NY Road Trip: Lake Ontario Wineries

I was worried that I wouldn’t feel “away” while traveling in my home state, but I don’t think many of us spend time truly seeing the state we live in. NY is geographically huge, and I have only really visited a few small parts of it. The same parts I tend to go back to time and time again. After spending a few days in the Finger Lakes, we began our journey further north towards Lake Ontario, an entirely “foreign” part of New York. The further we drove, the more the roads opened into fields of corn and farm stands. Our pit stop for the day was a cheese tasting that took place inside a big wooden barn adorned with string lights.

When we finally got to the rental house just outside of Ransomville, there was nothing but country roads and whispers of towns. The house was flooded with soft light and stood along an endless stretch of lake that looked more like an ocean. Canada was visible as a faint cluster of buildings far into the horizon with geese circling around. Tiny flies poked at lakeside windows.

Our first night by Lake Ontario was spent cooking at “home”. The closest grocery store is a little shop almost 9 miles down the road, but it had all that we needed. I plated pasta with fresh mozzarella, lemon, and tomato while Katie set up our outdoor table overlooking the pale pink sky. It’s nostalgic and “away” up here, like we’re further than just a drive from home. Sleep was a dream and the rush of waves was a lullaby.

We spent our first few days in the Finger Lakes exploring wineries, so naturally we chose to spend our time by Lake Ontario exploring wineries. For comparison, obviously. The wineries were more spread out in this area but all of them set along quiet country roads. Every place did tastings differently. While most Finger Lakes wineries were bustling and poured your wine with a side of vineyard history, it was more common up here to be handed a tray of samples in tiny plastic cups and be sent outside to take in the view. The vibe was more casual. You got fewer descriptions like “grassy on the nose with notes of apricot” but plenty of space to lounge and chill.

Indoors, only because we were the sole patrons

Each day we explored a few new wineries, and our box of purchases filled to a precarious level. Some of our top favs were Bella Rose and Gust of Sun Winery, the latter of which had lounge chairs set up around a tiny lake and offered bags of cheese balls to fulfil the NYS “food with drink” policy. We started seeing some of the same people at each stop, which is probably a sign that we should have replaced one or two wineries with a hike. There were two older women who always had two full bottles open at their table everywhere we ran into them. 12pm…5pm, didn’t matter. Two full bottles. They’re who I wanna be when I grow up.

One night we drove to Wilson for dinner at Sunset Grill for some bangin’ glazed salmon and a beer (since we already drank all the wine in Lake Ontario). String lights decorated the back patio as the sun dipped low in the sky.

Later on we took advantage of the outdoor hot tub, with mugs of spiced hard cider we had swiped from Muranda cheese tasting on our drive to town. Fall was clearly slipping away, and my toes stung as they touched cold stone floors on my sprint between the hot tub and my kitchen.  

Canada in the distance

This place is tucked away like a secret, above all the towns that others tend to visit. The light dances over the cornfields on one side of the house and deep water stretches across the other. We’re lost at the edge of the land.

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