July 29, 2010 11:23 pm
This morning, we went downstairs at the Hancock Hotel and had breakfast. Diane was cooking. Actually, I should say the Old Hancock Hotel. According to Diane, there is actually a Hancock, NH also, with a lavish Hancock Hotel. She said that once a man walked in, and she could see by the look on his face that the Old Hancock was not at all what he was expecting. He said he couldn’t let his wife get out of the car, or else he’d never get her to Vermont, again. Diane called her friend at the other place, and got him a room.
While Elliot and I were eating, Diane’s youngest daughter, Anna, joined us at the counter for breakfast. She had an unpaid internship at a Center for Equitable Healthcare (or something like that, I don’t remember the exact name), and also worked at the Big Town Gallery in nearby Rochester. I could hear the passion and excitement in her voice as she described some of the artists and their work that was presently being displayed. She will do well. When she said there was a display of custom harmonica cases, I knew I had to visit.
We were about to leave Rochester, but it was noon, and the next food was supposedly 20 miles away, so we decided to stay for lunch at the Rochester Cafe. It had Wi-Fi, which was a plus, since there wasn’t any where we were staying in Hancock. I synced the blog, which I had written offline.
I wanted to stay at the Shady Lawn Motel, or at least see a room there. The rooms were supposedly only $53. It was right on our way in, so at least I snapped a picture. Here is a review.
We instead continued to the Hotel Coolidge, a hostel, which was slightly more expensive at $55 for two people in a shared room. The Hotel was right in the middle of what was once a vibrant area, but we passed deserted storefront after deserted storefront on the way in.
Hannah checked us in at the desk. She said that the area was starting to come back, ever since the Cartoon Academy went in across the street a few years ago. There were signs of revival. Lots of artsy stuff, like a theater company, pottery gallery, bagel and coffee shops. Still a lot of vacant stores, though. The hostel was accustomed to cyclists, and had a bike room (a creepy cellar) in which to store our bicycles. And there was someone at the desk 24-7. And they had good Wi-Fi.
Hannah recommended the Elixir for fine dining, but said that I would be fine dressed in a T shirt. As I was walking down the street, I saw 5 people just sitting in camp chairs outside an empty store. It was kind of chilly, but they didn’t seem to mind. Cheryl, the one on the end, started talking with me. She used to be a taxi driver, and had quite a few stories. She had lived there for 40 years, and seen quite a few changes on that street. As for the social club, it started a few years ago with just a couple people sitting on the curb, but more and more people started coming, and they were up to about 10, now. They came out every night. If it was raining, they put up the awning.
As we were talking, one more person came along, and pulled up a chair. The group seemed to know just about everyone passing by. Kathy, next to Cheryl, ran away when she heard the word “picture,” but the others convinced her to come back. Lisa and Rob were abusing each other, but the others said that was just a husband and wife playing.
The Elixir had top-notch food. I met the owners, Jane and Skip. They use all fresh, local ingredients for their dishes, with few exceptions. I had a lovely black bean gazpacho there, and some stuffed shrimp. I sat at the bar and talked a bit with Chris, a dialysis technician. There was SuperCross playing on ESPN at the bar. The LA coliseum had been filled with dirt and made into a motocross track.
Back at the hotel, there was some kind of giant fan outside near our room, so we were lulled to sleep by it. There was also occasional raucous conversation going on in the alley below. We slept well, just the same.
Mileage today: 50.2