An 'ideal' city: 4 travel writers describe their first impressions of Rochester
On a recent Sunday, a group of writers attending an international travel conference in the Twin Cities made a trip down to Rochester. The visit — sponsored by the Rochester Convention and Visitors Bureau — included a guided tour of Mayo Clinic’s Healthy Living Program, an eight-mile bike ride along the city's trail system and lunch at Forager Brewery.
I was fortunate enough to spend some time with writers, many of whom had not heard of Rochester before arriving here. They were from Philadelphia and rural Alabama, black and white, young and old(er). But there was one common theme: They were all genuinely impressed by our city — how clean it is, how welcoming the people are and how good the beer is.
I later reached out to the writers and asked them to summarize their experiences in a few sentences. Below are some of the responses I received:
Rochester comes across as one of those ideal cities where “living a good life” supersedes everything else. No one seems to be in a rush to beat the traffic and get to work. You can find families walking and biking around the countless parks and lakes in the city, breathing in fresh air, and exercising their minds and bodies. The residents know and support each other, reflecting a strong sense of community. Rochester is not only a great destination for those who want to unwind and relax, but also a model town for the rest of the country.
-Sucheta Rawal, Go Eat Give
I approached my daytrip to Rochester with a semi-open mind. Nothing, I thought, could outshine the hospitality of my home state of Alabama. But those ideas quickly melted after the day I spent there. My semi-expectation of people as icy cold as a Minnesota winter was quickly melted. I met people who had a wonderful mix of cool, open attitudes and warm acceptance of others.
I was bowled over by the initiative taken by the Dan Abraham Healthy Living Center at Mayo Clinic. The facility and staff are so dedicated to teaching how one can take charge of their own health by making wise choices.
I enjoyed the beauty of Silver Lake by bike and noticed this beautiful harmony of traditional families, friends and nature co-existing.
Our delicious lunch at Forager Brewing Company (a true gem of a place to eat, drink and relax with friends) led to discussions with locals, who emphasized that the metropolitan city with the small town feel should continue the pursuit of growth and progress. I'd love to spend my summers in Rochester. As a travel agent and blogger for Baby Boomers, this would be a great fit for my clients.
-Elizabeth Tittle, BTittled Travels
Rochester surprised me in the best way. Everybody I met had a fierce love for their city; even for the geese that were taking over Silver Lake Park. As a cyclist myself, I am envious of the bike paths and trails in Rochester and would suggest it as a city break for anybody with a love of bikes and getting outside in the sun.
-Amanda Folk, Chasing My Sunshine
Rochester truly exceeded my expectations. I knew it had to be full of friendly people because one of my close friends grew up in Rochester and I was really excited to see the Mayo Clinic since I am from another "Med City," Cleveland. I felt like I was on a celebrity cooking show while we learned to whip up a healthful brunch at the Mayo Clinic's Healthy Living Center. The city's extensive bike paths were a blast to ride around on a beautiful spring day. Our group was greeted by countless smiles and hellos by locals, which made the outing a joy.
Forager Brewery was the perfect stop to round out our trip to Rochester with eclectic details at every turn, delicious food, and phenomenal beers! I highly recommend the Forager Pizza and Sherpa's Survival Kit beer.
-Susie Chau, Dabble in Travel
About Sean Baker: Sean is the founder and editor of the Med City Beat. Under his direction, the site has transitioned from a small news blog to one of the most widely-read publications in the city. Prior to launching the site in 2014, Sean spent about two years producing television news in Green Bay and Rochester. His office is above a brewery, so please excuse any typos. Twitter.
(Cover photo: David Henry)