We left off on the plane to up-state NY. Let’s jump in.


This is what I arrived to.

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And I was a touch nervous when Friday morning I woke up to this:



For this leg of my trip, I stayed with my cousin who lives here. And probably thought my qualms about the weather were ridiculous. Things learned from this extended trip: the CA blood runs strong in my veins. Every night here I’ve been sleeping in my Northface and warm socks, and I’m currently huddled in front of the fire. That being said, I’ve definitely been surviving!

Breakfast the first morning:


Morning sights:

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It’s so beautiful here. I had a great day, and when the activities were done, I was greeted with snow!

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My cousin took me to the grad student bar (he’s a PhD student), and I loved the vibe.


On the walk to the car afterwards, I was greeted to even heavier snow! As a CA girl, this is incredibly exciting. I haven’t seen it snow in 4 years (when I went to the mountains 3 years ago, we were in a drought so it didn’t snow). It’s really incredible!

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We went to a good place for dinner. We started with beers (milk stout for me) and cheese fries.

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I actually really like cheese fries, but I’ve had them maybe twice in my life. I guess it’s better for my health to not have them all the time…?

For my meal, I ordered a cup of bean soup and a salad.


I find myself eating a lot of salads when I’m traveling. It’s partly because I know how my body will react to them (I’m hyperaware of flaring my stomach when traveling), but partly because salads that I don’t make are always so delicious and usually more exciting!

After dinner, we headed into the winter wonderland of a downtown.


Saturday, the temperatures improved quite a bit, and I committed to running a few miles with my cousin’s girlfriend.


I was actually shocked by how warm 30 degrees felt! I definitely overdressed!

After a late breakfast, the next item was visiting a local brewery, Ithaca Brewery.

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We were encouraged to buy a beer to drink while on the tour. I’m not going to object to that! I had a chocolate stout.

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The tour was really interesting. We got to learn all about the brewing process, and even smell some of the raw ingredients like barley/malt and hops!

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They also had quite the impressive bottling system (according to my mechanical engineer cousin).


And of course, at the end, we got to try a couple of things. I wasn’t a huge fan of either, they were hoppier than my taste.


I feel like this blog has been less “health and fitness” and more beer lately. Perhaps I need a name change: Barbells and Beer?

One of my favorites I tried was an Apricot wheat beer!

Next on the agenda was a trip to the gorges to see a waterfall. I can’t say my boots were ideal for slippery snow conditions, but I persevered!

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Check out the falls!

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After our mini-hike, we went cider tasting, where I was promised fluffy dogs and a cat.


Sadly, we only briefly saw the cat (he was adorable, and escaped, he wasn’t supposed to be out!)

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My favorite was the sweeter one.

We hung out in the cozy cider place for a few hours and chatted before it was time for dinner.

By dinnertime, we were all quite hungry. We went to a Southern style restaurant, and I got to get the grits I was missing in Alabama! (Minus the hotel instant grits…)

It amazes me how few people have tried grits. My cousin hadn’t! I was raised on grits because my dad is a Floridian and therefore claims to be from the South.

I had a salad with bleu cheese, apple, and raspberry vinaigrette with chicken, and a side of grits. This was devoured.


Afterwards, my cousin took me to the Cornell-Yale hockey game. I’ve never been to a hockey game before, but my cousin is big into hockey.


The game ended in a 2-2 tie, even after overtime, but I enjoyed the game! I always thought I would like hockey live; I find it moves so fast and the puck is so small that it’s harder to follow on TV. I think hockey can be elevated to my 3rd favorite sport to watch (after baseball and football, obviously).


Sunday (the day I’m typing this up) was the day I was to head home. As I packed up, I got increasingly nervous as the rain turned to snow, creating pretty awful road conditions. I was flying out of the tiny Ithaca airport, and given the weather report, I didn’t think I would be getting home Sunday. The snow was even worse on Monday, so I was really worried I wouldn’t get back for a WHILE. With fingers crossed and no delays yet, we headed to a nice brunch that included eggs, GF bread, and more grits.


Sure enough, right before we were going to leave for the airport, my flight from Ithaca to Newark was cancelled. My airline only flew to Newark, and although other airlines were still making it out of Ithaca, the flights were 100% booked. SOMEHOW, after much frantic searching, I was able to hop on a flight to Charlotte, which would connect me to SFO. My cousin and I made the hour and a half trek to Syracuse through less than idea conditions (snow and sludge), extremely conceded that 1. I would miss the flight, but mostly 2. all fights out of Syracuse would be cancelled (some had already been). Somehow, despite the totally white scenery outside the airport, the flight was on time. I didn’t really believe I would get out until we were in the air!


So here I am, in Charlotte. I have never been so grateful to return to warm temperatures (it was 78 degrees when I landed), because I knew once I made it out of New York where most of the weather was, I would likely be able to get home tonight! At the airport I grabbed a BBQ chicken salad and some tortilla chips.

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To celebrate the fact that this (fun but exhausting) trip was coming to a close, I shelled out a boatload of money for some local beer. I had a really great North Carolina beer (Lonerider) when I was in TN, which I sadly couldn’t find.


This wasn’t my favorite, but it is what it is. Time to sign off and cross my fingers that my final flight goes smoothly!