Category Archives: New York State

Seneca Falls, New York, The Hub of Women’s History in the U.S.

The “mecca” of feminism in the U.S.

The history of women gaining the right to vote is receiving new attention with the release of the movie Suffragette.

That movie takes place in England, but earlier this year, I visited the mecca of women’s suffrage in the U.S., Seneca Falls, New York, located  in the state’s Finger Lakes region, at the tip of Seneca Lake. There, Women’s Rights National Historical Park depicts the women’s journey to equal citizenship in this country, particularly the first Women’s Rights Convention held in Seneca Falls, on July 19-20,1848.

Women’s history on display in Seneca Falls

Get up to speed on women’s rights struggle at the Visitors Center with a great film on the first conventions and its leaders, exhibits on that event and our progress since then, and a book store selling a variety of books on the topic.

The park also includes the Wesleyan Chapel next door the convention took place and the houses of other prominent leaders of the movement including Elizabeth Cady Stanton. She helped launch the reform movement for women’s rights to which she dedicated the rest of her life. She was born on November 12, 1815, (Happy 200 birthday!) and lived in Seneca Falls.

Mingling with Heroes–At the National Women’s Rights Historic Park you’ll find a collection of life-size statues that represent the first wave of womens rights activists in the U. S. The group includes statues of twenty people including Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Fredrick Douglass. Many people involved in the women’s rights movement were also ardent abolitionists.

Down the street from the Visitors Center, you can also tour the National Women’s Hall of Fame, where plaques and photos pay homage to America’s famous women.

It’s all very inspiring, especially if you’ve ever felt like Elizabeth Cady Stanton who, isolated at home with three small children, described herself as a “caged lioness.”

For an excellent list of books about women’s suffrage and other travel reading, go to Longitude Books and search under “women’s suffrage.” And be sure to read my article about Jack London State Park in their “Favorite Spot” section.



Careful! A Stroll Through MacKenzie-Childs

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Whenever I travel I carry a big black purse because it holds everything I need all the time–notebook, camera, water bottle, goodies I buy…. However, when I stroll through places with glassware and other breakables, my bag and I are the equivalent of a a  bull in a china shop.  One clumsy turn and I can clear a table of really expensive merchandise.

I was extra careful when I toured the MacKenzie-Childs headquarters and shop in Aurora, New York, this spring.  They’re located in the Finger Lakes region of New York, perched high above Cayuga Lake, a lovely scene before you even get to the merchandise.  If you haven’t seen their wares in shops all over the country, the company makes all manner of wildly colorful and whimsical hand-painted furniture, ceramics and more–a feast for the eyes and well worth a little extra caution.

Travel For Bookworms: Off The Beaten Page Wins a Mark Twain Award from Midwest Travel Writers

I was in the Finger Lakes Region of New York last week for a meeting  of the Midwest Travel Writers Association, an organization of Midwest-based professionals specializing in travel journalism and promotion. We had the opportunity to explore the many things there are to do there–much more about that in future posts.

marktwainscanI’m happy to announce that I received the group’s Mark Twain Award for travel book for Off The Beaten Page: The Best Trips for Lit Lovers, Book Clubs and Girls on Getaways.  The Mark Twain Awards are given each spring to members for excellence in travel writing and photography. I feel very honored to receive the award from this  group of excellent and well-traveled writers. Judges called the Off The Beaten Page, “Quirky and surprising. A nice twist on several nonfiction genres of guidebooks.”

For those of you who don’t know about Off The Beaten Page, hey, BeatenPage_12 4get with it– it’s available from Amazon, Barnes & Noble, IPG (the publisher/distributor) and you can order it from any independent bookstore and it makes a great gift. The book was inspired by “field trips” with my own book clubs, and offers a literary look at fifteen U.S. destinations—including the Twin Cities—as seen through the works of famous writers. ideal for anyone eager to mix their love of travel and quality time with friends or family with their desire for meaningful cultural experiences.

Off the Beaten Page includes:

– Ideas for simple literary field trips close to home
– Practical advice for planning stress-free group travel
– Thoughtful essays describing each destination’s literary heritage and attractions
 – Suggested three-day itineraries that include plenty of lit-inspired excursions—such as Santa Monica through the eyes of noir crime master Raymond Chandler; a Devil in the White City view of Chicago in the Gilded Age; and an exploration of Edith Wharton’s elite Newport, Rhode Island; and look at Minneapolis/St. Paul through the eyes of authors such as F. Scott Fitzgerald and Tim O’Brien—while blending in “beyond the book” experiences such as Broadway shows, Segway tours, and kayaking.   

Library Journal called Off The Beaten Page, “A bookworm’s dream,” saying, “This title is an inspiring, unique read. Book clubs and the literary-minded will love it for the travel ideas, book lists, and delightful commentary on each city’s history. Highly recommended.”

The purpose of this blog is to keep sharing ideas for literary travel, with a lot of other travel and reading ideas thrown in. Plus, I love to share readers’ ideas and their own literary travel experiences so please send ’em in.  And stay tuned for my Finger Lakes travel ideas.