Erin and I recently took a trip 4 hours north to the small town of Canton, NY. We had an exciting visit with Varick Chittenden, the creator and operator of TAUNY, Traditional Arts of Upstate New York, discussing their operation, history, and possible volunteer opportunities. We passed through many small towns along the way, and the drive was beautiful.
At some point we came to a place called Tupper Lake. (Also known to us as Tupperware Lake, the supposed birthplace of the Tupperware party.) We were running late to our appointment with Varick, but we couldn't resist stopping to photograph this little independent theater called the State. Erin and I see a lot of theaters, and are always excited to see a little gem like this one, but this one caught our eye for the unusual statement on the marquee: "Open Everyday, Religulous." We pulled over hysterically, thinking that it was a misspelling, which we later learned was not true. In any case, we snapped a Polaroid and went on our way.
Our visit at TAUNY was very informative, and Varick welcomed us immediately as friends. He obviously was prepared for our visit because we didn't even have to ask any questions before he began his speech and tour of the facility. An exhibit was up about "Hippie Houses" and other primitive dwellings of the North Country. I wish we'd had more time to explore the exhibit and take in all the various things that TAUNY had to offer. Varick had much to talk about though, and Erin and I left educated and happy.
We got some recommendations from our new friend for some interesting food spots in the area, other than the McDonald's conveniently located across the street from TAUNY. Unfortunately we were disappointed to find that everything outside the golden arches had already closed for the evening.
So we started our journey home through the beautiful countryside again, though unable to see it now in the dark. The quiet drive was beginning to get on our nerves though, as well as the lack of food in our bellies. Nothing seemed to be open along this route for some reason, until we finally found the Adirondack Hotel.
We were excited to sit down in the warmth, and the rustic timber-frame structure was a comforting mountain oasis. The obligatory deer heads on the walls were a bit discomforting, but we stuck around to be seated ... and we sat ... and sat. The waitress seemed happy to help the other diners, refilling their drinks and offering desserts, but was apparently not so interested in our being there.
We finally did get to order some food and wine. It came after Erin had gone to the restroom, and the waitress kindly scolded her for letting her food sit and get cold. Our pissy moods were intensified and it made the food difficult to enjoy, especially after being severely misinformed about how they make their pizza, which was basically just sauce and cheese on a tortilla. Regardless, we filled our bellies out of sheer hunger.
After another long wait to get our check, we finally made our way to the register to pay our bill. Erin had picked up some Adirondack Life magazines which also needed to be purchased. The waitress figured our bill to be around $10 more than we were expecting, so we asked her to ring up the magazines again to make sure she got it right, when we realized that she was adding the Canadian prices instead of the U.S.A. ones. She was obviously frustrated at our attempts to pay the proper amount, and resisted a third time to add the proper amounts after we had told her of her mistake. Finally she added the U.S. prices and this time the register rang up about $50 more than we were expecting. It was apparent that she hadn't voided the previous amount and doubled our bill. Erin and I were stunned as she announced our owed amount as if there was no problem at all. We just looked at her with jaws opened wide wondering if she was really that ignorant, or if she was just really eager to piss us off at that point. "Um, yeah, that can't be right." was all I could mutter. The lady then had the audacity to look straight back at me and sternly state, "The machine don't lie!" Wow. The machine might not lie, but she didn't know how to add. One more attempt, and our bill was finally as close to correct as it was going to get, and we paid without leaving her anything for her trouble. I think she should have left us a tip.
We eventually made it home in one piece, but the our trip to Canton will live on as yet another strange New York experience.
painting of state theater by eric lagrange