|Wagner Valley Winery and Brewing Co., on Seneca Lake|
|Seneca Lake, view from near the Watkins Glen Harbor Hotel|
This was my first official trip to the Finger Lakes Region. The lakes are referred to as "fingers" because they are a series of long, narrow lakes formed by glaciers that used to exist in upstate NY. Seneca Lake is right in the middle of the region and has over 50 wineries, plus a few breweries and distilleries. In addition to the wine, there is a lot of cheese, beautiful parks, waterfalls, and very nice local establishments that serve fresh, regional cuisine.
(Click below to read more.)
The most difficult part about booking this trip was getting information on lodging. There are not a lot of major hotels in the area and most people seem to stay in bed and breakfasts. I've never stayed in a bed and breakfast and we were looking for a full-service hotel (with cable, wireless internet, a restaurant, etc.), so we took a recommendation from a friend and booked a room at the Watkins Glen Harbor Hotel. We got a great deal on the room since we traveled during the off-season and we booked a weeknight stay. The hotel opened in 2008, so it met my requirements for modern amenities. The hotel has an indoor pool, fresh beachy/nautical colors, and a great restaurant.
I loved the blue/green/grey/gold color scheme and the comfy king-sized bed. We had an LCD television and one of the nicest hotel showers I've ever experienced. The shower was huge and had a clear glass door and a lovely custom tile design. Plus, who has ever seen a hotel room with laminate flooring? I love it!
We left home early Sunday morning and drove right into an unexpected snowstorm once we crossed into New York. Unlike in our area, the drivers were courteous and careful and everyone reduced their speed so we made it into town safely.
We even managed to visit three wineries on Sunday afternoon - during the snowstorm! Rest assured, these wineries were close to our hotel and by the next morning the roads were much better and the snow ended. I believe the total snowfall was about 12 inches.
We enjoyed both lunch and dinner at the Blue Pointe Grille (the hotel restaurant) due to the weather. I ordered the Orchard Harvest Salad and I loved it so much that I ordered it again for dinner.
E ordered the fish and chips for lunch...
And the fillet mignon for dinner.
We also enjoyed calamari with marinara...
And seafood chowder...
Even the bread was exceptional. There was a (sourdough?) baguette and an olive baguette and a crisp flatbread. All breads were served warm with tapenade, herbed butter, and regular butter on the side. I don't normally enjoy olives, but I really liked this bread.
We didn't have room for desert, but guess what came with our check?
Chocolate-dipped maraschino cherries on a cloud of whipped cream! Too cute, right? Just enough sweetness to make you smile even more after a good meal.
The food is only the beginning. We spent nearly two days tasting Finger Lakes wine. We came home with two cases of wine and over a case of beer. I'll save that for another post.