Friday, October 29, 2010

Last of the Crop

Sorry for the bad Blackberry photo

It's officially the end of the growing season here in Upstate New York. All the gardens and cropfields have been overturned, resting for winter. The pumpkins have all been plucked from the patch, and now, the apples have all been picked. I just came in from the orchard and was happy to find about a dozen little beauties hanging precariously, as if one more mighty gust would knock them to the ground. I always love how big the last apples of the season get, and these four are no exception.

So, what are your weekend plans? Halloween parties, or just staying in? I am hoping to finish the kids' costumes tonight, and complete the Halloween goodies for any trick-or-treaters. We also have a delivery of firewood coming tomorrow morning (snow is expected next week). I'd love to hear about your plans, and have a safe Halloween.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

V-formation (The Geese Travel): Geneva, NY

So, you might be thinking that this is a travel/food only blog. It's not intended to be. However, that wouldn't be such a bad life, would it? Just baking all day, gallivanting around the world and whatnot?

For the long weekend, Dave and I decided we needed a break - from work, from volunteer and charitable obligations, from house projects,  and (I feel so guilty saying it) from kids! I grew up near the Finger Lakes region of New York State, and it feels like Dave and I have been talking about doing a wine tasting trip for ages. On Friday we packed out bags and off we went. We made a quick pit-stop at my parents' house to drop of the kids (both the two-legged and four-legged varieties), kissed them goodbye, and were well on our way for three days or R&R.

We decided to stay at Geneva on the Lake. I had heard many good things about the inn, and one of my very dearest friends worked there during college. Nestled on the northern tip of Seneca Lake, it was the perfect setting for a romantic get-away. A wine and cheese tasting was held at the inn that evening, but (as usual with kids) we got a later start than anticipated and missed it. After checking in we were shown to our suite (a Landmark Suite).

The living room of our suite

The nice thing about Geneva on the Lake is that all rooms are suites, and are decorated with Stickley furniture (the people who now own the inn also own said furniture company - how convenient). Our bed was already turned down, and a bottle of Cayuga White wine and chocolate-covered strawberries were awaiting us. I realize this is totally cheesy, but i don't think a little "cheese" ever hurt a marriage.

After freshening up and putting on "nice" clothes, we made our way down to the Dining Room for a lovely four-course dinner. Wowie. The food was out of this world, as was the dining room.

The ceiling of the dining room

We booked a package that included our dinners and breakfasts, and it was well worth it. (Author's note: please excuse the vivid details of the food you'll be witness to... I love to eat) When we sat down, we were presented with a beautiful bread basket and three types of butter. A small crudites platter with a Dip du Jour was also placed on our table (roasted red pepper that evening). I ordered a glass of Riesling (my favorite wine), Dave stuck to water. For the first course, I had the jumbo shrimp cocktail and Dave had the cream of mushroom soup. Second courses consisted of a black tea-smoked duck breast on micro greens with a champagne vinaigrette (me) and a baby spinach salad with cremini mushrooms and baked goat cheese in phyllo-dough shells with mustard vinaigrette (Dave). We were served an intermezzo of champagne-soaked melon balls with a relatively generous helping of caviar. I had a bourbon-glazed pork chop with mashed potatoes and fall harvest stuffing for my main course, while Dave opted for the Raspberry-reduction filet mignon. Both we delicious. We could barely finish them, so we had them wrapped for a "midnight snack" in our room. We also took dessert to our room. Dave chose the caramel-pumpkin cheesecake while I enjoyed a genoise with fresh berries and a vanilla sabayon. Before heading up to our room, we walked around the property and enjoyed watching the twinkly stars in the black sky. We made coffee in our suite to accompany the dessert (we dove into those strawberries, as well), and enjoyed them in our bathrobes. I think my dress was about to pop anyway. We called it an early night, as we knew there was a long day of boozing it up awaiting us in the morning.

On Saturday, I woke up bright and early, as I had a fabulous in-suite massage awaiting me. I tried to convince Dave that we should have a couple's massage, but he insisted he'd rather get a little more sleep than have his kinks worked out (no, not those kind of kinks you dirty people... sheesh!). So, I had a massage and Dave slept in. We had a delicious breakfast in the dining room (some of the best pancakes I've ever had!), and worked off some calories with a mean game of Bocce on the lawn (Dave won... that is to say, I let him win :-).

We took off for our first tasting stop, Three Brothers. This winery is a bit unusual, as it has a brewery and three wineries all in one location. Whenever given the option of beer or wine, 9.5 times out of 10, I choose beer. So I bellied my way up to the beer tasting bar. I'll admit it was quite the scene - me in a dark pink sweater amongst a sea of manly plaid. I tasted the Riesling Ale (the best of wine and beer in one glass), American Black Lager (tasted like chocolate and coffee), and the East Coast Amber. I was impressed with all three, but decided to go buy a growler of the Ale, Lager, and one of Root Beer.

Rows of wine grapes at Three Brothers

We decided to venture to Cayuga Lake and visit an old favorite, Swedish Hill. Dave and I have been here before (Dave did a tasting, I was preggers with Eric, so I only sampled the grape juice), so we knew what we liked. Being that Columbus Day Weekend is the busiest weekend for tastings, we decided to forgo the sampling and just grab two bottles of Doobie Blues. We already have two bottles of this vintage at home, so this purchase was a thank-you gift for my dad. We also grabbed some artisan cheddar cheese to snack on. While at Swedish Hill, we of course had to pay a visit to Doobie himself!

Doobie shows us his teeth

Then looks at his shadow

Just in case you drink too much and can't remember where you're going... Next stop: Montezuma!

Montezuma was the next on our list. I was impressed with how generous the tasting was and the knowledge of the staff. Montezuma is known for the variety of fruit wines it produces. It also makes Honey Vodka (with great packaging!). We tried the Cranberry Bog, Pear Perfection, Sparkling Mead, Riesling, Diamond, Lake Effect Blush and Blue Moon. I really liked them all, except the Sparkling Mead. We took home four bottles of the Cranberry Bog (two were for mom, it's one of her favorites), and a bottle each of the Riesling, Diamond, Lake Effect Blush and Pear Perfection.

View of Seneca Lake from Fox Run Vineyards

We were hungry for lunch at this point, and had free tasting passes to Fox Run. How convenient, then, that Fox Run has a great cafe! After a long wait, we finally sat down to enjoy a Smoked Turkey, Brie and Raspberry Aioli on Ciabatta. Tasting was next. We tried two vintages of Rieslings (2007 and 2008), Drink New York Riesling, Artic Fox, Cabernet Franc, Ruby Vixen and the Ruby Port. I wasn't very impressed, although, I did like the Cabernet Franc, and I don't usually like Reds. I also liked the Ruby Port. It coated my throat, and I bet it works great as a cough syrup substitute. Needless to say, with the lackluster tasting, we didn't bring anything home with us.

Love this poster (at Fox Run)

Considering my last name is Fox, I had to get this picture

Our inn was right down the road from Fox Run, so we snuck bag to brush our teeth and freshen up. Because we had booked our reservation late, we had to switch rooms in order to stay for two nights. We didn't mind, especially because we were given the Library Suite, which was amazingly historic (it was the Library when the inn was a private home). We were happy to find another chilled bottle of wine in our fridge :-)

The living room of our Library Suite

Because of the inconvenience of having to move rooms, the inn gave us complimentary tickets to the local movie house. We saw "The Social Network." I've heard mixed reviews, but in my opinion, it was a great movie and struck up interesting conversations between Dave and I. We went back to the inn to get ready for dinner. Another fantastic meal. I had the shrimp again, a green salad with horseradish dressing, and roasted duck breast (duck is my favorite food, btw!). Dave had a roasted cauliflower soup, the black tea-smoked duck breast on micro greens, and pork chops. We shared a Riesling-steeped apple for our intermezzo, as well as Bananas Foster for dessert. We took another stroll after dinner, and retired to our room to cozy up next to the fire.

Our fireplace for the evening

In the morning, we enjoyed the breakfast buffet in the dining room (some of my favorites were the ham with horseradish sauce, baked brie and lox). We challenged each other to another round of Bocce - Dave thought we should make things interesting and add "shot put" as an option.

We walked down to the lake and examined all the interesting statues. Dave commented it was kind of like Mr. Potato Head - just pick and choose body pieces (I love him so much, if only for how much he makes me laugh).

Pick a head...

...Then a body

The water was so blue and a stark contrast to the white sails of the small boats.

We bid adieu to Geneva on the Lake and checked out. We took a walk through downtown Geneva and the campus of Hobart and Williams Smith Colleges.

Downtown Geneva

Random photo next to a giant deer
We headed South between Seneca and Cayuga lakes to Ithaca. We stopped at the Carriage House Cafe for lunch (Dave had an Americano and a breakfast sandwich, I had a root beer and juicy cheeseburger).

The Carriage House Cafe

We ventured to Ithaca Commons in search of something sweet (that manifested at College Town Bagels in the form of ice cream). It was only a brief 1 hour drive to my parents house from Ithaca. We were excited to see the kids, who simply looked at us like "who are you?" Glad to know they missed us as much as we missed them. We spent the night at my folks' place and came back to Silly Goose Farm on Monday.

As you've probably realized by now, brevity isn't my strong point. But, only a few people actually read this blog (thanks!!) and those who do know that fact about me already. Either way, thanks for lasting through this long travel post. I'm so glad you stuck around til the end.

Now, back to regularly-scheduled programming of baking and farming and stuff.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Rockport Recommendations

Whenever I travel, I always like to check in with friends who are familiar with the area to get the inside scoop on the best places to eat, stay and explore. So, here are my recommendations for you, should you ever decide to visit the quaint seaside village of Rockport, MA.


Roy Moore's Fish Shack/Lobster Company: This waterfront restaurant is easily situated on Bearskin Neck and is famous for its fresh lobster caught daily. We ate here our first night in Rockport and were very satisfied with the prices, quality of the food, and service. As an aside, it's one of the few places in Rockport you can enjoy a cold beer, provided you order an entree.

Helmut's Strudel: After our first morning swim. Mom and I stopped here for coffee and breakfast pastries. I was impressed with the quality of the offerings (we bought a big bag of "day old" sweet pasties for $3), and the coffee was hot and fresh. Here, you can find both sweet pasties like blueberry turnovers and savory goodies like ham and cheese croissants.

Tuck's Candy: What more can I say other than old-fashion candy store. Yum. Tuck's has two locations in Rockport, with a large selection of hand-dipped chocolates and various flavors of saltwater taffy. Definitely try the dark chocolate-sea salt caramels and pecan clusters. Double yum.


Rockport house rental - Rockport House

We found our rental property on HomeAway, and decided to stay here. It was a great situation with us (especially with small cribs), and the owner was very accommodating. It was about a 10 minute walk into town and 5 minutes to the beach. Some other accommodations (that looked especially cozy) include the Linden Tree Inn and the Peg Leg Inn (both are close to the beach and town).


One of my favorite activities on any vacation is just to stroll through town and take in the sights. Rockport is perfectly suited for this. The town is home to Rocky Neck Art Colony, and there are plenty of galleries to browse and window-shop. If money wasn't an option, I certainly would have come home with a few original pieces to add to my fledgling artwork collection.

Definitely head to Front Beach, which faces directly East, and take in the breathtaking sunrises. You'll be glad you woke up early for it (then head to Helmut's Strudel for breakfast!).

There are plenty of sailing and fishing charters available, as well as hiking trails, parks, wildlife sanctuaries and lighthouses to patronize.

The entire North Shore of Boston and Cape Ann area is immersed in history. Take the time to explore the seaside villages of Gloucester, Essex, Marblehead and Salem (of witch trial fame).

There is also a convenientt commuter train that can quickly transport you to Boston within an hour.

If presented the opportunity, definitely visit Rockport. You certainly feel the "roots" of America here, and time slows a little as you meander through the twisty streets of yesteryear here. Happy travels, no matter where you are headed!

Friday, October 8, 2010

Weekend Listening

Happy Friday friends! This week has been another whirlwind, and I don't see things slowing down anytime soon (in my book, however, busy is good). The good news is that it's a holiday weekend here in the States, and I can't wait for a little break. In fact, Dave, the kids and I are taking a little road trip to visit my folks. While back home, Dave and I will be slipping away for a few days to visit this fabulous inn and do a little wine tasting.

A New Tide

Anyone else taking a road trip this long weekend? No good road trip is complete without good music. My playlist for this weekend will include myriad musicians, but will not neglect one of my favorite bands, Gomez. The band's latest album, A New Tide, is so fun, fabulous and moody all at the same time. From the kitchy, upbeat "Airstream Driver," to the melodic and laidback "Mix," the album is one of my favorites by Gomez and makes the perfect soundtrack for driving through falling leaves.

I hope everyone finds time to relax this weekend, and I'll see you back here next week (with my final installation of our Rockport trip and pictures from our weekend jaunt!). Until then, my friends...

Monday, October 4, 2010

Grand Opening: The Pink Orange

On Friday, I had the pleasure of attending the wonderful Grand Opening of The Pink Orange's new digs! The unbelievably kind, beautiful and talented Rebecca has moved into a new location in the quaint town of Ballston Spa. The Pink Orange is Rebecca's graphic design company that creates the most amazing wedding and party invitations, as well as business cards and other marketing collateral. While I was there, I bought these incredibly cute greeting cards as a gift for a friend (and now I wish I had bought a set for myself!). I thought I'd leave you with a few inspirational shots (taken by moi!) to perk up your Monday, and if you aren't already, please follow Rebecca's blog or find her on Facebook or Twitter. You'll sure be glad you did! Congrats again, Rebecca!

Rebecca's desk (no, she doesn't always keep a party cooler under her desk, but she's still a lot of fun either way!)

That's supermodel Rebecca, in the cream dress

Note to self: Steal this idea!

Saturday, October 2, 2010

V-formation (The Geese Travel): Rockport, Part 2

Hello friends, ready for part two of our Rockport trip (or are you still reeling from the amount of pics in part one)? So, at this point of our trip, it is Saturday morning. And it was cold. Really cold. Like, maybe 50 degrees (okay, I know being an Upstater, 50 degrees is actually warm, but near the beach, it's cold!). That doesn't deter my mother, though. She loves to get up super-early on our vacations and go swimming in the ocean. So, at 6am, we headed down to the beach and I indulged her passion for her own personal Polar Bear club. Sometimes I'm brave enough to hop in, as well. Other times, I just watch the sun come up. The above picture is the sunrise on Saturday morning.

Me, braving the water

Mom heading in.

After our icy escapades, we stopped by a small bakery and grabbed an assortment of pastries for breakfast. We took advantage of the sunny weather and decided to pick some apples at a nearby orchard today, as well.

Edie had to pet every pumpkin as we walked by.

I wish my orchard looked this tidy.

Edie took full advantage of using her new(er) word: Apple.

It took her a while to realize you're supposed to pick them from the tree, not glean them from the ground.

Dave trying to explain the concept.

Eric thought apples were pretty tasty, too.

After a hard day of apple picking (and eating), it was nap time for the kiddos. We packed up the car, picked up some Chinese food for lunch, and headed back to the house. After a restful nap, some Bananagrams, and browsing through the backyard garden (it even had a quince tree!), we decided to head back into town and grab some souvenirs.

Besides finding inspiration in the architecture, I really loved looking at all the gardens. I think I'll certainly add zinnias to my "to plant" list.

I love the look of the hydrangea, petunias, alysum and brick together. Gives me lots of ideas for Silly Goose Farm!

We bought the traditional travel garb - t-shirts, sweatshirts, hats, and some candy from a local shop. Dave and I did plan on traveling down to Boston for the night to grab dinner and say hello to the city we love so much, but it was getting late and decided against it. Mom kindly offered to watch the kids for a bit so Dave and I could have some "alone" time (we haven't had much of that since Eric was born). We enjoyed a beautiful dinner overlooking the water, then a leisurely stroll home. We all went to bed (relatively) early to get a jump-start on the morning's departure.

Sunday morning, Mom and I visited the water one last time.

Ooo, to have that house!

I love how the sun creates beautiful shades of pink, purple and orange.

We went back to the house and prepared for our trip home. Edie topped off her breakfast with a cold drink...

Then took a lie-down while the rest of us packed.

You know it's love when you wear matching Top-Siders.

We are lucky that the trip back to Silly Goose Farm is a fairly direct route from the greater Boston area. The leaves were just starting to change colors as we traveled through the Berkshires.

I was about ready to do this, as well...

Yay! Getting closer to home!

All in all, Rockport was a great trip, and a fun family activity. It will always hold a special place in my heart as the destination for Eric's first road trip (besides going to Grammie's house). I always love hearing real recommendations about vacation spots, so stay tuned for my Rockport report. Thanks for vicariously traveling with me, friends, I'm glad you took the ride.