Sunday, September 15, 2013

A Bzzzzy Visit to Keuka Lake

Anne Leach has been my friend since we were in Monroe Community College together.  There is a lot of history here!  We did not get together often over the years as she was raising two kids and working in the BOCE school system along with the fact that we live on opposite coasts. Whenever we do get together it is like we saw each other yesterday!  I can't say enough about facebook for bringing people together ( I can say other things about it but that is beside the point). Now I can see pictures of her husband, sisters, children's weddings as well as the grandchildren that have since been born. It keeps one busy.  She and hubby, Steve, have a summer cottage on Keuka Lake, one of the 11 Finger Lakes in New York state. It is the "wishbone shaped" lake. This link has good information on the region that is rich in farming including vineyards and wineries. Truly beautiful topography.

I hopped into the Trailblazer with a google map in hand ( no gps and my phone couldn't "locate the server" grrr) and headed out of Penfield, or tried to.  I had to turn around about 5 times before I was heading in the right direction. The roads have sketchy signs at best, for instance, Marsh Rd is only Marsh Rd on the left side. It is another name on the right (my) side of the road so I blew right through that intersection. NY-31 E/Palmyra Rd/Pittsford Rd had a tiny old blue street sign that said Palmyra Rd. The NY-31 was only visible when I figured out to turn onto Palmyra Rd.  Frustrated to say the least, but everyone who lives here knows that Marsh Rd is where the Chevy dealer is and that is where you turn.

Happily I was finally heading east on the NY State Thruway and pretty much knew where I was going. Just follow the numbered roads! The radio station that I tuned in happened to be  "The Wease Show" on 95.1 The Brew radio station. Weasel, as we called him, used to date one of my roommates from 199 Meigs St. He was a crazy helicopter pilot stationed in Vietnam at the time and is still a riot! Don't think I'll have time to look him up.

I pulled over near Keuka College to call Anne to say I was close. The day was perfect, warm and sunny. The lake was calm with no one on it. The perks of visiting during the week.

There were tuna croissant sandwiches and local Reisling wine waiting for lunch. Perfect! We headed down to the lake to uncover her boat and go for a ride. The family golf cart shuttles everyone up and down the steep hill to the dock. I opted to take the stairs so I could get some excercise after the drive and lunch.  Anne loves to pilot her boat around the lake and I think we covered every inch. It was, beautiful. The lake is surrounded by bluffs, parts of which are covered with grapevines. We planned on visiting a few wineries the following day.

Dinner was had at the Esperanza Mansion where Anne's daughter, Bridget's wedding reception was held. The views were breathtaking. She had driven me past the Chapel that Nathan and Bridget were married in when we were out on the boat earlier. It should be a long and happy marriage with a start like that.

I woke up to fish jumping in the lake while hooked to a fisherman's line.  So cool!  A canoe was lazily cruising past the house too.

Off we went for some shopping, wine tasting and lunch.  Dr.Konstantin Frank was the winery I wanted to visit, known for their white varietals, particularly Reisling. I was surprised by the extensive line up of not only whites but red and sparkling wine as well as the large winery tasting room.  Guests are invited to wait in a "holding" room until a wine server comes to fetch them. An interesting way to control crowds.  I introduced myself as a "representative" from Peachy Canyon Winery in California and our server couldn't have been nicer, offering much information on the grapes and wines of the region.  I wasn't too keen on the reds but the sparkling, Reisling and Gewurztraminer were great. When my late husband, Steve and I had visited 15 or so years ago the winery was a little house pouring two white wines, Chardonnay and Reisling.  After I ordered a mixed case of various dry Reislings and Gewurztraminers to be shipped home, we were on our way to "Bully Hill Vineyards" for lunch. This winery has a colorful history and I suggest you check out the link for an interesting read about the founder Walter S. Taylor (yes that Taylor of Taylor Wines) and the goat. Unfortunately their wines are not that good. Most people must buy them for the quirky labels and the fun atmosphere in the tasting room. Lunch was pretty good with lake views.  It really didn't matter as Anne and I were having a blast laughing about past antics.
Anne's lunch, Scallops on Portabella mushrooms at Bully Hill

Back at the cottage we relaxed by the lake. It was choppy and breezy. I sorted through the coarse sand and rocks for bits of glass and shells. There were some pretty good pieces. Anne is amazed that I find that stuff and actually like it. When we returned to the house we heard buzzing as in bee/wasp buzzing.  We looked at the picture window in the front room and it was covered with yellow jackets.  She freaked out as she is allergic to them.  After a search of her shed she came back with a can of some kind of poison.  Unfortunately we couldn't get it to squirt.  Off we went to get a fresh can.  I suggested we  pick up some Benadryl just in case.  Back to the hive we went. I sprayed them and watched them fall to the ground. Outside we found their point of entry and sprayed that too.  I was feeling nauseous and wanted a glass of wine. Hoping we covered our tracks we took off for dinner in Penn Yan at Lloyds Limited, A Pub. It is a popular stop for locals and people going to the races in Watkins Glen.  I ordered a "beef on weck" because I have always wanted to taste this sandwich which is a favorite in nearby Buffalo, NY. The kimmelweck ( weck) roll is covered in salt and caraway seeds. It is filled with sliced beef and horseradish. I couldn't get past the salt.  I mean probably a days worth of sodium in just 1/2  a roll. In my salty days I probably would have loved it.  I took the second half to go. Anne ate it the next day and totally agreed with me. We are getting to be "old saltless fogies" I guess.

When we got back to the bee carnage I could still hear buzzing.  Sure enough they had made their way into the living room and were clinging to that window.  Shushhhh went the can of poison.  We closed the glass doors and went to bed, hoping they wouldn't make their way upstairs. 

The next morning I carefully lifted the bed covers and listened for buzzing, none. I slipped on my flip flops and went downstairs to the bathroom. Achhh! They were still flying around. One tried to follow me into the bathroom but it was kind of drugged so it didn't make it. The floor was covered in dead or mostly dead bees.  I had to be careful in the kitchen as they were lurking on the cabinets near the sink. For some reason I remembered that they can still sting you if you step on the dead ones.  I was out on the patio sipping some tea when Anne came down, barefoot! Holding my breath I asked her where her shoes were and ran upstairs to retrieve them explaining that she had just dodged many landmines. Realizing there was a real problem she was on the phone trying to find a bee exterminator. I was laughing hysterically as she was passed from one operator to another when the company was supposed to be right there in Penn Yan.

It was her birthday and we had plans to go to hear the "Invictas" an old rock and roll band from the 60's back in Rochester on Lake Ontario that evening. I packed up to drive back to my brother's and wished her luck in finding an exterminator. I knew she wouldn't give up until one showed up. 
Happy Bee Day, Annie!