Fall Hikes in the Finger Lakes Region

October 9th, 2011 by Gail

Fall is being a bit elusive this year. Leaves have started to change, but only just. Normally trees have exchanged their green for lovely shades of red, orange and yellow by this time of year. The good news is that if you’ve been too busy to schedule a getaway to our Finger Lakes Bed and Breakfast until now, you’ll be able to enjoy the upcoming fall colors.

Taughannock Falls

Taughannock Falls

Autumn is an ideal time to hike in the Finger Lakes Region of New York State. Summer heat has abated, winter snows have not yet arrived, and the air is generally crisp and cool. This year temperatures have been a bit warmer than usual, but not so warm as to be uncomfortable. It will simply feel good to splash cool water on your face during a hike to nearby waterfalls.

Taughannock Falls State Park is just 2 miles from our Bed and Breakfast in the Finger Lakes Region. Intrepid hikers may want to start their hike here, at the inn, for the Gorge Trail at Taughannock Falls is less than one mile long and is wide and flat. It ends near the falls – a perfect picnic spot if you don’t mind getting a bit damp from the mist. More challenging is the Rim Trail, but it also boasts more stunning views. As fall colors arrive in the coming weeks, the Rim Trail is sure to be popular.

Enfield Gorge at Robert Treman State Park, Ithaca NY 2574

Enfield Gorge at Roert Treman State Park.

Stunning Robert H. Treman State Park, just 15 minutes from Halsey House, is a hiker’s dream. It boasts nearly 10 miles of hiking trails. Follow Enfield Creek along the Gorge Trail, enjoy expansive views from the Rim Trail, and explore the entire length of the park on the Finger Lakes/North Country Trail. Admire 115 – foot tall Lucifer Falls (and 11 other waterfalls), and pause at the overlooks off the Cliff Staircase. In warmer weather, the stream-fed pool at the base of a wide waterfall is deliciously cooling.

Watkins Glen State Park

Watkins Glen State Park

Guests who don’t mind driving a bit farther for good hiking will enjoy exploring Watkins Glen State Park, which is approximately 30 minutes from our Finger Lakes Bed and Breakfast. It is absolutely worth the drive.

Watkins Glen is considered the most spellbinding of the Finger Lakes State Parks, and it is certainly the most famous. Visitors stand in awe in face of the nearly 20 waterfalls that descend some 400 feet past high, layered cliffs. Trails lead happy hikers under waterfalls, over bridges, and through the spray of Cavern Cascade. A two mile hike will reveal breathtaking scenery. If nothing else, bring a picnic and enjoy it in splendor.

Finger Lakes Wine Tasting Tours along the Cayuga, Keuka and Seneca Lake Wine Trails

June 26th, 2011 by KC Christopher

wine tasting along the Finger Lakes

The Finger Lakes area in New York state is a world-class wine producing region, attracting many visitors who wish to go wine tasting along the Cayuga, Keuka and Seneca Lake Wine Trails.

A convenient and safe way to do this is by arranging a wine tour with a local transportation company so that you can enjoy a worry-free experience without the need for a designated driver.  An added bonus is having your own tour guide along, with a driver who is capable of tailoring your tour to fit your preferences and desires.

Halsey House’s close proximity to these wine trails brings us many customers eager to experience wine tasting in the relaxed and friendly atmosphere the Finger Lakes wineries are known for.  We recommend a few local transportation companies that always treat our customers with great service and knowledgeable winery and restaurant suggestions.  Two are Guilt Free Touring and Quality Wine Tours.  Whether you are looking for an intimate tour for two or you bring friends along to share the fun and the costs, these companies always delight our guests.  Pricing begins at around $250 for car and driver for a party of two.

Experience! The Finger Lakes touring van

Another exciting option is to join a tour designed to show you just what is so special in this magical place of ours.  Experience! The Finger Lakes offers daily guided tours for up to twelve people.  This tour company isn’t just about wine tasting.  Mitch and I recently had the opportunity to accompany our fellow innkeepers on the Wine, Cheese & “Moo” tour.   We had the pleasure of visiting Keely’s Cheese Co. and Finger Lakes Dexter Creamery, local artisan cheese-makers, and learned about the cheese-making process while sampling their cheese.  Then we moved on to King Ferry and Long Point wineries where we had the chance to pair the cheese with local wines.  This was a wonderful chance to get a behind-the-scenes look at great local businesses.

Experience! also offers an amazing collection of tours including Culinary & Wine, History of the Area, Gorges and Waterfalls, Hiking or custom tours personalized for you.  We highly recommend that you add one of their tours to your itinerary while you are visiting the Finger Lakes.

Let’s Talk Food – The Finger Lakes Experience

May 18th, 2011 by KC Christopher

Travel.  Vacations.  You come, you play, you eat, you sleep.  You experience what is not at home.  And food can be a large part of that experience.  Do you know that favorite foods differ in regions within the same state?  New York gives us pastrami sandwiches, Chinatown and Little Italy in ”the city”, while clear across the state, Buffalo is home to the infamous chicken wings, giros, superb pizza and beef on ’weck.

tender grilled beef and garden-fresh vegetables

And, located in the middle of upstate New York, you will find the Finger Lakes.  An area known for it’s stunning topography, fashioned from glaciers that left behind glittering long, deep lakes, gorges, waterfalls, and plenty of fertile farmland.  Throw in to this mix the culture of a small city that has two reknowned colleges, Cornell University and Ithaca College, and you have progressive thinking that brings us the best in agriculture.  We’re talking organic foods, luscious grapes on the vines turned into award-winning local wines, meat and poultry that is free-range and free of growth hormones.  All locally grown, fresh and healthy.

beautiful vegetarian baked eggplant dish

The locavore movement is alive and thriving in the Finger Lakes.  Restaurants such as Simply Red Bistro,  Hazelnut Kitchen, Suzanne Fine Regional Cuisine and Ithaca’s very own Moosewood Restaurant feature menus created with local, organic, seasonal ingredients.  World-class chefs are bringing their talents and families to upstate NY, not only for the quality of life but also to merge their passion for creating delicious dishes with the farm-to-table opportunity these communities provide.

Chef Samantha preparing dinner in Atwater vineyard

Perhaps the best way to experience the natural beauty of our area in combination with the bounty of the field is through Vine Dining. At Atwater Estate Vineyards along the Seneca Lake Wine Trail, a table is set in the vineyard overlooking Seneca Lake, and Chef Samantha Buyskes of Simply Red Bistro will prepare the dinner table-side for 24 people.  This popular event is being offered on three dates;  Sunday, July 31st, Friday, August 26th & Friday, September 23rd, 2011.  Book your place at the table and your room at Halsey House and make a memory you’ll long to repeat for years to come.

Plan a Special Occassion Celebration at a Finger Lakes Bed and Breakfast

April 30th, 2011 by KC Christopher

There are events in life that give us cause for celebration, special occasions such as anniversaries, birthdays and holidays.  These significant milestones beg to be shared with loved ones and friends, in a setting that provides comfort and the opportunity for relaxed gatherings.  A Bed and Breakfast can be a perfect fit for these venues, with personalized customer service you would be hard-pressed to find at a hotel or motel.

She said yes!

Are you looking for that perfect place to propose?  Or to spend your honeymoon?  The intimate nature of a bed and breakfast allows you to create a personalized and private experience in a setting that is both romantic and unique.

You can choose to enlist the assistance of the innkeeper for some behind-the-scenes special touches to make your occasion even more memorable.  Return from a special dinner to find your room softly lit and special music you chose playing in the background, a bottle of wine, champagne or perhaps a beautiful dessert waiting bedside.  Choose a room with a two-person Jacuzzi tub or the ambiance of a lovely fireplace to help you set the stage.  During your stay you can arrange for an in-house couple’s massage or spend an entire afternoon at a lovely local day spa.  Order up a picnic lunch to take to a romantic setting along the lake or on a chauffeured limo tour of wineries and waterfalls.

a summer picnic lunch with a bottle of wine

Maybe you are wanting to celebrate getting past a significant life event such as a divorce or the end of cancer treatment.  Perhaps you have become an empty-nester and find yourself at the beginning of a new chapter in your life.  It can be helpful and therapeutic to just get away to clear your mind and imagine what wonders lie ahead for you, in a setting that feels secure and friendly.

Whether you want a social gathering place to bring your friends, or a private retreat for you and your love, there is a B&B that can take your fantasy stay and make it a reality.  And these moments, my friends, are what making memories are all about.

Spring 2011 Events on the Cayuga Wine Trail and Seneca Lake Wine Trail

April 17th, 2011 by KC Christopher

blooming spring flowers

beautiful yellow flowers blooming

Spring time gives us plenty of good reasons to getaway for a weekend and attend an event at either Cayuga Wine Trail’s Wine & Herb Festival or Seneca Lake Wine Trail’s Spring Wine & Cheese Weekend.  The waterfalls are flowing and the trees are beginning to bud.  The landscape is coming alive after a long winter.   Enjoy a leisurely drive up the lakes as you take in the beautiful scenery between vineyards.  With the variety of wines available and numerous wineries to choose from, discovering your favorite wine is like going on a treasure hunt.  Bring friends along and share the fun or make some new friends along the wine trail.

Seneca Lake Wine Trail’s Spring Wine & Cheese Weekend is being held from Friday, April 29th, at 1:00pm - Sunday, May 1st, 5:00pm.  This popular event, sponsored by Cabot Cheese and Macadam Cheese, pairs Finger Lakes wines with a taste of delightful treats prepared using a variety of cheese.  This is your chance to visit over 30 wineries and take home a recipe book featuring those tasty treats.  Visit the Seneca Lake Wine Trail website for ticket information.

glass of riesling

Reisling, the star of the Finger Lakes wine

It’s time for the Cayuga Wine Trail’s 19th Annual Wine & Herb Festival, running two weekends; April 29th-May 1st and again on May 6th -8th.  What a great way to kick-start your gardens and restock your wine cellars.  Participants will sample wines along with herb-infused cuisine at 16 wineries and take home an herb or veggie plant from each winery along with recipes and a plant carrier.  Save money by purchasing your tickets in advance at the Cayuga Wine Trail website or any Wegman’s store.

 

The Halsey House Goes Locavore in 2011 with a CSA Membership

April 6th, 2011 by KC Christopher

organic local vegetables

a sample of NY farm fresh local organic vegetables at the farmer’s market

Last year Halsey House went locavore with our first on-site organic vegetable garden, made entirely possible by the efforts of our gardener extraordinaire, Erica Ungleich.  Under Erica’s hand, the gardens are filling in and becoming more beautiful at Halsey House.   We are anxious to get started this year with expanded plantings and some new designs.

In 2010, our new crop of herbs and vegetables became wonderful savory breakfast dishes for our guests to enjoy.  This year we will adjust our own garden by adding berries, continuing the luscious tomatoes, cutting back on the zucchinis and green peppers (these multiplied like rabbits!) and nixing the cantaloupe and carrots.

field of cauliflower

a field of organic cauliflower

And for a source of other local organic produce, we are proud to announce our new membership in a fine Trumansburg CSA, Sweetland Farm.  What is a CSA you ask?  Here is the explanation from Sweetland’s own website:

“Community Supported Agriculture evolved to bring farmers, farmland, and a community of members together into a meaningful relationship that equitably meets the needs of all three parties. Farmers need a place to farm and make a viable living. Farmland needs to be enriched and nurtured so that it can yield bountiful harvests year after year. Members need a dependable source of vibrant, richly grown food. All of these needs must be kept in balance. Sweet Land Farm is a CSA-only farm, so everything that we grow is for you, the shareholders. This makes the above-mentioned balance nicely transparent. All of the money that we receive from members is either put into the farm, or paid to the farmers and farm workers. All of the produce that the farmers, farm workers, and farmland produces is distributed to the members. As a member you are truly ensuring this farm’s existence and a small farm family’s livelihood.”

fresh strawberries

juicy fresh-picked strawberries

Look for our new dishes featuring farm-to-table freshness on Halsey House breakfast table this year.  If you have a great breakfast recipe you’d like to share, we’d be happy to give it a try.

5 Reasons to Plan a Getaway to the Finger Lakes, NY

March 30th, 2011 by KC Christopher

We know many reasons to plan a getaway to the Finger Lakes, NY, but you might not.  So we took the time to gather 5 reasons that just might convince you why your next short trip should be to this popular upstate New York destination.

Watkins Glen State Park Gorge Waterfall Trail

A walking trail alongside a waterfall in Watkins Glen State Park in the Finger Lakes region of NY

1)  Finger Lakes Wine Region - voted “the most beautiful wine country destination in the world” in the 2010 Budget Travelers Reader’s Choice poll.  Want an exciting adventure tasting award winning wines in an unpretentious atmosphere alongside pristine lakes and rolling hills?  Come taste why our local wineries are truly coming into their own in competitions with the world’s best.

2)  Relaxed and Friendly Atmosphere - get away from your reality and take a break from responsibilities.  Clear your mind and recall what relaxing feels like.  Downtime.  Remember that?  Read for pleasure, see a movie, take a nap, and chat with other visitors over a splendid breakfast at a Finger Lakes Bed and Breakfast.  Reconnect with your precious one.  You will return home refreshed, renewed and quite possibly with a big smile on your face.

3)  Unrivaled Scenic Beauty and Waterfalls – when is the last time you were surrounded with more trees and grass than buildings and pavement?  Or listened to the captivating sounds of a waterfall and birds singing rather than traffic and sirens?  In the countryside of the Finger Lakes you can breathe in clean fresh air scented with nature, not exhaust.  The nighttime sky twinkles with a million stars unobscurred by city lights.

4)  Good for the Body, Good for the Soul – You may choose to take a leisurely stroll down our country roads, hike down the wide path to Taughannock Falls or rise to the challenge of the gorge trails through Robert Treman or Watkins Glen State Parks.  You could rent kayaks and paddle out on Cayuga Lake or bike along scenic back roads.  Maybe shopping or antiquing is more your style.  Any way you choose to put the body in motion, you will reap benefits for the soul as well as a good night’s sleep from a Finger Lakes getaway.

5)  Great Food - did you know that the Ithaca area has more restaurants per capita than NYC?  We have casual dining, upscale dining, ethnic choices and everything in between.  Many of our unique chef-owned restaurants feature locavore (locally farmed and grown organic ingredients and meats) with menus that change often to incorporate what is fresh and in season.  And Ithaca’s progressive culture pays attention to dietary preferences such as vegetarian, vegan and gluten-free dining options.  The world-renowned Moosewood Restaurant is located in the heart of downtown Ithaca.

Isn’t it time you discovered how close you live to  the enchantment of the Finger Lakes?  It took me 40 years to find it, but once I did, we made it our home and I never want to leave.

Spring in the Finger Lakes, NY with Spectacular Waterfalls and Locavore Dining

March 18th, 2011 by KC Christopher

Spring is literally just around the corner, and in good old New York style, the weather here in the Finger Lakes, NY is changing exactly on cue.

winter waterfall scene in Finger Lakes, NY

Trumansburg’s Taughannock Falls in winter

The snow melt has produced magnificent rushing waterfalls throughout our region.  With over 150 waterfalls to view, you could spend a week in the Finger Lakes and still not see them all.  Taughannock Falls State Park begins across the street from our bed and breakfast and the falls overlook is a peaceful two mile walk down country roads and hiking paths.

When it comes time for your dinner plans, we love to recommend restaurants that specialize in locavore practices.  Hazelnut Kitchen always pleases guests staying at Halsey House, and their location is just three minutes up the road in Trumansburg on Main St.   This fine dining restaurant is set in a casual bistro atmosphere and the menu changes each month in order to feature local, seasonal ingredients.

Also this Saturday, March 19th, 2011 Knapp Winery & Vineyard Restaurant on the Cayuga Wine Trail will feature their Tour of Europe Wine Dinner which features five delicious courses paired with wines and presented by Executive Chef John McNabb.

Yesterday delighted us with 60 degrees and sunshine, a great way for Mother Nature to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day and it put us in the mood for some fun.  Today the forecast is for mid 60′s and just a slight chance of rain.  This should be just enough to melt the last remaining spots of snow and already the grass is turning green.

If you have never experienced the countryside of upstate New York, Spring is an excellent time to shake off the winter doldrums and come breathe the fresh air.  And, a bottle or two of some fine Finger Lakes wine will certainly enhance the mood.

The Upscale Amenities in Our Finger Lakes Bed and Breakfast

February 16th, 2011 by KC Christopher

The Finger Lakes area of NY State has many lodging choices for tourists and visitors, but it can be a difficult task to find upscale amenities.  The discerning traveler today is searching for greater luxury and comfort.  It is not common for inns, bed and breakfast or hotels to offer luxuries such as plush pillowtop mattresses, down/feather pillows and fine Egyptian cotton linens.  Even harder to find are spacious, well designed private bathrooms or charming public areas where guests can relax and enjoy themselves.  These are the standard in the Halsey House guest rooms and we continue to look for ways to take our amenities to the next level.

en suite bathroom with upscale amenities featuring high shower heads

We have retrofitted our already spacious custom guest showers with new, higher shower heads for the comfort of our tall customers.  The new heights are between 6’8″ and 7′.  While those of us closer to the ground will still experience a wonderful shower, those people vertically blessed will enjoy not having to duck to wash their hair.  Combine tall showers with our vanities built at 35″ high and comfort-height toilets and it becomes clear this inn was remodeled with adults comfort in mind.  The entire first floor of the Halsey House, including the guest room Indulgence, has 10′ ceilings.  The second floor is at 8′ with no dormers or sloped ceilings to navigate on your way to bed.

We believe our guests are entitled to the superior level of comfort we seek, so our guest rooms feature the most comfortable pillowtop mattresses we could find.   A great night’s sleep is just one of the amenities you should expect from an upscale bed and breakfast.

Spring Events on the Finger Lakes Wine Trails

April 20th, 2010 by KC Christopher

Spring has come to Upstate NY and the Finger Lakes wine trails are grooming their vineyards for another great year.  To set this season off, the Cayuga Wine Trail is offering their 18th Annual Wine & Herb Festival on the weekends of April 23rd – 25th and April 30th – May 2nd, 2010.  Sample herb prepared foods along side fine wines, and take home wine glasses, recipes and herbs or vegetable plants from each winery. 

The Seneca Lake Wine Trail’s Spring Wine & Cheese Weekend is also on April 23rd-25th, 2010.  This self-guided tour pairs the flavors of local cheese makers with wonderful Finger Lakes wines.  You will take home a gift item and recipe book, along with beautiful memories of the scenery along Seneca Lake.  Tickets are available at the door at certain wineries.  Click here for more information.

Check out the Halsey House B&B availablity calendar for your getaway weekend.  Come stay in ultimate comfort, taste great wines and take home herbs and vegetables for your garden or recipes for your kitchen.

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