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We just returned from the Finger Lakes where we discovered the best swings ever. You pump them with a slight flex of the ankles. Very exciting. No chance of magically looping all the way around the bar on this type, but you can’t beat the view. Check it out.

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Can’t beat the view. We said that a lot during our stay a few hours northwest of Brooklyn. With more than 100 wineries, cideries and boozeries, plus all the lovely parks, forest and gorges with waterfalls, the Finger Lakes is a stunning place to be. This fall below is right off a street in Ithaca.

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Once again, we traveled in May assuming warm sunny days and were received with grey, rainy skies. The weather put a bit of a damper on our winery picnics, but we rallied. Well, boyfriend rallied. I love rain. Plus we had the luxury of overpacking a whole car with hoodies, rain jackets and extra sneaks.

Knowing we were only going to a few of the wineries, we chose all lakefront ones. Here’s the view from the deck of a winery on Seneca Lake, possibly Atwood.

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What I was looking forward to most was seeing lots of stars. We booked a cottage on the east side of Cayuga Lake because it had a little porch. For some reason, I thought the Finger Lakes would have stars and this porch would be perfect for taking them in. Want to know how many stars we saw? I counted. Every night I counted every single one. And the grand total was… ZERO.

If we go back, it’ll be to stay in one of these cabins in Robert Treman State Park. They’re right by the creek that rolls through the gorge that you can pretend is a lake. Each cabin has bunk beds and a fridge. Bathrooms are in a separate building. You follow? Though not in New Jersey, it’s ideal for living out Friday the 13th dreams.

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I was looking forward to the gorge trail, but only the rim trail was open when we were there. It’s about 4 miles out and back with one big climb up lots of these:

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On our way back down, the steps got a bit slippery after a drizzle – we were passed by a few dogs – but going up is much easier. And they take you up to this:

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We lost count of all the waterfalls along the way.

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and

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another

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more

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This one was in Taughannock Falls State Park:

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This mini trip was intentionally scheduled right before a big deadline for me and in the midst of a large project my BF is working on. WHY!? We thought we’d get sooo much work done in this peaceful cottage with hardly any distractions. Ha. At some point, we both resolved to relax instead and just work like crazy when we got back home, which is why I’m writing this with bags under my eyes.

Our last day was spent running in various parks around Cayuga Lake. We stopped for a picnic and my favorite glug of the trip at Long Point winery.

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Did I say glug? I mean, the view. Favorite view.

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It’s strange how hard it is to find wine from the Finger Lakes in NYC. With everyone so interested in buying local, I don’t know why it’s easier to find wines from France, Space, Africa, New Zealand, South America, California than it is to find a bottle produced not 5 hours away. I’m no expert – talk of tannins and bouquets makes me sleepy – but the ones I tried at Long Point (Barbera) and Sheldrake (Gamay Noir) were among the best I’ve ever tasted. And after a long, muddy hike in the Finger Lakes National Forest, a cider from Bellwether was like that first shower after camping. So good.

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I was a little nervous about the driving aspect. In Brooklyn we never never drive after having alcohol. Knowing we wanted to try a few wines over the course of a few days, we decided to just take turns with designated driver days. We brought picnics and a thermos of coffee. Rather than doing tastings, one of us would get a glass (tastings were $3-5 and a single glass usually ran $4-6) and then we’d sit on a deck or near the fields and bounce back What if horror premises.

Some of the wine people said tourists often ride bikes or take a trolley. We used to ride bikes from vineyard to vineyard near Greenport, Long Island, but those roads are flat with wide shoulders and slow traffic. The safe bike paths in the FLs must be in a different area because the roads where we were had very narrow shoulders and fast traffic that loves riding up your butt. I wasn’t surprised to hear that there are a lot of accidents in the area. If you visit, have a designated driver and steer clear of all the aggressively cranky speedos on the road.

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