So we left it off on we left the truck at the Finger Lakes and drove the Milan home…
It was a good thing that we drove the rental home, instead of staying up there another day to wait for it to be ready – 1. David was committed to a Six Sigma Kaizen event for the whole week and needed to be there. 2. The truck wasn’t ready till Wednesday afternoon.
We decided to make an adventure out of the trip so we reserved a camp site at Watkin’s GlenState Park , by Seneca Lake. We looked up online and found the Finger Lakes Wine Trail website and decided that we should incorporate some wine tasting for picking the wedding wine during this trip.
So on Friday morning, we packed up the Milan (we unpacked when we got home… why? We don’t know…) and left work around 3 for the Finger Lakes. We arrived at T&R Towing around 9pm. We picked up the truck and hooked up the camper, and off we went to Corning Airport to return the rental. Luckily, Hertz was still open. So now I have rented the car for 7 days for 42 bucks a day, with a 10% AAA discount. But all of the sudden, the guy is charging me 500+ for the week! The computer automatically jumped into a weekly rate with 20% AAA discount, which was still way more than the daily rate for 7 days! Now, it’s a good thing I actually get to return the car with a person, instead of doing the Express Returns, because I would have never be able to get the cheaper rate after they already charged me! So beware of rental car companies! Make sure you compare your daily prices vs. weekly prices!
We got to the campground around 10:30ish, and we had NO IDEA which campsite we suppose to go to… Yeah, silly me forgot to look at what campsite number we registered. The park ranger was away when we got there, so we were just sitting there, wondering when we would be actually able to go to sleep. Just as David got in the car (he was at the ranger station to pick up a campsite map for the park) when the ranger showed up. He gave us two sites that are reserved for the weekend and off we went to find the right one. When we got to the right campsite, what do you know? It’s the smallest site on earth! There was no way we could have the camper and the big truck in the same site! So we ended up using the next site over and changed the registration in the morning.
Just as we were getting ready for bed, I clear out my purse to put everything in order, and realized that I have lost my debit card. Yes, the drama never ends! Needless to say, I was freaking out. I called the rental car company (they were still open) and the guy went out to the rental to see if the card was in the car, nope. I went through everything I owned and still couldn’t find it. So we decided to go back to the airport in the morning before our adventure starts.
When we got to the airport the next morning, the Milan was gone – it was taken for cleaning. We walked around the parking lot and went into the airport to ask if anyone had found a credit card – nope. I was about to cancel the card and David said, lets just go to the gas station where we stopped for gas, it’s only couple of miles away. I went into the station while David went to the pump. And the lady behind the counter took out my credit card after asking my name. I’ve never lost a credit card before, and I certainly would not want to go through that again!
We went into downtown Corning for breakfast before we started our wine tasting. We stopped at this little café that has the biggest cinnamon roll I’ve ever consumed! After having it with ice chai, I considered to stop at a pharmacy to get some anti-acid! It was super sweet and super delicious, but maybe not my best choice for breakfast. Just as we were about to leave town to go start our adventure, we spotted a wine store and decided that we should probably get some professional opinion on which winery to stop – After all, there are quite a few… The owner was very nice and after asking some questions on my preference, suggested few wineries for us to try and gave me a map for the wineries.
The nice owner of the wine shop put * next to the shops he thinks I should visit
As you can see, he circled quite a few based on my preference. I keep saying “us” to go wine tasting, but it really is only me since David doesn’t drink. He was just being super sweet to drive me around to search my perfect wedding wine.
We decided to go around Keuka Lake first and stopped at Dr. Konstantin Frank Wine Cellars. This is the winery that Jo at The Hart House had suggested. She actually had quite a few selections on her wine list from here. I tried out Dr. Frank Dry Riesling, Dr. Frank Semi-Dry Riesling, Salmon Run Riesling, and finally the Chateau Frank Celebre (champagne). Surprisingly, I didn’t like them as much as I thought I would. I am a sweet wine drinker, so I steer clear on the reds. I enjoyed all that I tried, but they weren’t quite what I was looking for.
The view of Keuka Lake from Dr. Frank’s Vineyard
We then stopped at Keuka Spring Vineyards. This is a family own business – the owner’s son was the one giving me the tasting. After we expressed that we are looking for wines for the wedding, Judy, the owner, came and explained some of the wines that are more popular for weddings. I tried Cayuga White, Celebrate!, Merlot, Crooked Lake Red and Clara’s Red. I never thought a red wine could be sweet the way I like, but Clara’s Red met that. I also tried their desert wine, Late Select Vignoles. YUM! That’s all I have to say! I picked up a bottle of Clara’s Red and a bottle of Late Select Vignoles to go home with me.
Giant barrel outside the tasting room
Those are the two wineries around Keuka Lake and we went across to Seneca Lake. Our first stop there was Hermann J. Wiemer Vineyard. Hermann is from Germany and his family had always been in the wine making business. While I was there, I tried Gewürztraminer, Dry Riesling, Semi-Dry Riesling, Late Harvest Riesling, and Select Late Harvest Riesling. Needless to say, I was in love with the Select Late Harvest Riesling. It’s sweet but not syrupy, it’s actually very light and clean. I really wanted to get the Select Late Harvest Riesling, but decided not to, especially we weren’t sure how many other vineyards we were going to stop, we didn’t want to end up with 100’s of dollars of wine sitting at home.
Beautiful Iris outside the tasting room
Anthony Road Wine Co. was our next stop. I tried Semi-Dry Riesling, Semi-Sweet Riesling, Tony’s White, Tony’s Red, Sweet Dream and Semi-Dry Vignoles. I ended up going home with Tony’s White. We also got a block of cheese while we were there since we were so hungry by then. When we got in the car, we decided that we will go to only one more winery then we’ll go back down to Corning for the Corning Museum of Glass.
The last place we went was Fox Run Vineyards. I tried Arctic Fox, Fox Trot Red, and Riesling. All three were very good. I bought the Fox Trot Red home with me. Arctic Fox is actually very good as well, and it is in a beautiful blue bottle! But I picked the red to go home with me since I already had quite a few white wines. We say goodbye to the wineries and were on our way to Corning in no time.
David and I had joined the Boston Museum of Science awhile ago as members and we had been able to use it for many different museums, including The Field Museum and The Museum of Science and Industry, both in Chicago. We were very excited to find out that we were able to get in the glass museum using our membership with Boston Museum of Science for free! The museum was very cool – it included many different exhibits on glass history and art. We also went to the “Hot Glass Show”, where a gaffer blew glass live and showed you how it all works. We didn’t have the time to actually make our own glass, which is also offered at the museum. But if we ever get a chance to come back this way, we would definitely consider doing it. Half of the museum was also a store, show casing many glass pieces by many artists around the world. I came home with these:
A mug, a magnet, and two stems of glass calla lillies
We left the museum around 7 and made our way back to the camp ground. We started a HUGE campfire and made some dinner and turned in for the night.
We packed up the camper and left the campground around 10am and had a very unadventurous trip home.
Finger Lakes Region is beautiful, and if I have any chance to come back, I will. Of course, hopefully without all the trouble we’ve gone through during Memorial Weekend.
Stay tuned for our final pick for our wedding venue!