Wednesday, September 10, 2008

How I Spent My Summer Vacation

At the end of the summer, I took two whole weeks off – something unprecedented for me! My family and I hoped to go out of town for part of that time, but life gets in the way sometimes, and for reasons I won’t go into here, we weren’t able to get away. We were initially disappointed, but decided to make the best of it and have fun at home. (I’m trying to avoid that dreaded buzzword.)

What a great place for a vacation! It made me think I’d like to come here even if I didn’t live here. From our home base in Rochester, we stepped back in time to the Genesee Country Village, fed exotic animals and observed large domesticated ones at the New York State Fair, saw even more exotic animals at the Buffalo Zoo, biked the Erie Canal and Genesee Riverway Trails, hiked in a state “Unique Area” and a town nature park, learned about robots at the Rochester Museum & Science Center, and swam in a beautiful lake. We didn’t even get to everything on our list and are still trying to squeeze in visits to the beach, Seabreeze, and Letchworth, and to take more hikes and bike rides while the weather remains warm.

It was a busy and fun vacation that reminded me why I love living here. There’s so much to do, and it’s so easy to do it! Anyone who says there’s nothing to do here is obviously not trying very hard.

How does this connect with my work at The Landmark Society? In order to take care of what’s around us, we must first value it, and most of us in preservation learned to value our surroundings through experiences we had as children. While I read to my family the Native American story about the Bare Hill Unique Area where we were about to hike, I was reminded of a road trip from my own childhood when my mom read from a guidebook on New England for what seemed like the entire drive from Rochester to Boston. (We still joke about her pointing out “coastal vegetation” starting somewhere near Albany, no doubt in an effort to convince us we really were almost there.) Who knows how much of this registered with my kids (although if anything stuck with them, the legend of the huge snake whose thrashing cleared Bare Hill would be it), but over time, I hope my enthusiasm for western New York rubs off on them the same way my mom’s efforts to show us what was worth noticing in the natural and architectural world alike influenced me. Thanks, Mom!

By Katie Eggers Comeau, Advocacy Coordinator