Let’s be honest; it’s been a very tough year. For a lot of people, on many levels. Spending a day supporting local shops while treating ourselves really didn’t seem like such a terrible thing to do. In fact, the card I got at 1st National Gifts on E. Genesee Street actually thanked me for being a “lifesaver of small business”. A supportive position I was glad to volunteer for since it garnered me my first purchase, a new red, Brighton purse! Have I mentioned how sick I was of carting around the same old machine-washable, tiny bag for all of 2020 and half of 2021?
This type of retail therapy outing requires a special kind of friend and Heidi was perfect. She loves to take her time browsing through stores like I do and is an encouraging, rather than discouraging, fellow shopper. As in, “Oh you should definitely get that!” No guilt whatsoever!
We made our way up and down the street stopping at all our favorite places and buying at least one thing (usually more!) in each. Not just for ourselves either; we also purchased things for the events we finally have to look forward to after over a year of cancellations, disappointments, and enforced isolation. At Imagine I got something silly for my July Girl’s Weekend, celebrated with friends from kindergarten! In Drooze and Company I spied gag gifts for two upcoming weddings. Rhubarb was where I found Bloody Mary fixings for a Father’s Day celebration this coming weekend. And I discovered an ideal shower gift at Pomodoro. Believe me when I say half the pleasure of handing over my credit card was envisioning myself celebrating happy occasions again with the people I care about.
Did we have time to eat? Of course! Lunch was at the Sherwood Inn, an old favorite. We began with a cocktail-Rum punch for me and a blueberry Margarita for Heidi, then moved on to open-faced Reuben’s with German Potato salad. All around us, groups of people were talking loudly, laughing, and just plain enjoying each other’s company in a way we haven’t seen for quite some time. Everybody’s good mood was uplifting and contagious! It felt fantastic to joke, reminisce, and plan for the future again.
Afterwards we satisfied our sweet tooth (teeth?) at Vermont Green Mountain Specialty Co. with turtles (pecan and cashew), then bought marzipan and a sea salt caramel Oreo to take home to the husbands. The bread at the Sherwood was so good we had to drop by the Patisserie to pick up a loaf of “stretch” and one of focaccia.
I definitely spent money in Skaneateles on this trip. But one of the reasons I’ve grown so fond of this village by the lake is that it doesn’t have to be expensive to visit and has so much more to offer visitors than shopping and food. For example, tucked away in the public library you will find the John D. Barrow (1824-1906) Art Gallery, which just reopened to the public at the end of May. A prolific painter of over 400 works, Barrow is most known for his landscapes and portraits. As someone who has spent much of her life in the Finger Lakes, I’m always captivated by the way he manages to capture our sunsets and clouds in a way that photographs never seem to be able to. Heidi had never heard of him so the lovely college intern working there was happy to share some background, along with reading us one of his poems, The Burning Mill, aloud. We all agreed that we have a special affinity for poetry that rhymes!
Driving home I thought about our day. The pandemic has definitely impacted Americans and changed the way we live our lives. That doesn’t always have to be a negative thing though. Being deprived of what we’d taken for granted, things like restaurants, art galleries, and interacting with friends and strangers, encourages us to appreciate and savor them even more now that they’re slowly returning.
This summer call up a friend, cross a day off on your calendar, and have an adventure somewhere. I don’t regret it and neither will you!