Seneca Lake Super Cycle


Start your ride at the north end in Geneva so you can stop for a beer afterwards

Seneca Lake is so large that its difficult to imagine riding around this endless body of water.

Seneca Lake’s North end is the town of Geneva, containing Hobart Williams Smith College, Belhurst Castle,  plus  some of my favorite post-cycling pit stops like The Red Dove.

This time I am riding with my high-mileage bike-riding girl-friend who is training for a four hundred mile Finger Lakes bike tour. We started the loop in the Lakeshore Park and headed counter-clock-wise around the lake, weaving through the sides streets that surround the college. Students had just gone home for the summer and this gorgeous campus seemed way too quiet.

We took Rt 6 (Pre Emption) with a short jog on Earls Hill to Rt 9 (Ridge Rd), to Rt 7 to Rt 1 (Himrod) all the way down the west side of the lake to avoid the traffic, not picking up busy RT 14 until we came to The Glenora Winery. Rt 14 however goes right along the lake edge and might be lovely in a quieter riding season.

I was barely able to overtake the horse riding up hill

I was barely able to overtake the horse riding up hill

Highlight was an Amish horse and buggy making great time on the road. I pursued and finally was able to overtake it as we crested the hill.

Future lunch destination along the west side of Seneca Lake

Future lunch destination along the west side of Seneca Lake

Another highlight was a little Inn in the town of Himrod that I would like to stop at some time. I think Himrod was probably a much bigger deal when the railroad was the only way to go north south and before Rt 14 eclipsed Rt1.

If you plan on spending more time in the area, stop at the Starkey House B&B – a genuine Mission-Revival-style home, built in 1922.  It is close to several wineries (18 along this side of the lake!), plus close to both Hammondsport and Watkins Glen. The owner of the Starkey House, Cathy Moskal, is a gracious hostess and a great cook.

Speeding past the south end of Seneca Lake into downtown Watkins Glen

Speeding past the south end of Seneca Lake into downtown Watkins Glen

Once we were on 14 we had a nice wide shoulder, but steady 55 MPH traffic at our backs as we rode almost continuously downhill to Watkins Glen. We lunched at the Glen Mountain Market, sharing a great sandwich and some coffee to warm us up. This bakery/deli has combines baked goods bread and creative sandwich inventions, which when combined make for a mouth-watering smell – even if you have not ridden 44 mile to enjoy them.

Screen Shot 2014-06-17 at 10.19.16 PMRide through downtown Watkins Glen before heading north again. Enjoy the great turn-of-the-century architectural relics. The village originally known as Salubria was officially named Watkins Glen in 1926. The original race course used to wind through the streets of the downtown area.

The other famous attraction right in the center of town is the Glen itself. Watkins Glen is the most famous of the Finger Lakes State Parks. It is one of the most amazing geological sights in the area.

Despite all this information it is still a very quick ride across town. Once we make the turn north we hit the incline. This upward climb will continue for about two miles of sheer agony followed by several more ups that feel more like a mountain climb than a simple lake circuit.

Here was one hill even Pam could not ride up

Here was one hill even Pam could not ride up

We chose roads away from the busy main route, passing through the Finger Lakes National Forest, Danos Heuriger, a traditional Viennese winery restaurant. This section of the ride is long and perhaps better enjoyed with a winery stop or two.

We were able to spot several white deer while riding by at about 5pm.

We were able to spot several white deer while riding by at about 5pm.

As we came to the last 20 miles we rode by the now empty Seneca Army Depot. Today it is a protected sanctuary for white deer. Several dozen wild white-tailed deer were probably caught within the fence that was built to surround the Seneca Army Depot in 1941. Isolated from predators and hunters, the deer population grew quickly.

Fried Chick Peas are irresistible when combined with fresh brews and a crane operator

Fried Chick Peas are irresistible when combined with fresh brews and a crane operator

It was still a long trek back into Geneva. Bikes in-car, we hiked to my favorite watering hole for our reward.

Here is a link to our route


July 27, 2014 at 7:00 am Leave a comment

The Hot Flash of Summer Theater in Auburn

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Auburn is a quiet town, but it’s full of delightful surprises. One of them is the Finger Lakes  Musical Theater Festival that runs every summer. It’s a true slice of Broadway in the heart of the Finger Lakes.

We were able to enjoy Menopause the Musical, which follows four women at Bloomingdale’s who meet while shopping for lingerie. It is a 90-minute romp — no pauses and no men — covering 25 classic tunes from the 60s, 70s, and 80s, revised with lyrics to thoroughly cover every phase of “The Change,” — starting with a predictable favorite:


“Chain chain Change, Change of life.
For five long years,
I thought I am loosing my mind;
but I found out no….
It’s just a part of the change.
My body tried to warn me,
the signs weren’t too cool;
it treated mean,
it’s treated me cruel.”
The songs cover memory loss, hot flashes, night sweats, insomnia, weight gain, husbands who don’t understand, and my favorite “Good Vibrations, takes on a whole new meaning, using a clever prop.

The set remains the same throughout with quick changes to represent the lingerie department, the ladies room, a dressing room, etc. The story is represented from the view of four different women:  an Iowa housewife, a lost in the 60’s Hippie, a Power Executive and an aging Soap Star.

Great ending with all the women on stage.

The show is a great night out for the girls. My husband was initially underwhelmed, but even he was smiling and laughing when the femme fatale came into the audience and sang a very provocative number.

There are multiple venues, many choices with quality theater right in the heart of the Finger Lakes. Visit call 1-800-457-8897 for more information.  2014 Finger Lakes Musical Theatre Festival Schedule   Merry-Go-Round Playhouse at Emerson Park 6877 East Lake Road, Auburn, New York. 13021

  • “Menopause The Musical” (May 29 to Aug. 9)
  • “Mary Poppins” (June 4 to July 2)
  • “Damn Yankees” (July 9 to July 30)
  • “On the Town” (Aug. 6 to  Aug. 27)
  • “The Will Rogers Follies” (Sept. 3 to Sept. 24)
  • “The Church Basement Ladies in The Last (Potluck) Supper” (Oct. 1 to Oct. 18)

The Box Office is located at MGR Downtown at Auburn Public Theater 8 Exchange St. at Genesee Street, Auburn, New York 1302

July 20, 2014 at 11:00 pm Leave a comment

2014 Finger Lakes Musical Theater Festival

Finger Lakes Summer

Merry-go-round Theater by the lake

The musicals are coming! Finger Lakes Musical Theatre Festival launches another highly anticipated season of “Broadway in the Finger Lakes,” with a variety of regional premieres, Broadway classics, off-the-wall comedies, and the next generation of musical theater at three different theaters.

If you are plan to spend time in the Skaneateles, Auburn, Geneva area this summer, be sure to catch one of these high-caliber productions.

The season opened on May 29 with “Menopause The Musical” at MGR Downtown at the Auburn Public Theater in Auburn, New York. This hilarious musical is great for a ladies’ night out and has kept millions of women laughing and celebrating the change. “Menopause The Musical” is the first of a seven-show, 200-plus performance season and one of many productions opening in rapid succession for an exciting start to the season. It is presented by special agreement with GFour Productions, by special license from owner Jeanie Linders’ Company, with book and lyrics by Jeanie Linders. The season continues as Mary Poppins – the stage adaptation of the Disney classic – flies into town June 4 and departs July 2 at the Festival’s flagship location, Merry-Go-Round Playhouse in Emerson Park. “Mary Poppins” will feature a host of MGR alums, including Elizabeth Earley as Mary, Patrick Oliver Jones as Mr. Banks and Lucy Horton as Mrs. Banks, as well as a stellar cast and artistic team with members from the original Broadway cast. The fun continues with the athletic comedy “Damn Yankees” (July 9-30),the zany antics of three sailors let loose in New York City in “On the Town” (Aug. 6-27), the heart and wit of one of America’s legends in the spectacular “The Will Rogers Follies” (Sept. 3-24) and the regional premiere of those wild and wacky Minnesotans in “The Church Basement Ladies in the Last (Potluck) Supper” (Oct. 1-18). June also marks the opening of “The PiTCH,” the Festival’s new works series that showcases 10 new musicals in their earliest stages of development, now in its third season. This series invites the audience to participate in the creative process, welcoming audience feedback during and after performance.  Kicking off the season is “Sunset City,” a hilarious musical comedy about the feisty seniors of the Sunset City retirement community who must fight to save their home from foreclosure. The PiTCH will run for 10 weeks, featuring a new musical in development each week at the Theater Mack at the Cayuga Museum.

Finger Lakes Summer

The Auburn Public Theater is conveniently located in downtown Auburn

Visit FingerLakesMTF.comfor details.   Tickets are now available including: single-show tickets; Merry-Go-Round Playhouse subscriptions, which include one ticket to the first four shows at the Merry-Go-Round Playhouse; and Flex Passes, which allow for flexibility in selecting up to seven musicals at any of the three theaters. Group rates and an “early bird/night owl special” are also available. Visit call 1-800-457-8897 for more information.   2014 Finger Lakes Musical Theatre Festival Schedule   Merry-Go-Round Playhouse at Emerson Park 6877 East Lake Road, Auburn, New York. 13021

  • “Mary Poppins” (June 4 to July 2)
  • “Damn Yankees” (July 9 to July 30)
  • “On the Town” (Aug. 6 to  Aug. 27)
  • “The Will Rogers Follies” (Sept. 3 to Sept. 24)
  • “The Church Basement Ladies in The Last (Potluck) Supper” (Oct. 1 to Oct. 18)

  MGR Downtown at Auburn Public Theater 8 Exchange St. at Genesee Street, Auburn, New York 13021

  • “Menopause The Musical” (May 29 to Aug. 9)

Theater Mack at the Cayuga Museum 203 Genesee St., Auburn, New York 13021

  • “THE PiTCH” (June 19 to Aug. 30)

  About Finger Lakes Musical Theatre Festival: Four hours from New York City and situated between Syracuse, Rochester and Ithaca, the Finger Lakes Musical Theatre Festival is the largest producing musical theatre organization in New York state — outside of New York City. The Festival is headquartered in the town of Auburn, New York – set in the picturesque Finger Lakes wine region of Central New York. The Festival provides top-notch entertainment to more than 60,000 patrons each summer and is routinely recognized by industry press and maintains a high regard in the professional theatre community for its artistry and execution. For more information about the festival or to purchase tickets, please visit Find Finger Lakes Music Theatre on Facebook or follow FingerLakesMTF on Twitter. Reprinted from the official 2014 press release

July 6, 2014 at 1:30 pm Leave a comment

Bike Around Owasco Lake

Owasco Lake as viewed from Emerson Park

Owasco Lake as viewed from Emerson Park

If you can ride 30 miles on a bike you will love the ride around Owasco Lake. Riding around the Finger Lakes is always a visual feast, but the hills can be grueling. The trip around Owasco is the easiest of all the lakes.

The view from the end of the pier at Emerson Park

The view from the end of the pier at Emerson Park

Emerson Park, at the north end of the lake is a great place to park as it has nice bathrooms and access to water. There is a $2.00 fee to park. Emerson is a lovely large park with swimming beach, room many picnic spots, a walking pier and it is home to the Merry-go-Round Theater.

The entire ride is a little over 30 miles.

The entire ride is a little over 30 miles.

The main routes surrounding the lake are 55mph roads, but they usually have good shoulders. I recommend that if you are going to ride around a Finger Lake that you start at sunrise and you avoid peak summer months. Another benefit to an early start and a clock-wise circuit is that you will get nice shade on the west side as you journey uphill from Moravia. I saw a generous array of wildlife, often crossing or eating in the middle of the road: fox, hawk, vultures, goldfinch, deer, and several woodpeckers

Tom Thumb Drive-In East side

Tom Thumb Drive-In East side

To start my route I headed south on the east side of the lake on Route 38, passing the Tom Thumb Drive-in, to Rockefeller Rd. Rockefeller has no shoulder, but it is nicely paved and much quieter. The land quickly turns from residential to large farm fields which provide an unobstructed view to the lake. Stay on Rockefeller all the way to Moravia, where you’ll turn right onto N. Main Street to head back north on Rt 38.

Roosevelt Roads rolling hills are mostly farmed

Rockefeller Road’s rolling hills include some vintage tractor barns

If you have time stop in Moravia. Fillmore Glen is just outside the downtown area. This lesser-known CCC treasure is on the level of Buttermilk Falls and Watkins Glenn. Pick up picnic supplies at the grocery in town or the farm market across the street from the park entrance and take a hike to see the falls, or a swim in the pond at the bottom.

Beautiful architecture in downtown Moravia

Beautiful architecture in downtown Moravia

Moravia is the birthplace of President Millard Fillmore. It has beautiful homes, some of them in need of some extra love. The streets are quiet and shady. I was hoping to find a breakfast spot and there was nothing available.

A fun ice cream stand at the southwest end of the lake

Dee-Dees:  A fun ice cream stand at the southwest end of the lake

As you leave town and head across the inlet before turning north you will pass The Betty Blue, a local watering hole that might be worth checking out another time. Soon after you pass Dee-Dees Ice Cream which looks like it would be a fun stop.

Inlet to the lake serves as a filtration system

Inlet to the lake serves as a filtration system

I took a quick break at the Owasco Flats, This is a nature preserve with floodplains, forest and wetlands. Over half of the water flowing into the lake comes through this inlet. This lowland is home to many animals and is accessible by footpath.

Owasco outlet through Emerson Park

Owasco outlet through Emerson Park

Now you continue a long slow climb north. Compared to the climb north on Canandaigua Lake, this is easy. You are rewarded with a great view at the top and then 38 begins to hug the lake side so closely you ride between the lake homes and the water.

The road narrows, as you wind along the lake edge, making this the least safe section, but it is such a lovely ride. Owasco appears to be a big fisherman’s lake. I watched many bass fisherman trolling along the water’s edge.

Pass by the historic Springside Inn, also home to Oak & Vine Restaurant. Before you know it you are going through the rotary and back in Emerson Park. A 30-mile ride is a great warm up. This ride has so many visual treats, no wonder riders make this a regular loop.



June 7, 2014 at 12:07 am Leave a comment

Red Bird Market — Close to Home

Red Bird Market, FairportImagine a grocery store that specializes in locally produced foods and delivers to your home! Red Bird Market in Fairport is proving that locally produced food can fill a grocery store providing a host of unique and creative choices.

Red Bird Market

Some of the local specialties: Hand-pinched pierogies from The Pierogie Guy, Flour City Pasta made from wheat ground at the pasta factory in Pittsford, amazing butternut squash based hot sauces from the Karma Sauce Company in Bushnell’s Basin, a variety of cheeses from Miranda Cheese, Cuba Cheese Shoppe, Lively Run Goat Farm, and Yancy’s Fancy, grape twists and Healthy Purple fresh grape juice, natural salad dressings, and jams provided by Arbor Hill Vineyard in Naples.

Screen Shot 2014-03-23 at 4.24.03 PMHours of Operation:

December – April:
      Monday – Friday 9am – 7pm
      Saturday 9am – 5pm

May – November:
      Monday – Friday 9am – 7pm
      Saturday 8am – 5pm

May 23, 2014 at 1:24 am Leave a comment

Bike Around Canandaigua Lake

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Biking in the Finger Lakes is challenging and thrilling. The steep glacier-cut hills require iron lungs and some fat gears, but the thrills you get from the many hilltop views of a lake stretching out for 15 or 20 miles are unparalleled. Canandaigua Lake is a beautiful ride as you get many great waterside and panoramic views as you make the circuit. I think it also has some of the most challenging hills of any lake circuit.

Most lakeside routes have very narrow, gravel-filled shoulders, and the more established, well-paved routes have cars traveling at 55 MPH, so it is best to start very early in the morning, or ride during an off-peak time of year like May or October.

Canadaigua route

The Route: About 43 miles

There can be strong winds coming from the west. I chose to ride clock-wise around the lake to avoid riding into the wind on the last leg. Stating from Kershaw Park in Canandaigua, I rode on Lakeshore Drive to RT 364 (red route on map).

Heading south, continue to Middlesex where you follow a left-right jog and pick up RT 245 (a parallel quieter route runs on West Ave (364). Continue on 245 south to Parrish Rd at the south end. For a great lunch stop, continue into Naples, before turning north on the west side.

Heading north on RT 21 you can take that  route to 5 & 20 and loop back to your starting spot, or you can pick up the more scenic West Lake Rd route, mid-way up the lake (blue route). This side of the lake seemed MUCH harder and hillier than the east side, but I was more tired too.

If you want to follow an alternative ride on the West Lake Road from town to Route 21, click here.

May 13, 2014 at 7:37 am Leave a comment

Make tracks to Blue Cut Nature Center

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Blue Cut Nature Center’s name originates from the construction of the railroad in the 1840s. They cut  into Blue Vernon Shale.  The  40 acres of land  have several trails winding through red pine, mixed hardwoods and wetlands.

Screen Shot 2014-03-23 at 4.25.20 PMBlue Cut Nature Center offers trail has three self-guided trails. There is a small teaching shelter, picnic tables and restroom facilities. The “Nature Center” would be better called a preserve as there is no center on the property or elsewhere.

Screen Shot 2014-03-23 at 4.24.31 PMI followed a trail that winds up and around a drumlin on the east side of the property, past a lovely warning sign for a neighboring firing range.

Screen Shot 2014-03-23 at 4.25.12 PMTrain tracks run right through the nature center. If you love train-watching, you can watch up close while still on the trail. While I was hiking along the wetlands I was able to see the train pass close by the woods trail, then stop for quite a while at a location across the pond.

Screen Shot 2014-03-23 at 4.25.47 PMThe water was frozen while I was hiking, creating another nice trail through the wetlands. Cross-country skiing and snowshoeing are allowed as snow permits. Biking is not allowed. This is a perfect picnic spot and nice for young kids as the trails are not too long.

Hours: Grounds open dawn to dusk.

Buildings: Small lean-to and an outhouse (bathroom)

Picnic Area: 5 Tables for picnics and 3 charcoal grills available

Blue Cut Nature Center is located on State Route 31 in the Town of Newark in Wayne County.

April 12, 2014 at 9:35 pm Leave a comment

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