AUBURN, N.Y. - At every twist and turn on Route 34, all the way from Weedsport to Auburn, families dusted off their lawn chairs and plopped down alongside the roadway in preparation for something that might never happen again.
The President of the United States was in town.
President Barack Obama, who outlined plans for affordable higher education at the University at Buffalo in the morning and later at a high school in Syracuse during the evening hours, decided to spend the night in a Holiday Inn on North Street in Auburn. He'll travel to Binghamton, N.Y. and Scranton, Pa., on Friday, but his trek through New York brought a crowd at every stop. When his motorcade arrived in Auburn, hundreds of people in the town began to wildly cheer, even though his bus was barely visible in the pitch black darkness.
Obama also stopped in Rochester on Thursday for lunch. He ate at Magnolia's in the Park Avenue neighborhood, which came as a bit of surprise, considering Rochester wasn't officially on the President's itinerary.
Ken Phipps and his nephew, Danny, were down the street with Obama arrived. Members of the President's team then recruited them to visit with the chief executive. According to Phipps, Obama shook hands with every person in the room and took the time to speak individually with several people.
"He didn't just come out of the restaurant and go straight to the limo," Phipps said. "That showed his character."