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Sunday, June 26, 2011

Independence Day in the Heart of the Finger Lakes

I've always been a big fan of the 4th of July. What's not to like about celebrating our nation's independence with beer, BBQ  and fire works. It's hard to come to the Finger Lakes and the Rogues' Harbor Inn and not reflect on history and maybe what or who makes us the most proud. Independence- the individuals right to the pursuit of life, liberty and happiness is worth celebrating. I think part of that celebration should acknowledge the free thinkers and brave souls who risked all to allow us the freedom we enjoy everyday.
There are so many important historic figures and sites in the Finger Lakes that it's hard to choose which make the top of my list. The Rogues' Harbor Inn and the Finger Lakes region have much to celebrate and many to acknowledge, but here are my top picks. General Daniel D. Minier built the inn and I owe him much for that. It took him 12 years to complete and was his greatest achievement. But greater to me was his willingness to risk it as well as his own freedom in order to take part in the underground railroad's efforts to aid escaped slaves in their journey to freedom. It is rumoured that at one time there was a tunnel leading from the Rogues' Harbor Inn (then known as the Central Exchange Hotel) down to Cayuga Lake. We don't know if that's true, but what we do know is that General Minier was President of the Free Soil Party in Lansing and that he associated with many well documented Underground Railroad activists in the area. Furthermore, the inn was an ideal underground railroad station in that an extra delivery, carriage, servant, meal...would probably go unnoticed. It was a busy stage coach stop ideally located between Ithaca & Auburn. The entire Finger Lakes region was a hot bed of Underground Railroad activity with many documented routes. The Rogues' Harbor Inn lies precisely on one which ran from Lancaster, Pa. North to Elmira, Ithaca, Lansing, Sherwood, Auburn and onto the shores of Lake Ontario. Three well known abolitionists have their residences commemorated as museums and are well worth a visit: the Howland Museum in Sherwood www.howlandstonestore.org, the William Henry Seward House in Auburn www.sewardhouse.org and my personal hero, legend, and ultimate woman of unfathomable strength, Harriet Tubman. Her homestead is in Auburn, NY just down the road from the Seward House and is open to the public for tours www.harriethouse.org. Seward actually sold Harriet her home & held the mortgage which was not legal at that time; yet another reason why he's on the top of my list. Another list topper is Elizabeth Cady Stanton, suffragette, free thinker, writer & gifted public speaker. Many women fought for the freedom of African Americans only to realize later that their own cause was not as clearly linked the the 13th amendment as it seemed. She and many other remarkable women are commemorated at the Women's Rights Museum in Seneca Falls www.nps.gov/wori/index.htm.
So, that's my short list of shoulders upon which I am proud to stand. Come celebrate our collective & individual independence this weekend with us in the heart of the Finger Lakes -and raise a glass to your personal hero.
Some Special  Beer & BBQ Offerings to celebrate will be served in addition to our dinner menu on Saturday, Sunday & Monday, July 2, 3 & 4:
Our first Brewer's Choice Brew! East Shore Pale Ale
Bang Bang Shrimp: deep fried with a spicy red Thai curry
BBQ Baby Back Ribs with Fries & slaw
Red, White & Blue homemade ice: strawberry, lemon & blueberry (like a grown up astropop)
Don't forget-Town of Lansing fireworks, Saturday, July 2, 2011 at Myer's Park. We will be open every night as always. Cheers to life, liberty & happiness!