For Brooke's 30th birthday weekend I planned two nights at a bed & breakfast in upstate New York's famous wine region, the Finger Lakes. Comprised of eleven lakes fanned out like eleven fingers (duh), this region is central upstate New York is apparently perfect for growing various types of wine grapes. I don't get it, nor do I pretend like I do. All I know is that my wife loves wine and she loves road trips. It was a recipe for success. I had a half-day at work on Friday, September 30th, so after packing up Hunter and dropping him off with my parents for a night (and Brooke's parents for Saturday night), we hopped on the Mass Pike and headed west 333 miles to Dundee, NY. A few cups of coffee, some drive-thru fast food, and a quick stop at a Walmart was all we needed to make the six hour trek. Our lodging for the weekend was at the 1819 Red Brick Inn, and it couldn't have been nicer. It was old, charming, immaculate, and most of all, warm and welcoming. Run by Rob & Wendy Greenslade, the inn was best part of our trip. We arrived a little later than expected, but Wendy had stayed up to welcome us for the weekend. She showed us to our room and made us feel at home from the moment we arrived. We dropped our bags and on the advice of Wendy headed up the road to Penn Yan for dinner at Lloyd's Limited, a British pub. The food and drink was delicious, but it had been a long day. We headed right back to the inn after dinner and it wasn't long before we both found ourselves in a deep slumber.
We crashed pretty hard after a long day and long drive out to the region, so multiple cups of coffee and a great breakfast by Wendy had us fully prepped for a long day of sampling more wine than we could ever imagine. We departed from the hotel rather early to make sure we hit as many wineries as we wanted and boy, did we ever.
Our first stop of the day, mere minutes after breakfast, was Castel Grisch Estate Winery. This German winery seemed pretty cool, and after sampling three or four styles of wine we hopped in the car and meandered our way up the wine trail to our next stop. (I have to make a confession: I have absolutely no idea what kinds of wine we sampled, nor do I remember all of the wineries we stopped at. The rest of this story is really like 70% the whole story. Now, carry on.) The next few wineries we stopped at were Lakewood Vineyards, Fulkerson Winery, and Villa Bellangelo. They were all really nice and each unique in their own way. After a full morning of drinking lots of different wines the only thing on my mind was lunch. We headed north on Rt. 14, the Seneca Lake Wine Trail, and headed back into Penn Yan (which stands for "Pennsylvania Yankee") to grab a bite to eat. While we thoroughly enjoyed Lloyd's the night before, one of our cardinal rules of travelling is to not eat at the same place twice, no matter how great. We settled on the Keuka Restaurant, as if our options were plentiful. Diet Coke has never tasted so good. OK, so I'm exaggerating, but after drinking wine for four hours straight before lunch, a carbonated beverage was a welcome sight.
After lunch we hopped back on the trail, this time the Keuka Lake Wine Trail. We had kind of had enough of wine, so we only hit two more vineyards before calling it a day, Keuka Spring Vineyard and McGregor Vineyard Winery. Both of these wineries stood out, and we ended up buying several bottles from each. The afternoon was getting late and we were pretty tuckered out, and having decided that each wine tasted like every wine, we headed back to the inn. We mingled around the inn with a few other guests talking about our respective days, and where we were from, etc., and then the most random thing ever happened. In an area that's not without it's fine restaurants, every one at the inn, all ten of us, were too tired to go back out into the cold rain to fetch a bite to eat. Thirty minutes later we were all seated around the table digging in to a half dozen large pizzas that were delivered right to our door. It was very out of character for Brooke and I while on vacation, but it just seemed so right. We were exhausted and it was gross outside - nothing sounded better than delivered pizza and pajamas. A few hours later, after sitting around getting to know our fellow guests, Brooke and I retreated to our room to catch some shut-eye.
Brooke and I enjoyed a second straight night without having to get up to the sounds of a 16-month-old. We eventually made our way down to breakfast around 9am (I remember this because of how much of a rarity it was for us to enjoy such a late morning with such a little guy at home). Because we hadn't seen Hunter P. and because it was at least a six hour drive home, we were packed and ready to go right after breakfast. We took a slightly different route home taking 90 the whole way from Syracuse all the way to Worcester. It was a great weekend away just the two of us, and it's something we both acknowledge we need to do more often. It's a quiet, scenic area of the northeast offering a lot to do for people who enjoy wine and food and all other culinary adventures. If anyone ever plans on touring that region of the state, by all means book a night at the 1819 Red Brick Inn. The inn really stood out as the best part of our trip. Yes, it was our first time at a B&B, but pay no mind to that. It was a truly great spot, and it comes highly recommended.