The four days we just spent at Keuka Lake (sans kids) were some of the most relaxing days we've had all summer. There's a lot to love about the place - more, maybe, than can be captured in one short blog post. But I'm going to try:
1. The Kelly family collages that cover the upstairs walls of Alicia's family's cottage. They start in the late 70's/early 80's, right after Alicia's grandfather bought the place. They tell an awesome story - a story of a family and a story of hairstyles. And bathing suit styles, too. 2. The party boat. Who doesn't love a pontoon boat? Perfect for sunset cruises with wine and cheese, or for a quick morning fishing trip.
3. Frolicking. Alicia is a champion frolicker, on land and on sea. When she's got the neighbor's trampoline, she gets even more air than usual. (As an aside, the lake is cold. Take-your-breath-away cold.) 4. Lolabear. Yes, Lola actually lives in Maryland with Mike and Alicia. But she is such a great lake dog. All day, she lays on the dock, only getting up when somebody's caught a fish (and then, only to sniff it). Also in this picture: morning coffee on the dock, watching the lake. 5. Fishing. I don't fish, but Keuka provides a perfect vacation for the boys. Bill's idea of a great day involves a whole lot of sitting, while Mike and Cooper need a lot of variety to stay entertained. Somehow, fishing meets all of their needs. 6. Wine tasting. The Keuka Lake area has several wineries, some of which even make good wine. This was my second trip to Bully Hill (below), where the wine is so bad that even Jen and I had to spit some of it out. But as bad as the wine is, the wine-tasting experience is so much fun.
Aside: I actually had to spit most of it out, as I'd gotten myself "rose-ed" the night before - which is exactly what happens when I break my self-imposed "only drink rose while eating" rule. I made the rule for a reason. I should stick to it.7. The Pinegrove Inn. From the outside, it looks like a slightly gussied up trailer. Inside, the menu boasts just about every type of fried food known to man, and beers are all under $3. The service is super-friendly, too. Oh - and the drive there? If you get lost, like we did, and drive in circles, it just might be the most entertaining 30 minutes ever. Gravy fries and Labbatt's Blue Light at the Pinegrove Inn. Because it's important to save on the beer calories when you're eating gravy fries.
9. Watching sailboat races from the dock. Since this is one of my favorite activities at home, too, it's no surprise that I'd do it for hours at Keuka.
10. Clammin' and Jammin' at The Waterfront. Unfortunately, Jen and Bill had to leave on Sunday morning, but Cooper and I stayed through until Monday so we got a chance to spend Sunday afternoon enjoying a little live music and a whole lot of people-watching at The Waterfront, just down the street from the cottage. The music was really very good and watching the dancing was more entertaining than words can describe. We might have even done a little dancing ourselves...
The food at The Waterfront ranges from steamers and salt potatoes to, well, a lot of fried stuff, all served in handy plastic baskets.
We were lucky enough, too, to sit through three short rainstorms, which finally culminated in a pristine rainbow - a perfect way to close out the trip.
Some other things I love about Keuka Lake, but that are not pictured:
11. The way water shoes really lengthen the line of your leg.
12. Alicia's cinnamon buns and not eating any healthy food at all for four days.
13. Watching Cooper sit inside and beat Medal of Honor, jumping up and running out only when his fishing line got a nibble. (Also, yes, Cooper did wear that hat ALL THE TIME. It's his vacation hat.)
14. The way sitting around encourages us to make up games that work with or without drinking. The new one: someone picks a word, then each person in the group has to sing part of a song with that word in it. Hours of entertainment, guaranteed.
What a great, great trip.
[Pictures mostly taken by Alicia, Mike me.]