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Vacation 2010 – a Fall Driving Trip – Part 4

November 6, 2010 Leave a comment

More wineries and on to the Corning Museum of Glass

Tuesday after breakfast that we shared with interesting guests at the Bed and Breakfast, we DSC_3062said goodbye to Donna and Jack and the B&B at Oliver Phelps.  Unfortunately we had to backtrack to the Belhurst castle, as I had left my credit card their when we had lunch   yesterday.  Not too much out of the way and it allowed us to start off along the west side of Seneca Lake, the largest of the Finger Lakes we would see.

The first winery we came to was the Pompous Ass DSC_3064-1Winery – where we picked up a bottle of Bodacious  Blend and two bottles of Kiss My A** White.  Yes, they  were making fun of some of the other, more formal wineries but the wines were good (and inexpensive).

Then we crossed over westward to Penn Yan and down the east side of DSC_3051Keuka Lake.  A nice lake that was much narrower than the others which provided great pictures of the fall colors on the other side of the lake .

Back over to the road along Seneca Lake and down to Watkins Glenn.  The town was a bit of a disappointment as it was more industrial than the more Victorian towns of Canandaigua and Geneva. We drove up along the east side a bit to visit the Catharine Valley winery, but they were closed and there was a sign on the door that said their DSC_3072 opening time varied with their mood.  We did get to see the Hector Falls along the way and I was able to get a picture of the flowing water.

Our next planned stop at the Watkins Glen State Park turned out to be a dud in that you could only enter it by hiking 1.5 miles in.  there was no way to get their by car.  Supposed to be some stunning canyon walls and waterfalls, but we cannot vouch for the beauty as we were not up for that kind of walk.P1020950

So it was on to the Corning Museum of Glass – about 20 miles farther south in Corning, New  York.  The town of corning was P1020960(and is) the center for lots of things “glass” and this is their museum and tourist attraction, not  a museum of the Corning Company.  We spent about two hours and could have taken more time to see all of the three different aspects of it – one was kind of a Science P1020969Museum showing things like how glass is made and the power of fiber optics compared to copper wire.  The second and largest  portion was a more classic museum showing historical and famous glass pieces.  Some went back over 2,000 years. Hard to pick out a few pictures to give the P1020994 impact of the objects presented.  The third part, of course, was their large gift shop of glass P1020956 pieces.  One item was $44,000.  With the time of year, Glass Pumpkins were featured.

Dinner was at Sorges, a quaint Italian eatery on Market Street in Corning.  We got smart and shared a combination plate to taste a few items and not get too full.

Vacation 2010- a Fall Driving Trip – Part III

November 6, 2010 Leave a comment

Exploring the Finger Lakes -  Monday

Monday was a fun day.

DSC_2945We started out going to the Sonnenberg Mansion and Castle right in town in Canandaigua.   A 40-room mansion on 50 acres with wonderful gardens built and developed in 1887 by Frank and Mary Clarke Thompson.  He was a New York banker and originally it was on 300 acres.  It is now part of the New York State Park System, DSC_2962 but it is all run  by volunteers.  The gardens were past their prime for the year, but it was still beautiful to see.  I was stuck by the fact that we were marveling at this property built by a DSC_2966“Wall Street Banker”  and yet today, we are not vey happy with the

amount of money they make on Wall Street.  I am sure Mr. Thompson made an equivalent amount for his day.  Spent a couple hours.

The last part of the Sonnenberg adventure was the first part of our wine tasting.  It was a trip to their wine cellar and sampling, and then buying some New York Wines.

DSC_3006-1DSC_3005-1DSC_2999-1 We then drove around the lakefront of Lake Canandaigua. In addition to the seagulls that perched on our hood, they had  interesting housing for people and boats as part of the public dock.  I a m sure this arrangement could not be approved by city council these days, so I am sure it goes a long way back.

DSC_3017We then headed over to Lake Seneca and the City of Geneva – about a 15 mile drive.  A larger and more industrial and commercial place as compared to the quaint, Victorian flavor of  Canandaigua.  Primary stops were two high end resorts.  Geneva-on-the-Lake was a very old style, formal resort that reminded us of The Greenbrier in West Virginia but much, much smaller – very formal, white building and formal gardens – with croquet set up in the gardens.  Probably not a place we would have enjoyed staying at.

DSC_3022-1 Then just down the lake about a mile was the Belhurst Castle – an old mansion on the lake that has been turned into a place to eat and stay overnight in the Castle or the more modern additions to it.  The major attraction for us was the start of day two of wine tasting.  bought a couple bottles and then had a cheese and crackers lunch before moving on to the next winery.  Would definitely consider having a meal or overnight here on a future trip.

DSC_3029-1 Stopped at the Fox Run Vineyard that ran all the way down to the lake.  Got some good winery pictures but did not care for the wines so we headed back home to the B & B.  Had dinner downtown at Simply Crepes.  Excellent, simple but elegant restaurant with excellent food.  Had the Ham and asparagus crepe.

A nice day with just the right level of activity.

Vacation 2010-a Fall Driving Trip – Part 2

November 6, 2010 Leave a comment

Moving on to Niagara Falls and the Finger Lakes

The drive to the Finger Lakes would be our longest except for the final day driving home.  First stop was Niagara Falls.  The falls were the same as always, but the surroundings have become more of an amusement park sporting Ripley’s Believe it Or Not, a Hard Rock Cafe, DSC_2895Rainforest Cafe, and other amusements.  Took a few pictures but did not partake of any of the other “activities”.  Had about a 10 minute wait to get through customs and immigration back into the US.

On the next segment in New York, we saw a large number of new electric generating windmills.  Quite nice looking.  I wish we would do more of them in Michigan.

After a couple hours drive we arrived at Lechworth State Park – also called the Grand Canyon of the East.  That may be a bit of an exaggeration, DSC_2906but it truly was stunning.  A river cuts through the rock with some large water falls.  lots of places to walk trails or simply stop the car and look out over the  edge.  Younger folks with more ability and interest in hiking could easily spend an entire day.  I was impressed at the freedom to park just about anywhere you could fit a car.  Stopped for an ice cream cone for what would be called lunch.  Spent about one hour in the park but did not do any of the hikes.

Then drove over past several of the minor Finger Lakes and arrived about 5:30 at the Bed and Breakfast at Oliver Phelps in Canandaigua, NY, at the north end of Canandaigua Lake.  It was a photogreat place with good breakfasts.  It was on Main Street and built in 1812 by Oliver Phelps III, the grandson of one of the founding  fathers of Canandaigua.  With the season, our room was a bit on the chilly side, but we just used all the blankets on the canopied four-poster bed.  Our hosts, Donna and Jack were quite accommodating, allowing us to pick the breakfast time between 8 and 10.  They have owned it for seven years, moving there from the northwest.

Had dinner at Schooners, but the name was better than the food.  Plenty of other places that we could have chosen that I think would have been better, although many were closed on Sunday evening in the off season.

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