Sunday, July 3, 2011

My trip to the CIA

No, not THAT CIA – the Culinary Institute of America, in Hyde Park, N.Y.

I should give a quick disclaimer here – this was not my first trip to the CIA.  I had been there once before, back in 2008 when I took a tour of the campus.  So “shock value” was not there this time… however, in 2008, I didn’t really get a chance to randomly walk around campus.

Ok, the trip.  I rode the bike – and when I say bike, I mean my Harley Road King.  If I were talking about my trek, I would’ve called it my cycle.  Just clarifying.  It was a beautiful, sunny, warm day, with barely any clouds in the sky.  In short, perfect bike weather.

My baby... '09 HD Road King.
I had hopes of maybe meeting up with a couple different people I have been following on Twitter… but I am also a realist, and recognize that people are busy, especially with it being a holiday weekend.  Besides, I didn't want to seem like some crazy stalker, so I didn't really telegraph that I was going to be there... just a few Twitter posts.  And as of when I left, nobody had responded… se la vie.

Somewhere in northern Pennsylvania
About five hours and 310 miles later, I arrived – and it was like returning home.  Sure, it’s not my home, never has been, but it felt natural to drive onto campus.  Felt a little unnatural to park under the Anton Plaza, though… but that’s just me.

Anton Plaza, with parking underneath
My first stop was the Colavita Center, home to the Ristorante Caterina de' Medici.  Every time I see this structure, especially with the ordered herb garden stretching behind it, I feel as if I am actually in Italy.  Absolutely gorgeous.
Colavita Center
I checked out the Conrad Hilton Library (pun intended) to see the stacks.  I didn’t stay long, as there were a few students studying and I didn’t want to distract, but I was in heaven.  As you may remember, I have a near-addiction love affair with books.  All those cookbooks, lined up in alphabetical order… yeah, that’s pretty much my version of the Pearly Gates.

Hilton Library from Anton Plaza
I walked down to the Hudson, to see what the view was like.  It was a bit hard to get a clear view from ground level, but from up on the Anton Plaza, my next stop, you could see out nicely.  I love the lavender beds planted in the corners.  I love the water feature shooting water into the air.  And I love how it presents Roth Hall.  Such a fitting entrance into the main building of the CIA.

The Hudson
Roth Hall from the Hudson (sort of...)
Lavender in bloom
The Hudson as seen from Anton Plaza.  I want THAT dorm room - you know, the one that overlooks the Hudson!
Roth Hall
I, of course, walked the halls to look into a few dark kitchen… not the same as when students are working away, but still, it gives a glimpse of what life could be like.

I took a trip up the highway to visit a store I had heard about – Warren Cutlery.  It was like a Bed, Bath and Beyond “kitchen section” smashed into a gutted out house, but man, they had pretty much every kitchen gadget you could ever want, and a few that you didn't even know existed!  Thankfully, I was on the bike... not enough storage room to actually buy anything.

With one last check of the cell / twitter account to see that nobody had responded, and a fresh tank of gas for the bike, I decided it was time to start the five hour trek home.  Everyone must be out enjoying the beautiful day.  Next time…

This trip completely renewed my desire to attend the CIA.  The entire ride home, I kept thinking of how I would word my application essay, where I want to work for my six-month work experience requirement, and how I can take care of the financial setbacks.  But I am freshly optimistic…