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On the Bright Side

September 8, 2012

Newlyweds' travels take them to Cooperstown

'Breakfast With Strangers' on their agenda

Cooperstown is used to visitors, but not visitors like Courtney Dillard and Matt Webber. The newlywed couple from Portland, Ore., have decided to take on their life together in a unique way.

Instead of embarking on a traditional honeymoon — traveling to a town to take in the tourist attractions — Dillard and Webber are visiting towns across the United States to take time with its residents. At the end

of their journey, the two plan on writing a book called “Breakfast With Strangers: 50 Meals Across America.”

“We had seen people eating alone at breakfast and were always curious about them,” Dillard explained.

“And then we ended up having breakfast with someone at a breakfast counter. [After that] we decided to put an ad on Craigslist, ‘Tell us in 500 words or less why we should take you to breakfast.’”

Yesterday the two had the chance to find out how Cooperstown works from three of its residents — Mayor Jeff Katz, Cooperstown Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Pat Szarpa and the director of communications at the Baseball Hall of Fame, Craig Muder.

Topics ranged from fracking in New York to how the Baseball Hall of Fame ended up in Cooperstown to the interesting people Dillard and Webber had met on their journey.

“The curator at the Mustard Museum just outside Madison, Wisc., — [he’s] part of eccentric America,” Webber said. “His story goes way beyond mustard. He successfully argued a case in front of the Supreme Court using a jar of mustard.”

Another part of the trip that the two say will stick in their minds is their stop in Detroit.

“In Detroit many of the buildings are standing alone,” Dillard said. “Their train station, which was major, has been abandoned.”

Dillard and Webber talked for several minutes, telling stories about the bad situations the people in Detroit were facing.

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