual show for Musefest, which has gone through changes of format, locale, and policies in trying to present the best possible show in the best possible environment.

The shadow of the GrassRoots Festival looms over Musefest, which has struggled with a smaller-sibling status, and also the issue of possible festival fatigue among the 15,000 attendees of GrassRoots, about a month before.

There's only one way to see if Musefest is for you, and to help it progress, and that's to go.

Admission is $45 at the gate, and $30 in advance from Small World Music, at 614 W. State St., 256-0428. Advance tickets are still available at Small World as of Friday, 8/24.

More information is available at Musefest's website,

Steve Burke
for Ithaca Blog

GrassRoots Reprise at the Fairgrounds Tonight

The GrassRoots Festival plays an evening's reprise tonight at the Trumansburg Fairgrounds, as part of the venerable Fairgrounds' other major annual event, the Trumansburg Fair, which precedes GrassRoots by 14 decades or so.

Participating in this show of respect and affection for the Fair are "the GrassRoots All-Stars," a fittingly ragtag crew of local luminaries that includes Sim Redmond, Tara Nevins, Jeb Puryear, Johnny Dowd, Jennie Stearns, Kevin Kinsella, Pat Burke, Gregor Sayet-Bone, Amy Glicklich, Timmy "Luscious" Brown, and many others.

The concert starts at 7 and will go until midnight. Admission to the Fair is $4, and includes the show.

The rest of the Fair is also a trip, with a Ferris wheel, and many other rides whose names don't get capitalized, or maybe they do (Tilt-A-Whirl?). Chances to win kewpie dolls in games of skill also abound, as do funnel cakes.

You don't really know the Fairgrounds until you've been to the Fair, so take a shot. This is the first year there is no extra charge for the music.

Steve Burke
for Ithaca Blog

Saturday, August 18, 2007

Least Surprising Headline of the Month

Do you sometimes think there's so much to think about that you don't have time for it all?

Well, here's one news item you don't have to spend too much time with. From today's New York Times:

"Spurning Criticism, Rove Puts Blame on Democrats"

The amazing thing is that at least one writer and one editor thought this was a story.

Have a good weekend -
Steve Burke
for Ithaca Blog

Friday, August 17, 2007

Review: the New Movie Theater at the Mall

There are usually better things to do on a summer weekend than go see a mainstream movie at a mall, but we owe it to our Ithaca Blog public to review such things as the new movie theater at The Mall Formerly Known as Pyramid, so we made time last weekend.

There is a confusing new name for the mall. It was called Pyramid Mall since its inception in the late 1970's. (Or Pyramid Maul, by some who disparaged the car-centered drain of retail sales, jobs, and taxes from the city of Ithaca to the suburb of Lansing.) Now it has a fancy new name that is a little too long and non-descript to remember.

The name of the movie theater is also a challenge. In my old neighborhood we want to the Rugby. This one is offically called Regals Cinema Ithaca Mall Stadium 14.

It's "14" because there are 14 screens. Not 14 good movies, in fact maybe not even 2 at present, but 14 screens.

It's "stadium" because they have "stadium" seats. Pretty nice seats. They are big, and they rock back a little. The "stadium" design means that each row is substantially higher than the one before it, so you barely even notice anyone in front of you, even tall guys. The head ahead of you is at your knee level.

It is also, maybe, "stadium" because, like at a stadium, they have vendors. Three vendors come into the theater before the movie (after the 15 minutes of commercials, public service announcements from AT&T to shut off the device of theirs they hope you have on you, etc.), with a rolling cart of snacks, in case you possibly missed the concession stand in the lobby, which is as big as a train station.

One of the vendors addresses the audience about this snack selection, and informs you that these other two vendors are ready to perform wonderful running action to go get any other ingestibles you might possibly desire. What I personally desired was a luxury Dove brand candy bar for 87 cents from Target, down the hall, but I didn't have to ask them if they would go get that, because I got one for myself on the way in to the mall.

The other reason it might be stadium is that, relatively speaking, it is expensive, like going to modern stadia. The movie is $9.50, same as most Manhattan theaters, though the rents and other operating costs are presumably higher in Manhattan than in Lansing.

The smallest popcorn is $4.50, but don't worry, it is not a small, because even though it is the smallest, it is called a Large.

This could insult your intelligence, but I guess they are willing to take that chance, considering that the mainstream movie you are about to see there could insult the intelligence of a zebra.

The popcorn is not bad, though. We ordered a small (i.e. Large), and it was enough for two. It was pretty fresh-tasting and, you know, you have to eat popcorn at the movies every once in a while, on the macrobiotic principle of eating foods indigenous to your environment, even if it is a temporary, 2-hour environment.

If they can keep that popcorn fresh-tasting, and keep the theaters comfortable and clean, we will not begrudge them the prices. Honest, we won't. Talking about it publicly here is our job, but we won't begrudge. And we'll go up there once in a while to rock in the comfortable seats, oblivious to our neighbors, and us to them. But we would go a lot more frequently if they scouted out a few more things worth seeing. Honest, we would.

Steve Burke
for Ithaca Blog

Weekend Picks, Aug. 17 - 19

Friday, 8/17: Students are back - freshman, anyway - thus, shows are back at the Nines in Collegetown. Tonight, at 10 p.m., it's Mectapus, who do not play as often as they might. Dirty Linen magazine reviewed their self-titled CD thusly:

This seven-piece ensemble from Ithaca, New York, integrates world, jazz, Latin, and rock influences into an original blend. Eric Aceto's violin is the main focus in most of the tunes, with acoustic and electric guitars, keyboards, bass, drums, and percussion rounding out the complex sound. Tunes range from melodic and slow, to others with jazzy time changes, to King Crimson-like free-form jams, all of which the band plays with ease.

The CD is available at Small World Music.

Saturday, 8/18: Liz Berlin, singer for Rusted Root, does solo work too, and tonight she comes to Castaways, 8 p.m.

Mary Lorson and Saint Low are at the Chapter House, 10 p.m. (Watch for Mary and the boys at the State Theater on Sept. 11, opening for Nanci Griffith.)

Sunday, 8/19: Kelly Birtch, at brunch at the ABC Cafe. Kelly has a new CD, which she brought a demo copy of to Small World Music, and we think she is probably the best and most entertaining guitarist in Ithaca. She does original material, largely influenced by flamenco, and plays covers you will know, which are artfully chosen and rendered. 11 a.m.

Steve Burke
for Ithaca Blog

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Big Block Party Tonight on Aurora Street

The city and the Downtown Business Partnership are throwing a big block party tonight to celebrate the re-opening of the Aurora Street bridge above Six Mile Creek, and the 100 block of N. Aurora Street, between State and Seneca Streets.

Music will be provided by IY at 5 p.m., and the Horseflies at 7.

There will also be roving street performers such as jugglers, magicians, and stilt-walkers.

The bridge and the street have been closed since the spring for repairs and renovation. The most noteable change is the elimination of most parking spots on the block, to accomodate larger sidewalks for expanded outdoor dining on a street now being promoted as Restaurant Row.

Stephen Burke
for Ithaca Blog

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

The Future for Ithaca's Water: From Six Mile Creek or Cayuga Lake?

The city of Ithaca is on the verge of an historic decision: whether to keep the Six Mile Creek reservoir system as its water source, or switch to Cayuga Lake.

To stay in service, the century-old reservoir system needs considerable modernization, including the addition of new access roads through its woodland setting. The alternative is to partner with the Town of Ithaca's exisiting water source, Bolton Point, at Cayuga Lake.

From an engineering and environmental standpoint, a switch to Bolton Point might be simpler and lower-impact, although significant expansion of the system will be necessary.

From a governance standpoint, a move to Bolton Point is potentially troublesome, as the city of Ithaca would no longer have sole autonomy over its water source.

From a political standpoint, there is likely to be strong public sentiment to retain the site at Six Mile Creek. Preliminary studies indicate little difference in water quality between the two sources. But the protected nature of the reservoir watershed creates the perception that it is a safer, purer site.

The historical nature of the Six Mile Creek site might also be a political factor that is perhaps emotional in nature, yet real. It is a municipal asset that people might resist losing - regardless of whether or not it is the best choice.

The acronym NIMBY is well known in the politics of development: "Not In My Back Yard." The idea of a shift from Six Mile Creek might lead to a new one that is less pronounceable, perhaps irrational, yet potent: IJDLI, or "I Just Don't Like the Idea."

Stephen Burke
for Ithaca Blog

Friday, August 10, 2007

Weekend Picks, August 10 - 12

Friday 8/10: The Haunt continues its diverse and energetic programming with Kaplan-Shaw Blues Band at 6:30, and a dj-hosted salsa dance party ("Salsa, Salsa, y Mas Salsa") at 10.

Keeping pace, Castaways also has a blues band early, 505 Blues, at 5 p.m., and a nighttime show, at 9:30, featuring local boys the Fuzz Brothers, and IY.

Saturday 8/11: Don't miss what is likely to be a peak week at the Farmer's Market. Tomatoes? Corn? Peaches? Find out starting at 9 a.m.

Black Castle brings its popular 21st century reggae to the Chapter House, 10 p.m.

Sunday 8/12: ABC Cafe has one of the best Sunday brunches in town (Cafe Dewitt has the other) ; ABC also has live music for your brunching pleasure. Kitchen Chair is a 2-woman ensemble of guitar and fiddle. Performance starts at 11, but be warned, tables start filling up with the ravenous pretty nicely by 10.

On the right side of Nashville, there was Porter Wagoner and Dolly Parton; Ernest Tubb and Loretta Lynn; and of course Johnny Cash and June Carter. On the wrong side, there are Johnny Dowd and Kim Sherwood Caso. Felicia's Atomic Lounge, 7 pm.

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

Drop-In Center Gets Funding, Avoids Closing

In the spirit, perhaps, of it takes a county to raise a child, the Tompkins County Legislature last night allocated $50,000 to the Drop-In Children's Center to prevent the Center from closing.

The Drop-In Children's Center provides child care on a sliding scale for up to 84 children, including 18 slots left open for emergency drop-in services.

The Center has pressing financial needs from an expansion in 2005, and an increase in service to low-income families paying on the lower end of the sliding scale fee structure.

Dozens of people came to the meeting to advocate for the funding, which passed by a 9-5 vote.

County Chair Tim Joseph explained that the county has the necessary funding available in its contingency fund, which exists to aid in emergency situations.

The Center has operated in Ithaca's northside neighborhood since the 1970's, when it started as a parents' cooperative. Today it is run by a professional staff, with opportunities for parents to work for child care credit.

The Center still has another $50,000-plus in debt, and community help is still crucial.

The Center has a fundraising CD set, "Families Are a Rainbow," produced by local musicians. The 2-CD set costs $19.95, and is available at Small World Music. 100% of the purchase price goes to the Center. The compilation recording includes songs by The Horse Flies, Mamadou Diabate, Amy Glicklich, Annie and Amelia Burns, Mbusi, Tom Knight, Cornerstone, Vitamin L, Radio London, and others.

Stephen Burke
for Ithaca Blog

Saturday, August 04, 2007

What, Now We Shouldn't Drink Bottled Water?

W.C. Fields wouldn't have this problem. He never drank water, he once said, because of the things fish do in it.

Of course, W.C. was no paragon of health, and we know that drinking plenty of fresh, clean water is an excellent health habit.

But Americans today are drinking four billion gallons of water a year in store-bought, individual-serving bottles, and the commercial water industry is turning into an environmental health hazard.

Water bottles are a petroleum-based product. It takes 1.5 million barrels of oil to make the water bottles Americans use each year. That's as much fuel as 100,000 cars use.

It also takes a lot of fuel to transport those billions of pounds of water from the source, to the distributor, to the retailer, to the consumer.

Unlike beer and soda, bottled water is exempt from deposit and redemption programs. Almost 80 percent are thrown away rather than recycled.

It's a lot of waste simply for the convenience of a bottle. In most places, commercial water is not superior to the water from the tap. In fact, in many cases it is water from the tap.

It's also a waste of money. Someone choosing commercial water for their eight recommended servings a day will spend well over $1,000 a year. The same amount of tap water costs less than a dollar.

This summer, San Francisco prohibited its city agencies and departments from spending money on bottled water. The mayor noted that the city's municipal water is "some of the most pristine on the planet."

Then, of course, there are the larger geo-political issues of private companies potentially seeking to buy up sources of this most necessary, public resource for commercial gain.

So don't be like W.C., but also don't believe the rap, or fall into the trap. Instead, turn on the tap.

Stephen Burke
for Ithaca Blog

Friday, August 03, 2007

Weekend Picks, Aug. 3 & 4: Battle of the Bars

The focus on local entertainment this weekend is not so much on the artists, but the venues, as the Haunt holds its heralded Re-Opening (without having ever actually closed), and Castaways aims to keep pace, with a large roster of performers each night.

It will be interesting to see where Thousands of One actually go, as both venues are claiming them on Friday night. The Haunt is also advertising Kevin Kinsella, and Mbusi, and Castaways Rising Sun, Yacouba Diarra, Eliot Rich, and Ezekiel.

On Saturday, Castaways lists Thousands of One again, with Void Union. The 9 pm show is billed as a benefit for the Multicultural Resource Center. The Haunt throws in the towel in the T. of One stakes, with Fairway and Seth Feldman.

The Chapter House weighs in on Saturday, with a rare show by Plastic Nebraska.

Urban Horse Thieves perform outdoors at Taughannock Park's lovely Saturday night series, at 7 pm. Admission is free, but parking is $5.

Steve Burke
for Ithaca Blog

Thursday, August 02, 2007

Local Organic Flowers From Three Sisters Farm

Funny how people will stop into a coffee bar, or bar, or bakery to buy themselves a treat they deserve, but don't often treat themselves to flowers.

Maybe it is the relative inaccessibility of the commodity, or maybe it's just an unfamiliar notion.

Whatever the reason, Three Sisters Farm is hoping to change it.

Three Sisters Farm is beginning retail sale of flower bouquets that are grown locally and organically. They will be at the Farmers Market on Thursdays, from 3 - 7 pm.

Mary Loehr of Three Sisters answered a few questions from Ithaca Blog.

Ithaca Blog: Where is Three Sisters Farm?

Mary: We grow the flowers on Snyder Hill Road, on land that we rent.

IB: Is it strictly flowers?

Mary: No - we have a vegetable farm, a CSA with 25 or so subscribers. I read an excellent book, "The Organic Flower Farmer," and began growing flowers for subscribers. We still have space for subscribers, and enough to sell retail, hence Farmers Market.

IB: And Three Sisters is an organic flower farm.

Mary: Yes. Flowers are a huge source of pesticide use. Buying local and organic is safer for all involved. In our case, it's a chance for people to support a woman-owned, small organic farm.

Mary's partners in Three Sisters Farm are Aro Veno, Rebecca Nellenback, and Amy Garbincus. They plan to be at Farmers Market on Thursdays through September.

Stephen Burke
for Ithaca Blog

Wednesday, August 01, 2007

"Respect Yourself": Stax Records Documentary on PBS Tonight

The "Great Performances" series on public television tonight airs "Respect Yourself: The Stax Records Story." If you know the Stax story, you know how much you will enjoy its depiction. If you don't, you owe it to yourself to find out.

Stax Records was a homegrown label from Memphis in the 1960's with such stars as Otis Redding, Booker T. and the MGs, Sam and Dave, Isaac Hayes, the Staples Singers, and many others. It was a fledgling operation run by friends and colleagues who believed in their ability to produce good music and compete in that era's heady marketplace of radio, records, and performance.

Motown, its more famous, less funky counterpart in Detroit, eclipsed Stax with enormous success courting the young white audience. Stax never consciously courted any market, except the market for good, soulful music. While never disparaging commercial success, with Stax the mission was, first, the music.

The mission was also social. Stax operated out of a renovated, abandoned movie house in a racially mixed downtown area. Segregation was law at the time, but Stax ignored it. Blacks and whites worked together in every aspect of the business.

The triumphs were profound, though fleeting, with the death of Otis Redding, Stax's biggest star, in an airplane crash in 1967 at age 26 (he died before the release of his biggest hit, "(Sittin' On) the Dock of the Bay"), and a subsequent series of business downturns. But the artistic and social triumphs live on, as recounted in this important and exciting documentary.

Stephen Burke
for Ithaca Blog

Travelogue: The Irish Kingdom in the Northeast Catskills

We snuck away for another brief vacation this past weekend, and therefore have nothing to report about Ithaca, until we get back into the swing of things, and there seems to be a lot to cover, between southwest development, water sources, the November elections, etc.

What we have to offer right now is a description of the section of New York northeast of Catskills Park. That's where we went, and had never been before. If you're like us, you're curious about places you've never been, especially places so close and yet so far, so here is the story on the area.

We went there for a big gathering of high school and college friends who still stick together, after decades. Two of our gang just bought 90 remote acres, and it was big enough for our group; with about 100 of us attending, we had about an acre apiece. Of course, most of the action took place on a central parcel where, among other things, a stage was built. We like to perform.

The area altogether is remote. The main thing of note is a large ski operation in Windham. We were just north of there, in a town called Durham, where there is a notable Irish cultural center, with music performances and classes.

Probably the most notable thing of all is the Irish identity of the area. It is like a living, Irish theme park. There are signposts in Gaelic, shamrocks on business signs, and a lot of restaurants and motels called Hogan's, Gavin's, Mickey's, the Four Green Fields, and like that. People have brogues.

Our motel-keeper said that, for decades, Irish from New York City have been attracted to the rural, rolling hills there, similar to the home landscape. We suspect they were also attracted by land prices cheaper than on the southern side of Catskills Park, which is much closer to the city.

The relative inaccessibility seems to have kept the area from much snazzy development. There are miniature golf courses galore, from the 1950's it seems, and unrefurbished since then. We played at one called Supersonic Fun Park, which also had go-karts and a batting cage. It was nestled in trees and it had an ice cream parlor where they had egg creams for $1.65, and Proudly Sold Sealtest Ice Cream. It was not too crowded and it was not too expensive, either, believe me.

We passed a water park called Zoom Flume that seemed circa 1972 or so, was also hard to find, among thick trees, and looked like relatively supersonic fun. We could see that there were not long lines, which is the bane of most modern theme parks.

There were very few exotic places to eat - like, none. Each town semed to have one Italian and one Chinese restaurant, and that was exotic as it got.

Primarily, this is a place of high hills, wistful vistas, and what you might call peace and quiet. There are no traffic jams (there are few, if any, traffic lights in most towns). The area is unwired and untowered. Do not assume the presence of a telephone in your motel room - ask.

It is three hours from Ithaca, on mostly small roads. You take 79 East to Whitney Point, to 206 East, to Interstate 88 East. The easiest, though not most direct route is to stay on 88 to Cobleskill, to 145 South. That takes you there.

It is a trip not far in distance, but pleasantly distant in aspect. It is also quaint in price. We stayed at a servicable place called the Rose Motel for $65. It was clean, quiet, friendly, and had a small swimming pool. The depiction of a rose, not a shamrock, on their sign makes it easy to find.

Stephen (Patrick) Burke
for Ithaca Blog