Finger Lakes Getaway: Wineries & Seneca Lake State Park

It’s sometimes hard to exhale when the trip is too short. It takes times to settle and release my body into it. Every morning we’ve woken up to the sounds of ducks and sat at the end of the dock with coffee while we planned out our days, looking across the water. Sound carries across the space and it’s not always clear where it’s coming from. The strip of land provides an echo.

Ravines Winery, housed inside a lofty barn with snack offerings like lavender-infused chocolate, proved to be one of our favorite winery stops of the trip. The road to the tasting room was a precarious series of dirt-and gravel hills that tested our determination for that glass of dry Reisling. As we left, we passed a woman confidently pushing a baby stroller up the dusty hill with no visible destination in sight. It remains an enigma.

When we pulled into a winery called Once, we were immediately suspicious at the lack of cars in the driveway. That’s always a red flag. Inside, it was whisper quiet and exceedingly manicured – a far cry from the rustic quaintness of most area wineries. We sat and decided to try one of the bites-and-wine pairings as the attendant opened up the garage-style doors leading to the patio, letting cool air rush in. We learned that rather than make their own wine, this spot features wine from multiple high-rated area wineries. The pairing came with one perfect bite per glass – it was unexpected heaven. Pickled vegetables with a spicy aioli, whipped goat cheese with horseradish. Fine dining in itty bitty pieces. By the time we left, like a domino effect, more and more cars had started to arrive. I like to think we started something.

Bellangelo Winery was our final stop of the trip. A chatty older woman talked us through the wine and promised us that the $9.99 bottle was only that cheap because they’d overordered cases in 2020 for weddings that never came to fruition. Still though she exclaimed, “you can offer it to guests when you’re outta the pricy stuff”.

On our final day in Geneva, we broke up the winery routine with a trip to Seneca Lake State Park, which spans the northern portion of the lake. It was a crisp, sunny day but the wind at the tip of the lake was unexpectedly biting. Still, we wandered along the park pathway with few other visitors, relishing the sunbeams when they poked through the white clouds. The trees were twisted and leaned inward towards the water. Some were endlessly tall and covered in dusty yellow leaves.

Dinner at Ports Café (make a reservation!) topped off the evening. Fried chicken with a thick crunch, sharp cheddar mac, and tangy collard greens. Just enough to soak up 3 days’ worth of wine and one beer tasting from Big Alice Brewing Co.

That night we sat at the end of the dock for what felt like hours as the sky turned peachy, purple, blue-grey, and eventually dark. Ducks floated around lackadaisically and the lights on the other side shown over the water like mirrors. Some days during the transition back to “normal”, I am unsure of my footing. The old no longer fits or feels nostalgic, but I don’t know what the new is yet.

The stillness was like a waking meditation, settling my heart and the blood in my veins. My system needed to breathe like that – infinitely in that way. I’ll always need the feeling of endless space.

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