Road Trip!

Two great things about living in New York:
1) Escaping to the country REALLY feels like an escape.
2) When the Food Network shows something delicious, there’s a pretty good chance you can go eat it.

As luck would have it, just as I was packing for a jaunt to the Finger Lakes, the Food Network’s “Man vs. Food” featured the perfect stop along my little road trip, a place called Dinosaur Bar-B-Que in Syracuse.  The draw? A sandwich with pastrami AND pulled pork. I mean seriously, how good does that sound?





Usually I’m suspicious of big food, and by big food I mean the enormous portions Americans have come to expect. Usually more is just more, not better. But at Dinosaur Bar-B-Que, they’re layering succulence upon succulence. This place is one of 10, so you can find their one and only “Pork-Sket” sandwich in Harlem and Brooklyn too.  (Skip the fried green tomatoes. Yankees just can’t get ‘em right!)

Once I was full up on meat, it was off to lakes Skaneateles (pronounced Skinny-Atlas) and Seneca. Did you know if you hand somebody your driver’s license and credit card they’ll rent you a BOAT?!?!? I’m sure this is no surprise to some of y’all, but really? I could easily have crashed that thing into the dock en route to open water. I’ve never even been IN a speed boat, let alone driven one. All I can say is WEEEEEE!



Turns out driving a boat is a lot less complicated than a stick shift. There are no peddles and the “stick,” such as it is, (called the throttle in boat parlance) only moves straight forward and straight back. Basically you just have to steer and watch the depth gauge so you don’t get stuck on a sandbar. (In our rental, the gauge was busted anyway, so we pretty much just stayed away from buoys. Don’t try this just anywhere!)

Best $200 I’ve ever spent for four hours of fun. Too bad I didn’t realize until half way through that the boat came equipped with a cooler. Beer would have been great on this stunningly beautiful day.

But wait! There’s more! This little place on Lake Seneca where I stayed was originally a single-family residence, built for a woman who ditched her husband in New York City and married her “manager,” whatever THAT means. Here’s her midlife crisis:



Here’s my room:



Lovely, yes? Well, there is one more thing you need to know about Belhurst Castle. It is the MOST BRILLIANT idea EVER in the history of hospitality. You see, when you check into Belhurst Castle, you get two keys. One opens your room and the other opens this little iron door in the hall:



It’s a WINE SPIGOT! All day, every day, from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. guests of the Castle have access to unlimited red wine from this baby. And lemme tell you, while they could have filled it with just any swill handy, the vino they chose was delicioso. It’s called simply “Red,” named for a red-headed gent who turned the Castle into a casino after its original matron died in 1926. This smooth, medium-bodied, fruity wine has maybe just a hint of tobacco and could almost woo me away from the citrusy whites I usually drink at home. It goes down THAT easily.

If you head up to the Finger Lakes, I’d suggest leaving plenty of time to make your way down from the town of Geneva to Ithaca. The drive is stunning and I short-changed it just a little by not allowing enough time to visit the numerous vineyards and farmers’ markets along the way. I did make one stop for sweet corn picked that morning. It was delectable.

What about ya’ll? Any fun trips to report this summer? I’d love to hear about them!

5 thoughts on “Road Trip!

  1. Well, Belhurst Castle looks like an incredible place to stay! We visited Niagara Falls and lovely Ithaca last summer to bring Vanessa back from her internship at Hangar Theatre.

  2. I love this area of the republic. I have good memories of chasing ancestors’ graves around Utica with my father in 1983, and I spent time in Skaneateles for a story for The Patriot-News in 1992. I still want to travel the Erie Canal in its entirety.

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