Wine Country Safari

We traveled Tuesday to Keuka Lake in New York state. We stay at a Hampton Inn at the head of the lake. There’s nothing outside but the lake. We’ve stayed there before and watched the sun set and the moon rise, but it was cloudy. We saw the sunset but no moon at all. Still, the lake was its gorgeous self. Keuka is shaped like a Y and we were at the head of the western branch. It’s perhaps the most scenic of the finger lakes, not as long as Cayuga or as huge and deep as Seneca, but with steep slopes. It’s also where Konstantine Frank three generations back arrived and set out to prove that vinifera grapes – those that an make fine wine—could grow in the finger lakes region. Now there are myriads of wineries. You have to be choosy just as you do in European wine regions and in California, as every wine region has as much plonk as serious wines. Hard anyone we know understands how good the finger lakes wines are. The Rieslings have won tastings again German wines, for instance. But we also very much like the good Pinot Noirs which are more to our taste than the heavier California pinots. One of my favorite chicken wines along with Pouilly Fuisses are the finger lakes Gewurztraminers.

We go for the scenery, the wine and the Cornell apple store. Supermarket apples are so mealy often and nearly tasteless. Here the store is right in the orchard and they are bringing the apples in while you shop. They’re also making cider in the back. They have many other fine local products like good honeys. Wednesday we went to our favorite wineries on Keuka and Seneca [we hit two wineries on the way to the hotel Tuesday]

We spent the next night in Ithaca, downtown. We had planned to go to wineries on Cayuga Thursday morning and leave for home around 1 or 1:30. However, when we heard the weather reports for Thursday, we decided to hit our two favorite wineries on Cayuga in spite of fatigue and leave the next morning right after the apple store.

It was good we did as an unbelievably strong downpour followed us from around 9:30 until we got home @ 5:30. The rain was so heavy we were blinded at times. If Woody was not such an excellent driver, we’d never have made it home. Here it’s still raining hard. We’ve already had a couple of inches in Wellfleet and it was still l going strong on Friday. Today more rain expected

We were exhausted when we arrived, also partly soaked. The cats get depressed when we’re gone and Xena is still talking about it. They greeted us rapturously. Janet takes excellent care of them while we’re away, but they miss us and tell us about it vehemently.

I was too tired to do much Thursday evening. My method of unpacking my carry-on [what I usually travel with by car] was to stuff dirty clothes into the hamper and toss everything else on a chair. I came home to over 700 emails and Woody brought a bushel of mail from the P.O. We have much to do in the garden, including planting the last pound of garlic, starting to move the rhubarb to a new patch, potting houseplants and protecting basil and the two bay trees.

I’d like to get back to writing this week. The finger lakes are always fun and we bring home great stuff, but I miss my routine and my work. It’s Oyster Fest weekend, soon drunks trolling around town, traffic packed up to Cleveland and no chance of getting mail or milk. We’re hunkered down here.

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