Archive for November, 2011

Ports Cafe Geneva: DeVine Dining

Finger Lakes Summer

The kitchen of Ports Cafe

It’s the time of the year to make one last trip to close the cottage. Not much to look forward to on the drive east from Rochester, on a frosty Friday night, so we made reservations to stop for dinner while en route, at Ports Cafe, just south of Geneva on Seneca Lake.

Finger Lakes Summer

Listening to the specials

Finger Lakes Summer

Interior of Ports

Ports specializes in specials. They had almost as many specials as regular menu items, which we never even sampled. Our waitress was helpful and attentive. We start with appetizers and wine flights.

Wine flights allowed us to each sample 3 whites (local) and 3 reds. Some of the local wineries are Billsboro, Dr Frank, Glenora,  and William Hill.

Finger Lakes Summer

Mussels in a delicious broth

Appetizers: Mussels in a garlic  white wine sauce. AWESOME.

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Best swordfish I have ever had

Main Course:  Seafood kabobs:  shrimps scallops, swordfish, pineapple, red bell pepper, scallion with garlic and parsley butter and a  New York Strip with smashed potatoes. Both very good.

Finger Lakes Summer

Doesn't this look great?

Dessert was a pecan bourbon creme brulee, which though very pretty, did not wow us. But, the ice wine was delicious.

Reviews in Yelp.

Reviews in Trip Advisor. Listed as the number 1 restaurant in Geneva, according to Trip Advisor.

This is a very nice affordable cafe with lots of variety. It is not on par with Moro’s Table in Auburn or Hazelnut Kitchen in Trumansburg, but it is charming friendly and we spent less than $100. with all the trimmings.

Ports is located at 4432 West Lake Road, Route 14, Geneva, NY  14456, 315-789-2020.

November 27, 2011 at 6:00 am Leave a comment

Letchworth State Park: Grand Canyon of the East

Letchworth State Park, renowned as the “Grand Canyon of the East,” is one of the most scenically magnificent areas in the Finger lakes Region. The park comprises 14,350 acres, along 17 miles of the Genesee River, 35 miles South of Rochester, New York and 55 miles East of Buffalo, New York.

Continue Reading November 20, 2011 at 5:39 pm Leave a comment

Zurich Bog — Nature on Acid

Finger lakes Summer

Parade of fall colors in a peat bog

Upstate New York shows off its incredible natural diversity via Zurich Bog. The bog is protected as part of  the Bergen Swamp Preservation Society. It is located between Newark and Sodus New York, just east of Brantling Ski Slope.

In fall the surface of the bog turns brilliantly red as the normally green peat that acts as a carpet over the surface of the bog dramatically changes color and provides a startling contrast to the surrounding beech-filled woods.

Acid bogs are formed when a type of moss called sphagnum (or peat moss) grows over the surface of a pond. Sphagnum actually changes its environment to be less hospitable to other species. A well-established colony of sphagnum moss can lower the pH of its host lake to around 3.5.

Finger lakes Summer

Carnivorous Pitcher Plants thrive in an acid bog

This, of course, makes the bog inhospitable to more neutral pH plants, and whole new species have evolved just to fit into the ecosystem that sphagnum creates. One particularly cool adaptation is carnivorous. Brilliantly colorful and exotic looking Pitcher Plants capture insects in order to obtain the nutrients that are missing in their acidic diet.

Finger lakes Summer

Safe passage through the bog

Generally, the sphagnum grows inward from the edges of the pond, swelling as it takes in up to twenty times its dry weight in water and forming a raised mat. At some point, this mat stops being directly connected to the bottom, and if you’re walking out onto the bog, you’re literally being held up only by floating sphagnum.

Out on the bog it feels like you are walking on a water-bed. The signs at the entrance do not recommend you walk through the bog, off the planked trail, in order to protect the delicate bog and to keep you safe and dry.

Cold enough for ice cubes in the pitcher

The diversities of an acid bog and the surrounding hilly woods create a spring carpet of wildflowers. Zurich Bog  encourages wildflowers that are predominantly found in the Adirondacks. The Beech/Maple drumlins have a soil that encourages diverse woodland wildflowers April – June.

I have listed the names of some of the flowers and plants that grow in the bog and surrounding woods because they have such great names:

Spring Beauty, Lady Slipper, Cut-leaved Toothwort, Bloodroot, Christmas fern, Trillium, Trout Lilies,  May Apples, Jack in the Pulpit, Dutchman’s Breeches, Squirrel Corn, Marsh Marigolds, Hepatica, Cinnamon Fern, Royal Fern, Sensitive Fern.

Finger lakes Summer

Beech trees surround the bog providing a stark color contrast

Trail map

November 12, 2011 at 6:00 am 1 comment

Bear Swamp State Forest

Bear Swamp State Forest is located on two state forests of 3,316 acres in Cayuga County. This area is known for the large wetland and creek that bisects the forest. I should have realized that the word “swamp” might be a warning, but I had driven the roads earlier in the summer and thought they would be perfect for a fall bike ride — after the biting bugs died.

Continue Reading November 7, 2011 at 1:01 am Leave a comment


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