Only two weeks have passed since I visited Hammondsport, NY and the Seaplane Homecoming Event which was held there, but the change of season is really making its presence known. The first few yellow leaves are now supplemented with a few oranges and reds in the nearby hills. Come to think about it, peak leaf viewing time comes between the 5th and the 10th of October in the Finger Lakes and that is only two weeks away!
The village park in Hammondsport is now deserted. Gone are the noisy seaplanes, the boaters, and most of the visitors who came to enjoy Keuka Lake and the “Coolest Small Town in America”. Around the lake, most of the boats are still in the water, but they too must soon be taken away and stored from winter’s harm. The beautiful hill which protects the little village of Hammondsport from the biting cold west winds is just beginning to show its colors – yellows, some reds, and the greens of the pines.
Up on the hill at Bully Hill Vineyards, the grapes are ripening in the late September sun. It’s been a good year for grapes in the Finger Lakes as we have had ample rains this summer. But the real test will be the sugar concentration in the grapes when they are harvested.
The sun is warm but there is a cool breeze that is coming up the hill from the Lake below. All around Keuka Lake, the grapes are being harvested in the vineyards. The steepness of the hills around Keuka Lake reminds me of how difficult it must be to farm on such steep slopes. It’s definitely a young man’s game as we lose the strength in our legs with each passing year.
The flowers outside of the Bully Hill Restaurant were happily basking in the afternoon sun. Inside the restaurant, a cup of black coffee warmed our insides before our lunch was served. But be forewarned; bring a warm sweater or a nice sweatshirt, as the breezes coming up the hill are deceptively cool. On the wall in the restaurant are some of the paintings of Walter S. Taylor. The self-portrait which hangs there shows him as something different from what I had imagined him to be. But you can see from his paintings that he enjoyed life – especially the beauty of Nature’s colors as he saw them.