Jenn Reese Writer, Artist, Geek

Fredonia Trip


I thought I understood small towns. I went to college in Ithaca — a town listed as “rural” in my college guidebook. But the tiny college town of Fredonia makes Ithaca look like a bustling metropolis.

At first I was shocked by the general lack of necessities. (By “necessities” I mean: book stores, coffee shops, and movie theaters. There was one of each, although for a while we’d thought the theater had closed.) But despite the lack of essential businesses, the town was utterly charming. I loved the architecture most. I loved the old houses with wrap-around porches, with candles in every window, with honest-to-goodness yards.

From 2009 Photobook

Chris gave me the grand tour, and I wanted to jump out of the car and take pictures of the abandoned drive-in theater he used to frequent as a kid. I saw Little League fields, the SUNY Fredonia campus, crisp streams carving their way between snow banks, and the mighty (and mighty cold) great Lake Erie. It felt like a trip to another time, not just another place.

The pace of the day felt slower in Fredonia than it is in Los Angeles. I swear, they get an extra two or three hours a day at least! (Or maybe that’s just the time they don’t spend in traffic going places like the movie theater and the coffee shop.)

From 2009 Photobook

Overall, it was a wonderful, soul-replenishing trip. Our hosts — Chris’ wonderful parents — were beyond gracious, and we ate like kings and queens. Our first feast is now my definition of the perfect comfort meal: lasagna, crusty garlic bread, and salad, followed by artisan chocolates and coffee. Friends, it really doesn’t get any better than that. Unless you count…

…Amazing home-made cranberry scones, the best scones I have ever tasted (including two trips to England). I never knew they could be so flaky and delicious!

From Food and Drink

…Or an apple-spice cake to die for. Hands-down, one of the most moist, flavorful cakes ever. I had slice after slice after slice!

From Food and Drink

…And oh, god. A flourless chocolate cake with raspberry sauce and fresh whipped cream. (The second day I tried it with fresh fruit compote and almost died a second time.)

From Food and Drink

Alas, I didn’t get pictures of the sesame noodles, Thai shrimp, or fabulous seared Ahi. (I took a picture of the cinnamon buns on my phone and tweeted them already — gorgeous!!!) We went out to dinner one night, and I swear, it was yummy but the least yummy of all the meals I ate.

What’s the lesson here? If you’re in Fredonia, stay with Chris’ parents! If you do, you’ll look like this:

From 2009 Photobook

About the author

Jenn Reese


  • Where is this Fredonia? (I grew up in Western New York, and there's one there, down the lake a ways, a few miles from my grandparents' home town of Dunkirk… but I don't remember it being a college town.)

  • Oh, yes, now I see the references to the SUNY campus and Lake Erie. Must be the same Fredonia!

  • Yes, that's the Fredonia! We drove to Dunkirk a few times. And yes, there's a SUNY college there — both of Chris' parents teach there, and Chris is a graduate.

By Jenn Reese
Jenn Reese Writer, Artist, Geek

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