ROCHESTER WEEKEND...QUEBEC CITY OLYMPIC BID...HOTEL IRONING
ROCHESTER, N.Y. - You don’t here a lot about Rochester since the demise of the super ferry between this city and Toronto. It’s been a tough go of things down here, overall.
A guy I played golf with (I know, I’ve got a tough job) on Saturday was telling me that at one time there were 60,000 jobs in Rochester with Kodak. Now, there are perhaps 10,000.
Xerox also is a big employer in Rochester, but a lot of folks use email these days and how'd you like it if you were a supplier of copy paper and people sent out notes saying "Save the environment; don't print this message?"
Anyway, they've been through a lot down this way. But they're hanging tough and a quick visit on the weekend found plenty to like.
The golf was terrific. You can spend $50 and play wonderful golf courses such as Greystone or Ravenwood, the latter the site of the recent New York Amateur tourney. Not only that, you can pick up a six-pack of cold brewskis for $12 at Greystone (including Molson) and take them on your golf cart. Take that, Ontario!
I didn't have much time to check out the city proper but East Avenue was hopping on Friday night, with tons of kids spilling out on the sidewalks near a bar called Murphy's Law and a large crowd on hand at a terrific restaurant called Good Luck, a tapas/family style/share your plate with your friends place. It's a very cool interior with exposed brick and all, and they make a terrific black spaghetti with octopus and spicy tomato sauce and serve a one-pound burger cut into four pieces, served with a combination of ketchup, mayonnaise and brandy (tastes a lot better than it sounds).
The ribs and pulled pork at Dinosaur Bar B Que in downtown Rochester are absolutely outrageous, and it's fun to see all the Harleys pulled up in front. And the chocolate/almond frozen custard at Abbott's is wonderfully thick and creamy. They'll also make a float with custard of your choice and Red Bull, which is wrong on a whole lot of levels if you ask me.
The part that struck me the most, however, were short visits to Fairport and Pittsford, both small communities on the Erie Canal. You don't hear much about the canal up here but both communities have great little restaurants, pubs and shops on or near the water. Pittsford, especially, has a great ambience for walkers and cyclists and it's a great spot to watch the world float by.
ANOTHER CANADIAN OLYMPIC BID? YIKES!
We haven't even got to the 2010 Vancouver Games yet (although they're sneaking up on us pretty quick), and here's the Canadian Olympic Committee talking about a Quebec City bid for the 2022 Winter Olympics.
In an interview with the Star, COC chief executive officer Chris Rudge said it's worth considering.
"Canada has a good reputation for organizing events like this, and Quebec is an obvious point for discussion."
This, naturally, is even more the case with Marcel Aubut now sitting as the COC's president-elect.
Rudge says the ski resort in Le Massif would work for the Olympics but that it would have to be beefed up in height for the downhill ski race and that the work would have to be done PRIOR to a bid being introduced in order to show the seriousness of the bid.
The International Olympic Committee will vote next year on where to stage the 2018 Winter Games. In the running so far (cities have until Oct. 15 to declare their interest) are Munich (the Alps aren't far away), Annecy, France and Pyeongchang, South Korea, which nearly knocked Vancouver out of the 2010 race a few years back. Canada isn't interested in 2018, but 2022 might work, Rudge suggested.
Rudge and the COC have talked about a third Toronto Summer Olympic bid at some point, and Rudge points out that a future Olympic bid was one of the reasons Toronto was chosen to pursue the 2015 Pan American Games. (The Pan Am Games' evaluation group will be here at the end of this month to do the white-glove treatment, by the way).
The COC figures a successful Pan Am bid in Toronto would bring lots of facilities at a cheaper price than the Olympics. But Bogota, Colombia is said to be putting up a pretty strong fight, and Lima, Peru also is in the running.
It was interesting to see where Ontario Premier Dalton McGuinty met with Pan Am chief Mario Vazquez Rana last week and pledged to have Ontario lend a hand with any problems Mexico faces with the 2011 Pan Am Games, which are slated for Guadalajara. Hey, Dalton, how about getting the feds to ease up on the visa requirements for Mexico? That would be a big step.
Given that Calgary staged the 1988 Winter Olympics and Vancouver/Whistler has the 2010 Winter Games, a third set of snow-and-ice Olympics seems like overkill to me. I honestly don't know if it's worth pursuing a Summer Games anymore given the size and complexity and costs and security issues, but having the Winter Olympics in Quebec in 2022 would kill any chances of having the Summer Olympics in Toronto until some time around, oh, 2040, by which time the Toronto city workers might actually not be able to bank their sick days.
"We've gone twice in Toronto and lost," Rudge said, referring to the 1996 and 2008 bids, both swings and misses. "We've had more success attracting Winter Games and perhaps one of the reasons is we have such a good track record of hosting Games."
Rudge says the COC will wait to see how things look at a later date. If Chicago wins the right to stage the 2016 Summer Olympics, and we'll find out on Oct. 2 of this year, Toronto is dead in the water for quite some time and the COC might just as well pursue a winter bid for Quebec. But if Chicago stumbles, North America would be a natural for 2020 and Toronto would be a potential frontrunner. If we want to bother....
NO STARCH, PLEASE
Good item in USA Today on how Omni Hotels has started providing free ironing for its frequent guest program members. Good for them, I say, as there are few things more annoying than getting to your hotel room and finding all your shirts look a 3-dimensional map of the Rocky Mountains. Of course, I COULD learn to pack better but who has the time?
GREAT FOUR SEASONS HAWAII DEAL
Thanks to the LA Times for picking up on this great deal for the Four Seaons Hualalai on the Kona Coast of the Big Island of Hawaii. I've never been to the resort but I was on the Big Island a few years ago and loved it, and I stayed at the ultra luxe Four Seasons Manele Bay on Lanai earlier this year.