I was standing outside the Lake Shore Limited, which was my "magic carpet" to a place called Utica, NY. Home of the Adirondack Scenic Railroad. This ride was a minor adventure in itself. Not only was the train late, but it had to stop to pick up passengers from a broken down train, who were stranded. The staff told me coaches were SRO (standing room only), but fortunately those woes didn't extend into the sleeper. And it was only for a short time, to get them to the nearest station.
Naturally, my sleeper was at the far rear end of the westbound train upon arrival in Utica, so it was quite a hike to the station. When I got to the cab stand, there there were no cabs. Not one in sight. Rumor had it that since the train was running an hour late, cabbies had all left. And when I called for one, they said it would take at least 15 minutes, maybe a half hour, to arrive. Twenty minutes passed, getting later with every tick of the clock, and nobody showed.
Having surveyed the area between my hotel and the station on a mapping program before I left home, I was familiar with the road layout, and decided that it was worth "hoofing it" to my hotel. Yes, a girl in a dress, in a city, at night. As the clock passed 11 PM, I chose the route with the fewest dark corners, hidden entrances, and buildings in general, and off I went...with two 2-wheel suitcases in tow.
To make a long story short, it was the better part of a mile. Since I usually walk more than that every day, it was no big deal. But it's been years since I did it alone while in a city - at night. Never before in a dress. Fortunately, I'd done my homework. And nothing happened safety-wise. Any mugger (notice I used "singular" form) might have gotten a bit of a surprise - this girl isn't what she seems to be. But more than one, and there would have been an issue.
Above is a picture inside Utica's Union Station. Quite a thriving place. Including a restaurant (during normal hours) and a branch of the DMV. That's good...it's not in danger of being shut down. And there's a children's museum on the grounds.
My hotel was a big downtown establishment, which had previously fallen on hard times. But it's in the process of becoming a Hilton Doubletree, and they're seriously renovating the property. The rooms were very nice, mine was freshly-refurbished, with new "everything."
"Boy" wouldn't exactly be how I'd describe my appearance, and apparently others saw it the same way. I didn't hear the "dreaded S-word" at all. This was completely normal attire for me as both a girl and a boy...but I looked very much like many other girls of varying ages on board for the ride. And I was addressed as female by everyone who had occasion to deal with me.
Above: me in front of the Adirondack Scenic depot at Thendara, NY.
I was one of the few paying customers on the short extension of the excursion to Big Moose, where the engine ran around the train. But scenery made it worthwhile. When we returned to Thendara, the only thing to do while waiting for the train to be serviced and watered, was to walk across the parking lot and have a meal.
Van Aukens Inne
The fun part of that was: I met a nice middle-age couple from Ohio, and shared a table with them for our meal at Van Aukens. They were apparently either convinced I was female, or never missed a beat in addressing me properly. It was a great day! (And before you ask, I never saw anyone who knew me.)
Sitting on the veranda eating early dinner was very pleasant! About halfway through our meal, a musician appeared, and began playing live music. A great way to spend our afternoon, being serenaded while waiting for the train! The color on my nails was no big deal...my table mates and the servers simply treated me as a woman. Here's a picture of my nails...couldn't resist taking it - particularly since I was on my "boy" day.
Pretty nails...on he who was supposed to be a boy...but in fact looked - and felt - more like a girl.
Upon getting back to my hotel, I took a few minutes to review my wardrobe for the rest of the trip. That's when I realized I was out of clean "less girly" attire. Well, except for the one outfit I plan to wear home. But, it's safely tucked away in my car's trunk in Baltimore, so I can't access it.
Having spilled something on my capris at dinner, I sure won't be wearing them again till they're washed. Thus, it's skirts or dresses for me until I get into the car to drive home in a few days. And that's the way it should be!
Stay tuned for more...