Upstate NY Weekend Getaway

Last weekend, Ryan and I went to his hometown of Vestal, NY for a little weekend getaway. I was born and raised in NYC, so I have to admit that when I envision upstate NY, I picture cold weather, snow, and not much excitement. Both of my brothers went to SUNY Binghamton for undergrad and I’ve visited Ryan’s childhood home several times now, so I have a decent idea of what to do when you are a Downstate New Yorker finding yourself in Upstate New York. Here are the highlights of our very short trip last weekend.

1. Corning Museum of Glass: The museum was celebrating the opening of a new contemporary art wing, so admission was free all weekend. Free things are just more fun in my opinion. I was blown away by how wonderful this museum was. There were live demonstrations. We got to see Italian glass artist Lino Tagliapietra make some breathtaking pieces.

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Lino Tagliapietra at work (right) and his piece Endeavor (left)

Tagliapietra’s piece Endeavor is an installation of 35 glass boats inspired by the gondolas in his hometown of Venice. His work took me back to college when I studied abroad and traveled all over Europe.

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Linda and our friend Stephen on a gondola ride in Venice back in 2008 (left) and Burano, Italy (right)


The piece above was my favorite in the entire museum. From far away, the piece looked like three trees, but as you got closer you could see that they were made of individual recycled glasses. Ryan and I have been searching for a coupe, and I wanted to snag one so badly they were so beautiful!

2. Wine tasting in the Finger Lakes

We had limited time, so we drove up and down Seneca Lake. The Finger Lakes have the best Rieslings in the country, and quite possibly in the world. My favorite vineyard we visited was Herman J. Weimer. I definitely want to return in the summertime to see the grapes growing!

We ate at FLX Wienery. The house-made sausages and hot dogs were spectacular. This was Ryan’s first time having poutine!

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FLX Wienery Before and After: As Ryan put it, “we did some serious damage to the napkins.”

The rest of the weekend involved lots of driving, trips to Wegmans, and watching House Hunters while eating cold pizza =). It was perfect.

Have you been to upstate NY? Any recommendations on things to do? I’d love to hear your suggestions!



Wine Tasting: Identifying Sweetness, Acidity, Oak, and Carbonation

Ryan and I watched the documentary Somm on a date night one evening. We have not viewed wine the same ever since. There are only 135 Master Sommeliers in North America. Of those 135, only 19 are women. Come on ladies, we need to commence with our wine drinking to bridge this gap! Anyway, Ryan jokes around that we should become master sommeiliers one day, but deep down I know he’s not joking at all! So to get us started, we decided to host a wine tasting with some friends.

With the help of “Wine: A Tasting Course” by Marnie Old, we organized three tastings that evening. We asked our guests to bring a bottle of wine, but we tried to be as specific as possible as to the style and country of origin so that it would fit with our tasting plan. We encouraged our guests to follow the tasting suggestions in the order presented. Below are the details on the tastings, with the specific wines we chose in parentheses:

A) Identifying Sweetness and Acidity


1. French Sauvignon Blanc (Petit Bourgeois, 2013): Very dry, Tart Acidity

2. California Chardonnay (Sutter Home): Dry, Crisp Acidity

3. Washington Riesling (Kung Fu Girl, 2013): Off-Dry, Tart Acidity

B) Identifying Oak

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1. Unoaked French Chardonnay (Champy Macon-Villages, 2011): Low fruit, Low oak

2. Barrel Fermented California Chardonnay (Heron 2012): Medium fruit, Medium Oak

C) Identifying Carbonation

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1. Italian Prosecco (Mionetto): High carbonation

2. Portuguese Vinho Verde (Santola): Medium Carbonation

Hosting a wine tasting is an affordable way to try a bunch of different wines. Ryan and I made some hors-d’oeuvres and we had friends bring cheese, crackers, and chocolates. We had so much fun with good food, wine, and even better company. We are already planning our next!

Do you have any tips on hosting a wine tasting? Any suggestions of wines I need to try?