Monday, November 28, 2011

Wine Country Getaways

Geneva State Lodge was our grape escape headquarters last weekend when we celebrated our wedding anniversary.  We enjoy the inside swimming pool and hot tub and the outdoor walking paths through waves of tall flowing grasses with views of Lake Erie.  The rooms, each one with their own porch, are comfortable. Grapes, wine, and covered bridges are picked up in the Lodge's decor. The lobby is gorgeous, especially during the colder months when a fire is crackling in the fireplace and a tall tree lit with white lights stands regally near it.

The covered bridges are a bonus for our winery excursions, and we visit some of them, like Harpersfield, over and over--the photographs are different every time we go. There were few leaves on the trees, but the winding Ashtabula River and Conneaut Creek with their shale riverbanks present interesting naturescapes We remember the first time we toured the bridges and wineries, fascinated by the countryside of barns and dirt roads only an hour or so from home, which makes our getaways special.

We ate dinner at Crosswinds Grille at The Lakehouse Winery on Saturday evening, and we were once again wowed by the quality of the food.  Paul ordered the chicken with a salad (which I sampled and found tender and juicy) and I savored the shrimp with spinach fettucini and spaghetti squash, a rich and buttery plateful of deliciousness that I can duplicate at home. We enjoy watching our food being prepared in the open kitchen, which is as large as the dining room. The restaurant is tiny, but we hear it will be expanding. The Lakehouse's cascading deck at water's edge is enticing, even on a dark November night when all that can be seen are white topped waves, but the lull of continuous waves would be pleasant music to sleep by, and one day we'll spend the night at The Lakehouse's bed and breakfast instead of the Lodge.  It's much closer to the water and homier.

Homemade bread, finely crafted wine, locally harvested food, and high-quality pastas and meat await diners at Tarsitano Winery & Cafe.  Ken Tarsitano is committed to making every meal a special ocassion, and he did when we ate there late Sunday afternoon. Despite the winemaker's efforts to craft other smooth taniny red wines, I still preferred the Cabernet Sauvignon. Diners have choices of pastas and meats, and everything on the menu sounds so appealing that in the end one has to just choose something, knowing it'll be good.  We ate assorted bruschettas and raviolis, and it was all delicious, especially the ravioli made with Ken's grandmother's recipe. The steaks are cooked perfectly. Every bite was better than the last, and when dinner was over, we kept remembering how scrumptious it was.

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