Archive for May, 2010

Travel Back Inn Time: The Aurora Inn

The Aurora Inn, established in 1833, sits high off the shores of Cayuga Lake, close to Wells College, MacKenzie-Childs and many of New York’s finest wineries.

The Aurora Inn was a favored overnight destination for travelers borne by stagecoach, canal boat and rail. An article in the local newspaper (of the time) noted the Inn’s “regularity, neatness and order exhibited everywhere – as well as the thousand little attentions which are paid to the comfort and convenience of travelers.”

Continue Reading May 23, 2010 at 10:06 pm Leave a comment

Finger Lakes Treasure: Carpenter Falls

Carpenter Falls on Skaneateles Lake

The upper falls is almost 90' high

As a child we would hike in a beautiful but remote area south of our cottage. It was called Carpenter falls. I remember a VERY long hike in the creek with a pair of sneakers so you did not cut your feet and 2 beautiful, but scarily high, stare over the cliff edge and get dizzy, water falls. Recently this land has been purchased and is now protected by the Finger Lakes Land Trust which is working to preserve more of the adjacent Skaneatleles highlands.

Carpenters Falls is a 80′ waterfall on Bear Swamp Creek which feeds into Skaneateles Lake, about halfway down the western side of the lake. There is a second falls, Angel Falls, that is only visible after after a strenuous climb down the steep sides of the gorge.

The lower falls at Carpenter Falls State Park

the lower falls are difficult to access, but worth the hike

Carpenter Falls was once a center of industry. In fact the trail was known as the jug path where the thirsty could hike to a distillery that was located on site. Remnants of the former commerce boom are still visible in near by New Hope, home of the New Hope Mills, maker of delicious pancake mixes and flours.

Plan on a least 2 hours to hike all the way to the lake plus take the spur trails to both falls. Bring a drink and decent hiking shoes (plus bug spray) as it can be thirsty hiking with lots of steep ups and downs to access the falls. You will be rewarded with 2 very beautiful and unique waterfalls, relatively unknown by visitors to Upstate New York.

The main trail (Old Jug Path) in Carpenter Falls Park

View from the upper trail path

A steep descent tot he lower falls

Caution: it is a steep descent to the lower falls

Directions – Take Rt. 20 towards Skaneateles until you reach Rt. 41A (west lake road). Travel south down West Lake Road for 11 miles until you see Apple Tree Point Road on your left. Go down Apple Tree Point Road for 0.5 miles and you’ll see a small parking area on your left. There is a small kiosk with information about the park and pointers leading to the different falls. Don’t be surprised if you miss it, it is not well marked and has none of the usual state park-type signage.

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May 16, 2010 at 11:22 am 8 comments

Connie’s Restaurant, Waterloo, NY

Outside of Connie's Diner

Connie's Diner

If you wake up one morning and all you can think about is a slice of pie, then I have the restaurant for you! Many of the patrons of Connie’s Diner on 205 East Main St in Waterloo, NY, wake up thinking about pie regularly, and Connie’s takes care of their cravings. After a slice of the 3-Berry a la mode, we agreed!

Connie’s Diner is a tasty stop along route 20, on the eastern side of Waterloo. This ‘50s-style original Manno Diner is decorated in teal and orange, from the vertical sign outside, to the bench cushions for each booth.

Waitress at Connies

Betty Ann is our friendly waitress

Connie's Diner, Waterloo

Looking down the counter at Connies

Our waitress Betty Ann was generous with coffee. She let us take her picture with our breakfast plates. Our breakfast was great — potatoes served scallop-style, farm fresh eggs and meaty bacon.

Breakfast at Connie's Diner in Waterloo, NY

Paul Caratozzolo, co-owner of Connie's gives us a little history

We met the owner Paul Caratozzolo who generously and proudly told us about Connie’s history. Paul’s Mom, the diner’s namesake, bought the diner 21 years ago after cooking for many years at Hobart College. Connie and Paul’s brother, Carmen built the business with signature dishes like their homemade Lasagna, and FAMOUS selection of pies.

Try the pie for breakfast

3-berry pie for breakfast

Paul shared that most of his clientele are locals — some who stop by 3 times a day! His employees are long-timers who know who they are serving. It’s a very friendly place — especially to newcomers!

In case you are wondering what Waterloo is famous for, it is the birthplace of Memorial Day. On May 5, 1866, Waterloo conducted the nation’s first formal, continuing remembrance of veterans who had died in war. You’ll have to plan a visit to the Memorial Day History Museum to get the full story. After you finish I imagine you will have worked up an appetite for pie, and I know just the place to go!

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May 7, 2010 at 9:28 pm 3 comments

Ithaca, art in the heart of the Finger Lakes

Downtown Ithaca

Walking through the Commons in downtown Ithaca

While tooling through the heart of the Finger Lakes one Sunday we decided to travel to the southern-most tip of Cayuga Lake to pay  visit to one our favorite Finger Lakes towns:  Ithaca.  It is quickly apparent that this town needs a blog of its own! Besides 2 world-class colleges, Cornell and Ithaca, there are art galleries juice bars and all kinds of interesting boutiques located downtown in a pedestrian-only area, known as “The Commons”.

This reminds me of Ithaca

Outside a store in The Commons

There are also restaurants of all kinds — like the original Moosewood Restaurant. It was time to eat and we knew that this is a beer-loving town, so we thought it might be nice to sample some of the local produce.

Interior of the bar

View down the bar at the Ithaca Ale House

The Ithaca Ale House, Grill and Tap Room is located in the heart of restaurant row on Aurora Street  offers a unique and exciting dining experience. You can choose from their ever-changing 20 tap craft beer selection with brews from all over the country.

Brews on Tap

20 brews on tap

Open 7 days a week until 1am. Serves food until 12. Clean. spacious. Bathrooms nice.

Trying a couple of beers at the Ithaca Ale House

First Round

First round we tried Lindeman’s Framboise Lambic which was very sweet and fruity. Charlie ordered  an Ithaca Ground Break which was an american-style saison (spicy) ale.

Next round was a Troegs Nugget Nector Imperial. Charlie decided it was “complex” and a Wagner (same as the vineyard) Grace Honey Wheat which was simple (easy to drink) in contrast. They always have 20 beers on tap but they rotate the brews!

Ithaca Ale House

Onion Rings at the Ithaca Ale House

We ordered the onion rings — which were the best I’ve ever had — especially because they came with a spicy horseradish mustard dip and some really tasty wings.

There will be many more trips to Ithaca this summer — lots to see and do.

May 1, 2010 at 7:00 am Leave a comment


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