You’ve imagined it a hundred times: that weekend where you and someone you love wake up, jump in the car and, free of any responsibilities or obligations, just drive. You grab coffees on the way, with only a rough idea of destination, a childlike hunger to explore, and by the time you get there, a very real hunger. More often than not, a weekend like that remains a dream.
Well, not to brag, but I just had that kind of weekend and I want to share the details because it was a totally excellent adventure. The destination was Skaneateles, New York, a small town at the northern tip of Skaneateles Lake, the second smallest of the Finger Lakes and the second cleanest in the world behind Lake Geneva in Switzerland. Skaneateles Lake is so clean and clear it’s somewhat disturbing (I mean, what does that say for the other lakes and bodies of water I’ve been swimming in my whole life?)
Perhaps the best part of Skaneateles is the journey there: you cruise along mostly empty roads that meander past red barns, fields of wheat, apples, corn, and the grapes that make the area’s Reislings. The rolling hills are awash in vibrant reds, oranges, and golds- the colors so rich I could swear I’m looking at paintings of the real thing, because surely our world isn’t that magnificent. Once there, you could hole up at a cozy B+B, do a few wine tastings, or just sit on the lakefront, watching clouds pass and birds fly. It’s all good. No, it’s all perfect.
There are some charming spots to stay and eat. We had a lovely little lunch a the Sherwood Inn, a stately house painted blue, facing the lake. Wine Spectator gave the restaurant an Award of Excellence in 2007; indeed their wine list is impressive. The food is traditional American with few surprises, but the execution is laudable and the meal was exactly what we wanted: fresh, tasty, inexpensive (being a city girl, I forget how cheap upstate can be). A spicy red pepper bisque, crab cake, seared scallops with pancetta, an open-faced reuben and a frosty Oktoberfest are pictured below.
Too bad we were full when we discovered Doug’s Fish Fry. Smart people were getting their food to go and eating it outside, either at picnic tables in Doug’s back lawn or along the lake.
Magically, we weren’t too full upon discovering the local bakery. They had a little donut machine cleverly set up in the window, so I could watch all the fresh donuts pop off the conveyor belt into this big white bowl. I ate one, covered in sugar. Of course.
After donuts, we meandered over to Anyela’s Vineyard and did a tasting. While I tried a couple of Finger Lake grapes- the Cayuga White and a new grape called the Noiret (neither of which I particuarly liked), the Reisling remained the strong point. Anyela did a very nice semi-dry Reisling that seemed particularly delicious while sitting outside on Anyela’s large veranda overlooking the lake and hills, watching the sun turn the trees yet another shade of gold.
I do recommend not wasting any time. You should skidaddle up there while autumn is in its full and awe-inspiring glory. Surely it won’t last much longer, as nothing that good ever does. Here is some info:
Where to Stay:
Sherwood Inn, Rooms start at $130. More info here.
Hobbit Hollow Farm, rooms begin at $120 in peak season, most are around $200. Click here.
Visit Anyela’s Vineyard- click here.