Welcome back for another installment of “Lucky to Live in the ROC,” the ongoing series in which I write about upstate New York attractions in and around Rochester. In the last episode, I promised you an epic road trip in search of the perfect pizza, and some unexpected artwork, so here goes:
On a recent road trip through upstate New York, I stopped in Geneseo, a quaint college town thirty miles south of Rochester, and discovered “Mama Mia’s Pizza.” The pizza was so amazing – thin and crispy, with great-tasting sauce – that I returned a few weeks later with a friend for another slice. This time, I didn’t just get great pizza, I got a great cup of coffee, too.
When I ordered my coffee, the woman behind the counter said they’d make a fresh pot. “Okay,” I replied, wondering if I was causing them too much trouble as I began to eat my pizza at a table outside. Pretty soon, a young man came out. “I’m going to make you a cup of Costa Rican coffee.” “That’s fine,” I said.” About ten minutes later, I’d finished my pizza and was wondering if I’d ever get my coffee. Suddenly, the coffee man came out with a steaming cup.
“I ran home and got some beans,” he explained. “I bought them at the Rochester Public Market, they’re great.” And he’d come back to the shop and ground them just for me. Wow. It was the BEST cup of coffee I’ve had in a long time.
I didn’t take a picture of my pizza because it disappeared too quickly, but it looked something like this:
And here’s a sign I saw in a Geneseo shop window.
The Unexpected Artwork
In 1914, Robert Frost wrote “Mending Wall,” a poem about a wall that divided his orchard from his neighbor’s forest. “Something there is that doesn’t love a wall,” he wrote. But in Livingston County, New York, the residents love their walls so much that, last July, they commissioned some artists to paint murals on them, and then they held the Livingston County Mural Festival to show them off.
The colorful walls are actually the sides of buildings, one for each of the nine villages in Livingston County. I hadn’t heard about the murals, but on our way home from Mama Mia’s Pizza, my friend pointed out of his window.
“Cool,” he said. “I’d like to photograph that.” We parked on Main Street and gaped at the mural for a while.
Soon, a woman approached us. I thought she might have been the mural’s artist, eager to talk about her work. But she was just a helpful citizen who wanted to tell us all about the festival.
Like the friendly coffee man, she momentarily ran off and returned bearing a gift: a small booklet detailing everything you ever wanted to know about the festival, including maps and the painters’ names. That day, we made it our mission to visit each and every one of the Murals of Livingston County.
I know that sounds like “The Bridges of Madison County,” but please do NOT mistake this essay for that book. If you’ve ever been forced to read “The Bridges of Madison County,” or if, like me, you were just curious to see how bad it was, I’m sorry to bring it up.
But hey, who am I to judge? I just binge-watched eleven episodes of “Virgin River,” where almost every scene ends with a warm embrace and this stunning dialogue:
“I love you.” “I love you, too.”
I can’t wait for Season Five! And no, I’m not being sarcastic!
But I digress. Here are two more murals of Livingston County. I’ve actually been to four others to date (Avon, Caledonia, Leicester, and Lima), but I lost the photos! It’s the first time a memory chip has failed on me (besides the one in my brain, that is). It’s disheartening, but I can always go back and take more photos. I think the murals will be there for a while.
Next time, I’ll post recent photos of Mother Nature’s artwork: the colorful autumn leaves I’m seeing everywhere. Stay tuned!
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Featured image by Wilfried Pohnke @ Pixabay.com.