Posted by: lacyspring | August 1, 2008

Adventures in Rochester–Day 1

It only took one afternoon for me to be pleasantly surprised by the city of Rochester.  I started the afternoon with lunch on Park Avenue at Camille’s Sidewalk Cafe–basically a Northern version of Panera.  The BBQ chicken flatbread pizza was fantastic though, and I even had half of it left over to bring back to the hotel for a late night snack.  The cafe was in a strip of outdoor cafes/art galleries in an historic area right outside downtown Rochester, a beautiful neighborhood full of tree-lined streets and restored Victorian homes.  The whole city has this really great, artsy vibe and everything is really conveniently located.  After lunch I went to the International Museum of Photography (and Film) located in the George Eastman House just a few blocks away.  The house itself wasn’t overly impressive (but after seeing the Biltmore estate, what is?), but the museum was hosting an amazing exhibit called “Africas” which consisted of three parts–fantastic photography by well-established Africa photographers (including my favorite, Nickolas Muray), photography from dance rituals and masquerades, and photography from the Niger Delta oil rigs, including a movie that discusses how the people of the region have suffered due to the exploitation of the land by Shell, Chevron, and other big name oil companies.  It was enlightening, to say the least, and I left with an even deeper appreciation and respect for the people of Africa.  I also left the museum store with a hand-crafted vase from Kenya, which will join the collection of vases that are slowly taking over my living room (so far countries represented include Morocco, Honduras, Jamaica, and Pakistan).

After leaving the museum I went downtown and walked around the old mill district, where I was able to see and photograph High Falls, which, even though it’s huge, I was instructed to see before going to Niagara this weekend.  I also saw St. Joseph’s Park, which is in the burned-out shell of old St. Joseph’s Church.  I love things like this (nature overcoming civilization, and the beautiful mingling of the two), but it wasn’t entirely what I expected.  The actual “park” is fenced off so that you can just walk around the church and peek in between the wrought iron bars–and then what you see isn’t pretty.  Liquor bottles, beer cans, fast food wrappers–it’s obviously not well-maintained or well-respected by the community.  So my pictures are all from afar, where all you can see are trees growing in the walls of a once-beautiful building.  I also did a drive-by of Susan B. Anthony’s house and tried to find the cemetary where she and Frederick Douglass are buried, but no luck there yet. 

I have pictures from throughout today’s journey, and will try to post some of these when I get home and am not using a borrowed computer.  For now, it’s time to get some rest–tomorrow I’m up early and heading for Toronto!



  1. I’m officially jealous of your photography museum visit. And I had no idea there was so much to do in Rochester! Thanks for the info! About the church – Isn’t it sad when a historic site is desecrated and unkempt? Thoughtful description.

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