C.S. Lewis said, "Is any pleasure on earth as great as a circle of Christian friends by a good fire?" My friend Susan is such a blessing in my life. Not only are we close, understanding of each other and care deeply for one another but we are sisters in Christ and I'm so blessed to have her. As a way of staying connected (aside from endless phone conversations) since we live a few hours away from each other, we plan a get together with our daughters each year. We see each other now and then apart from this annual event but this is a weekend we can definitely depend on having uninterrupted quality friend time as well as build the friendship between our girls. Last year we took the girls to a Fresh Beat Band concert in Buffalo, NY. We stayed at Hotel Indigo (for those who've been there you know how vibrant it is!) which, of course, gave us plenty of pool time. This year we opted for a Bed and Breakfast getaway. Considering the various B&B's in the Finger Lakes region, we knew this was the way to go. We could meet each other halfway and not drive ourselves crazy with a busy itinerary, instead relaxing the weekend away.
I need to take a moment to give a HUGE thanks to my former Women of Faith rep, Kim, who actually grew up and currently resides in the area we stayed. She really gave me a breakdown of places for us to visit based on our requests (food, thrifting and history). After choosing the B&B best suited for us, we made our plans for the weekend. Knowing we would be checking in at the B&B around 3pm, we decided to meet for breakfast and fill the day with shopping and lunch before heading over. Our first stop was Victoria's Treats Bake Shop. We stepped into this quaint and cozy establishment only to be greeted by comfortable conversations of others as if we stepped into a family gathering. The several older gentleman were helping themselves to coffee and even refilling the coffee when necessary. We knew instantly to make ourselves at home and took a seat at the single large table. A laid back woman came over to check on us and after we put our order in she took the easily excitable girls into the kitchen to pick out sprinkles for their pancakes. When it was time to eat we were introduced to the largest, most fluffiest pancakes I've ever seen and they tasted as great as they looked. For their moderate prices, you're really in for a worthwhile treat. On our way out, we made small talk with all the friendly patrons who were thrilled to have us in town and wished us well for the weekend.
This area of NY holds a great deal of Mormon history which we had intended to spend time learning more about but we made the so wrong, but oh so right, choice of stopping into a thrift store first. Reflections the name, never leaving was the game. The top left photo in the collage below is about a quarter of the shop. We literally started in the back and worked our way through this place...for 4 hours. No joke. Thank goodness for Lola, Sue's daughter, because she could really be a sitter to Addison. Addison adores her and never leaves her side and Lola is old enough to know to stay close by. Susan and I were able to sift through everything before us whether it was odds and ends, records, clothes and so on. The girls kept themselves busy spying on us and playing with various items. Every time we felt guilty about the length of time we were there we reminded ourselves that this is what this trip was all about. I certainly couldn't accomplish (and by accomplish I mean spend a chunk of change on random things I could have lived without but am so grateful to have and use!) any of what I did if it were only Addison and I. The highlight of this venture was our time in the 4x4 dressing room the four of us squeezed into. Sue and I tried on clothes, simultaneously maneuvering ourselves, while the girls sat with their feet up on the extremely narrow bench, if you can call it that, within the dressing room. Our exit was that of a clown car but such is ... us! Next stop was lunch at Parker's Grille and Tap House. This place was basically across the street from where we had breakfast and was delicious.
And now the time had come ... Vintage Gardens Bed and Breakfast. We really talked this place up to the girls for quite some time. The idea was to give them this Victorian Princess experience. Let there be no mistake, Sue and I both had our bags loaded with play makeup, dress up clothes and all the accessories a princess should have. They had expectations of luxury, robes .. a large tub to play in. After pulling in we were greeted by a very sweet man, Michael Meeks, who owns and dutifully tends to the house with his wife, Kimberlee Meeks. He walked us through the downstairs as we went through each room with the same awe as the girls. From the beautiful sunroom we walked into, to the library (accompanied with a lovely fireplace and cozy chairs) and past the delicious scents of their Vintage Gardens products like hand cream and soaps we simply drifted up the stairs, anxious to see the room we reserved. One doesn't want to scare other adults with giddy reactions but I believe both Sue and I respectfully contained our excitement as Mr. Meeks showed us around our room (Asian Lily Suite), hehe. Of course, the girls need not worry about that and swiftly ran from our living/sleeping area, towards the bathroom in the back .. the large clawfoot tub being a fabulous center point. Once we had brought all of our things up and were settled we decided to stroll down to the sunroom where Mr. Meeks was servicing the pellet stove, which, in itself, has a very Victorian feel! He was so kind to bring us hot apple cider which didn't last long. The fire he started in the library fireplace drew us. Addison, much like her mommy, scoured the books and movies while Sue and Lola took comfort by the fire for a while. We headed upstairs to let the girls have their tub time. They were met by little rubber ducks waiting to be played with. While they enjoyed their bath, Sue and I dove right into our lush robes, only to find the girls DID, in fact, have mini robes to use. They were elated, and why shouldn't they be?? It didn't take them long to see the homemade cookies by the bed once finished with their bath. I believe they were some sort of pumpkin spice recipe and oh so scrumptious. Susan and I each got a nibble in out of four cookies because the girls couldn't seem to stop eating them! Suddenly, dinner time had come and went while Susan and I aimlessly sifted through menus, the girls playing in their pajamas and restless. We literally had to get dressed (and out of the robes - BOO!) in order to think. THAT'S how comfortable we were. We decided to go with Mexican and brought it back to eat in the sunroom. It seems that all the tinkering had worked as Mr. Meeks had the pellet stove up and running, perfect so that we could dine in the sunroom. We headed upstairs with a bottle of Wagner Vineyards wine (made in Lodi, NY) and 2 sleepy angels. The girls didn't take long falling asleep to one of my favorites, A Little Princess. Susan and I used our "free" time to talk and catch up on as much as possible, but let's face it, there's never enough time for that, right Sue?
Eventually, we transferred the girls from our bed to their twin bed and we curled up in the most comfortable of sheets and blankets only to wake up to the sound of the alarm and girly giggles several hours later. Now, as large fans of Downton Abbey, Susan and I were really looking forward to breakfast in this truly stunning home and we really can't say enough about it. We were accompanied by the only other guests in the house at the time, an older couple who were so sweet. Who can blame them after they mentioned having raised six, yes SIX, daughters! I can imagine that takes a great deal of patience! We all sipped on warm, creamy coffee and apple juice while waiting to see what breakfast awaited us. Immediately, Mrs. Meeks came out and announced she had a special breakfast for the girls. They didn't need to harbor any anticipation as she was quick to come back out with the sweetest (literally!) breakfast I've laid eyes on. On top of fluffy green, for St. Patrick's Day!, whipped cream and berries of all sorts were three waffles in the shape of zoo animals. Are you kidding?! They absolutely ate up the idea and their breakfasts. By the end they were spooning the cream off of the plates. She left several chocolate gold coins for the girls, as well, via the sneaky little leprechaun. Susan and I couldn't help but devour our breakfasts and it was worth every bite.
The Meeks truly outdo themselves with their extreme attention to detail. Everywhere you turn in any room of the house and particularly the room you stay in, you're invited in by something whether it's the delectable lemon meringue pie scent of the hand cream, the flicker and warmth of a fire, the softness of every blanket or simply the gentle voice of Mr. Meeks during informative and enjoyable conversation downstairs. It's been about 10 hours since we left and I just texted Susan how much we miss it already. I've decided that when we have a few days free, Micah and I will go ourselves one day and enjoy one of their couple packages. If you're in the Upstate NY area or plan to visit and spend a special weekend away, this is your destination.
Susan, Lola Addison and I wrapped up our weekend-that-went-by-too-fast-as-always by driving over to Palmyra to do some last minute thrift shopping. Again, we found great buys and a greek spot with character for lunch, Athenia Family Restaurant. We've already begun brainstorming for next year because, let's face it, it'll be here before we know it. I treasured this splice of time. Beauty and appreciation and enjoyment don't have to come from abroad, or even across the border. It can be next door, in your own back yard or just a few hours away. Who you spend your time with and what you choose to spend your time doing makes all the difference in the world and I'm so glad for every minute I have to do something worthwhile.