LeRoy, New York: Home to the Jello Gallery… and Possibly Me

March 14, 2013

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I’ve often thought that the reason why I keep on picking up and moving to a new country or city every couple years is not because I’m running away from home as many people have accused me of – but because I’m looking for one.

I figure that when I reach the place that I am destined to call home for the rest of my life I will receive some kind of a sign – a sign that says, “Here. Stay here. You belong here.”

Well, you guys, it’s possible I got that sign this week.

And it happened in the least likely of places.

Not in an exotic beachy village in Malaysia. Or some laid-back mountain town in Thailand. Or some mega-megapolis in China. Or in the quiet, dimly lit alleyways of Japan.

But in LeRoy, New York, a sleepy little town located just a couple dozen miles away from Rochester.

And that sign?

It looked like this:

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I mean, seriously, you guys, Bacon Street? How is that not a sign I should move there? It could have only gotten better if it intersected with Pancake Road.

I went to LeRoy on Wednesday with a carful of fun ladies for the express purpose of visiting The Jello Gallery, which is exactly what it sounds like – a museum dedicated to Jello.

You see, in addition to being home to possibly the best-named street ever, LeRoy also happens to be the birthplace of Jello, America’s most famous dessert.

All aboard the Jello mobile!

All aboard the Jello mobile!

Well, according to the fine people of LeRoy, Jello is America’s most famous dessert.

According to the fine people of me, Jello is not a dessert at all.

I mean, come on.

It tastes like fruit and doesn’t have any fat in it.

That is not a dessert, people.

That’s a trick.

Personally, I tend to be suspicious of any dessert that isn’t chock full of creamy peanut butter and oozey caramel and rich dark chocolate. The only fruit-flavored desserts I approve of must be surrounded by a flaky crust. Preferably one made out of animal fat.

Now, THIS. THIS is dessert.

Now, THIS. THIS is dessert.

And, while I can’t say I’m a huge fan of Jello, I was a huge fan of the museum.

First, we were greeted by our tour guide, Jim, who also happened to be the town’s former mayor.

Jim, our tour guide & the former mayor.

Jim, our tour guide & the former mayor.

Impressive, right?

At least, I was impressed. I mean, I can’t say I’ve had many former mayors give me museum tours before. But, who knows, maybe this kind of thing is commonplace in a wondrous town where the streets are named after pork products?

Jim gave us a brief history of Jello, which turned out to be quite fascinating – or, at least a lot more fascinating than you would expect for a dessert that doesn’t have any chocolate in it.

After our Jello history lesson, we were let loose on the museum itself which consisted of one big room jam-packed with displays.

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There were displays of different old-timey advertisements for Jello.

Every geisha loves a good Jello mold!

Every geisha loves a good Jello mold!

Including lots of ads featuring the Jello Girl, who was apparently like the Gerber Baby of Jello. But older. And more multi-cultural. Or something.

Totally looks Chinese.

Look! She looks just like I did when I was visiting China!

There was a display showing the various Jello flavors that came and went over the years.

These flavors ranged from, “Okay, that doesn’t sound so bad.”

Chocolate? Coffee? Cola?

Chocolate? Coffee? Cola? Okay, I can dig it.

To the “OMIGOD, WHAT ON EARTH WERE PEOPLE THINKING?”

Celery??? Mixed vegetable??? Seasoned tomato??? ITALIAN SALAD??? ARE YOU PEOPLE MAD???

Celery??? Mixed vegetable??? Seasoned tomato??? ITALIAN SALAD??? ARE YOU PEOPLE MAD???

There was another display with recipes for unusual Jello-based concoctions.

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And by “unusual” I mean, “SERIOUSLY. WHAT WERE PEOPLE THINKING? WERE THEY ALL ON CRACK? THEY HAD TO BE ON CRACK. THAT’S THE ONLY LOGICAL EXPLANATION.”

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Lemon Jello with lima beans, vinegar & Worcestershire sauce??? Go home, old-timey America, because you are clearly drunk.

There were even tidbits of Jello trivia and amazing Jello facts.

Like, you guys, Jello has brain waves.

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BRAIN WAVES!

I told you that we shouldn’t trust a dessert that tastes like fruit!

Don’t say I didn’t warn you when Jello uses its brain waves for evil. Like, to seek revenge on humans by putting us in weird salads with Worcestershire sauce and lima beans.

While all the displays were quite interesting, my favorite part of the museum was the super fancy oil paintings, which hung all over the walls.

They looked like they could be straight out of some European art gallery. Except, instead of featuring scenes of Greek goddesses frolicking or ancient saints looking stern, they featured Jello molds frolicking.

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That Jello mold is totally frolicking.

And Jello molds looking stern.

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Ooo, cranberry Jello mold is NOT happy.

Exiting the museum, we entered the very impressive gift shop, where you could buy pretty much everything Jello.

There were shot glasses so you could do your Jello shots the classy, brand-endorsed way.

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And boxer shorts. Because what man wouldn’t want a pair of underwear that says “See It Jiggle! Watch It Wiggle!”?

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Really.

In addition to the Jello museum, the building also housed a transportation museum on the lower floor, where there was a collection of some old-timey sleighs and buggies and bicycles.

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I didn’t quite understand why there was a transportation museum and what it’s connection with LeRoy was.

I’m sure there was an explanation somewhere.

But, frankly, I was too busy giggling over the “Two Seat Pleasure Wagon.”

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As they say, “If this wagon’s a’rockin’….”

And getting my picture taken with the Jello cow.

You know

As you do.

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Jello cow & me.

Plus, I was really hungry. Like to-the-point-of-considering-Jello-a-viable-food-option-hungry.

Yep, that hungry.

Luckily, our next stop on our short tour of LeRoy was the D & R Depot Restaurant, which just so happens to be a former railroad depot.

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And, you guys, you know how I love me some trains.

So I figured this was another sign I should totally move to LeRoy. Well, that, and the upside-down snowman in the restaurant’s main dining room.

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Why, yes, that IS an upside down snowman. Why do you ask?

Okay, so it’s possible that was not a “You should move here” sign, but a “There might be something a bit weird in the water here” sign.

The ladies I was with decided we should start our meal off with Jello. I can’t say this would have been my first choice for a starter. But, you know, as they say, when in Rome.

Or LeRoy.

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Orange Jello appetizer. As you do.

Much to my surprise, I actually really enjoyed the Jello. I suspect this had something to do with the fact that I was super hungry. And the fact that there was a huge dollop of whipped cream on top of it. I mean, I would eat an old mop if it was covered in enough whipped cream.

We then continued our meal with onion rings which OMIGOD, YES, PLEASE, MORE, OKAY?

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THESE, YOU GUYS.

And then I had a spinach salad and the chicken potpie.

Described in the menu as the “conductor’s special,” my potpie was, indeed, very special — in a flaky crust kind of way.

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And, as it just so happens, flaky-crust-kind-of-special is one of my favoritest kind of specials!

Well, that and the bacon-kind-of-special.

What’s the quirkiest museum you’ve ever been to?  
 
P.S. You guys, I know I’ve bugged you about this a billion-million times, but there are only a few more days for you to vote for me for a Bloggie for the Best Travel Weblog! Voting closes on Sunday, March 17th at 10 P.M. EDT. So if you haven’t done so already, please go vote! Pretty, pretty please with whipped cream and flaky crust on top!
25

I've blathered on long enough! Now it's your turn!

  1. On March 14, 2013 at 10:31 am Bernie said:

    That’s everything a museum should be and more! Fantastic account of a fascinating place. I wonder if they sell those boxers online… ;-)

  2. On March 14, 2013 at 10:41 am Penguinlady said:

    LeRoy sounds like a great place!

    Ok, I’m having trouble coming up with the weirdest museum, because my aunt loves them and we would go off in search of little hole in the wall places like that for fun. One I remember clearly was the Easter Egg Museum, which was a tiny basement room full of decorated Easter eggs. One I did not go to, but wanted to, was the Gopher Hole Museum in Alberta. I imagine just a big field full of holes and an old guy saying, “Ayup, this here’s Old Sammy. His hole is nigh 50 year’s old.” But I would be remiss in not mentioning the Big Pineapple, best roadway stop in Australia, where the attraction is a few story tall pineapple you can climb.

  3. On March 14, 2013 at 10:43 am Vanessa @ Sauteed Happy Family said:

    OH MY GOODNESS! This is the funniest museum EVER! I can’t believe there are portraits of jello… and geisha, seriously? Thanks for sharing this treat! (harhar)
    Vanessa @ Sauteed Happy Family recently posted..What It’s Like To Work With Your Significant Other

  4. On March 14, 2013 at 10:56 am Heather said:

    Upside down snowman FTW. Bacon St is awesome and all, but does it get better than an upside down snowman.

    • On March 14, 2013 at 6:01 pm Sally said:

      Apparently the upside down snowman is a seasonal thing — and each season they put up a new display. The waitress said the Fall displays are quite nice. I think I may have to go back.

  5. On March 14, 2013 at 11:23 am Carmel said:

    I’ve been to the Bigfoot Museum in Willow Creek, CA. It’s veeeery interesting. Lots of bigfoots (bigfeet?). I had some really good ice cream right after, which is what I mostly remember. That, and posing with a giant statue of Bigfoot.

  6. On March 14, 2013 at 12:23 pm cosmoHallitan said:

    Please tell me you bought a pair of those boxer shorts to wear as pajamas. Because I totally would have!
    cosmoHallitan recently posted..The Alms-Giving Ceremony of Luang Prabang

    • On March 14, 2013 at 5:58 pm Sally said:

      No, I didn’t. Sorry! I’ve actually stopped buying souvenirs since I don’t own a permanent home or place to keep them. Instead, I just take pictures. Lots and LOTS of pictures.

  7. On March 14, 2013 at 12:45 pm Ceri said:

    Museum of Jello? Now I’ve seen everything! … Think I’ll skip that one during my trip to NY though as you’ve captured it so perfectly here. ;-) … I’ll head to the NY Museum of Sex instead. Y’know … because of reasons.
    Ceri recently posted..Teaching EFL in Mexico

  8. On March 14, 2013 at 1:26 pm Priya said:

    Move there! Move there now. There are no Jello Museums is Chicago. I’m kind of jealous. Actually, I don’t even like Jello. Not so much jealous.

    • On March 14, 2013 at 5:56 pm Sally said:

      I don’t like Jello either (maybe you, umm, noticed?) but I love quirky museums and old-timey advertisements and bat-ass-crazy recipes. So this museum was pretty much everything I love at once. PERFECT!

  9. On March 16, 2013 at 9:03 am Zandria @ I Choose Buffalo said:

    Hi, Sally! I follow All Things Jennifer’s blog and found your site via her post about the Jello museum. You have a very interesting story and I’ll definitely be going through your archives to read more.

    I’ll be moving to Buffalo soon with my fiance — we’re targeting early May — so it’s great to find new local bloggers I can follow. :)

  10. On March 17, 2013 at 2:06 pm Alouise said:

    I can’t believe there is a Jello museum. I’m not a huge jello person either but that is awesome. And wow that recipe looks horrible, but if it’s any consolation from what my parents have told me about the jello “salads” they had as kids I’m pretty sure old-timey Canada was just as drunk as America was.
    Alouise recently posted..Road Trip Memories 20 – Crossing The Confederation Bridge

    • On March 18, 2013 at 5:13 pm Sally said:

      Oh yeah, my parents were talking about the Jello concoctions they were forced to eat as children. Just scary! I’m so glad they never decided to torture us with that stuff.

  11. On March 18, 2013 at 7:56 am Tom @ Waegook Tom said:

    Wait, wait, wait….wait. Bacon Street? A JELLO MUSEUM. BACON STREET?!? I think I may rearrange my entire 1 month in the USA, and instead just move to Leroy.
    Tom @ Waegook Tom recently posted..The Animals of Leathley: Photos

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