Tag: Aurora

Cayuga Lake

Saturday, July 26th, 2008 | All Things, Drinks, Friends, Travel

Revived by our late lunch/early dinner (not to be confused with the fried-fest we shared at McMurphy’s Pub much later that night), we hit the road once more in search of treasures. The afternoon hailstorm, though, seemed to have dampened not just the farmland, but the momentum of the weekend’s sale. We passed many closed up tents and tarp-covered tables en route to our hotel. So ended Route 90 shopping for the day.

In Aurora, the expanse of farmland made way for a picturesque village of stately homes fronting Cayuga Lake. Much of this historic town was restored between 2001 and 2006 by American Girl founder (and Wells College alum) Pleasant T. Rowland — efforts which nonetheless were not embraced by all Aurora locals. Familiar laments all.

Eventually we made our way off the route to Auburn, a small city notable for three sites: the Harriet Tubman home, Seward House (the family home of William H. Seward, former Governor of New York and Secretary of State under Lincoln, responsible for “Seward’s Folly“) and The Auburn State Correctional Facility. By 6PM, the first two places were already closed; the third, we discovered somewhat by accident while coasting through our hotel’s packed parking lot, situated directly next door. (The hotel’s proximity to a maximum security prison was not all that off-putting, as it turned out: tonight we encountered a wedding reception and a high school reunion in progress.)

Auburn CF was the site of the first execution via electric chair in 1890; Leon Czolgosz, the anarchist who shot William McKinley during the 1901 Pan-American Exposition in Buffalo was put to death there. It’s apparently a point of perverse pride among the locals; Swaby’s, the pub on South Street where we ended up briefly that night, has on display an actual electric chair used in the prison. (Ew.)

Our exploration of Auburn nightlife began and ended there: when the rains let up, we abandoned our watered-down beers next to their busted pool table, having stayed just long enough for me to get in one play ofJust Like Heaven” on the jukebox.

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