Monday, August 28, 2006

Our Trip - Part One

Our weekend of camping was a rainy one. Thank goodness we were in a cabin and not a tent! We were fortunate that the rain really didn't prevent us from doing the things we wanted to, although our walk in the pouring rain through The Commons showed a lack of common sense on our part. Here's a recap of our trip.

We arrived in Ithaca late Friday afternoon and stumbled upon Greenstar Co-op. A train track runs alongside the parking lot. While we were getting out of the car, a train came through which thrilled the boys. They had never been able to get so close to a moving train without being on it. While the boys marveled at the train we marveled at the bumper stickers of the cars int he parking lot. The liberal vibe was almost palpable.

The Greenstar Co-op was an amazing store filled with amazing people. I know it sounds cliche but its true. Check out their website and you'll get a glimpse. I guess I was most impressed by the selection of products. This store seemed to have everything. We perused the store and got Fakin BLT sandwiches, organic grapes and organic plums and got ready to hit the road again.

We drove around downtown Ithaca a bit but the traffic was heavy and we were tired from the four hour drive so we didn't stick around long. We continued on to Watkins Glen where our campgrounds was. Along the way we passed an amazing waterfall that was in the middle of a residential neighborhood.

The Watkins Glen KOA was nice enough and the Kamping Kabin was cute. There was plenty of room for all six of us and the two dogs but our first night's experience was a bit tainted. We went out to the pool for an hour and when we came back there was a man loading our dogs in their crates into the back of a pick up truck. Despite our efforts, kongs smeared with peanut butter, the dogs had barked after we left. Someone had complained and they were moving our dogs. I suppose it was minor but it made me feel a lot less welcome. We didn't take a chance on leaving the dogs behind after that.

The dogs came with us to Farm Sanctuary, Saturday morning. They couldn't go along on the farm tour but they were welcome in the visitor's center and the store. The Farm Sanctuary tour was a wonderful experience. We got to right into the pens and pet cows, sheep, turkeys, goats, pigs and hear the stories of their rescues. There were other animals that we were able to see but that were too nervous to be touched like rabbits, ducks, and chickens. The kids loved this, especially the boys.

The experience at Farm Sancutary is very animal centered. You get to see what's best for the animals rather than what you want to see. For example, the cow herd had gone over the hill to graze and only two cows were left behind. One was recieving medical treatment and the other was keeping that cow company. These were the cows we were able to interact with.

The sheep at Farm Sanctuary had to be shorn because they've been bred to give excessive amounts of wool but the wool is placed out in the fields for the birds to use in nests. A woman on our tour questioned this and the guide explained that even selling the wool to a local artisan was against the beliefs of Farm Sanctuary.

I would recommend the Farm Sanctuary tour to everyone. For those of you living a vegetarian or vegan lifestyle already, it will cement your beliefs and make you revel in the company of like minded people. For those of you who just love animals, it will make you question your choices when you see the impact it can have on other living creatures. If you have kids, no matter what your beliefs are, its a must.

Tomorrow I'll share more about our trip.


lizhillruder said...

I went to college at Cornell and babysat for many families in Ithaca. ONce, one of my charges was using wooden blocks to make a pretend meal. She was pretending to drink from a cylindrical block (like a can) and I asked her what she was drinking. "Beer." She answered. I suggested that she pretend her beverage was something healthier for her growing body, to which she responded, "But this beer is from Greenstar, so it's healthy." I couldn't help but smile.

KleoPatra said...

Super cool that you went to Farm Sanctuary! And that you brought your doggies. That makes me so happy on both counts.

Greenstar sounds wonderful! I read their mission statement and loved this part:

The Co-op is committed to running a fiscally sound business, and to the following ethical guidelines:


» Emphasizing and promoting locally-produced goods, and items made or distributed by other cooperatives


» Providing fair and supportive treatment of our own employees, and being sensitive to the working and living conditions of those whose labor produces the goods we sell

Anonymous said...

happy you are back, i was missing you! yes tell us more about the trip!

Katie said...

The beer is from Greenstar, that's priceless!

Kleopatra, Farm Sanctuary was definitely a highlight. We're trying to figure out how to drag friends and family there.

Thanks Johanna.

fluffybear said...


Today is my first time reading your blog. I am so thrilled to read about your NY trip. My husband and I are planning EXACTLY the same type trip to NY next year. He was raised in Buffalo and we visited Watkins Glen on our way back to college one year many years ago (we are probably the same age as your in-laws). We are considering buying a farm in the fingerlakes area and working with Farm Sanctuary to shelter animals. I have used recipes out of the Moosewood cookbook many times. I notice that they serve fish now. Have they always served fish at their restaurant or is that something recent? One of my biggest regrets in life is that I did not raise my children vegan or even vegetarian. It is nice to see some families start early teaching their children healthy eating habits. Anyway, you have a great blog.

fluffybear said...

Oh, I wanted to add that I am also a McDougaller and I am on the McDougall message board. I just started the Maximum Weight Loss in Aug. '06.

Katie said...

Hi Shirley,
Welcome! It was a great trip. I'm not certain about how long Moosewood has been serving fish. I was under the impression that it was a recent thing.

I love your idea of buying a farm and working with Farm Sanctuary. You'll have to keep us posted on how that goes.

I feel fortunate that the environment today is more veg friendly today than ever before. It certainly makes it a lot easier to raise my kids vegan.