Saturday, August 9, 2008

Finger licking good

Here are some photos from our recent trip to New York's beautiful Finger Lakes region, just north of Ithaca. We went for an event called Grapehounds, where 16 wineries along Cayuga Lake open their doors to wine tasters and their canine companions. We have been the official photographers of the event for three years. Although we go to work, it is also like a mini vacation that we can bring our hound, Lochrima, along for. We always enjoy the slower pace, the cool summer weather, and the incredible scenery, but one of the best reasons to go is for wine tasting. I promise you will come home with a few bottles!

The area can be remote at times, often reminding me of rural areas where I grew up in Tennessee, but it was peaceful to be so far out of range that the Blackberry was even cut off. While it was nice to not have work emails following us on our country excursion, there was an interesting juxtoposition of the satellite TV in our cabin and the roosters outside waking us up every morning. As not to waste our time on vacation watching TV, I put on the 40's radio station which set the mood perfectly. (Although Rissa probably would have preferred to watch Food Network a little more!) If you want to check out the PET FRIENDLY cabins yourself: Fingerlakes Cabins

Here is Taughannock Falls State Park, where we hiked to on Sunday. It's quite beautiful and very dramatic. Rissa couldn't believe that the giant ravine was made by water and not men! Lochrima enjoyed cooling off her paws in the stream after the hike.
Everyone looks this good while hiking right???
I had to hunt this little guy for quite some time through a stream before I got the photo I wanted. Rissa and Lochrima were very patient, but probably a little more bored than they let on!This hound licks his chops much like me at seeing all that wine! Some of our favorite places to go on Cayuga Lake:
Bellwether Hard Cider- Our absolute, #1 FAVORITE! Hard Cider made here is the best we have ever had. It's okay that it is so easy to drink because the alcohol content is lower than wine and beer, otherwise you'd be in trouble!!! We are such huge fans of Bellwether, we always bring back a case or so of their ciders.
Cayuga Ridge- They have a wonderful sparkling cranberry wine that is just delicious.
Montezuma- Unusual fruit wines like peach, apple, and blueberry in sweet, dry and sparkling varieties. Also they have Mead!
Buttonwood Grove- They have my favorite dry reds of the region - make sure and try the Vermillion...
On your way out towards Ithaca, stop at the Cayuga Lake Creamery for some homemade small batch ice cream or some wine sorbet. MMMMMMM! This little country eatery also has a yummy menu of fried foods - always a nice treat.

Once you get back into downtown Ithaca, go to the Moosewood Cafe, a destination Rissa has been trying to get to for 15 years. This is the year we finally found it (downtown Ithaca is somehow confusing to navigate for us, tho we get around DC just fine!). The restaurant was the first major vegetarian eats in the United States, started in 1973. The original chef, Mollie Katzen, has written zillions of great cookbooks and her recipes will dazzle your taste buds either at home or in the cafe. And the vegan chocolate cake was really, really delicious!

Now that we have planned your whole vacation for you, go before summer is over - and please bring us back a bottle of cider!

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