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Finger Lakes, NY by car

Author: Marjorie B.
Date of Trip: July 2010

Finally made it to Geneva and checked out the Ramada Inn in town. Very nice. Right on the end of the lake. That would be another one to consider when we return.

We made it around the lake and to the Finger Lakes Distilling by 3:30pm. It was really neat. The vodka and whiskey tastings were $2.00 for three tastes. Then if you purchased a bottle the $2 went toward the purchase price. I did two vodkas and one liqueur. He would fill a ½ shot glass. I would take a "sip" which was strong -- then he would pour in a mix with the vodka. The first one I chose to mix with tonic the second I chose pomegranate juice; It was really good. That is the bottle I purchased. My third was the Cherry Liqueur. It tasted like cherry pie filling. Then he put one drop of chocolate "bitters" (not sure) and it tasted like a chocolate/cherry pie. I considered buying the liqueur but I knew I would drink it too willingly so I stuck with the vodka.

John did whiskey -- rye and corn and then a maplejack liqueur. He drank his straight. He purchased the "corn" whiskey.

One of the laws to open a distillery is you have to use an ingredient indigenous to the region. So their vodka was made from local grapes which added flavor to the vodka. The whiskey of course had rye or corn as an additive. I don't pretend to be an authority on the subject I am just relaying what I remember be it right or wrong.

Our next mission was to go back to Castel Grisch before 5:00. To do so we had to retrace our steps from last night when we were meandering around county roads. After several lucky turns from 14 to 23 to 28, we found it, arriving at 4:45pm -- lots of time to spare.

There were several people tasting at the time we entered and they seemed to be having a good time. The deal at this winery was -- "buy two get one free". There was a bit of a dispute between the customer and server They wanted to buy two cases and get one case free. It turned out they could indeed do this but they lost the "case discount". It still sounded like a good deal.

We tasted a few and John asked me if I wanted to buy two and get one free. I declined and he was confused. I never turn down a good deal. I said, "I didn't like any of the wines." Well, ok then. As we left we talked to another couple who highly recommended the Cascata winery just up the road. We appreciated their suggestion but it was after the bewitching hour of 5:00 (5:18) so wine tasting was done for the day and we were leaving tomorrow morning. Just another reason to return in the future. The same couple was also very enthusiastic about the Watkins Glen State Park Gorge Trail. Said it was a "must do".

Since it was still early and we were not starving, we decided to do a "park drive by" and possibly do it this evening. We drove through town and found it on the right side of the road -- can't miss it. There is a very large sign! We talked to the guy at the check in booth and he recommended we return tomorrow because the shuttle bus stopped running at 6pm and we would never make it up in time to get it. So we took his advice and left. The view of the falls at the entrance was very picturesque. It left you wanting much more especially since we knew the park held many other falls.

Back at the hotel: Since it was such a nice evening we put on our bathing suits and took our snacks to the pool. The pool is gated with a metal structure. I entered first then John came through and inadvertently slammed the gate shut. Then I heard him yell, "RUN MARGIE, RUN!" I turned around and saw him jumping up and down like he was on fire. He yelled again "wasps, RUN!" I looked up and there were several wasps swarming around our heads. I swatted the few away and then sat down. John came over -- a bit shaken up -- and sat down. He said when he shut the gate the noise must have disturbed their nest in the gate post and out they came. We saw them go back into their nest, hopefully never to exit again while we were there. He was bitten twice, one on the arm and one on the leg. The area started to redden and swell so we put ice on it. I told him that he should report it so he went to the office. Upon his return he said they thought they had it under control. So they were aware that they had and now still have a wasp problem. But John said when they kill the adults the babies are not killed. Then they hatch and you more wasps.

With that ordeal sort of on the back burner we tried to relax with our beverage of choice and snacks (this was our supper). We were looking down the hill and out onto the lake with sail boats. It was so calm and peaceful. Then out of the woods to our right came this doe walking across the large yard. I saw it and told John, "There's a deer!" He stood up and looked. Then we realized there were other people at the pool along with a little boy so John yelled, "There's a DEER!" So everyone went to the edge and watched the doe approach the trees on the left then turn around and run back where she came from. It was so neat. I was able to get three pictures of the beautiful animal.

We went back to our room and made our plans for the next day, deciding to do the State Park first thing in the morning then head for home. Thursday: 7/15/10 We were both up at 6:30. The sun was up and it looked like it was going to be a hot, sunny day. After we ate we checked out and were on our way to our gorge trip.

We were one of the first at the park. In fact, at 8:05 there wasn't anyone at the entrance booth to collect the $8 for parking. We were informed last night that if we arrived early they would place a ticket on our car and we could pay the $8 when we left. That was fine with us. We like getting an early start.

We parked near the entrance of the gorge which was a flight of steps and a tunnel with falls to the left. We started with pictures of this not realizing the wonders that awaited us ahead. At 8:05 we began our hour and half walk the 800+ steps up the gorge trail. There were several trails to pick from but we wanted to follow the water. Our plan was to walk up and get the shuttle bus back down.

watkins glen state park waterfall gorge rocks bridgeWords cannot really express the beauty that we experienced along our walk. A gentleman was behind us with a professional camera on a tripod. He made the comment, "This is a hidden treasure!" That about summed it up. The steps were wet at some areas and you walked under falls, in little tunnels and up many steps. At times we just stopped and enjoyed the view. John did well with his knees, stopping many times along the way to have a seat and just observe.

As we neared the end there was a set of very steep steps which we took very slowly. An elderly couple was just descending the steps. I say elderly, but they were probably our age. Anyway -- she had a four legged cane and was having difficulty maneuvering the stairway. I said to them (I am always talking to people we encounter -- I have the delusion that they care what I have to say!!) that it was much easier on the knees to come up the stairs than walking down. A lot of impact on the knees when going down steps. He said he had a bad heart so going up would be much more difficult for him. We looked back and witnessed the struggle she had placing her cane on each step to allow her to safely step down. Now there is a couple that probably should not have been doing this. But you have to give them credit for trying. I sure hope they made it ok.

It is now 9:40 and we have completed our hike up the gorge and what a wonderful experience it was. The shuttle bus was already there waiting for us. John paid the $3/pp and we hopped on and rode to the bottom.

We were back in our car and out of the park at 10:05. At 10:39 we were heading west on Rt86 toward home. Our short cut worked out fine!

Another great trip! We want to go back and do more wineries!! So much wine and so little time!!

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