Free Time in the Finger Lakes
I am not particularly good at slowing down and giving myself down time. In fact, my roommates have instituted “Brendan’s Mandatory TV Time” so that I can get familiar with the movies and shows I have never taken time to watch, including- but not limited to- Seinfeld, South Park, American Dad, History Channel’s Mountain Men, and an assortment of movies that ‘everyone’ has seen. Without their dedicated assistance, I might never have stopped moving long enough to catch up.
This week has been a good week for slowing down though. On Monday we had our last midterm exam of the summer- a Pathology examination regarding the particulars of the many cancers that afflict humanity- and only one exam to study for meant relaxation was an option. Not to mention, my girlfriend, who lives a few hundred miles and an eight-hour drive away, was visiting for the first time. Which meant over the weekend, it was time to get out! Seneca Falls may be a small town (okay tiny, isolated town) but there is still enjoyment to be found. Allow me to outline some of the attractions so that when you come to visit me you know what’s in store…
Obviously, in the heart of the Finger Lakes region, the waterfront is a constant option. About half of the students at NYCC rent houses on Cayuga Lake, so Friday afternoon when classes got out, a couple dozen of us got together for a dockside party. It was a good start to the weekend, involving drinks on the deck, a friend’s dog chasing a lot of sticks from the dock, another friend deciding the dog needed competition and chasing the stick too, and the hosts abruptly deciding that taking the sailboat out for a spin seemed like a great option as most of their guests arrived.
The lakeside is also home to a few restaurants, and their decks became our next destination. When you are in town, I recommend Wolffy’s. From there we had a great dinner and enjoyed the respite of a lake breeze during this week’s stunning heat. Running into a few more friends in the parking lot, they convinced us to get ice cream with them at the Cayuga Sugar Shack, where we competed with the heat to finish our cones. I took my girlfriend on a complete tour of the Seneca Falls downtown, and 5 minutes later we headed home.
Saturday I rolled out the Finger Lakes’ big guns in entertainment, starting with the obligatory wine tours. Enlisting a designated driver who also happens to be a relatively local student and wine enthusiast, we drove the 40 minutes south to Americana Winery (always a solid starting point). After sampling a handful of their options (including one that tasted like chocolate-covered strawberries when paired with their homemade fudge), we worked our way back, visiting a smattering of the dozen wineries lining our route back to campus. I have to recommend Lucas, where you can’t make a bad choice among their wines, and Knapp, where you can be attended by an old man who introduces wines entirely in rhyming prose.
As night settled in we headed for a new experience for me- a concert at the Canandaigua Music and Arts Center (CMAC). GO HERE. Staking our claim on the picturesque sloping lawn, we jammed to superstar indie pop band Fun. (you know them from “We Are Young” and “Some Nights” at minimum) late into the night. Here is a pop artist who has not lost the art of live performance. Toward the end of the show, following a rousing chorus from the audience, lead singer Nate Ruess slowed down his performance, suddenly stopping to take in his audience, apparently the magnitude of 10,000 fans sinking in.
“I remember my first tour, saying, ‘Why are we going to upstate New York, who’s going to come see us there?'” he related. “Well, here we are again, and upstate New York, you are unforgettable. And you can be sure we’ll be back every tour!”
Well, the coming weekend marks NYCC’s own Homecoming, and I think that many former students will share the singer’s sentiment. Based on my own experience, I think I can start to see why.