We celebrated my 61st birthday during a 3-night vacation in New York’s Finger Lakes region. Our home base was at the Best Western Plus The Hammondsport Hotel in Hammondsport, NY. Our hotel accommodation included a complimentary breakfast each day.
We started our third day of vacation (Friday, February 24) with a large breakfast. Bob loaded up with scrambled eggs and sausage. I, on the other hand, made a waffle that I topped with blueberries and a dollop of whipped topping. We finished breakfast around 7:30 am and left for a drive along the east side of Keuka Lake.
During our drive along Keuka Lake, I found myself spending equal time looking left toward the hillside and right across the picturesque lake. What drew my eye to the left were the many rivulets of water tumbling down the hillside.
Our first stop was in Branchport, where I photographed three store fronts; we went on an off-road adventure; and we visited a state park.
The off-road adventure happened at the Verdi Burtch Bird Refuge, located at the Eastern edge of Branchport along Sugar Creek. The bird refuge is a marshland with an observation platform overlooking the marsh and Keuka Lake. There was no sign that prohibited motor vehicles from using the trail. It appeared as though motor vehicles had driven to the observation platform at some point in time. The trail was deeply rutted, but also muddy and very wet. Thankfully, we were driving a 4-wheel vehicle. We got stuck in one of the deep ruts. After rocking back and forth a few times and getting even more stuck, Bob decided to try to back up. Finally we were out of the rut; however, it was not safe to keep backing up. Sugar Creek was very close to us. Bob gunned it, and we made it through the rut traveling again in the direction of the observation platform. The trail actually looked a little better, after the deep rut. We made it to the observation platform and got turned around.
Our off-road adventure was a hair-raising experience, as both the creek and lake were very close to the path that we were on. We didn’t get out of the car at the observation platform, and we didn’t look for any birds. We were concerned only with making it back to the road, without getting stuck (or worse getting pulled into Sugar Creek!).
After our off-road adventure we made one more stop in Branchport, at Keuka Lake State Park, where we enjoyed picturesque views across the lake.
View across Keuka Lake at Keuka Lake State Park
View across Keuka Lake at Keuka Lake State Park
We drove through Penn Yan, making two stops: one to give our muddy SUV a bath and the second for a much-needed bathroom break.
From Penn Yan we drove towards Corning, NY with the intent of visiting the Corning Museum of Glass. We made two photo stops along the way.
Barn located on a rural route somewhere between Penn Yan and Corning
Mill Pond, off Lamoka Lake (near Bradford, NY)
We changed our minds about visiting the Corning Museum of Glass, neither of us much interested in the museum offerings. Perhaps if admission to the museum were free, we would check it out.
We ate lunch at The Outback Steakhouse in Elmira. After lunch we drove back to Hammondsport, making one photo stop along Route 54.
Keuka Lake, as seen from Route 54 near Hammondsport
We returned to our hotel around 1:30 pm. A couple hours later we drove to downtown Hammondsport. We parked along Shethar Street. We walked from there through Hammondsport Village Square to Depot Park.
G. Frey Opera House (c.1901) on Shethar Street
Walking down Shethar Street
Shethar Street Art
Hammondsport Village Square
Looking across the village square to Shethar Street
It was motorcycle-riding weather in February!
Depot Park on Keuka Lake in Hammondsport, NY
This is the old depot, from which Depot Park gets its name.
We sat on a park bench for a while and enjoyed the picturesque view of Keuka Lake.
We returned to our hotel, after our walk in downtown Hammondsport. We stayed in for rest of the afternoon and evening.
We began our fourth and final day of vacation (Saturday, February 25) with a large breakfast. The hotel’s complimentary breakfast was very good each day. We had choice of scrambled or hard-boiled eggs, sausage, home fries, a variety of breads and pastries, cold cereals, waffles, fruit topping for the waffles, a variety of juices, coffee, tea and hot chocolate. Later in the day complimentary fresh chocolate chip cookies were available. The hotel is relatively new, as it opened in June 2016 I believe. The rooms are very nice; the beds are comfortable; and the staff is helpful and pleasant. We would definitely stay at this hotel again.
We checked out of the hotel around 7:30 am and began our drive home. It was still warm, 58.6 degrees. The temperature at home, in Warren PA, was close to the same. The temperature would fall throughout the day , leading to a realistic temperature for the month of February. The unseasonably warm temperature during our Finger Lakes Region vacation was very nice! Bob couldn’t have picked a better time to take vacation. We LOVE 70 degree weather in February!
Since breakfast, Bob’s morning went downhill. Before breakfast Bob created a route map, with directions home that would keep us off the Interstate. He sent the map from his tablet to his phone. The map disappeared! Before leaving Hammondsport, Bob spent $2.00 for a car wash. Our SUV was STILL muddy from our previous day’s off-road adventure! The coin machine took his money, but didn’t give him a car wash. On our way home we ended up on I-390 instead of staying on I-86. We didn’t realize the error until we were almost in Rochester! We came home from Hammondsport via Batavia NY, which was way out of the way! It rained hard, and it was very windy. I am glad that we got off the interstate at Batavia and took slower routes home. We returned home at 12:30 pm. If we had not gone out of our way, we would have been home between 10:00 and 10:30 am.
Bob’s bad luck continued later in the afternoon, after we returned home. Bob dropped a 2TB portable hard drive. The hard drive is no longer readable. Stored on the hard drive are system images of our desktop computers and Bob’s Microsoft Surface Pro 4 tablet. Understandably, Bob was upset about the loss. Thankfully he had just used a system image stored on that hard drive to repair his tablet, before the hard drive fell to its death.
What a memorable birthday celebration!