Saturday, October 17, 2015

Innocent Abroad

About the time I started high school, our family moved to a house on Lake Keuka -- just outside the village of Penn Yan, at the right-hand tip of the lake.  Keuka is surrounded by
hills, perfect for growing grapes, and during The War, with 10,000,000 men overseas, Penn Yan Academy was closed for a week or two in October, so that we kids could go out and bring in the harvest.  It was heavenly -- October sunshine, autumn colors, no homework and we were getting paid!
This view of The Lake I took in the 1950s -- wasn't Kodachrome great?
So when a brochure offered, among other day trips, one to Hammondsport (down at the other end of the lake) I looked forward to a whole day driving around , in the interesting company of people of a decent age (who else is free on a weekday?) with a lunch I didn't have to make myself and lots of views of the autumn lake. 
And -- this was a first -- I planned to finally venture out in public using a rollator.  On the Internet I found this  minor three-wheel affair-- light enough so I can take it in and out of the car.  It won't fit in the laughable "cargo" rear of my little Smart car, but it does ride companionably strapped in the passenger seat.
So -- right after breakfast I handed the rollator to the bus driver who stowed it (mine wasn't the only one) and boarded the bus.  Lots of grey hair there, a typical mix -- twenty-nine women and four men.  Everything looked fine,
and then our guide started handing out maps and brochures.
I hadn't paid much attention to the plan for the day's adventures, and now it appeared we were set for tastings at five different wineries. And that was just before lunch.
The first challenge was getting in to those wineries.  They're built near the grapes, and the grapes grow on slopes.  I learned a lot about how to handle that rollator. 
 And after I made it up there, I realized I had no idea how to behave at a wine tasting.  I started by drinking all of my first sample -- small as it was, it was probably as much as I'd ever had at one time in my life.  I could feel the effect almost immediately.  That was before I learned to say "just a splash", and before I noticed the slop jars my more sophisticated busmates were using for excess wine and the water they were using to cleanse their palates. And when I finally struggled back to the bus (learning a lot about how to use the rollator brakes along the way), the guide hurried up to my seat. "You forgot your goblet!"  

 Do you suppose  people cruise the Finger Lakes collecting a whole set?


  1. Thanks for the laugh and the memories you brought back Edith. Years ago I was travelling around with my late husband and we did the wine tours..first

    We were supposed to go horseback riding in the afternoon. NOPE!..after doing the tastings..and I drank it all..after all it was free LOL...we had to cancel the horseback riding date...and have a nap!
    Loved this post..such a chuckle..and your seat companion is delightful..I wonder where I buy one of those?? Carry on are amazing!

  2. Looks like it was a beautiful day for the tour, Edith. Thanks for sharing it. John and I did lots of wine tours in California--on our own and with visitors. The glasses are long gone, but the memories linger.

  3. I was curious to know if the Kueka Maid still operates..look at what I found!

    We were there in 1994 and went on this boat for a tour. and did the wineries another day. Oh we also took a picnic to have at one of the wineries..such good husband passed in 1995..of a sudden heart attack. But I have these wonderful times to look back on. Only two short years with Jim..but they were the best!

  4. Sounds like a great time. Glad you did it.