Friday, December 2, 2011

Finger Lakes Mini-vacation Day 2 part 4

You might say to me, “what’s the big deal about Geneva, NY? You spent a few hours walking around, and now you’re acting like it’s the second coming of Great Barrington or something.”

 I would say, to you “Chill. You had to be there.”

This wasn’t my first time wandering around Geneva, NY. The first time I drove through this city was a long time ago, when I was at the University of Buffalo and instead of our usual route driving from Buffalo to NYC, we took US 20 east across the state, just to see what there was to see. We drove through all sorts of small towns, some attractive, some almost not there at all. We saw fields of corn and wheat; we saw apple orchards, lakes, power lines, the usual. What we didn’t see on that trip was eagle nests on top of the power line pylons, we didn’t see signs for wineries, micro-distilleries, cider-presses, and so on.

A couple of years ago, we were driving from a Bed and Breakfast in Seneca Falls - the wonderful John Morris Manor, photos of the exterior soon to be posted - to the western shore of Seneca Lake’s Wine Trail. The drive took us through Geneva. I saw a sign for the historical society so turned,  we parked and went into the Prouty-Chew House. Then we walked around the historical district, which is on a hill overlooking the lake on the western side of the town. What we saw was the lovely frame row houses, stately brick homes, elm tree lined streets, and it felt great. The next time we were in the area, we walked around the downtown. I like places that invite you walk around. I might’ve taken photos, I don’t remember. Perhaps I’ll go into the archive at some time and check. The town felt right to me, like a place that might happen soon, rather than a happening place. It was the same on subsequent visits.
Microclimate Wine Bar
Future location of  the
Microclimate Wine Bar

Microclimate Wine Bar
James-Emery Elkin
This time around, I stopped to talk with people as well as look around. Something is definitely going on. The guy leaning on the door is James-Emery Elkins. He came back from California, bought the building he’s standing in, and is building a soon to open wine bar that will focus on wines and their terroirs, including and featuring wines of the Finger Lakes, but not limited to them. It will be called the Microclimate Wine Bar. I look forward to tasting, drinking and eating there.

He told me about Milesand May Furniture Works - should be an ampersand in there but the html keeps changing it to something else. They moved up from Brooklyn – DUMBO I believe, changed their name from SMC Furnishings, bought the former Geneva Cutlery Company, later known as the Geneva Forge factory on Lehigh Street, renamed it the Cracker Factory, turned into their new manufacturing facility and an arts and entertainment center, and that’s attracting businesses into the district.

A little later in the day, visiting a winery on Keuka Lake (Ravines – photos to follow in a day or two), I mentioned my conversation with James with the person pouring for us, and he knew James and was excited about what James is doing.

South of the city, as I previously mentioned, are the wineries. Many of them are making excellent wines from grapes they grow themselves or from dedicated vineyards in the area. If you can’t find the wines at your local wine and liquor shop, search for them online. There are too many to mention here. The NY Cork Report is doing a good job following the winemaking, beer brewing and distilling industry in NY State, and the Finger Lakes in particular.

Anyway, I like Geneva enough to seriously consider it a place to relocate to when I’m ready to give up headhunting and settle down to write, shoot pictures and earn a living doing something else. That’s the future. It doesn’t exist until I make it happen. As always, click on the picture to enlarge it. Right or ctrl-click (cmnd-click on a Mac) to open in a new tab or window.

I’d like to thank Karen Osburn of the Geneva Historical Society for helping me with the name of the cutlery company that was in the Cracker Factory. She went out of her way to get the information for me. The Historical Society is definitely worth a visit when you find yourself in town. 

The backs of houses in the
Historic District

You guys come again
and we'll show you a
really great time!

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