The NY Road Not Taken Oct06


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The NY Road Not Taken

On August 14th the day we crossed back into the US from our third trip into Canada I distinctly remember the awful stench of exhaust that filled the air as we waited in the border crossing line. Buffalo NY, our first stop for gas, was when I convinced Lin to take the back roads. She obliged as she often does and we headed out Route 20, past one corn field after another. It still surprises me how much corn we grow in this country. Sprinkled in between the fields were country style homes and very small communities.


We were headed to the Seneca Lake region of New York, located in the north west about 40 miles south of Lake Ontario. It’s also equidistant between Syracuse and Rochester. Our purpose here was to visit a B&B for sale. Around this topic, I will be speaking in very general & vague terms as we are bound by a Non-Disclosure Agreement.

The campground we chose was on the lake. Outside of permanent seasonal residents I’m pretty sure we were the only guests. However, we were greeted by a back-woodsy looking fellow who might have fit right in on the TV shows Duck Dynasty or Moonshiners. But not only did he check us in, he also helped us do our set up chores. Nice! We’ve never had that privilege before. You know what your mama says about judging a book by its cover – well it’s true and we should all try and remember it the next time we feel Judge Judy creeping in.

Once the heat subsided, we drove around to do some reconnaissance on the area. It’s a pretty quiet part of NY, even smaller than most of the towns we passed while driving in. Views of the lake at dusk were pretty and so were the deer we saw in the field munching on some farmer’s crops. There must be more to this place, but it was dark & we were tired – we’d explore more tomorrow.

Dusk on Seneca Lake

Dusk on Seneca Lake


This could have been our bedroom....

This could have been our bedroom….

The meeting with the innkeeper went very well. The inn was clean & comfortable, but decorated in the usual antique style. Tastefully done, although, very much not our preferred decor. The owner seemed very systematic, handy, and meticulous, giving us the impression the inn has been well cared for. It was a lovey property with a lake view and included enough space to hold weddings, but no living space for us, outside of the inn. We spent a couple hours there asking questions and gathering information, and with no other questions we left to find a lunch spot to discuss our findings.

No decision was made and it seemed that we had equal number of items on both sides of the pros & cons list. We needed time to let it settle. Bellies were full and it was time to see what else this place had to offer. Wine and really cute fruit stands were the answer. Well, that just added two more things to the pros list.

For the last few years, the number of vineyards has multiplied like a frisky bunny. With over 30 wineries, a distillery, two breweries and a meadery in the area, how would we choose? Well, to start we opted for the one closest to our lunch spot and from there we selected based on the names or signs that captured our attention. It’s clear what led us to Rasta Ranch Vineyard.

Rasta Ranch

Throughout the day we met several genuinely wonderful folks. One winery host listened to details of our adventure and my casual mention that I missed getting together with friends for drinks &/or dinner. By the time we left we had exchanged business cards and received an invitation to join her for dinner that evening. Although we didn’t accept her offer, it was very nice to have been asked, especially by someone who we had just met 10 minutes before. At another winery, the lady pouring wine didn’t take herself too seriously and when asked how many samples were including in the $5 fee she responded, “how many do you want?” Can you ever imagine that happening in Napa or Sonoma?

This area was certainly presenting its best features during our stay. How would we make this BIG decision. Surely, it was time for a list. Several people had encouraged us to eat at Suzanne’s, but we weren’t all that hungry when meal time approached, so we did the next best thing. We arrived without a reservation – gasp – and wouldn’t have gotten a table except that we explained our plan was to only have dessert. The hostess shared that when she and her sister dine together, they always eat dessert first. This way they always have room. Brilliant, I must try this more often myself. With gorgeous desserts plates and suggested wine parings in front of us we began working on our list.


Although we weren’t able to make a decision that night, we stewed on it for a couple of days before we made the difficult choice to pass and not take the road that led to a New York B&B. So many of the elements we desire were being presented, nice community, financially viable business, lush & spacious land, room to grow the business, lovely community, but it isn’t near any of our family or friends and doesn’t have separate inn keepers quarters. Lin came up with a great analogy: it’s sort of like the perfect biscuit, warm, flaky, moist, golden brown, fluffy, but with a huge bite taken out of it. In the end we just couldn’t get over the missing biscuit bite or those two hurdles.