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Tag Archives: Finger Lakes

Skaneateles Lake

My thought today is to take a look around and notice all the splendor of this beautiful world. Just 2 and a half hours from Buffalo, outside Syracuse, is a quaint little lake town called Skaneateles. If you enjoy dining (with so many delightful options), shopping, boating, fishing, swimming, and simply experiencing a lovely place to visit, please visit Skaneateles.

Skaneateles Lake itself is 16 miles long. It is smaller than the biggest Finger Lakes which are Seneca Lake and Cayuga Lake at 37 miles long. The waters are so clean and pristine. People just drink from the water!

 

Follow along in my video and see why this place is so special. Take the time to look around.

Sincerely,

Trish

MacKenzie Childs Barn Sale

On a 85 degree, no clouds, no shade kinda day in the thick of the summer, with 15,000 of your closest friends, there’s nowhere you’d rather be than the MacKenzie Childs’ Barn Sale. Holy Checkers!  For Buffalo people, this is Aurora, NY on Cayuga Lake about 2 hours and 20 minutes away. It can be confusing because Buffalonians have East Aurora as a suburb and the Town of Aurora. To repeat, this is Aurora, NY. In the Finger Lakes. Plan your road trip accordingly. It’s not 20 minutes away!!

 

 MacKenzie Childs is located on a 65 acre farm as peaceful and picturesque as any fairy tale. They started selling their unique and whimsical handcrafted ceramics in 1983. It’s pricey. Sticker shock is real. But so is the desire for something unique, a couple treasured objects, the sport of hunting for a bargain and a lasting memory. As crazy as this seems, this is an annual tradition for so many. The vast majority of the crowd was female but there are always the guys that are really into decorating or the helpful husbands who run back and forth to the car with bags, chairs and coolers. It’s crazy because the wait to get in is a couple hours or more. The lines are insanely long. This is in the heat of the summer. So yes, pack water. But yes, also enjoy meeting others in line, discussing the past sales, what you are looking for this year and time passes quickly. Everyone has a story. Everyone traveled here. People will pull out lists and lists of presents they are buying for Christmas, and you realize the joy and excitement people are feeling in that moment, transpires to different holidays and homes across the country.  Soon the paper bracelet of the day is applied to your wrist, the specials of the day are announced, you are given brown paper bags with handles, the music plays and in you are on your way to tent 1, 2, 3 4, and more. It’s impressive the vast amounts of merchandise there is and also the large amount of easily identifiable staff working the sale in the turquoise Tshirts.

This is our first experience and I have a few tips.

Timing is Everything – we decided to go first thing on day 2 of the sale. I have heard that Day 1 is a mob scene but quite frankly, so was day 2. I think the absolute worst time to show up is at 10 or 11 am because you will have your longest wait. Go early and later. I also think that the last day Sunday is a good choice. There are further mark downs and maybe a little less people.

Stamina – you will need it. You will be standing, hunting, talking, and many people coming up to you and admiring something in your shopping cart and saying “where did you find that?” You will need water if it’s hot out (another reason we chose the morning hours). Also, on the topic of shopping carts, don’t grab one until you are in the barn sale- they will take it from you while you are in line. I’d bring a wagon if you want your own caddy.

 

Please watch the video. It will make you feel as though you were there.

 

Goal- People come with a goal or a list and many get all their Christmas gifts at this sale. People go through catalogs and have long plotted out their plan. Also, have a budget. You could really go crazy and blow a lot of money. People tend to over load their shopping carts and thought out the tent sale there are restocking shelves for you to place if you decided not to purchase something you grabbed. There’s a lot of stimulation. It’s easy to over grab, so make a list and stay focused, but also have fun.

There are not that many things that are unique experiences anymore. So many friends do this annually. They make a memory of it. If something asked me right now..what was the best memory for you in the summer of 2017 ? I would hands down say….The Mackenzie Childs Barn Sale. It was because I was with my daughter Caroline. It was because we made a trip out of it. It was because we stayed in Seneca Falls and enjoyed our stay there. We swam, we visited a winery, and we discovered such delicious dining places. The Finger Lakes are God’s fingers on earth. Just taking a couple days to be together to laugh and escape is invaluable. It was a new and exciting experience. It’s easy to criticize and say “look at all those suburban women with money buying more stuff,” but it’s so much better to see the greater vision of this small town with artists who inspire and make you feel like you can create anything by mixing patterns and crazy designs. I can’t help but admire these artists who created this pottery and made this town famous for the black and white checkerboard design.

And just like anything in life, you need to experience it for yourself. Someone can give you a checkerboard MacKenzie Childs piece and you’ll be happy, but it is just so satisfying to wait the two hours to get into the sale and find your own checkerboard piece…now there is a story behind it. It’s just like money, someone can hand you money, but when you earn it yourself it simply means more and is more valued.

Keep making memories.

Sincerely,

Trish

Worth The Trip. Guaranteed.

If you live in Buffalo and want a little escape, visit Skaneateles. There will be a treat waiting for you . Beautiful scenery, a crystal clear lake and fabulous restaurants. And that includes the best hamburger known to man. (*my humble opinion). It’s only 2 hours and 15 minutes away.

I know. I know. And I do agree. We need to eat more turkey, veggie, and more tofu burgers. But hey, if you want to try the best hamburger in the state of New York or even the world, (hey, I’m passionate about this) you need to try the Mirabeau Inn and Spa Burger in Skaneatatles, NY. Now this burger is going to cost you, it’s not your average 6 dollar burger, it’s a whopping 17 dollars. Keep in mind that that hamburger is only available for lunch. It’s so worth it folks, and the little ketchup container sealed the deal.

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The famous Mirabeau Burger. 8 ounce prime beef, with portobello mushroom, balsamic braised onions, and gruyere cheese.

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Caroline is getting ready to order the famous Mirbeau burger. What a beautiful place to enjoy the scenery over-looking the Koi pond.

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The lunch menu at Mirabeau Inn and Spa in Skaneateles.

Now, in case you want to enjoy breakfast at Mirabeau Inn and Spa, let me suggest the almond french toast.

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The almond french toast tastes like an almond ring. So decadent.

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Caroline notes how almost every menu now features small plates, roasted brussel sprouts and beet salad. Gilda’s in Skaneateles sells a lot of risotto balls and sweet fennel sausage pizza. Thumbs up on the restaurant trend. We love the simple homeyness of the menu placed on a sheet of cardboard with office clips.

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At Gilda’s, we were real happy with our arugula pizza and roasted cauliflower. Perfect for a lighter dinner.

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Looking for a more casual spot for breakfast and lunch that is absolutely delicious? Try the Skaneateles Bakery.

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This is what the best grilled cheese sandwich looks like. The grilled gruyere sandwich with caramelized onions, sliced apple & whole grain mustard on marble rye.

Now you might be wondering if all we did in Skaneateles was eat, well, of course not. But that’s another blog. We had some great work outs, walks, and bike rides. There are other wonderful places to eat in Skaneateles but we highly recommend Mirabeau, Gilda’s and Skaneateles Bakery.

Hope you enjoyed reading this blog. I love being with my children and photographing them. Take the mini trip. Love them up. And you know one of my favorite topics is food. Oh dear.

Sincerely, Trish

One Gorge-Ous Day

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One new adventure a month. It’s our new goal.

      Maybe it’s this incredible appreciation we have now of being able to breath, walk, live, and love. Or perhaps it’s life itself and having each other. Maybe? No, it is just that. We are not the same and the message is urgent to experience life and love each other. We have set out on a new goal of experiencing a new adventure each month to push ourselves to live life to the fullest and never waste time putting things off. Nothing extravagant. Just something new to heighten our senses. This past Sunday we went to Seneca Lake and hiked Watkins Glen and I’m hear to tell you the tale. First, let me confess, despite living in Buffalo all my life…I am embarrassed to say I have never been to Watkins Glen. What the heck is wrong with me?? They say it’s one of the top 3 State Parks in the USA. Again I repeat- I have never been to Watkins Glen and my husband has never been either! What?! We decided that we both thought of it as home of NASCAR races and that wasn’t our thing. But it is so much more! There’s a Ben & Jerry’s! And it’s so close! And it should be experienced. It’s the most famous of the Finger Lakes State Parks. Now, if you go on map quest and the driving distance to Watkins Glen from Buffalo is 2 hours and 28 minutes….why do we all look at that and think we somehow failed if it takes us longer? Who cares? What’s the rush? Don’t travel with us. We stop and smell the flowers. But, we do tend to speed things up on the way home.

All the talk of geology went over my head. Keep it to a 5th grade level. This is Greg . tour guides are free. They add to the experience.

All the talk of geology went over my head. Keep it to a 5th grade level. This is Greg. The tour guides are free. They add to the experience. How can you not dig their passion for the formation of the Finger Lakes?

     When we arrived at the South End of Seneca Lake we decided to “fuel up” at the Seneca Harbor Station. It’s a delightful little nautical theme restaurant over looking the lake that serves some darn good ribs. From there we went to the TOP of the gorge path ($8 dollars to park) so we could simply walk down the 832 steps. Who’s counting? Oh, I did. The 2 mile path descends 400 feet past 200 foot cliffs, generating 19 waterfalls along its course. The gorge path winds over and under waterfalls and through the spray of the Cavern Cascade with spectacular views of the gorge. The guides are free and available at 10 am and 1 pm. I like free. I like to learn about the steps along the trail that were built compliments of FDR and the New Deal money. The guide lost me a bit on the talks of erosion, Arcadian mountains, super continent, glaciers, sandstone, shale and a famous deer. Heck, I just wanted to take pictures and not slip. Mission accomplished. My two cents- they should have made the trail wider when we had the New Deal money.

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I was fascinated by how damp and wet the trail was and all the ferns and moss that grow in the rocks.

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The sign read “No Swimming” but did not say “do not dip your feet in the running water”

     I will now list several observations that were not included in the guided tour. 

1. No dogs allowed. Thank goodness. You are not going to find many hand railings on the trail and you don’t need your dog pulling you off the slippery path down a waterfall.

2. No swimming allowed. That did not stop people from doing so.

3. I saw way to many people who should not be on the hike. Older folks, babies, and those limping. Not to mention all those wearing flat flip flop sandals! Hum, I wonder if people thought I should not be on the trail.

4. The only wildlife I saw was a chipmunk.

5. Have a nice dry pair of shoes waiting for you in the car.

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This hiker found himself looking at my camera instead of one of the 19 waterfalls.

     It’s such a great feeling to complete the hike. We got caught up and gave each other “High 5’s!” It was not a great feeling having wet feet and not bringing another pair of shoes. Most people start on the bottom at the main entrance and walk up. Take it from me, start at the top and walk down. There is no need to walk back up to get your car. Why walk up and down? An hour and a half is plenty. We started at 1:00 and ended at 2:30. There is a shuttle bus for $5.00. That’ll do the trick.

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We went on the Stroller IV at Captain Bill’s for the narrated boat cruise. That will set you back $16.00 a person.

     We ended our day with a narrated sightseeing cruise on Seneca Lake which gave me all new information. The lake is fed by underground springs giving it little chance to freeze over in the winter. The lake is named after the Seneca Native American tribe. Salt manufacturing is also done at the lake and US Salt and Cargill manufacturing plants can be seen from the boat cruise. That was all we could do in one day. We hit the open road and headed home and both agreed we were so glad we hiked Watkins Glen and did not buy a single souvenir item despite being tempted by the “you’re gorge-ous” t-shirt.