Don’t Stay Home for the Holidays

November 29th, 2011 by Gail

The holidays are approaching, and across the nation people are making plans. They’re contacting family and friends and discussing options. Some people will travel to see family in distant places. Others will welcome family from distant places into their homes. And still others need a different option.

Treat yourself to Christmas or New Year's at our Finger Lakes Bed and Breakfast.

Our Finger Lakes Bed and Breakfast is a great “meet in the middle” spot for folks coming from points north, south, east and west. In the past, families and friends from Canada, New York State, and Pennsylvania have met here. No one is the host – everyone just relaxes and enjoys the good company.

Still, sometimes it’s just not possible to see family during the holidays. Much as we may wish to spend Christmas with parents, children, and grandchildren in distant locales, schedules and wallets sometimes trump that desire. Yet still, we want the holidays to be special. We want them to stand out from our daily lives.

Spend the holidays at our Finger Lakes Bed and Breakfast.

Guests are invited to make themselves at home at Halsey House, both in their rooms and in the inn’s common areas. Curl up with a new book by the fireplace in the Parlor, or play an engrossing game of chess with your partner. Enjoy a game on the leather-topped table in the library – the perfect spot for cards and puzzles. Luxuriate in your own room, lounging in bed, watching the HDTV, or soaking in the two-person whirlpool tub. If you’re interested in birds, ask us (Mitch and KC) about our aviary. We love to introduce guests to our flock.

Numerous activities await beyond the inn’s walls. Walk down the street to Taughannock State Park and gaze in wonder at Taughannock Falls, one of the highest waterfalls east of the Rocky Mountains. Nearby Finger Lakes National Forest has more than 30 miles of trails that lead to lovely gorges, woods, and pasture. If there is snow on the ground, bring your cross-country skis. Or explore the shops, art galleries, museums, and eateries of nearby Ithaca.

Then, of course, there are the wineries. The Finger Lakes Region is known for its wine, and wine tasting is a fantastic holiday treat. Our Finger Lakes Bed and Breakfast, located between Cayuga and Seneca Lakes, is the perfect home base for folks interested in tasting wines along the Cayuga Lake Wine Trail and Seneca Lake Wine Trail. Travel them on your own, or ask us about a Wine Tasting Tour.

Our Finger Lakes Bed and Breakfast is twenty minutes from both Cornell University and Ithaca College. We’re two hours from Scranton, Pennsylvania, an hour and a half from Rochester, New York, and an hour and ten minutes from Syracuse, New York. Our inn is nestled in an idyllic region replete with impressive waterfalls, deep gorges, and wonderful wineries. If you’re looking for a special way to celebrate the holidays this year – either Christmas or New Year’s Eve – spend them at Halsey House.

Follow the Cheese to the Finger Lakes Cheese Trail

November 9th, 2011 by Gail

One of the great truths of life is that if you bring a group of people together, they’ll want to eat. No matter the occasion, no matter the location, people enjoy breaking bread together. Sharing a meal breaks the ice and creates a bond.

As the holidays approach, many of us are seeking new flavors for our tables. With holiday gatherings filling our calendars, we want simple dishes that will wow our guests. We want appetizers that will impress without taking hours to prepare.

Say cheese!!!

Visit the artisan cheese makers of the Finger Lakes Region on November 19, 2011.

It’s hard to go wrong with cheese.

A day spent traveling the Finger Lakes Cheese Trail is sure to unveil gustatory delights. Opportunities to visit artisan cheese makers in the Finger Lakes Region are few, but these craftspeople are opening their doors to the public on Saturday, November 19, 2011. It’s a perfect time to spend the weekend at our Finger Lakes Region Bed and Breakfast.

The Finger Lakes Cheese Trail is comprised of thirteen cheese makers. Folks who follow the cheese are invited to tour the facilities and sample the cheese. Participants include:

  • Cowlick Farm, a Finger Lakes Micro-creamery producing pure Creamline Jersey cow milk.
  • 4 Tin Fish Farm, a micro goat dairy producing farmstead cheese from Alpine dairy goats.
  • Shtayburne Farm, a farm with fat happy cows and fifteen hand crafted cheeses.
  • Sunset View Creamery, a dairy run by the 4th and 5th generations of Hoffmans and a Farmstead / Artisan Creamery.

Following the Finger Lakes Cheese Trail is a wonderful way to explore the farming communities of the Finger Lakes Region. It is also a fabulous way to find new flavors for your table. Imagine serving “Across the Pond” from Keeley’s Cheese Company, a semi-soft rind cheese made from raw milk and aged in an underground cellar that you’ve visited. You’ll be able to entertain your guests with stories of your Cheese Trail travels as you all enjoy the cheeses you brought back with you.

Why not make a weekend of it, using our Finger Lakes Bed and Breakfast as a base? Visit creameries on Saturday and Finger Lakes wineries on Sunday. Wine is the perfect accompaniment to cheese, after all.

Local cheese should be a part of any stay at Halsey House. Many wineries in the region serve local cheeses to wine tasters. Finger Lakes cheese is also available at a number of local farmers markets and shops, such as the Ithaca Bakery, the Ithaca GreenStar Natural Market, Red Jacket Orchards, and the Trumansburg ShurSave (close to our Finger Lakes B&B). In addition, some creameries are open to the public on a regular basis.

Don’t worry if you can’t make it to the Cheese Trail on the 19th; you can still enjoy Finger Lakes cheese.  Please visit our Reservations page to reserve a room at our Finger Lakes Bed and Breakfast.

A complete list of Finger Lakes Region creameries and dairies is available at the Finger Lakes Cheese Trail.

The Gift That Makes Memories

October 25th, 2011 by Gail

With the holidays on the horizon, many of us are beginning to ponder gift options for our friends and family.

A Mother´s Kiss  [123/365]

A weekend at our Finger Lake Bed and Breakfast will leave parents refreshed and happy..

We want to give the people we love something special. We want them to have something that will be appreciated and remembered, and something that won’t eventually end up in a landfill. It’s a tall order, but we have an idea.

Give a night or two at our Finger Lakes Region Bed and Breakfast.

This is a gift anyone will appreciate, no matter their age or situation. Yet we have found it to be particularly cherished by parents of young children. For these couples, a weekend at our Finger Lakes Region Bed and Breakfast without their children is a slice of heaven. They just need someone to think of it for them – and someone to watch their kids.

For parents of young children, a romantic weekend is a rare event. Let’s face it, a date is a rare event; 24 – 48 hours away from the kids is unthinkable. Yet a night or two away can do wonders for the self and for the relationship.

Children are a gift. They are delightful and cuddly and funny and fascinating and sweet. Parents enjoy being with their children, and in truth, many parents never think of leaving their kids for any stretch of time.

Yet children are also demanding, as they should be. Young children need constant vigil, constant supervision, constant interaction. Add work and housework, and it’s easy to see why so many parents suffer from exhaustion. An evening out may be fun, but it often seems more trouble than it’s worth. A weekend away holds the promise of long, deep sleep, uninterrupted conversations, the chance to read a book…

A weekend away is also a wonderful opportunity for grandparents, aunts and uncles, and close friends to bond with children. There is nothing like an early morning snuggle, a long afternoon building castles out of boxes, or a bedtime story. The children will remember this special time, and they will cherish it.

Our Finger Lakes Bed and Breakfast offers a Romantic Nights Package, a Celebration Package, and Wine Tasting Tours; any of these would be delightful additions to a weekend without the children. Yet even without add-ons, a night or two away with one’s spouse – and without the kids – is a gift that will be appreciated and remembered for years to come.

 

 

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.

The 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 of our favorites 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.

Clarke’s Cottage on Hidden Pond, Our Finger Lakes Vacation Rental

June 6th, 2011 by KC Christopher

view from the north lawn of Clarke's Cottage

 

In 2010 we proudly added our vacation rental house, Clarke’s Cottage on Hidden Pond, as a sister property to the Halsey House for folks traveling to the Finger Lakes.  This five bedroom country home sits on almost seven acres of rolling lawns and fields and features a very large and private swimming pond.

 

 

Stunning vistas of the upstate NY countryside can be seen from every window in the house.  When we completely gutted and rebuilt the interior of this house, we added large windows to take advantage of these views.

the sun rises over Hidden Pond on a clear day in June

picture window in the kitchen of Clarke's Cottage

The gourmet kitchen offers beautiful professional stainless-steel appliances, granite counters, a picture window with a view of the red barn and a wide open design to accommodate several cooks.  The island allows observers to sit and chat with the cooks during meal prep.  This kitchen is fully furnished with all the cookware, appliances and serving dishes you will need, and of course wine glasses and corkscrew!  You can also take the cooking outside with a gas grill and picnic tables within view of the pond and lawn.

 

whirlpool bath for two in master bedroom

 

The plush comfort of the furnishings and high-end amenities such as the master bathroom’s whirlpool tub, luxury pillow-top beds and reclining couches and chairs, have guests wondering if there is any reason to leave the property during their relaxing stay.

 

Did we mention outdoor fun?  We have added a six person hot tub and fire pit, located between the house and the pond.

the hot tub and firepit with view of the pond

Imagine sipping on your first cup of coffee while sitting in the hot tub and watching the sun rise over Hidden Pond, with the breeze cooling you face.  And we can think of no better way to spend an evening then enjoying a bottle (or two, or three) of Finger Lakes wine with family or friends, watching a crackling fire and a million sparkling stars in the nighttime sky.  Make a meal roasting hot dogs and marshmallows on a stick over the open fire.

 

Peacefulness, privacy, relaxation.  You will be planning your next visit to Clarke’s Cottage before you even leave here.

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 the 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.

Be sure to check out The Halsey House Bed and Breakfast’s availability calendar for your upcoming stay during these Finger Lakes wine tasting events.  And, if you are traveling with friends or family, our vacation rental Clarke’s Cottage on Hidden Pond has a great location right between the two lakes and can accommodate up to ten people in plush comfort.  Enjoy your stay and the Vino!

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 the Halsey House went locavore with our first on-site organic vegetable garden, made entirely possible by the efforts of our gardener extraordinaire, Erica Ungleich.  It is common knowledge that I (KC) have a brown thumb.  Okay, maybe more like a black thumb.  If I touch plants, they are destined for the compost pile within a very short time.  Under Erica’s hand, the gardens are filling in and becoming more beautiful at both the Halsey House and Clarke’s Cottage on Hidden Pond.  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 customers to enjoy, such as KC’s Garden Frittata.  I may not be handy in the dirt, but I am at home in the kitchen!  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.”

A special thank you goes out to Rose at the Inn at Gothic Eves for her gentle persuasion in getting us on board with Sweetland Farm.  Rose has been at the forefront of the locavore movement long before it was popular.

fresh strawberries

juicy fresh-picked strawberries

Look for our new dishes featuring farm-to-table freshness on the 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.  Let’s here it for local, fresh, healthy and yummy!

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