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Published: April 14th 2010
We’re heading home and made a last minute adjustment to the itinerary. We're skipping Gettysburg this year and heading from Lexington to Cincinnati, Columbus, Cleveland and along Lake Erie toward Buffalo and New York's Finger Lakes wine region.
We “dry camped” at a Flying J Truck Stop in Ashtabula, Ohio, along with close to a dozen other RVers, mostly "seasonal re-locators" (one new term for “snow birds”) heading back to Ontario, Quebec, New York and other points north. Decent takeout pizza from the Flying J!
First stop is Cayuga Marina and Campground. Getting in with a hairpin turn and a sharp incline doesn’t make for a great arrival; so we drove on … until we were passed by a vehicle following us. The driver somehow had intuited that we were “goin’ to Gils,” and kindly offered us to follow him back to the marina. So with a few literal “bumps in the road” this is a perfect landing spot for us as we make our way back to Ballston Lake.
Wes feels that I have become more relaxed and casual about where we camp; thinking this marina - with its pre-season manginess of blue
tarps covering boats and the assorted "toys" of permanent campers, tightly spaced RVs in need of a bath and plywood skirting around campers might have made me squeamish a few years ago. Glad I am more open and accepting now-a-days. I would miss a lot if I let myself get too prissy. Bring on the funk!
Cayuga Lake has that beautiful aqua color like Otesaga Lake near Cooperstown and Skaneateles Lake near Syracuse. It sometimes doesn't pick up as that color in photos; but it's there; and it's beautiful and distinctive.
We sipped in the tasting room at Swedish Hill Winery near Cayuga Lake and then hied ourselves over to their sister-vineyard Goose Watch. There, we sipped a glass of white wine on the deck overlooking the lake. The manager at Goose Watch sent us to Jimmy’s Deerhead, also with a lake view, for a wonderful early dinner.
When it’s New York wines, Wes and I agree, the state has come far with whites. We liked the Rieslings at Swedish Hill, but also bought “Doobie’s Jack Ass Red” named after the vineyard’s pet mule, Doobie, (who was camera shy or you would
see him on this blog page). We bought a “select” mixed case that includes the Rieslings, the "Dooby" and some interesting peach, strawberry and pear wines which we are saving for a dessert cruise on Ballston Lake.
MacKenzie-Childs in Aurora has been high on the agenda for several years. What a treat! It’s an incredible facility. All of their domestic production takes place here, the beautiful flagship store is fully stocked with everything you see in the catalogue and more, and there are free tours of the fanciful Victorian home all done up the MC way. We watched a free 13 min. video about the production of the various pieces (surprised to learn that “decals” are used to achieve some of the detail that seemed to be painted on by hand). Our tour guide for the video and house tour indulged our intimate group of four with tons of anecdotes and Q&A. The tour brought to mind, fellow Mechanicville native, Rosemary Prock, the artist who owns Sow’s Ear Studio on Upper Union St., Schenectady. This Capital Region artisan creates beautifully hand painted and custom furniture and home accessories, as well as, murals and faux finishes in the
style of MacKenzie-Childs with some important distinctions! Check her out!
There has been no “real” shopping on this trip. We passed the Waterloo Outlet Mall (Zita and I once spent a few hours and dollars there). We resisted Waterloo Outlet Mall this trip.
Cayuga Lake would be a fun starting point for a boat trip to the Erie Canal. You can launch at a number of sites; the Cayuga Marina is a stone’s throw from a lock to take the boater from Cayuga Lake to Seneca Lake and on to the Erie Canal where you can turn east and head for Syracuse and Albany or you can head west and get to Buffalo. Many sweet little towns along the way with docking facilities, access to bike paths, etc. Great trip for the tickler file.
We have to thank Mike McMahon who graduated from Cornell (Ithaca is nearby) for the suggestion to come through Buffalo and stop at the Finger Lakes region for the wind tours. Our neighbors, Ellie and Arnold, also recommended the region and the Mackenzie Childs tour some time ago. Always love suggestions to perk up getting from
Man and His Team
I hope it wasn't rude or intrusive to shoot this from the jeep. We passed an Amish School (discernable like the farmsteds by simplicity of design and no wires connecting the buildings to the utility poles). There were also Amish women planting early crops and boys going about their chores wearing iconic brimed strawhats. Cousin Diane and Tim live among Amish farmers and have such respect for their simplicity, hard work and commitment.
hither to yon. So keep the ideas flowing.
When you think of all of our experiences on the road (on and off) since October, you begin to realize that we have it ALL in New York. Seashore, mountains, forests, rivers, lakes, great cities, scenic country sides, wineries, horse breeding and racing, museums, theatres, music, artists, Art Nights, zoos, aquariums, ethnic diversity, great local produce, the cuisines of the world, bike paths, fishing and great shopping (often at independently owned "owner in the store" shops. It's nice to be home.
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