Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Ithaca & Ivy Leagues

This past weekend my entire family (brother, grandmother, mother, step-dad) and I flew out to Ithaca, New York to watch my brother Trevor graduate from Cornell University!

I had zero expectations for upstate New York. I've been to NYC a couple of times, and that's really all I thought the state had to offer. Needless to say I was shocked when I saw how incredibly beautiful it was. Very picture perfect - gorgeous lakes, everything is really green, lots of hiking trails, gardens, gorges, with tons of outdoorsy activities to offer. Because the sole purpose of this trip was to watch Trevor graduate, we didn't get to experience all that much, but we did get to drive around and take in the scenery, starting with the Cornell campus itself.

I'm fairly sure that if Harry Potter were real life, Cornell would be the American wizardry school. Not to mention that the campus fraternities and sorority houses are not houses, but mansions. Not exaggerating - it's totally ridiculous. Must be nice to be an Ivy League kid! 

Other than tour the campus and spend way too much money on Cornell merchandise, we spent time shopping & eating (a lot - I gained 800 pounds in four days and now need to go on like a juice cleanse or something. I regret nothing.) and exploring some of the nature in the area. 

(Downtown Ithaca, which reminds me a little of Dublin, Ireland) 

(Lake Cayuga, one of the Finger Lakes of Upstate NY)

(This forest made me feel like Pocahontas! I was really disappointed when I didn't find a talking raccoon friend to braid my hair)

(Ithaca Botanical Garden)

(Truman Park falls)

(My mom, brother and I taking a break from a mini hike) 

And then of course came graduation day. Dear sweet jesus I didn't even know they had graduations this big - over 40,000 people in attendance! I also didn't realize how international Cornell was - I saw a lot of families from Europe, Asia and Africa come out to watch the ceremony. It was a really nice, touching ceremony. Every year they leave a seat empty in honor of the students who passed away before graduation, which I thought was very depressing, but such a great idea. 

(So...many...people....and this isn't even the entire crowd!) 

(I'm annoying!) 

We flew back to San Francisco the day after graduation. It was a super short trip, but it was really nice to spend time with my family all together. It doesn't happen very often! Would I visit Upstate NY again? Probably not, unless I had a reason to. However it is beautiful and relaxing, and if your ideal vacation consists of small towns with lots of outdoor adventures, I would highly recommend it! 

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