I’m a big fan of small cities. I’m also a big fan of going somewhere and having it completely exceed all expectations I had of it. Rochester did both of these. Rochester is conveniently near the Finger Lakes if you read last week’s “Weekend Trip Idea.” I went to Rochester four years ago for my college roommate’s wedding. While I wasn’t able to see a ton of the city, I was impressed with what I was able to witness and blown away by how much fun the nightlife was. We also drove back on an incredibly scenic route through the Finger Lakes which sort of turned me on into that area.
We stayed at a join called the East Avenue Inn, which I’ve been informed, is sadly no longer with us. It was a real dump but located right in the heart of the cities bar district, so obviously we loved it. The night before the wedding we arrived, met up with everyone from the rehearsal dinner for a couple of drinks and then hit the town hard. I wish I remember the locations but I feel like we were everywhere and that the night ended in a punk rock/motorcycle bar with one of my friends having a dance off with a fan. You can’t beat stuff like that.
The next day, after the wedding we returned to East Avenue to go out with the wedding party once again. We made a pit stop back our hotel to freshen up (aka grab free drinks) and when we exited we found ourselves in the middle of the East End Music Festival, a collection of local bands (and to keep up with the trends, a food truck roundup). The road in front of the hotel was closed and a large stage blocked our view. We walked out of the parking lot from behind the stage and found a crowd jamming out to Smash Mouth singing “All Star.” It was like sixth grade musically reincarnated, so random but so great. Unfortunately we had to meet everyone else form the wedding so didn’t have time to stay and enjoy the free concert, but it was a great story.
Rochester is virtually surrounded by water, from Lake Ontario to the north, the Finger Lakes to the south, Niagara Falls an hour west and both the Genesee River and Erie Canal running through the city limits. If you’re into watersports, you’re bound to find something to quench your thirst.
Other Rochester highlights include The Dinosaur- B-B-Que, a famous bbq chain that originated in Rochester (they have amazing bbq sauce, I actually purchase it regularly at my local Weis); Rock Ventures, the countries biggest rock gym; Rorhbach Brewing Company, a local microbrewery; and Lock 32, one of only 3 whitewater parks in the country.
Because I’m pretty much white trash, my first stop would be at the Genesee Brewery to see just exactly how one of America’s finest beers is created.