Weekend full of wine, family and wonderful Keuka Lake Views

This past weekend I had the awesome opportunity to revisit a little bit of childhood at Keuka Lake – with a 21 and over perk.

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Growing up in Western NY State we spent plenty of time camping and exploring.

One of our favorite destinations was Keuka Lake – one of the finger lakes.  Our neighbors growing up, the type of people you love so much you affectionately call Aunt and Uncle, purchased land there and slowly built their retirement dream.  As retired teachers, they now have an awesome lakeside dock as well as a beautiful house on the hill that they live in permanently.

view from the lake house - Keuka Lake Views

Growing up we spent a lot of time there camping on the then vacant property.  Then indoor camping as the house was framed and then slowly finished.  We would spend our time snorkeling, boating, skiing, and bobbing up and down on our floats hoping a boat would soon go by to give us some waves!

This trip, however, was a tad different.

My parents, sister and Aunt all met our ‘neighbors’ on Thursday around lunchtime.  We quickly caught up, had a quick lunch and ventured out.  We knew our theme of this trip was wine tasting but more importantly it was reconnecting and taking in beautiful Keuka Lake.  The girls headed out separate from the boys (actually we didn’t see the boys again until dinnertime).  We took in a few wineries, pottery and antique shops.  All in all I think we drove about half way around the lake.  Each stop was beautiful in it’s own way and Keuka wineries have some views!  Back in time for some dockside wine and cheese and then we headed up to the house for dinner.

sister, me, Aunt, Mom

Point of the Bluff Vineyards - Keuka Lake Views

 

Point of the Bluff Vineyards - Keuka Lake Views

The next day was pretty similar.  We were up early, had a hearty breakfast and headed out to a few more wineries.  One being one our ‘Aunt’ works at – talk about the hookup!  We were back at the house for lunch and quickly out on the boat for a long cruise on this perfectly sunny day!  Back at the house to freshen up for dinner and then headed to The Lakeside – which was fantastic!  There are so many options for outside, lakeside seating and it was the perfect night for it.  I do recommend reservations though.  I had a great beer, Local Mocha Stout from Keuka Brewing Co., paired with Louie’s BLT (no B 🙂 ).  The next morning we all headed out after breakfast.

view from Heron Hill Winery - Keuka Lake Views

Lake view from Bully Hill Winery - Keuka Lake Views

Keuka Lake Views

This was a great little trip with some of my favorite people!  I need to remember this is the reason we moved back north, to be closer to family and do things like this.  Darn you winter! 🙂

Mad Hatter Tea!

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Almost two weeks ago we arrived in Ohio to wedding dress shop with my sister.  We decided to make the whole Friday a girls day, starting with Mad Hatter Tea!  This was actually our mother’s day gift to our mom.

She didn’t really know what we were up to until she arrived at my sister’s house and saw the little hats we were going to wear.  We ordered matching hats on Amazon.  They were $10 – $12 each and were so cute!  They stayed on really well with two clips on each end.

Our destination…Mad Hatter Tea theme at Sweet Shalom Tea Room in Sylvania, Ohio.  We arrived at a sweet Victorian home where we donned our hats and were seated by Alice in Wonderland at our reserved table (you do need to make reservations for the special events).

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Mom at her first tea

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How cute was this table setting!?!?  Our names were printed on playing cards, the tea sets were perfect and the rest of the house was so whimsical.  Our menu consisted of four courses and unlimited pots of tea.  Our first choice in tea was the Choco-Nut Blend, which remained my favorite.  We also tried a vanilla peach tea.  Then our first course was up, orange pinwheel scones.  Then a Mad Hatter Salad, which was like a slaw with crunchy ramen noodles…it was very tasty.  While waiting for our main course one of the owners read a few pages of the Alice in Wonderland book.

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Next up was the main course.  A blend of little cucumber sandwiches, mac and cheese, veggies and dip, chicken salad and a few dessert selections.  We were amazingly full after all these tasty tiny bites.  How cute is the presentation!

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A big surprise to us was when they announced a tie in the ‘best hat’ contest.  We didn’t even know there was such as thing, but we won!!  $5 each to come back another time…sweet!

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Pinkies up!

There was actually one more course, a dessert!  We were feeling a bit full and felt a bit in a rush.  Holly had scheduled an appointment at a wedding dress place that afternoon.  So we told the ladies we were really enjoying ourselves but felt we needed to scoot to make the appointment on time.  While were we gathering our things they ended up packaging up our desserts for us to take on the road so we didn’t miss anything…how sweet!

This was such a special day and we all said we would love to return another time – when we aren’t in a hurry.  Both my mom and sister said they would love to take groups of friends there as well.  So if you can make it to the Sweet Shalom Tea House…take your time, it will be worth it.

Girl Time – Lancaster County

Our girl time concluded last week with a day exploring Lancaster County.  The day before my mom, sister and I did The Hershey Spa, Chocolate World and the Dutch Apple Dinner Theatre.   You can read more about that below:

Girl Time – Hershey Spa

Girl Time – Dutch Apple Dinner Theatre

Our day started with a trip to Green Dragon Market, which is only open on Fridays.  My dad and Tim (hubs) joined us as well but we drove separately so they can ditch us later.  I’ve only been here once before and it’s a fun place to walk around.  It’s a farmers market/flea market.  I knew I wanted to get cheese spread from King’s Fresh Meats (next to the pickle stand).  Once we found this stand I purchased a tub of the jalapeno popper spread and cheddar horseradish.  My sister purchased an onion flavored spread.  This stuff is cheese spread crack and my sister can’t stop raving about it!  I wish I could find it at more places than Green Dragon!  The other thing I must always get at markets like this is fresh soft pretzels!!!  It’s one of my weaknesses and PA Dutch Country is where it’s at when it comes to soft pretzels!  Auntie Anne’s is headquartered in Lancaster but my favorite soft pretzels of all time are actually from Roots Market which is similar to Green Dragon but only open on Tuesdays.  Well needless to say we found the pretzels and then found a dry spot to sit down and enjoy them while they were still hot.

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Did I mention my sister got engaged a few days before?

Once we were done with Green Dragon our plan was to head to Kitchen Kettle Village.  The boys decided to join us there too so we could eat lunch together and then they would take off.  I would consider Kitchen Kettle Village to be a part of the Amish touristy part of Lancaster County.  I had never been, since I’ve never really done a lot of the touristy stuff in Lancaster before and I’m trying to save a lot of it for when people come to visit us.

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Our drive from Green Dragon to Kitchen Kettle was so pretty, if only the sun would have come out.

Once there we decided to eat lunch first at The Kling House Restaurant.  We timed that right!  Ton of people leaving when we got there and a ton a people waiting after we were seated.  It’s a cute old house and the food was great!  I got the vegetarian sandwich…yum.  After lunch the boys and girls parted ways (I think my dad was itching to go get his new smartphone).  My mom, sister and I walked in and out of the shops there.  We didn’t buy much but it’s a very cute area and you can easily spend a whole day there!  Around 3ish it looked like it might rain so we decided to leave and head towards the outlets…mostly to go to Reading China and Glass but we also ended up at the Loft Outlet too.  After a bit of retail therapy we went back home to meet the boys and enjoy dinner at Issac’s Deli.

In true fashion, my parent’s always have a lot of things they want us to help them with whenever we get together and they always happen at the last bit of time we have together.  So that night we taught my dad how to use his new smartphone, scanned a bunch of old newspaper articles for my mom, fixed her email address book, Tim did some other stuff on her laptop, etc.  In the morning we went out to breakfast and they took off back to Ohio and we took naps.

Girl Time – Dutch Apple Dinner Theatre

Our girl time continued last week with a trip to the Dutch Apple Dinner Theatre.  I posted earlier about the beginning of my day with my mom and sister, who were visiting from Ohio.  You can read more about our Hershey Spa experience here.

Once we got back to Lancaster we had just enough time to catch our breath, change and get ready for our second big activity that day.  Soon after we got back my dad and hubs also returned after a day of hiking and looking at smart phones for my dad…yes he is getting his first ever smart phone, Lord help us all.  The last part of our day consisted of a little jaunt down the road to the Dutch Apple Dinner Theatre where they were putting on Funny Girl.  We’ve never been here before and didn’t really know what to expect.  Actually all this time driving by the place I actually thought it was the place next door, Loxley’s.  I also invited my mother in law to join us.  My parents and the hubs parents get along great!

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When we got there I picked up our tickets at will call and we all hung around the lobby for about 10-15 minutes until the doors opened.  We were seated at our reserved table and when the waitress came around she took our drink order and we were directed to the buffet.  Now from the outside the Dutch Apple Dinner Theatre doesn’t look like much and the inside is also pretty dated so I wasn’t expecting much but the food was REALLY good!  We all enjoyed everything we had and then dived into the dessert table…oh my…so many choices, it was great!

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After dinner was the show, Funny Girl.  You stay at your table for the show and I didn’t think that sounded very comfortable but it totally worked with a little wriggling of your chair.  The theatre isn’t that big so I can’t imagine there is a bad seat in the house.  With the exception of a few songs, none of us really knew the musical Funny Girl and we are musical fans!  All we really knew was that Barbara Streisand played the lead in the movie back in the day.

The show was great!  The lead was fantastic and the story line was good.  It’s not a flashy new musical like so many are now a days.  It’s old school but so charming.  My sister and I kept saying we felt bad because we wanted to clap louder but the crowd didn’t really warrant that.  Definitely not a hoot and holler type of group, and my sister and I were probably the youngest there so…..  After the show we filed out, said our goodbyes and drove back home.  Exhausted we called it a day, the next day we were off again.

Girl Time – Hershey Spa

Last Wednesday my family came to town.  Well my mom, dad and sister did.  We’ve had this trip planned since Christmas time when my sister and I decided to give my mom a great few days as her Christmas/60th Birthday Present.  They were already here by the time I got home from work on Wednesday.  It was a stay in and catch up kind of night because we knew this would be our only down time in the next two days.

For dinner that night I made eggplant parmesan subs.  Well, actually I just make the eggplant and everyone made their own subs so they could decide how much sauce, cheese and spice they wanted.  These subs are SO good and SO easy and always a hit.  I’ll have to do a post on how I do it soon!  I also made baked oatmeal so that it was ready to go in the morning for breakfast.

Right now we are in a two bedroom, two bath apartment.  Since we’ve been in the area for about 6 months we’ve been able to live in this awesome apartment while living strategically between both of our jobs while still being able to enjoy Lancaster County and save for a house at the same time.  When we have visitors we totally have room but my newly engaged sister and I were easily able to convince my hubs to sleep on the couch the next few nights so we could share the king bed and giggle and chat each night.  He actually said he slept really well so don’t feel too bad for him. 🙂

The next day started early for us girls.  We had a whole day planned that started with a trip to the The Spa at the Hershey Hotel.  Hershey is about 35-40 minutes away so we were up early to get there by 9:30 to start our spa treatments.

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On our way to the spa!

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Such a beautiful place but sad it was a gloomy day outside.

We were all getting the same package and had our treatments all booked at the same time.  Of course we got chocolate themed packages since we were in Hershey!  Check in was so easy and everyone was SO sweet.  Once we were checked in we changed into our swimsuit (for our first treatment) and put on the provided bathrobes and slip on shoes and were given a tour.  The spa takes up a few different floors so it was a bit confusing when we were done with the tour.  We were told to go hang out in one of the many hangout areas and they would come get us when they were ready for our treatments.

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With our robes on and ready to go!  We didn’t take anymore photos in the spa since we were there to relax and didn’t carry our phones around with us.

We asked our tour guide if we could hang out in the lower level, where we would eat lunch later, because it was the only area where we could talk without having to whisper or smell aroma therapy.  Anywhere you go in the spa you see areas with chocolate, nuts, muffins, hot cocoa etc.  We got a little snack and chatted.  After a while a lady came to get my sister for her rain shower.  A while passed and another lady came down to get me but said she couldn’t find us so I missed my scheduled rain shower time.  But no worries!  They were so sweet and squeezed me into a slot a little while later.  Since we didn’t want them to not be able to find us the rest of the day we went back to the main area and waited for our rain showers.

We didn’t know what to expect for a rain shower.  My mom was called back next and a little while later my sister came out from hers…looking like a drowned rat, hair and all.  She had a water in her hand and handed it to me, hand shaking.  What is this rain shower?  She burst out laughing…best way to describe it is to think of a human car wash.  Actually we all had very different rain shower experiences since we all had different people do it for us.  You go into a private shower area with your spa attendant.  You are in your swim suit and step into a shower with all sorts of nozzles coming from every direction.  My mom and I wore a shower cap and apparently my sister wasn’t given that option or knew what was coming.  Not only does the shower spray you from all angles but the attendant stands just outside the shower with a sort of fire hose looking thing and sprays you in all directions, sort of massage like.  My sister also had the giant ‘rain shower’ from above get turned on for her, hence the drowned rat appearance later.  My mom and I did not have that experience.  While all in all the rain shower isn’t a bad experience and we would know what to expect next time, I don’t feel it necessary to do it again.

After changing out of our wet suits we decided to go hang out in the ‘whisper only’ room and wait for our next treatment.  We all had the chocolate sugar scrub.  I really liked the sugar scrub.  In a private room you lay on a table and strategically placed towels cover your body while a spa attendant rubs a chocolate sugar scrub all over your body.  She then rinses you off and you have not only a nice smell all over but the oil from the scrub really moisturizes.  I also really liked my spa attendant for this treatment and we chatted about the local area, etc.

After another stint in the whisper room it was time for our massages!!  I think we all knew this would be the highlight of the day!  We all had 50 minutes cocoa massages.  I am not a huge massage person but I know with my desk job and posture I carry a lot of tension in my upper back and shoulders.  My massage person said she would focus on that area and I must say she did a great job!  I really felt loose in my shoulders when she was done.  I know she hit all the right places since I felt it the next few days too.  I prefer a more sports type and rough massage that serves a purpose but I must say it was also the most peaceful and relaxing massage I’ve ever had.  The cocoa oil smelled great without being too overwhelming.

After our massages it was lunch time!  This was great since I had to apologize during my massage for the sounds my stomach was making.  The spa lunch is in The Oasis, and was fantastic!  The buffet style lunch consisted of different wraps, salads, breads and of course desserts!  We kept giggling about how everyone in there was in their bathrobes and you know there is nothing underneath.

When you go to the Hershey Spa, as long as you purchase at least one treatment, you have access to all the amenities there.  We didn’t have time to do most of it but after lunch we went into the sauna for literally two minutes before we all got out, showered and got dressed to go.  We had other things to do that day but you could easily make a whole day out of the spa by taking advantage of the pool, fitness center, relaxing rooms, etc.

On our way out of Hershey we stopped at Chocolate World, which we’ve all been to a few times before.  I love Chocolate World!  It’s free and near the entrance to the Hershey Park Amusement Park.  It’s a retail store with all things Hershey but my favorite part is the free ride you can take that shows you how chocolate is made!  And why do I love this ride so much?  You get free chocolate when you are done!  And the song the cows sing during the ride is so cute and catchy!

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Apparently it was a KitKat kind of day at Chocolate World.

After consuming our free chocolate we walked around a little and picked up a few chocolate items.  You can also eat there and pay for extra awesome things to do like a 4D experience, trolley ride, make your own chocolate bar, etc.  We then headed back to Lancaster to get ready for our next adventure…Dutch Apple Dinner Theater!

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