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This last weekend I was running an ultramarathon that started near Piseco, NY. My wife and I needed a place to stay. Last year we stayed in a room above a general store. It was okay. This year I was hoping to stay someplace a little nicer, and closer to the race start.
I went online and searched for hotels in Piseco, NY and found the Irondequoit Inn. I was thinking this was the place where we had eaten dinner last year. I was wrong on that. We had eaten dinner at the Oxbow Inn. But the Irondequoit Inn was in a great location as it was only maybe half a mile from the start line. So I booked a room. According to their site, they have 12 guest rooms. Most of them have shared baths. But a couple rooms have private bathrooms. I opted to pay a little more and get one of the rooms with a private bath. Since I planned to be getting up ugly early in the morning, I didn’t want to be having to walk down a hall to a shared bath to take a shower, or possibly have to wait if some other racer was using it.
I booked the room, and paid a deposit. Later they set me a letter wanting the full payment. Hey no, problem.
Check in went okay. The office window was closed. I rang a buzzer, and in a minute or two someone came out and showed us our room. We met up with a friend, and went out to dinner at the Oxbow Inn.
The Inn is old, but clean and in good repair. My commented that the room have used a fresh coat of paint, but I didn’t notice anything wrong with it. We had clean sheets, clean towels, etc. Everything was clean. The room didn’t have a TV though. Another thing about the room was the outlets were all an older kind without the ground plug. I had to plug my laptop into the bathroom outlet to charge it.
After dinner I wanted to just rest up for the race the next day. I booted up my laptop to search for wifi. I found a secured connection label Irondequoit Inn Wifi. I didn’t have a password. I also had questions about the timing of a triathlon that was starting near the Inn the next morning. I went to the office and rang the buzzer. It was only about 8pm, and they said not to ring the buzzer after 9pm. No one came. I rang again, and still no one. I guess they weren’t coming to help me. Oh well. They were probably working to get ready for the next day’s triathlon.
I sat in the guest room talking to another guest. He was using a laptop. I managed to get the password for the wifi from him. He also got online and looked up the starting time of the tri for me. So I knew it shouldn’t interfere with my early morning start.
The guest room had chairs, tables, books, and pamphlets for local things to do. No TV though. There was a fireplace with a double-barrel shotgun hanging over it. That would probably be nice in the winter time.
The bathroom in our room wasn’t anything fancy. Toilet, sink, shower. No bath though. I never checked out the shared bathroom.
Oh, and there wasn’t air-conditioning in the rooms. Our room had a fan in the window which was nice. My buddy’s single room didn’t even have a fan, and he complained that it was warm.
Overall, I liked the place. If I do the race next year, I will likely try to stay here again. It was comfortable, clean, conveniently close to the race start, and not too expensive.
Irondequoit Inn is located on Old Piseco Road (route 24), Piseco, NY 12139. It’s near where Haskells Road intersects Old Piseco Road. Phone: 518-548-5500. Since the address is kind of vague, the GPS coordinates are N43 26.838, W74 31.560.

For many years I was a member of AAA. My father had bought both my wife and I memberships for Christmas one year. We did get some use out of them over the years. We used them for trip planning, booking airline reservations, and road side assistance.
But as time went by, we found we were using them less and less. I found I could book airline flights online for the same price or even less than AAA. And since I had all the options displayed for me, I could choose the flights I wanted with out having to have someone else present me with a small number of choices.
We used to use them for trip planning as well. But with GPS’s, I don’t need one of AAA’s trip ticks. I can just plug in my destination into the GPS, and it will give me turn by turn directions. I can even look up restaurants, hotels, attractions, and even rest stops on the freeway. And the GPS is a lot more helpfull than the trip tick. And unline the AAA trip tick, I can change my destination, or modify my route on the fly. It’s got maps for the whole country instead of a few city maps, and large scale state maps. My GPS only cost me $150, and they are getting cheaper all the time.
And if you don’t have a GPS, you can always go to one of the online sites such as http://www.mapquest.com, or http://maps.google.com . These sites will give you turn by turn directions to your destination, and they are free! Of course, there is also software for your computer as well. Personally, since I started using a GPS, I rarely use printed maps while on a trip.
What about discounts? AAA discounts are nice, but if you book a hotel room online, you can often get the same price anyway. And how much discount would you need to have AAA pay for itself?
Then there is the roadside assistance. Now this has been helpful in the past. When my wife was driving an older car, she would occasionally forget to turn off her headlights. She would call AAA to come give her a jump start. She found it easier and quicker to just carry some jumper cables in her trunk. But our newer cars now have buzzers to remind you the lights are on.
In the last couple years of our membership in the AAA auto club, about the only service we were using anymore was the road side assistance. We rarely needed it, but it was nice to have just in case. Shortly before our membership expired the last time, my wife got a flat tire. She called AAA for road side assistance. They told her about 30 minutes. After about an hour, no one had shown up. A good samaritan passerby helped my wife change her tire. My wife was in tears. So here we were paying for a AAA auto club membership and the only service that we were really using anymore was the roadside assistance. And then they left my wife stranded on the side of the road. When I contacted AAA about leaving my wife stranded, they gave an obligatory appology and that was about it. So we had paid our dues, but hadn’t used them at all for a couple years. Then when we needed them, they weren’t there.
When AAA sent us a letter for renewal, I wrote them a nasty letter back. We have not been members since. We have not missed them at all.
In these days of GPS’s, mapquest, and Orbitz, does anyone really need the AAA auto club? I don’t think so. Yeah, if you need to have your car towed, the cost of towing my equal a couple years of AAA auto club membership. But when was the last time you had to have your car towed to a repair shop? I can’t remember the last time. I would have to have it towed at least every couple years to make AAA auto club worth the cost. I believe the AAA auto club has outlived their usefulness.

My wife and I stayed at the Antiochian Village Conference and Retreat Center in Bolivar, PA this last weekend. It’s actually located on the outskirts of Ligonier, PA. We were invited to a wedding that was to take place there, as well as the reception. It was nice to be able to stay at the same place where the wedding and reception was held. We were able to walk to wedding, and walk back to the room after the reception.
The rooms were very clean. Cleaner than most hotels I think. One of the first thinks we noticed was there was not a TV in the room. There were two double beds, another single bed, a desk, a table, night stand, etc. My complained that the beds were too hard, but I found them comfortable.
The bathroom was basic with a sink, bathtub/shower. Again, it was clean. Small soaps were provided, but no shampoos, lotions, etc that are often found in hotels. There were plenty of towels and wash clothes though.
We explored the site to see what else was there. I think the site is used largly for religeous type meetings and things. The walls are covered with religeous pictures. The rooms all seem to be dedicated to the memory of someone or other.
There were no TVs in the rooms, but there were two TV rooms with couches, games, and coffee makers. The TV’s were un cable, but the reception was fuzzy. Like that had a loose wire or something.
There was also a fitness room, though it was locked when we found it on Friday night. When I walked by on Saturday afternoon it was unlocked, and contained some nice workout equipment. There were a couple treadmills, an exercise bike, etc. But by this time I didn’t have time to workout. Too bad I hadn’t found it unlocked in the morning.
There was also a recreation room with a pool table and ping pong table. My wife and I played ping pong for a couple minutes but gave up when it became apparent that my wife could barely hit the ball, much less get back over the net.
The grounds were nice, with a small pond and fountain out back. There is also a small garden with a bench to sit and look out over the water.
The facility also has various meeting rooms. The reception was held in one of them.
There was a grassy area across the road that has a pavillion. There was a group having a BBQ over there when we got in Friday evening. We found out later that it was people from our group. If we had only known.
They list WiFi on their website as being located in the Library and Lobby Lounge. I didn’t know this at the the time though. I was able to connect to the wifi intermittently from our room. It was a very weak signal. I was able to logon, and check my email and stuff.
All in all, it seemed like a nice place, and I wouldn’t mind staying there again. I do wish they had TV’s in the rooms though.
The Antiochian Village Conference and Retreat Center is located at 140 Church Camp Trail, Bolivar, PA 15923. Their telephone is 724-238-3677.

My wife and I are in Ligonier, PA for a wedding. We spent the morning and early afternoon driving to Greensburg, Latrobe, and then back to Ligonier, visiting used book stores, thrift stores, and antique shops. After a busy morning, we were hungry and started looking around Ligonier for some place to eat.
Right in the center of downtown Ligonier is a roundabout that is named The Diamond. Not sure why. I am guessing someone thought it sounded nice. The roundabout itself is more oval shaped.
Tucked away in one the corners of the Diamond is a little cafe named Diamond Cafe. Clever name. They didn’t have a menu displayed outside or anything, but then none of the local restaurants seemed to. So we stopped inside to see what kind of food they had. We sat down at a table to peruse the menu. Pretty generic food offerings for a cafe. The breakfast meals sounded appealing. A couple eggs, toast, bacon, and maybe some hash browns might have hit the spot. But since it was afternoon, I am not sure they would have been offered. So I looked at some of the other items. I kind of decided to try the Bacon Cheeseburger. I thought it was kind of generic, but maybe it would be good. The menu also seemed to suggest that Elvis music is played on Sunday. Too bad we were there on a Saturday.
As we sat waiting for the waitress to come take our order, we checked the dining room. It was not particularly big. Maybe about 8 or 10 small tables. The decorations in the dining room were interesting. They have a large electric train that runs around the ceiling of the dining room. There is a large collection of post cards frames on the wall from all over the world. Are these places that the owners have visited maybe? There was a small sign saying they are not a fast food restaurant, and that all the stuff was made fresh, and thanking us for being patient. I saw a few 57′ Chevy’s and thought about my mom who used to collect them. One looked pretty old. Behind the counter I saw an old green shake machine, and decided that a milk shake could be really good.
Okay, enough about the atmosphere. You probably want to hear about the food. Well, I wish I could tell you. After about 10 or 15 minutes of sitting there watching the waitress come in and out of the dining room taking orders, and bringing food to other customers, she hadn’t even acknowledged that we were there. I even found myself timing how long it took the train to make it’s way around the dining room…about 50 seconds. I understand that this is not a fast food restaurant and that the food takes time to prepare. But you can’t even start preparing it until the orders are taken and given to the cooks. We got fed up with waiting, and being ignored, so we left and ate at the Ligonier Tavern. I am sure the food at the Ligonier Tavern was much better than what we would have gotten at the Diamond Cafe. And the service was very good, unlike here at the Diamond Cafe.
So if you are ever in Ligonier, PA looking for someplace to eat, I can’t recommend the Diamond Cafe.
If you do want to check them out, they are located at 109 W Main St, Ligonier, PA 15658. (724) 238-3111




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