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My love affair with Ithaca began in October of 2004, when I visited Ian during his first year at Cornell.  His housemates knew something was up because he cleaned his room, but he didn’t mention that I was coming.  He showed me the gorge, we went bowling on North Campus, the fall colors were amazing. I remember being picked up in the Syracuse airport and driving through upstate New York on a brisk but sunny day – it was breathtaking.

Almost exactly seven years later, Ian and I were back in upstate New York for a wedding and Nostalgia Tour.  We stayed with our friend Jen, who was the perfect hostess (we watched Clarissa Explains it All and she made paella.  I mean seriously.  It was amazing).  We went to Wegmans, the greatest grocery store in the history of the world, three times in two days.  We hiked Buttermilk Falls, went to the Ithaca Farmers Market for cider donuts and Cambodian Food, drank Pimms and ate seafood at Maxie’s (where all the staff knew Jen) and went secondhand book shopping at Phoenix Books.  Ian bought seven books despite the fact that we live in another country and had to schlep them all back across the ocean.  I was ranting about all the books he was buying when he saw old maps across the room and said “look! maps!”

I knew what he was doing, of course, but made a beeline for the old maps while he finished his transaction in peace.

I did my first corn maze (see map below) and used an apple slingshot for the first time.  The weather was sunny but autumnal.  It was a perfect couple days, and when it was over I took a bus to New York to spend a couple days with friends there, then went to Pittsburgh for another round of Nostalgia Tour.

This was the map they gave us. A-MAZE-ing.

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