Utica, NY (10/14 - 10/17)
Utica, Utica, Utica... Fun times! With all due respect, this town gave me the CREEPS!
Haunted (?!) Hotel
We were all excited to arrive after a long bus ride from D.C., and Hotel Utica, now a Hilton Doubletree, is gorgeous. I had a lovely first evening hanging out and tending to laundry (in my hotel tub again, #TOURLIFE!). Then, on our second day in town, I was told that the hotel is "super haunted," which is where it all started downhill for me and my psyche...! I do not consider myself particularly superstitious, but the dark clouds that gave way to torrential rain on Day 2, coupled with the ghost town vibes I got from my stroll through the area around the theater, certainly didn't help my nerves! Plus, doesn't it look like the kind of place that would be haunted?! Elegant, with a suspiciously balanced decor...
Thankfully, I encountered neither the storied angry Tuxedo Man nor the ballgown lady ghost myself. I will admit to a little spook upon returning to the hotel late one evening. A friend and I were talking softly in the hallway before parting ways when we heard a door open with the familiar mechanical groan of all RFID-card locked doors. But we heard no footsteps from around the corner of the L-shaped hallway, and saw not a soul exit any of the rooms... so naturally it had to have been aliens or ghoOooOOOoooOsts!!!
Spooky atmosphere aside, every local I spoke to was kind and down-to-earth. My previous post was written in a local coffee shop in Utica, Character Coffee, where the attending barista suggested a Soul Food lunch spot for me. Said lunch spot was mysteriously closed for the day #onlyinUtica?, so I had pho at an awesome hole-in-the-wall-ish establishment two days in a row. Would recommend.
We were also very generously treated to a buffet-style dinner sponsored by the theatre on opening night, which included some local dishes, pasta, salad, and an open beer and wine bar. I learned that Utica Club pilsner is brewed just down the street from the theatre.
Around town... On the one day of sunshine! Featuring a monument to Copernicus and a view of the Stanley, where we performed.
North Star Orchards
On one of our mornings off, a group of us piled in Ubers and went up to North Star Orchards. I had such fun last fall at an orchard in Michigan, visiting the animals and enjoying fresh donuts and cider, that I decided to celebrate the season and go. Unfortunately, this particular orchard was out of hot cider, it was miserably cold, and there weren't any cute farm animals to hang out with, so it didn't quite live up to my experience in the Midwest... But they DID have some impressive pumpkins, so I guess we "did it for the 'gram."
In sum: all of our shows went well, the Stanley Theatre was fantastic, the people of Utica are awesome!, and should I ever return... I hope the weather is better.
NEXT STOP: group flight to St. Louis! MORE TRAVEL CHAOS, as 40 of us got in line to drop our bags...