Blog Fifteen - Finger Lakes Area
11 Nov 2013
|BLOG FIFTEEN - This is a quick one.
FRIDAY – 09 Nov 13
The second half of our trip starts today. Brekkie downstairs and then a five minute walk straight to our flight to Toronto. It was a good flight and lucky we decided to pick Westjet. The AirCanada flight at the same time was cancelled and a heap of travellers jumped to our flight making it a very full flight. We arrived slightly ahead of time and grabbed our bags from the flight and also the bag we left in storage and caught a taxi into the city to pick up our hire car. The taxi driver was only slightly crazy and made the city in record time. We picked up the car (Ford fusion – like a falcon) and headed back towards Niagara and the US border. We made pretty good time as the freeways were moving very well and we were able to use the transit lane. We touched down just before midday and made it to the border just after 2:30 so did very well.
The border crossing was always a bit of a concern as you don’t know what’s going to happen given the US border service. However we drove to the window and, as non-North Americans, were directed to the building for further inspection! We waited awhile and at about 3:30 we passed inspection and hit the New York State I90 and were soon chewing up the miles. The double lane highway was chockers but we made our exit and into the Finger Lakes area travelling through Geneva and then onto Penn Yan on Keuka Lake.
Our accommodation was the Wagner Estate B and B and is a historic house. Our host met us when we arrived just after 6:00 and was very nice. We quickly unpacked the car and headed back out again for dinner at Lloyd’s pub. It was a great place with heaps of beers and good priced meals. We had a great meal and a couple of beers but the long day caught up with us and we headed back to our B and B before showering and hitting the very tall bed and not stirring until morning.
SATURDAY – 10 Nov 13
Up for a home cooked brekkie and then hit the lakes. Purely coincidentally the Keuka Lake November Holiday Wine Festival is on! So we hit the wineries and were at the Keuka Springs Winery just after 10:00. The way the ticket works is you go to a winery where they give you a wine tasting and pair it with some food. The Keuka Springs Winery was probably the best set up of all the wineries and the wine, food and the cellar door itself was also very good. A purchase of a couple of bottles was made before heading off to Barrington Cellars. We were trying to stay just ahead of the hoardes as there were heaps of people about including bus loads. That in mind we had a taste of wine and food, made a purchase and then headed off to McGregor Winery. This was absolutely packed having a large and a smaller bus pulled up. We tasted and headed off pretty quickly to Ravines Winery. This was a very good winery and we did the tasting in the downstairs room before heading upstairs for a bit more wine tasting. We made a few purchases and then headed to the bottom of the lake to the town of Hammondsport.
Hammondsport was a nice town and is situated right at the bottom of the lake and has a nice boardwalk overlooking very clean water. We went for a walk around the town and it had a good feel and it would be very busy during summer and holidays. It would also be very pictureque in the Fall with all the colours. The town done we headed off to Heron Hill Winery. This is supposed to be one of the 10 best winery cellar doors but we weren’t that impressed. It wasn’t helped by the sour women that greet you at the door. We had their tasting of food and wine but the place was packed and we didn’t think it was anything outstanding so we decided to make tracks to Dr Frank’s – yes a vineyard. This one was much better and we settled in here for awhile. They had a large variety of wines including a couple of wines types we hadn’t heard of before, not to mention a couple of sparklings. They also had cheese tasting and (as we found out the next day) Shania turned out to be a star appearing in front of the cheese tasting in a photo on Facebook for the Keuka Wine Festival! Of all people to appear on Facebook - the one who doesn't even do the facebook thing. They had a special on two bottles of champers so we decided to purchase. A few photos taken out front overlooking the lake and we moved on to the last winery of the day, Hunt Country Winery. This was also one of the best ones for the day. The set up was good, the people very friendly and the wines good. We ended up having a great tasting with a local who had been to Oz and he gave us a bit more than usual including ice wine. We made a couple of purchases here including some other knick knacks and called it a day. We headed back to our B and B for the night having purchased some cheese earlier in the day. We did pretty good for the day having purchased nine bottles of wine for us to enjoy on our trip over the next five weeks.
Back at our accommodation we had a good chat with the other visitors who were a group of eight from Syracuse, not far away. They were a good bunch and were headed out to dinner leaving the place to us. We caught up on the blogs and had a relaxing time over a bottle we purchased today before climbing (literally) into the four feet high bed for a pretty good sleep.
Thoughts on the Finger Lakes area…
We only had a day or so in the area but we really liked it. The lakes are very pleasant and the wines are good – what more could you want? There are also decent sized towns that have everything you need so it’s all pretty much covered. If you have the time and are interested in wines then it would be area that you could stay a week easy, especially with like minded friends. Oh well, maybe we’ll have more time next visit.