Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Finger Lakes Mini-vacation Day 2 Part 3

Here are a few more photos taken on Saturday, 11/26, late morning, around downtown Geneva, NY. I’ll have more to say with the next post, I hope.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Finger Lakes Mini-vacation - Day 2 part 2 - Geneva NY

City Hall
Geneva, NY is a small city located at the northern end of Seneca Lake, in central New York State. Once upon a time, it had an industrial base but now it seems a bit down at the heels but ready to become something new. Immediately south of Geneva on the west side of the lake, and extending nearly the full length of the shore, are many wineries that are making wines worth seeking out. I will write more on that some other time.
On Saturday, a surprising day if for no other reason that an almost balmy day at the end of November is quite unexpected, we parked the car and walked around. I like the buildings that line the downtown streets and with camera in hand, I took pictures. Thank god for wide angle lenses.  I know this outside my usual subject matter, which is people. I hope they are good. Notice, there are no people in these pix. It’s as if the town was posing for me.
Someday, I will go look up these buildings so that I can know more about them: who built them, when, and what their history is and was. The YMCA building, in particular, was surprisingly beautiful in its detail, and reminded me of a Richardson building. But you judge for yourself.

I’ll post more Geneva photos tomorrow. 
The Old YMCA - detail

The Old YMCA - detail
The Old YMCA
The Old YMCA - detail

Monday, November 28, 2011

Finger Lakes Mini-vacation Day 2 Part 1 - Geneva NY part 1

Saturday morning, after a leisurely and delicious breakfast at the John Morris Manor in Seneca Falls, the B&B where we stayed, we drove west on US 20 through Seneca Falls to Geneva. Geneva is a small city that is waiting to happen again. More on that later.
This is the first of quite a few pictures I took walking around the downtown on a pleasant Saturday morning. The four pictures of toy cars are for my friend Ron, who collects toy cars. They were in a large store divided into antique dealers' stalls. There's all sorts of interesting things to see there, and I am still thinking about what I might want that I saw.
I don't know much about the Headless Sullivan Theater, except it's been there every time I go. The Bentley is parked on a side street. It has some serious damage to its front right bumper. It's parked in front of a second hand store - that's furniture, appliances, dishes, glassware, tvs, knick knacks, you name it. There's a wooden Indian in front of the store. You can see it on the left side of the picture. That's Seneca lake in the background.

The Comedy Playhouse Bar and Restaurant's story I simply don't know.
Much more to come over the next few days.

I want to add, I like Geneva. More on that, too.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Finger Lakes Mini-vacation Day 1

Took a mini-vacati0n in the Finger Lakes this weekend. If you don’t know where and what they are, the short story is a handful of long, finger-like lakes running north/south across central NY State. The lakes were formed by glaciers; they are scenic and several of them have wineries on and near their shore, which is a very good reason for making the trip, because many of these wineries make excellent wines that are generally unavailable in the NYC metro area except via mail and web orders, and tasting them does mean a pleasant drive north.

I didn't take a lot of photos, and none of dinner. Food porn is someone else's forté, not mine.
Column still viewed from
the tasting room.
The first afternoon, we stopped at a fairly new distillery, Finger Lakes Distilling, and only one winery, Damiani Wine Cellars, both in Hector, NY, overlooking the eastern shore of Seneca Lake. They are neighbors and so it was easy enough to go from one to the next before heading north to Seneca Falls, where we’d be staying. It was hard to drive on past some of my favorite wineries on the eastern side of the lake, but it had been a long drive and there’d be time to visit a few more the next day. You can start to find out more here
Pot Still viewed from
the tasting room.
Whskey aging as seen
from the tasting room
Tasting room entertainment
I’ve been to Finger Lakes Distilling once before, shortly after it opened. They are a craft distiller, making limited quantities of their products. Their ingredients are locally sourced as much as possible, and given a chance, anyone working there will proudly tell you about it. I think my previous visit was in 2009. At that time, they had their white dog, Glen Thunder, their Vodka, Vintner’s Vodka, and their Gin, Seneca Drums. They were getting ready to release a rye and aging their first bourbon. They also had some eau-de vies. Recently, they’ve added a “pure pot still whiskey” distilled from malted and unmalted barleys. I had a chance to speak briefly with the whiskey maker, Tom McKenzie. He is rightfully proud of his work.
Tasting room bar

View across the lake at sunset

Damiani Tasting room
Lou Damiani and admirers
Immediately north of the distillery is the tasting room and some of the cellars of Damiani Wine Cellars. This was my second visit there. The last time was in January 2011, days or weeks after the tasting room opened. It was a snowy, blustery afternoon and both Lou Damiani, the winemaker, and his son Gabriel, were holding forth behind the bar. Damiani is making some excellent wines, in particular both Cabernet Franc and Pinot Noir or doing well – Lou is very proud of what he’s doing with them, and the reds are his babies. But that doesn’t slight the terrific dry Riesling and Gewürztraminers that they are making. Good stuff all around. I bought two cases of the 2009 Pinot Noir when it was released, as well as a couple of half-cases of the Cab Francs from available vintages. This time we bought more of the 2010 dry Riesling, more 2009 Cab Franc and some bottles of the 2010 Syrah.

We finished the day with dinner at the Clarence Hotel's restaurant, Vineyard 108, in Seneca Falls.
More tomorrow about day two.

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