Jensen Healey End of the Summer Drive in New York

Ever since the 2004 Jensen Eastern Nationals in Nashville Jeff & Laura Peterson, Brett & Kathy Gibson and my wife Connie & myself have been planning on a little weekend trip to the Finger Lakes region of New York State. This would be the introduction of my wife and my JH5 project car to some fellow club members. Amazing how I had attended two Eastern Nationals but had never brought either one. Labor Day weekend provided the opportunity for us to come together and do some driving on some of the most scenic roads in the region. After a 200 mile drive from our home outside of Albany we met up with the afore mentioned Petersons and Gibsons at Belhurst Castle in Geneva, NY at the northern tip of Seneca Lake.

From there we saddled up and headed south along the shore of the lake with our first stop being Foxrun Winery. This got us in the mood for what the day was to bring, beautiful scenery with a couple of stops to wet our whistles and stretch our legs. We then headed South West toward the shore of Keuka Lake driving down to Penn Yan with the intention of getting a good lunch to tide us over for the remainder of the tour. Brett recommended a place in town called Lloyds Limited, a quaint little tavern that looked promising. Once seated we were approached by the staff and informed that he was the lone staff member on duty. A combination of Waiter, Bartender, Manager and Cook, and as such, he would only be able to offer a limited menu for the day - Pizza or Wings. I suppose we should have picked a place that didn't have the word "limited" in the name so that the menu may have had a larger selection available. We passed.

We loaded up once again and headed off to Dr. Konstantin Frank's Vinifera Wine Cellars to sample their wares. According to Jeff & Laura this is perhaps the best winery in the Finger Lakes region. A nice sampling of the wines had me inclined to not disagree.

We were, having been denied a suitable choice of food in Penn Yan, still hungry and on the prowl for a good meal. The kind woman who had been pouring our wine samples recommended we head down to Bully Hill Winery and dine at their restaurant. Which is exactly what we did. The food was excellent, the view beautiful and the company unbeatable. So here we were, halfway through the day, on full stomachs and looking for more adventure!

Of course being car folks, the only possible choice for our destination could be Watkins Glen.

Our first stop in Watkins Glen was at the state park where we hiked down into the gorge that gives the area its name. I was stunned at the beauty of this hike.

There is an excellent paved hiking path along the edge of the gorge. You can either start at the bottom and hike the mile and a half up to the top, or do as we did, and start at the top and hike down. There is a shuttle bus that will bring you back to wherever you started for the cost of $3.00, money well spent IMHO.

Leaving the park we blasted around the back roads of Watkins Glen, not really sure how to get to our destination, but not really being upset that we were taking a few wrong turns in the process. Finally after consulting Laura's map and using Brett's GPS we arrived for the money shot!

L-R:Kathy Gibson, Laura Peterson & Connie Ware

The sun was sinking low in the west and storm clouds looked to be moving in. We hugged, shook hands, promised to see each other soon and parted company. Connie and I had planned on getting a hotel somewhere along the way home, but the miles just kept rolling by so easily that we found ourselves driving the entire 225 miles back home. We had driven #19670 507 miles in 14 hours without a single mechanicle problem, tasted some good wine, partaken of an excellent lunch and had a wonderful time with equally wonderful people. Our Finger Lakes trip was an unqualified success and a flawless debut for my Jensen Healey, I feel like a proud parent..