Enjoying fall in the Finger Lakes is like trying to squeeze some grapes for the juice, you want to keep on squeezing until you get that last drop of goodness out! And that’s just what Jeanette and I do when an exceptionally warm sunny fall day comes along; we take a little drive just to just see what is going on in this beautiful region as the picture keeps changing rapidly now.
We always take the back roads so we can see what is happening on the farms, the orchards, and the vineyards in the Finger Lakes. The good Lord must have smiled when he finished carving out this region. The late fall cabbages are being harvested near Penn Yan. These are the ones for canning and are harvested with a mechanical picker. Just across the road, there is another field of carrots to be harvested. I don’t know how they harvest the carrots but these aren’t the little wimpy carrots that I try to grow in my garden – these are giant carrots and if you happen to buy one at Tomions Farm Market near Penn Yan, you only need one or two carrots as one carrot is more than a bunch of carrots which you buy in the super market. These carrots are made for soups and stews and have a wonderful flavor.
Our destination is lunch at Watkins Glen, but first we drive through Penn Yan, then on towards the Windmill Farmer’s Market near Dundee and then to the little village of Dundee itself. Along the way, there are rows and rows of white plastic wrapped bales of hay for the cattle during the winter months, and stacks of firewood for the wood stoves near the homes to keep you warm during the winter months. Just across from the Windmill, there is sale of extra bales of hay going on that was harvested this summer. It’s always a guess as to how much grain and hay that you will need to sustain your livestock during the winter.
After passing through Dundee, we come to the top of the hill and the drive down the hill to route 14 and Sececa Lake. I will never forget the beauty of the Finger Lakes but it is this drive down the hill from Dundee to the Glenora Vineyards, past the farms, and orchards, that I will always remember. And as you drive down the hill, beautiful Seneca Lake comes into view!
After a nice hot bowel of Manhattan clam chowder and some hot tea for lunch, I almost forget about my cold. We return home, our stomachs filled, and our minds fulfilled with all of the sights along the way.