Keuka Kapers, part 2

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Hammondsport, NY. . .former home of Taylor Winery, and now on those grounds is the Finger Lakes Boating Museum.  A great way to spend a Sunday morning!

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The scope of the museum is far-reaching and includes boat-building seminars, restoration, and history in the 14 acres and 19 buildings on the compound.  We were wowed by exquisite works of floatable art, and there are 185 others currently in storage!!

We also peeked at the remnants of Taylor. . .

Who remembers Cold Duck??!! And Catawba Pink!

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Shopping, lunch, back home in time to freshen up, and back to Canandaigua and the New York Kitchen for our evening class on Southern cooking!

Chicken and shrimp and puppies (hush), oh my!!

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Four teams of two produced the following feast:

Fried chicken, braised spinach, shrimp and cheesy grits, jambalaya, honey corn bread, fried catfish, and hush puppies.

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Geez, it doesn’t look great all mushed together on a plate, but honestly, it was all yummy.  We came out of there smelling like a bunch of fried food.  Which it was.

All too soon our weekend was coming to an end.  Monday morning we packed and headed out, Don and me to home, Nancy and Jim to hike Rickett’s Glen, Carol and Steve to visit friends in the area AND return to Dr. Frank’s.

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Happy faces, happy memories, good friends, good food, good wine, good times. . .

Life is good. . . or is it FLOXED??!

 

Keuka Kapers

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Last spring our friends Steve and Carol shared a bottle of Dr. Frank’s Rkatsiteli, a wine with origins in Georgia (not the state!!).  That was the start of 6 friends planning a memorable weekend in the Finger Lakes of NY, which of course, included a trip to Dr. Frank’s.

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But wait, let me backtrack.  The six of us, with three of us who taught together at Colebrookdale (Carol, Nancy, and me) rented a great house right on Lake Keuka.  Keuka Escape with its four bedrooms, three and a half baths, top quality appliances, and beautiful views suited us to a T.

We gathered in Watkins Glen after our 4-hour drive from our respective homes in PA, then hiked the falls.

A dash to our house, 20 minutes to unload our cars, and then we were off to Canandaigua to the New York Kitchen.  Oh, what fun awaited us!!  Nancy had signed us up for a class to carve pumpkins while tasting FOUR ciders and beers.  Now who figured that it would be a good idea to put sharp objects in one hand and adult beverages in the other!!  Nevertheless, we persisted!!

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All the carving makes one noshy, and what luck. . .a wonderful restaurant right upstairs! Of course, we managed to order TOO MUCH to share because everything looked so good, but we managed to finish off the  crab cakes, NY cheese platter, charcuterie, chicken wings, and agave roasted carrots along with our pints of cider from the carving class.

Saturday morning we leisurely got ourselves together, then off to Dr. Frank’s for our tasting and tour with the beautiful Katie as our guide.

Regaling us with the remarkable story and perseverance of Konstantin Frank we learned that his brilliance, hard work, and creativity is the basis of much of the wine industry in the Finger Lakes.  Good news: we like his wine, too!!  The winery is still in the family and produces world-class vintages.

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Cases bought and packed, we headed back to our lake house with no agenda other than eating, imbibing, relaxing, napping, reading, knitting, and. . .laughing.

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Bananagrams. . .and a new word. . .which Jim insisted he heard on Big Bang Theory. . .and Don actually confirmed that indeed FLOX is a word.  “flox”  How do you use FLOX in a sentence?!  How would you conjugate it?  “I flox, you flox, he floxes. . .”   Or is this FAKE NEWS?  It became our new favorite word.

A few of us may have wet our pants laughing. . .

 

 

Cloudless. . . Glorious. . .

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When you awake to a clear blue sky, crisp air, and a flawless weather forecast, you eat a quick breakfast, put on your shoes, and head for the coastal path toward St. Abbs because it’s.. . . . . .

The temps were chilly when we started out but we soon began shedding layers as both the walking and the SUNSHINE warmed us. The coastal path led us up on the cliffs with the usual spectacular views.

“We looked at the situation, assessed the risks. . . And went on anyhow.” We persisted.

The path was quite safe, quite walkable. Was this the Scottish version of Fake News??

We soon found ourselves in St. Abbs.

The Ebba Center where the market was held is the community center, as evidenced by the announcements of the many activities held there throughout the week. With only 85 permanent residents, I’m curious how many show up. Today, however, there was a nice crowd for the market, and there were even “outlanders” like us.

St. Abbs sort of has a high town and a low town, and after exploring the high part we walked below for lunch, which we were able to eat outside in the SUNSHINE.

The walk home was just as wonderful and we all felt that our five days in the Scottish Borders area has been perfect. Full of memorable moments, laughs, good soup, multiple cups of tea.

Bags packed, leftovers eaten, final sunset viewed.

As we were making plans on what time to leave in the AM we made a discovery. . . . We are all taking the same flight from Edinburgh to Dublin. We had made our flight plans separately and were saying, “Oh, I think we leave EDI sometime around 9:30.” Finally one of us checked and laughed when we realized we were on the same flight. But then we go on to EWR and Betty and Lee to PHL.

Checking out until we return home and will write our usual recap.

Sla’n!!!!!

Fast Castle

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We awoke today to Don reading warnings about cliffs, danger, and all manner of warnings about walking to Fast Castle. Nevertheless, we persisted.

Driving through fields of sheep with a wind farm as backdrop, we parked and began following the trail.

We were soon scrambling over barriers, laughing ourselves silly, and taking pictures of each other.

“We’re not in Quakertown anymore. . .”

Blue skies, fresh Scottish air, the absence of rain, and plenty of sunshine made walking pure enjoyment. Although the heather fields were long past their prime, we imagined their purple beauty of months past.

And then it happened. . . .we thought we could see some piles of stones. “Is that IT??”

Seeing this castle was on Lee’s to-do list, but the walk down looked steep. And then there’s that issue. . .”What goes down must come up.”

Two of us walked onward. Two of us stayed behind. . .to go for help if we needed it?? To worry about us?? Yep, both of those and more.

And so, Lee and I walked, sometimes disappearing over hills, sometimes reappearing as specks.

And as we later declared, “We looked at the situation, assessed the risks. . . And went on anyhow!!”

Yes, there were sheer cliffs. Yes, the wind was howling. And YES. . .the ruggedness, and sheer magnificence of the natural coastline was too much to be captured in photos. It just had to be experienced.

When we finally got close, we found a crumbling but useable concrete bridge and an ancient iron chain to guide us “safely” onto the promontory.

Meanwhile, our two watchers from up above waited, straining to see us. . .

Honestly, it was glorious! This is the stuff that my most memorable moments are made of. I loved the walk down, the uncertainty, the novelty, and even, eventually, the walk back up. I loved being in that ancient place wondering HOW and WHY ANYONE would live there. Were there women. . .babies. . .children??

Betty, I made Lee take a rest!! (No, honestly he just stretched right out and we regretted not bringing lunch with us. A picnic there would have been amazing.)

Is this what pilgrims feel like? Giddy gratefulness overtook me: 1)no sprained ankles, 2) no falls, 3) no rain, 4) strength to walk back up the hills.

Lee and I got the giggles when we decided to do a selfie. Somehow it just seemed ridiculous. . .a 21st century selfie at a crumbling, dangerous promontory 88 feet wide, 150 feet above the sea, wind howling. . .

Don and Betty breathed a sigh of relief when we climbed back up the hill to join them.

We were all ready for a lunch back at St. Margaret’s cottage. . .

And just about then, the Scottish showers began.

Check that one off your list, Lee, and thanks for taking me along on your adventure!

The Holy Island of Lindisfarne

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Did you ever have a preconceived idea of what a place would be like and then be totally wrong? That was me, today. Online photos of Holy Island of a castle, a priory in ruins,. . .that’s what I was expecting. What we got was a bustling car park, craft shops, lots of eateries, a wine tasting shop. What we also got and DID expect was that our trip was book-ended by tides. The island is only available via causeway when the tides are low. So we forded at low tide.

According to Wikipedia, about one vehicle per month gets stuck on the causeway due to high tides. A sea rescue costs about£2300 and an air rescue about £4000, neither of which were in our travel budget!!

Once there and parked, we were quite amazed to discover the beautifully refurbished sixteenth century Lindisfarne Castle. It’s beautifully done, and in the future will include period furniture. We climbed up, reminiscent of walking to the town of Civita di Bagnoregio in Italy.

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Future of Lindisfarne in previous (stock) photos(see below)). Furniture is currently in storage because the lime walls are curing and emit moisture.

Blessed with yet another dry day, we were also “blessed” with high, nearly gale force winds. No need for any fancy hair style today. We just felt lucky to remain upright.

Traveling north along the coast we stopped to walk around the walled city of Berwick upon Tweed. . .

The wall has been beautifully embellished with walking paths, a rose garden, and playgrounds. It’s truly a treasure.

Then a bit onward we explored Eyemouth, where we had eaten dinner the night before.

Loved the pub atmosphere but the food. . .not so much. What is it about everything fried?

The working harbor at Eyemouth is a busy place with fishing vessels. We found one we liked. . .the name, that is.

The Widows and Bairns sculpture. . .

After a day of wind-battering, wall-walking, coast-exploring there was only one thing to do. . .

Coldingham, Scotland

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About an hour southeast of Edinburgh in the area known as Scottish Borders is the TINY village of Coldingham–blue dot above. Known for an outstanding bay, and now known for housing us for 5 nights (!), the village is a wee bit of Scotland that if you blink, you’ll miss it.

Two pubs, a butcher, a priory and cemetery, a small Spar grocer, the bus stop, post office. . .that’s about it. Oh, and a school so I guess there are children somewhere.

It’s an easy five minute walk from our cottage to the village,then another fifteen or so on to the bay. Walk we did. . .

Coldingham Bay is a popular summer destination with its sandy beach, a rarity in these parts. The sands are lined with a ring of colorful beach huts, reminiscent to us of the bungalows in Capitola, CA. We were lucky to get to peek inside one and found the basics. . .beach gear, a tea kettle, tea pot, wetsuits. All the necessities for a Scottish summertime beach trip!!

We are extraordinarily excited about the exceptionally fine weather. . .chilly but DRY. We walked the beach and tickled the cold North Sea water.

In conclusion, I must now divulge that I may be the purveyor of FAKE NEWS. My journalistic research and observational skills have been significantly tested when even the two Shoemakers could not exactly determine WHO between them found St. Margaret’s cottage on Air BnB. But lest we have divisive rhetoric, let me simply give credit to the collaborative efforts of the Shoemaker team in finding this little piece of heaven.

Amen.

St. Margaret’s Cottage

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When Lee presented us with the idea of renting a small cottage on the coast, one he had found all by himself on AirBnB, we couldn’t resist its charm and location.

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Not to mention that the price was about $100/night total, so divided in half. . . Wow. . .as good as our apartment in BA with Mike and Marty. Traveling does NOT have to be expensive!!

So we taxied to the airport to pick up the car, a Skoda, and as usual have 0 deductible on it. The clerk even mentioned to Don and Lee, “We don’t care how you bring the car back.” Meaning scraped, dented, etc. Good thing, too, because as we were pulling into the driveway we had an altercation with two wheelie trash bins!

Anyhow, the cottage is delightful and we set about making it our own. Betty, being Betty, perused the garden for possibilities of fresh flowers, which we now enjoy in unexpected spots.

Linda, being Linda, started laundry which we hung outside on yet another glorious day of dry and sunny weather.

Don and Lee, being Don and Lee, explored and walked and like Samantha Brown of the Travel Channel declared, “Look at the view! Just LOOK at the view!”

We overlook the North Sea and will be exploring the beaches. We can walk to the village of Coldingham with pubs, butcher, and small grocery.

Lee, you done good!!