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Monday, July 22, 2019

Waterfalls and Wine - Buttonwood Grove, Finger Lakes, NY

A hard hike and a cold beer (preferably from a local brewery) are one of my favorite pairings.  It's that hot hike, cold beer combo - usually showing up to a new brewery in sweaty hiking clothes, happy to kick my feet up and relax over a new beverage, enjoyed guilt-free after a long walk in the woods.  One of my most favorites pairings if you will, was during a weekend up in the Whites of New Hampshire.  I was hiking Franconia Ridge, Thatcher, Olive and I on this amazing 9-mile hike over some of New Hampshire's 4,000 footers.  After we got back to the car happy and hungry, I punched in "brewery" and found Schilling Beer Co where I ended my day in pure hiker bliss over pizza and beer.  We sat outside with Olive enjoying our treats, trying to narrow down which beers we wanted to bring home.  This post hike experience set the standard of what my hiking trips should look like. 

So when I went to the Fingerlakes to hike and celebrate Independence Day, this combination was kind of what I had in mind, but would require some improvising.  I was with my parents who don't share my love for double-digit distance hikes and double IPA's.  And we were in the Finger Lakes hiking around Cayuga Lake, America's First Wine Trail.   

So instead of elevation and IPAs, we did waterfalls and wine. 

Of all the vineyards on Cayuga Lake, why this one?  A few factors including a dog-friendly patio and proximity to our campground were selling points but really, it came down to hours.  Simply put, Buttonwood is one of the few vineyards open later on a Friday night.  From July 5 through August 16,  they have a music/deck party from 7-10pm.  You can bring a lawn chair and a picnic and sip on some wine while watching the sunset over the lake while live music plays.  Which is exactly what we did. 

America's First Wine Trail includes 14 wineries.  This means you have a whole lot of wine to try in between all of your hiking and lakeside adventures.  We only had time for one, and we enjoyed a perfect Friday afternoon outside with live music and local wine.  Buttonwood Grove is one of Cayuga Lake’s most scenic wineries with a multi-level deck, views of the lake and vineyards, a quaint little store and beautifully landscaped grounds.  And the wine? A good variety at a nice range of prices.  

Before we decided on a glass, we decided to do a quick tasting.  Any 5 wines on the list for $5 a person.  My dad prefers reds and being a hot summer day I wanted whites.  Between the three of us, there were plenty of wines to be tasted and with the variety, there was something for everyone on their wine list. 

Tasting $5 for five wines 
Chardonnay 2017 - (Oaky) $19.99 
Gewürztraminer (spicy finish) $16.99
Vidal Blanc - semi-dry bright lemon-lime flavors  $13.99 (my favorite!) 
Rosé 2018 (dry, cab franc) $15.99
Cabernet Franc 217 (dry, aged in french oak) $21.99

Address:  5986 State Route 89, Romulus, NY 14541
Hours:  Monday-Sunday 10am-5:30pm  
Dog-friendly:  Yes, outside
Outside food-friendly:  Yes 
Music:  Weekends 

It was one of those sweet and unexpected Friday nights.  New places, good hike, great wine, live music, views, and the best of company.  I took home a bottle of the Vidal Blanc and a 4 pack of cans of their Rosé cider.  Life is all about balance and this vineyard after waterfall hiking was the perfect blend of some of my favorite things. 

I hope you find your balance of hiking new trails and finding new places to kick your feet up after.  All the better if they include wine, live music, and people you love.  I would love to spend a weekend on America's First Wine Trail, trying New York wine along the lake.  You know, with a few good hikes in between. 

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