While staying in the beautiful Finger Lakes area of New York, Matt and Emma joined us for several days of camping. I had mentioned in my previous blog that they were spending a few months in their RV traveling around the U.S. and Canada. The Finger Lakes is wine country, one of the top producing wine regions in the U.S. We were amazed at the number of wineries, many near Cayuga Lake and our RV park. I had to chuckle when we went through the small town of “Lodi.” In the Central Valley of California where we used to live, there was also a wine town called “Lodi” about 40 minutes from our city. In addition to wineries, there are also a variety of farms to check out. For a few days we decided to explore this agricultural heart of New York State.
I don’t really have a wine palate since I only occasionally have a little wine, but it was fun to do some tastings at a few wineries. Our first stop was at the winery above located in an old red barn. After another winery stop we headed to the Lively Run Dairy, a goat farm that gives tours of their cheese making operation.
We were given a platter with a nice variety of goat and cow milk cheeses to sample. They were delicious! After our little cheese fest we headed into the barn to see the goats. The highlight were the kids that we watched being fed milk out of a special container. When they were done, they hung around us happy to get petted or hugged as we were introduced to the farm’s milking goats. Through a window we got to see the wheels of goat cheese that had been recently made and they also had a film for us to watch of their operation.
With our goat cheese purchases, we left to visit another farm down the road as they advertised having sheep milk yogurt which Matt was wanting to try. When we arrived we found no one around and followed the path to their small store located in one of the cutest ivy covered barns I have seen.
This is another one of those self serve operations that sold meats and dairy products. On a scale you weighed out your meats, added up the cost with a calculator, wrote down the cost and left your money. Although they did not have sheep milk yogurt Matt did find some when we made a stop later at a local Amish grocery store.
Our next stop was an Amish farm that produces maple syrup. The owner and his kids came to the shop to greet us and he explained the sugar making process and even showed us a little of the equipment they use. Compared to most store prices, the maple syrup was quite reasonably priced here. I noticed on the shelves that there were some jars of sliced pickles as well as apple sauce. Mark had wanted me to pick up some pickles earlier at the local Amish store but they were out of them. I asked the owner about the pickles and he explained that the jars on the shelves had actually been canned for the family, but if anyone was interested in buying anything they were agreeable to sell it. So we left with maple syrup and pickles.
We had the most gorgeous sunset that night at our campground, one of the best we have seen. The sky just kept getting brighter until it looked to be on fire! It was hard to tear my eyes away! One of the park owners who lives just down the hill was also out watching the sky. All of a sudden he yelled out, “I just love living here!” Yes, life in the Finger Lakes looks to be pretty good.
On our second day we headed to a U-pick strawberry farm where we filled some baskets with ripe berries. There is nothing quite like picking berries, a fun experience and hard to stop once you get started. Emma said it was her first time picking them. Matt and Emma were intrigued with the duck eggs for sale here as they had never tried them before and decided to get a carton.
After strawberries, we drove to the nearby small town of Seneca Falls. It was here in July 1848 that the first woman’s rights convention was held with almost 200 women attending. The National Park Service has a visitor center and museum with information on important people and events associated with the movement. The building where the convention was held has also been restored. It was an interesting stop. Seneca Falls also lays claim as being the inspiration for Frank Capra’s film, “It’s a Wonderful Life” which was set in the fictional town of Bedford Falls. It is a favorite film of mine and the town has a small museum devoted to artifacts from the movie. As you walk around you see signs as well as memorabilia in some of the stores celebrating the film. There is actually some doubt whether Frank Capra who visited here had Seneca Falls in mind when he made the film, but the town remains convinced.
For dinner Emma made grilled cheese and tomatoe sandwiches with goat cheese from the dairy we visited as well as fresh tomatoes from the strawberry farm. They were so yummy! I am a big fan of both grilled cheese sandwiches and goat cheese! To go with our sandwiches, Matt and Emma made some tasty Mimosas with ingredients from a winery stop. In the picture below, you can see the jar of Amish pickles that perfectly complemented the grilled cheese. I made strawberry shortcake for dessert that night with the strawberries we picked. For breakfast the next morning Emma made us duck egg omelettes with more goat cheese and pancakes with the local maple syrup. We made good use of our farm purchases!
After dinner we played a little disc golf since the park has a course close to our site. We all really enjoyed the open space at this campground, especially our grand pooches, Zida and Harry who loved running all around the fields. Of course playing disc golf often involves searching for a wayward disc and one of ours went right into some thick bushes. Emma and I tried to convince the guys to avoid possible bug bites and poison oak but they were determined to find it. Eventually though they had to just give up.
Having Matt and Emma camping with us made our stay here even more special. Alas, we had to go our separate ways to more adventures, but we would see them once again in Maine in a few weeks.
Thanks for checking in! In the next blog we move on to the Hudson River Valley of New York.