Early June brought the chance for my husband and I to spend some time in the beautiful wine country of the finger lakes region in New York. I'll admit to being a teeny bit of a wine snob, and ten years ago, I probably would not have made the trip with such enthusiasm. Why go there when there's Napa, Sonoma, Washington State, Oregon? Well, for starters, because all of those places are a lot farther away. So we decided to give the east coast vineyards a shot and I'm so glad we did, because it was a slam dunk- gorgeous views, delectable wines, comfortable temperatures and reasonable prices. Here are some of the highlights of our trip-
Konstantin Frank Winery:
Founded in 1962, this vineyard was a labor of love from Ukranian immigrant Dr. Konstantin Frank whose dream was to bring European style wines to America. He pioneered cultivating grapes in the cold climate of the finger lakes region, excelling in delicate varietals like riesling, gruner veltliner and later, chardonnay and pinot noirs. Four generations later, this family winery produces an astonishing number of award-winning wines in every style- dry, sweet, late-harvest and sparkling, and the tasting room was a phenomenal experience. Our steward, George, informed us immediately that we could try anything we liked, and we sure did. George was exceptionally knowledgable, having worked at the winery for over 20 years, and he was ridiculously entertaining. He only got funnier as we worked our way through Sauvignon Blanc (orange blossom on the nose, perfect acidity), Rkatsiteli (the oldest wine grape known to man, notes of tea leaf and lemongrass) and Saperavi (never even heard of it! only grape known to have red skin and pulp). This vineyard has an excellent reputation, and if I could only hit one tasting room, this would be it.
Downtown Penn Yan:
A tiny local gem, Penn Yan diner opened in 1925, and has been serving delicious homemade fare ever since. We grabbed seats at the retro train car bar to enjoy the show as the ladies cooked up eggs, bacon and pancakes on the flat-top griddle. The food was great, but even better was the classic diner atmosphere, including sassy little signs covering every inch of the walls. Down the street and on the opposite end of the spectrum, we enjoyed incredible coffee and pastries at a hip new joint, Amity Coffee. It was great to see the town have room for both the old and the new!
This beautiful, long, y-shaped lake is the third largest in the region, and there are plenty of marinas offering boat and kayak rentals. There are even tours that will drop you off at several wineries over the course of the day- better than an Uber if you ask me!
Overall, our visit was absolutely charming, with plenty to see and do. We just barely scratched the surface of what this gorgeous area has to offer, if you get a chance, check it out for yourself!
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