Donkeys, Frogs and Wine

If I said this was a busy summer, that would be an understatement. Particularly these past few weeks. Last week was an extended holiday weekend complete with three BBQs and a sleepover. This weekend we’ve just wrapped up two of three birthday parties with one more to go. Whew. It’s a little how Toronto felt for us too – one big whirlwind of fun. So when we left Toronto to head back home, we opted for the scenic route. wine route

It was time to slow down for a bit, take in some of the outdoors, some wine and even some grape juice. Mr. N and Miss A became quite the aficionados. grape juice drinkers

We began the next leg of our adventure on a wine route on the southern side of Lake Ontario – a great recommendation from Barb. She even pointed out a few great places along the way to stop for lunch and tastings, the first of which was The Good Earth for lunch. It was a gorgeous day and we were able to dine outside. The food was delicious, but the view was what we were lost in. The Good Earth

Good Earth Beamsville

They even had some chickens, so Miss A was in farm heaven. Feeding chickens

After lunch we found a few other wineries along the way – several of which were accessible by hiking a little trail. Now how clever is that! This was by far one of our favorite afternoons. hiking

wine run

father and son

There was even some wildlife along the way. frog pond

And of course some grapes…Hidden Bench

Malivoire

It was one of those days you didn’t want to end. Fortunately we had several more ahead of us though as we headed back toward the Finger Lake region of New York. We had passed through the area a few years ago and really enjoyed it. The lakes are a the quintessential summer getaway with small, friendly towns, rolling hills and scenic drives. (And of course more wineries!) New York wineries

Now don’t worry, while Mike and I were most certainly enjoying ourselves…the kids were too. Many of the wineries are kid friendly (or perhaps our kids are just winery friendly) and most of them have something interesting aside from wine. The Swedish Hill Winery, for instance, has Doobie the donkey. He of course came over to see Miss A. Doobie

Swedish Hill

And a trip through the Rochester area be complete with a visit to the National Museum of Play and the Sesame Street stoop! 123 Sesame Street

Check out how much Miss A has grown since the last time we were here: Miss A in 2011

Miss A 2013

So after a few days of wining, dining, playing and relaxing in the Finger Lakes, it was time to head home. This time we took a slightly different route though and made one last stop – Allegany State Park. It was just a gorgeous area. Lush with trees, wild flowers and beautiful old forestry building. allegany state park

Sitting room

After a picnic lunch we took a short one-mile hike that made a nice loop through the woods. Red Jacket Hiking Trail

We passed remnants of an old zoo, old zoo

and old ski lifts. old ski lifts

The kids especially dug all the caterpillars we saw though. caterpillars

It was the perfect way to end the trip. Relaxed. mom and kids

I think we could use another one of these. ;) Until then, I’m just going to try and adopt Miss A’s happy-go-lucky style. Life is good. happy

Next week we’ll be back with a stateside recipe from New York…it only seems fitting after all. Have a great week!

28 comments on “Donkeys, Frogs and Wine

  1. Nami | Just One Cookbook says:

    Oh I LOVE the last picture of Miss A. She looks a bit grown since last picture I saw. Looks like you had a fantastic family vacation. I’m so jealous of the Sesame Street picture. ;)

  2. That is one summer I am sure the kids will never forget :)
    Thank you for sharing all those wonderful pictures with us Kristy

  3. Love your beautiful pictures and reading about your holiday… some great momementst to remember later

  4. Your pictures are so beautiful Kristy. They are full of joy and love and tell the story of your summer. How perfect is that picture of you and Mike side-by-side sipping a glass of wine? Miss A has grown up so much! My favorite vision is the family travelling through the winery trails… full of color and sun-kissed summer fun. xo.

  5. Karen says:

    I have to say that I think you have had a terrific summer and well deserved.

  6. I want to travel, toooooo!!! Adopt me. :-) I love the photo of the kids sipping on grape juice!

  7. Purely.. Kay says:

    You guys look great in those photos. The kids seemed like they h ad the best time and you and Mike seem so relaxed. I need that vacation relaxed look lol. The winery looks amazing and the Sesame Street stoop photo.. priceless.

  8. cecilia says:

    WINERIES! Fantastic, just like being in NZ. Especially hawkes bay but a little far for a road trip.What fantastic photographs, a beautiful family. If you feel like a day long road trip, there is always the farmy, no donkey but I know a certain dog who would LOVE to see Miss A again and there are always the piggies. We will beating fresh sweetcorn from the fields in only a few weeks and there is always the swimming pool! Lots of summer left!! I loved seeing Ontario with you, that old zoo much have set you all imagining! c

  9. how neat- how much fun and how relaxing. What a great way to wind things down a bit but still do something different and adventurous.

  10. What a wonderful trip you’ve taken! Your photos are absolutely wonderful, Kristy. I love all the interesting angles you shot, giving them such a distinctive flair. And I would personally love a photo sitting on the Sesame Street stoop! I had no idea. :-) The children had a great time, which makes me happy for you all. They’ll never forget al the great places you’ve explored, and their joyful expressions are evidence of what a good time investment this has been! Wonderful!

  11. I think my favorite trips are all those taken while visiting wineries! There’s something so “zen-like” about the areas where those lovely grapes grow.. they usually have better restaurants, fine bakeries.. but I didn’t know about the animals:) I think I’m due for one of those trips! xx

  12. Norma Chang says:

    What a great holiday. You are a meticulous and well organized planner. Wish I had made it to Toronto to meet you. The Finger Lakes region is really beautiful.

  13. ChgoJohn says:

    That was some trip you guys made. What’s best is that you found ways for everyone to be entertained and had something for everyone to await eagerly. I know I would have looked forward to a glass of pinot noir — or three. But, that’s just how I roll. Love the photo of the Sous Chefs sampling the grape juice. :)

  14. Charles says:

    Oh my, I totally thought you’d sourced some frogs legs and were taking your French cooking adventures to the next level! :D. Are you done with French cooking now? I don’t remember if it was ever officially “wrapped up”.

    Lovely photos as always – thanks so much for sharing so much of your vacations with us. I’m not one to be afraid of heights but that old ski-lift photo is making me feel a bit queasy… something about the angle… and the structure looks… I don’t know… “unsound”!

    Miss A. has sure grown, but she’s still so sweet in the last photo, hehe – adorable!

    • Kristy says:

      Now wouldn’t that be fun (frog legs)! We tried to source escargot, but no luck. We did have the kids try some at a restaurant the other night and they loved it. :) And you’re right…we didn’t officially wrap up French cooking yet. We have two more recipes yet to come.

      • Charles says:

        You can buy huge bags of frozen snails in stores here, pre-stuffed with garlic butter, lol. To be honest, I don’t find anything inherently wrong with the flavour – kind of like liver I think – but it’s one of those foods that was created out of extreme necessity – at a time of dire poverty, where people needed to eat any source of protein they could find I think. I never understand how such things enter the “mainstream” and even become considered gourmet dining. My gripe with them is that here, they’re always served with an insane amount of butter and garlic so you barely taste the snail itself – just the butter. In this time where we’re fortunate enough to have access to a wide variety of food, if you need to completely smother a dish in another flavour to make it palatable then don’t you think maybe it’s time to rethink whether or not this should be being served? :D

  15. Dawn says:

    What a great vacation – thanks so much for sharing!!

  16. kikimac says:

    that old zoo and ski lift look so cool! what a fun idea for a trip.

  17. Eva Taylor says:

    What a lovely trip, JT and I adore the Niagara region, often making it a weekend stay. Glad you and your family enjoyed it. We’re in birthday party mode for the next three weeks too!

  18. sallybr says:

    What a blast you guys had! Wonderful trip, I lived vicariously through you… so many great photos, and here I am absolutely focused on the great pair of red pants you were wearing… gorgeous! stylish, trendy, your whole outfit… superb!

    vain? who, me? You’d think? ;-)

  19. You guys really had a wonderful holiday! What beautiful memories you created.
    Have a happy week ahead. :-) Mandy xo

  20. Mary says:

    What a wonderful vacation! the winery looks amazing!
    Mary x

  21. I am so jealous. You guys are having a blast this summer. I was wondering where you were going with donkeys, frogs and wine and so glad this was not a surprise exotic menu item…LOL

  22. So many memories to cherish from this holiday :D
    Thanks for sharing them with us!

    Cheers
    CCU

  23. A_Boleyn says:

    Great trip and the kids are having fun too. I’ve always wanted to visit the Niagara and all the wineries there.

  24. hotlyspiced says:

    It looks like you’ve had a really good holiday and enjoy some perfect weather and created wonderful memories with your children. The scenery around the wineries is amazing – just so green and as pretty as a postcard xx

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