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Merle Exit Stays At The Strathallan Hotel, And Tours Rochester Sites

Having seen the Rochester Erie Canal suburbs of Fairport and Pittsford, it was time to get to the culture district area of Rochester and check into the Strathallan Hotel. I was in one of their suites with a full kitchen, two full bathrooms, living room area and bedroom that were probably larger than some apartments in Manhattan. There was a structure that separated the bed area from a couch that faced a television. The walk in closet was large enough to fit a crib and enough places to put your clothing.

With a location on East Avenue, sites such as the Memorial Art Gallery and Rochester Museum and Science Center were within walking distance. As well as the George Eastman House International Museum of Photography and Film. Eastman, as in Eastman-Kodak, the film industry. The house, located at 900 East Avenue, officially named as the George Eastman House International Museum of Photography and Film, lends itself to a three part either self-guided or instructive tour. First there are rooms on the main level that house exhibits and collections. Walk to the rear and you begin to view the home itself. It continues upstairs to view the bedrooms and then out to the gardens.

However, Esther and Eunice may be spring chickens, but I'm not. I totally took advantage of their free shuttle which will take you up to three miles away from the hotel and pick you up as well...as long as a shuttle is available. Haitham, one of the drivers, seemed to be shuttling me all over. I totally thank him for that!

I took the opportunity to relax in my room after touring the area a bit before going off to dinner with the editor of one of the newspapers that I write for, Empty Closet. I heard loads of kudos about a restaurant called Pier 45, located on Lake Ontario in a section called Charlotte. The weather was fine for sitting outside with the view of the lake and stayed long enough to witness the sunset. We met the owner, Joe Floreano as well as most of the staff when they saw Esther and Eunice at my table.

I ordered Spring Pea Soup with crab meat, a house salad, and Striped Bass. The bass was served with wild rice and broccoli. Dessert involved a peach cobbler with a scoop of peach sorbet and a scoop of freshly made whipped cream. I also got to taste a small malted milk shake. I must say that the food and view was so worth going there.

An hour was certainly not enough time to visit the Public Market. I got there in the morning and talked with many of the vendors, especially those that were either making or growing their products. That's not to say that there wasn't a variety of both local and out of state fruits and vegetables to choose from. I had subsequently found out that the Public Market won an award for the best Public Market in the country.

One guy grew herbs and the most popular was catnip. He had various teas as well, that he combined. Heirloom tomatoes was the love fruit at one stand. I had the opportunity to do a tasting of various colors and sizes. Not all green, yellow, orange or red tomatoes taste the same. With outdoor and indoor areas, you could purchase meat products. One butcher who raises pigs was selling pigs heads. Esther and Eunice certainly thought it was odd.

Aother great place for dinner is the Park Avenue Pub at 650 Park Avenue. Rustic and home-y restaurant. I started with their Risotto of the day, which was with crab meat. An onion salad, was not what one would think it to be. They take a whole Vidalia onion and stuff it with cranberries and couscous before baking it. I was trying to share it with Eunice but she began belching just looking at it. Oh, well. Both Eunice and Esther excused themselves from the table when my chicken entree arrived. Dessert was not turned down by neither as I ordered a triple chocolate bread pudding. Yum!

This particular Saturday evening, dinner ended at 10 p.m. and the restaurant became a karaoke bar. I sang two songs and thought I heard Esther and Eunice clucking along. Afterward, I got a driving tour of the area's night life. Park Avenue and downtown East Avenue were packed with people, young and old, gay and straight, and various ethnicities.

I had great night's sleep at the Strathallan, and we're off to breakfast at Jine's, located just down the block from Park Avenue Pub. I had the Orange Marmalade French Toast. Eunice was eying one of their varieties of Eggs Benedict dishes but was ward off by the person eating it. I explained that she thought it might be a relative. They will come along with me to explore some of the Erie Canal.

 By Merle Exit

Getting There:

For current packages available and to plan your escape to the Strathallan Hotel visit www.strathallen.com.

To explore more about the George Eastman House International Museum of Photography and Film visit http://www.eastmanhouse.org.

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