Thursday, October 16, 2014

Thursday Thoughts (Vacation!)

1. The past week all my thoughts have been about vacation! We just returned from a week in the Finger Lakes region. It is so beautiful this time of year! I loved driving around, soaking in the yellows, oranges, and reds of fall. I was ready to come home after 8 days away, but once I started reading emails and opening mail and looking at the list of 'still not done' crap, I kind of wanted one night in my own bed and then to head out again for another week of admiring fall colors and tasting wine and cheese.
2. I think we had more fun tasting cheese at Muranda and Lively Run Goat than we did at the wineries. That's not to say that the wineries were not enjoyable - the employees were incredibly friendly and knowledgeable and the views were fantastic, but for medical reasons, we both need to watch our alcohol consumption, so we only went to two wineries.

And yes, I know you can spit when you taste wine, but that's just so disgusting. I've never been in a tasting room and seen/heard anyone spitting.
3. Back to the cheese! I need to rave about the smoked gouda from Muranda. SO GOOD. Puts the smoked gouda we but at Costco to shame. It's smoked with hickory and applewood. The cheese that is a blend of Asiago and Provolone was pretty darn tasty, too.
4. The Lively Run chevre was so smooth. We bought a log rolled in herbs de provence. The Finger Lakes Gold hard aged goat cheese was excellent, too. We also got to try several blue cheeses. While I've always liked but not loved blue cheese, preferring it mixed into salads, etc., to just eating it, I liked sampling the different blue cheeses and realizing the differences between them. SP even liked these blue cheeses! One of them was pretty hard (for blue cheese) and I really liked that one.

5. So yes. We took our cooler and ice packs on vacation and our hotel rooms all had mini fridges. We bought a lot of cheese. We brought it home to enjoy in the coming weeks.
6. And yes, we bought wine. The two wineries we visited had fantastic views. We bought a chardonnay from Lamoreaux Landing and 2 bottles from Dr. Frank, mostly because they were new-to-us grapes and tasted pretty good in the tasting room. One is a white wine made from grapes from the Black Sea area (Rkatsiteli) and one is a red made form an Austrian-Hungarian grape (Lemberger). These grapes seem to be doing well in the Finger Lakes region. The Rkatsiteli is a little sweeter than I usually like but not too sweet and the Lemberger is a light red. I usually prefer heavier reds, but the heavier reds seem to make me a little... tipsier and then not sleep well!

7. We also found time to visit the Corning Museum of Glass where we got all geeky learning about light and heat and glass and optical fibers and other science-y things at several shows/demos. We didn't make our own glass because I thought I wouldn't be strong enough to hold the pole and twirl and SP was worried he wouldn't be able to constantly twirl because of his sore wrists.
8. And we hiked! OK, mostly SP hiked mini-hikes, but he took me on one that was supposed to be wheelchair-friendly and while I survived and I didn't tip over or get thrown out (we used my brand new wheelchair seat belt!) it was a little... tough on the gravel path because of rocks jutting up and branches scattered on the trail and leaves covering potential hazards. So worth it though, even if I got so cold that my hands couldn't hold the camera! There are a lot of waterfalls in the area and we went to 3 state parks to see some: Robert Treman, Buttermilk Falls, and Taughannock Falls.
9. We checked out Cornell University. It was much bigger than I expected! SP went to check out the observatory and wanted to do the Carl Sagan Planet Walk, but a lot of Ithaca Commons is torn up right now so we didn't.
10. On our first day of vacation, on the drive to Corning, we stopped at Kinzua Bridge in PA. I didn't get to see it - the parking lot was a muddy mess from rain and the walkway and bridge viewing area are under construction. SP went to check it out while I waited in the car.
Even though I didn't get to see it in person, seeing the photos of the bridge wrecked by a tornado in 2003 is pretty amazing. Nature can be so destructive.

11. That's all the Thursday Thoughts for now. I still need to do some post-vacation chores and I still have to sort through all the food photos. We had some really good food and some really not-so-great food. Last night we were too lazy/too tired to go to the store/cook/go anywhere, so we just ordered a pizza!

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