Tin Can Tourist’s Return to the Finger Lakes Region

Last September I was elated to go to my first Tin Can Tourist Rally to ogle over the most vintage campers that I’ve ever seen in one place at one time.  And as you might imagine, I didn’t miss my chance to ogle this year either. 

This weekend Sampson State Park in Seneca County is playing host to yet another Tin Can Tourist Rally.   Today was the open house where the proud owners of these campers opened their doors and shared glimpses of them with the public.  If you have a interest in anything vintage, enjoy camping, or love the Finger Lakes Region Region, I can almost guarantee that you would enjoy this event.

Here are some of the great campers and vehicles that caught my eye at the open house.  Check out my pictures and tell which one catches your eye the most.

Thank you TCT for opening your doors to those of us that admire your wheels.  Happy Camping! 

Sunset

Hot and muggy summer days require a trip to one of my favorite state parks on Seneca Lake.

The park was surprisingly quiet on this particular evening, and the sunset was beautiful.

The seagulls even congregated to watch the sun drop after an extremely hot day.

Just like the lyrics in the Zac Brown Band country song – “toes in the water”

The sailboats begged for admiration.

Lodi Point State Park

The hot hazy day made the lake mysteriously alluring.

The sun finally decided to rest after a long day of working overtime.

What do you do to cool down after a hot summer day?  Do you have a favorite state park you like to go to?

This Story Begins at the Brown Hound Bistro

“Good things come in small packages”.

This story begins at the Brown Hound Bistro, a small, yet cozy and tastefully decorated restaurant that is situated in  the hamlet of Bristol Springs, NY.  For those of you not familiar with the area, the restaurant is in close proximity to Naples and Canandaigua, NY. 

Last night, a  group of bloggers, travel writers, and some of the Finger Lakes tourism folks met at the Brown Hound to sample  an  array of  deliciousness that the Finger Lakes  has to offer; along with gearing up for this evenings Finger Lakes Foodie Awards, all part of this years Finger Lakes Food Revolution Slice, Dice and Spice IV event

The dinner menu was prepared using local meats, cheeses,  fruits, and vegetables.  And yes, plenty of  Finger Lakes wine flowed throughout the evening.

When we weren’t eating, drinking, and chatting till our hearts content, we did what bloggers and writers do best – we took pictures. 

The Brown Hound is one of several restaurants in the Finger Lakes Region that focuses on local resources.  As Trish Aser, owner of the restaurant explained, her goal is to make her guests dining experience as local as possible.  She does this by displaying local artists work in the restaurant, by inviting local musicians to perform there, and by preparing meals using fresh and local ingredients whenever possible.  And I’d say that Trish does it well.

If you’re looking for a  great place to dine, celebrate a special occasion, or simply want to  support the local food movement,  then the Brown Hound Bistro is must.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Roll Out the Barrel, or Two!

I was pleasantly surprised when I opened my email last week to find an invitation to a special barrel tasting event at Standing Stone Vineyard

I’ve done a lot of wine tastings where you belly up to the bar, but I’ve never tasted wine straight out of the barrel (with the exception of the glass carboy we use for making wine at home).  Since this sounded like a unique opportunity, and a great learning experience, I  eagerly accepted the invite.  

Now, please keep in mind that I am a regular Josephine where wine is concerned.  I am not a wine snob, nor will I ever be one.  I’m just a non-biased taster.

Standing Stone Vineyards is located on St. Route 414 on the East side of Seneca Lake in the Town of Hector, NY.  The winery is perched just high enough on the hill to give folks that visit there a beautiful birds eye view of the lake.

Upon arriving at Standing Stone, hubby and I, along with four others, met up with  Marti Macinski.   Marti and her husband Tom are the owners of this 21 year old winery.

Just prior to starting our tour Marti armed each of us with a rather large piece of baguette (from Tribeca Oven), an empty wine glass, and a clip board that held the list of wines that we would be tasting.  She then lead us off to the “Old Steel Barn” to get down to some serious tasting.

The brisk, unheated barn was indicative of a great wine making environment.  And it’s there that we found rows of oak barrels marked with the type and year of deliciousness that each one contained. 

Marti was a great tour guide. She explained the varieties of grapes, the conditions in which they strive, and in some cases, the conditions that they don’t. She talked wine, and shared personal experiences as a grape grower and wine maker, and she filled the tasting with interesting facts. For example, did you know it costs about $20,000.00 to plant one acre of grapes. I had no clue! 

For this specific event we  tasted a total of five wines.  A 2010 Reserve Chardonnay (available this summer), a 2011 Reserve Chardonnay (available this summer), a 2010 Cabernet Sauvignon, a 2010 Merlot, and a 2011 Petit Verdot which may be Standing Stones one and only.  The three later wines are currently available for purchase and will be ready to pick up in May of 2013.   My favorite wine in this selection?  The 2010 Reserve Chardonnay.  So good!

Also as a bonus, we got six additional tastes of  Standing Stone’s 2012 Pinot Noir and Saperavi in a yeast trial.

Once we finished tasting the five wines in the “Old Steel Barn” we headed to the basement of another barn.  This is where we got to be part of the yeast trial.  It sounds kind of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde-ish doesn’t it?

A yeast trial  is the winemakers way of searching for  unique and individual tastes in their wines.  Each  yeast  offers different characteristics and works differently from one another. 

Yeast (natural or otherwise) plays a very important role in the fermentation process of winemaking.  When added to grape juice (must) it converts the sugars to alcohol.

I recognized that some yeasts gave the wine a smooth finish, while others gave the wine a much more acidic finish.  And while I liked the flavor and finish from the first barrel  of the Pinot Noir, my husband’s favorite came from the second barrel.  All of the tasters were all able to identify subtle flavors and characteristics in each of the wines that we tasted.  

Following the barrel tastings we were  offered some tasty snacks including Muranda Cheeses before heading back to the tasting room for yet, more wine.  It couldn’t have gotten any better than this.  Great wine, great bread,  great cheese, and great company.

I couldn’t help but notice that while everyone was busy tasting till their little hearts content, the ducks just outside of the tasting room were having a little fun all of their own.

Before leaving Standing Stone Vineyards we found a few more things to sample – a  great  variety of delicious local dipping and barbecue  sauces, and salad dressings. 

This was a super fun event.  It’s not your typical wine tasting.  If you’re looking for something completely out of the ordinary in wine tasting – this is definitely a must do! 

My suggestions for barrel tasting.  Dress warm and comfortable, go in small groups, listen up because there is a lot to learn,  and as always, have a designated driver with you.

Information on Standing Stone Vineyards can be found at this link, or by calling (607)582-6051.

Please note that while I did receive a complimentary barrel tasting, I was not compensated to write this post, and the opinions expressed here are my all my own.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Help Solve This 33 Year Old Cold-Case

I am about to share a true homicide cold-case with you.  This post is considerably different from those that I normally write.  If you get the least bit squeamish or uneasy with these type of stories than please just skip this post.  I  understand that stories like this one can make some people uncomfortable. 

In 1982, I was a student of  a law enforcement vocational program.    As part of that program, our class was introduced to an unsolved murder of a young, unidentified girl, whose body was found shot and dumped in the nearby town of Caledonia, New York, on November 10, 1979.

And while it’s hard for me to believe, this week marks the 33rd year anniversary date of Jane Doe’s death. 

Jane Doe

Jane Doe - Caledonia

For me, this case has been hard to forget.  Maybe it’s because our law enforcement class spent countless hours making fliers, addressing envelopes, and mailing them to law enforcement agencies across the United States; maybe it’s because the victim was probably about my age when she was brutally killed;  maybe it’s because she has never been identified and I find unimaginable to believe that her family hasn’t  looked for her in all these years; or maybe it’s difficult for me to swallow the truth, that someone has gotten away with murder.  Whatever the reason, here is the story of Jane Doe – Caledonia.

On November 10, 1979, the Livingston County Sheriff’s Office was contacted by a local farmer who had found a young girls lifeless body in his rain-soaked corn field. 

Upon physical investigation of the body it was determined that Jane was approximately 13 and 19 years old at her time of death. She weighed approximately 120 pounds and was  5’3” tall.

She was shot twice with a .38 caliber gun.  Once over her right eye and once in her back.  She was found fully clothed with her pockets turned inside out and stripped of any form of identification. The only two personal items reported to have been found on her body were a necklace and a key chain.

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She had visible tan lines that implied that she was not from the area where her body was found.  Her brown, wavy, shoulder length hair had been frosted about four months prior to her death. She had no previous dental work, but had some serious dental decay.  She was wearing tan corduroys, a boy’s plaid button down shirt, blue knee socks,  brown lace up ripple shoes, and a man’s red nylon zip up jacket that had black stripes down the sleeves.  The jacket was made by Auto Sports Products, Inc..

Jane Doe's Pants

Jane Doe's Shirt

Jane Doe's Shoes

Jane Doe's Jacket

There are reports that indicate a waitress at a local diner may have seen Jane and an unidentified male eating dinner there the night before her body was found. The FBI has posted a composite of a person of interest in this case, along with a description of the vehicle he may have been operating.  It is also reported that some truck drivers thought they saw Jane hitch hiking in the area the day before.

In 2006, Jane’s clothing was tested by Texas A&M University to determine what type of pollen traces were present.  The tests concluded that the pollen on Jane’s clothing could be  found in several geographical regions, including parts of Mexico, south Texas and Florida, three regions of  California, and the University of Arizona and Arizona State University.  Based on these findings, the investigators believe she may have originated from the Southwest. 

Along with the pollen tests,  DNA extraction was preformed on Jane’s body.  This process could help identify her through potential living relatives.

Jane was laid to rest in a Dansville, New York cemetery with the following inscription on her gravestone; “Lest we forget an unidentified girl. November 9, 1979. And flights of angels sing thee to thy rest.”

I would like to believe that this case can still be solved, and I believe all of you can help by tweeting this story, sharing it on Facebook, and/or re-blogging it. 

33 years is long enough –  it’s time to find out the who, what, where, when, why and how.

Note – The images and information related to this case are from various web sources, including The Doe Network, Wikipedia, Livingston County Sheriff’s Officethe FBI, and the blog – Kidnapping, Murder and Mayhem.

If you have information that you would like to pass on regarding the identity of Jane, information regarding the crime itself, or the person of interest in this case,  please contact the Livingston County Sheriff’s Office at  (585)243-7100.

Rustic Oat Bread

Rustic Oat Bread

It’s that time of the year here in the Northeast. Our ovens become our winter friends.  They heat our kitchens,  fill our homes with wonderful aromas, and help us produce delicious comfort foods that warm our souls.

I love making homemade bread, and a chilly day with snow in the air gives me just the reason to do it.

What could be better than a warm slice of bread without any preservatives, and topped with fresh butter?  Hmmm… maybe a piece of toast  slathered with homemade strawberry jam that was made with plump berries from Silver Queen Farm in Trumansburg, NY.

Homemade Strawberry Jam

Rustic Oat Bread

3/4 c. milk

3/4 c. water

2 tbsp. butternut squash seed oil

3 tbsp. brown sugar

1 c. oatmeal, plus extra for topping

1/4 tsp. cinnamon

2 1/2 tsp. yeast

1 tsp. salt

2 c. all-purpose flour, plus 1 cup for kneading

2 tbsp. honey

In a small saucepan, add milk, water, oil, and brown sugar.  Bring to boil; stirring constantly.  Once boiling, remove from heat.

In a large bowl, add oatmeal, salt, and cinnamon.  Pour milk mixture over oatmeal; mix ingredients.  Let stand until lukewarm.

Add yeast and flour; mix completely.  On lightly floured surface knead dough by hand for approximately 7 minutes.   Place in a large bowl greased lightly with squash seed oil.  Cover with plastic wrap.  Set in a warm place and let rise until doubled.

Turn dough onto lightly floured surface.  Cut in half,  briefly knead each half into a ball.  Place each ball a distance apart from each other on a floured cookie.  Cover with a clean dish towel and let it rise until doubled.

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Brush each ball of dough with honey, and sprinkle lightly with oatmeal.  Bake for approximately 25-30 minutes until bread is golden brown, and sounds hollow when tapped.  Transfer to wire baking rack to cool.

*Baker’s note – I made this hearty bread with Stony Brook WholeHearted Foods Butternut Squash Seed Oil that’s produced in Geneva, NY. I like using squash seed oil because it gives food a deliciously light nutty flavor.  If you don’t have squash seed oil you can always substitute it with olive oil.

Homemade Rustic Oat Bread & Strawberry Jam

Here is a question for you local foodies.  Will Stony Brook WholeHearted Foods  and Silver Queen Farm be nominated for a Finger Lakes Foodie award this year?

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Get Out Your Soup Making Pot

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One thing I’m going to try to make more of this fall is homemade soup, and the first soup on my list was Buffalo Wing Chicken Soup.

My inspiration to make this soup came from the RiverPark Grille in Waterloo, NY.  My husband nearly always orders this when we visit there.  And I’m always up for a few tastes of his, but on occasion, I’ve found it a bit too spicy for my blood.  That doesn’t seem to slow him down though.

I did some searching on-line and tracked down a recipe from the cool blog, sports-glutton.com (check it out).  I used the sports-glutton’s recipe as a guide but I did adapt it to fit our tastes. 

This is a great game day soup, but it’s not for those who are watching fat and calories. 

** I have adjusted this recipe since first publishing it.  This version is not as heavy and thick as the picture depicts.

Buffalo Wing Chicken Soup

1 small – medium onion, diced

1/4 c. celery, diced

2 cloves garlic, minced

1/2 c. margarine

3 tbsp. all-purpose flour

4 c. chicken broth

1 c. skim milk

1/2 c. light cream

1/4 c. sour cream

3/4 c. mozzarella cheese, grated

1/4 c. Mexican cheese, grated

Pinch of salt

1/4 tsp. black pepper

1/3 c. Frank’s Hot Sauce

3 c. cooked chicken, cubed (I used a store-bought rotisserie chicken)

In a large stock pot, add margarine, onion, celery and garlic.  Sauté on medium heat until veggies are light golden brown.

Add flour to margarine and veggie mixture; stir completely.  Once veggies, butter and flour are completely mixed, add chicken broth and milk, whisk all ingredients together and bring to a boil on medium heat for one minute; stirring constantly.  Remove from stove, puree ingredients, and return to heat.

On low heat, pour in light cream, sour cream, cheese, hot sauce, and salt and pepper.  Cook until cheese is completely melted. 

Add chicken to the pot and simmer for 10 minutes.  Pour into bowls and serve with a dollop of  your favorite blue cheese dressing.  Drizzle hot sauce on top.

** Cooks note:  My suggestion is to start out with a 1/3 cup of hot sauce.  If it’s not spicy enough, turn it up a notch like I did.

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What is the first soup you’re going to make this fall season?

A historic event, a statue, and photo’s

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Left -Susan B. Anthony, Center – Amelia Bloomer, Right – Elizabeth Cady Stanton

The Seneca Falls Convention, also known as the First Women’s Rights Convention, was held nearly 164 years ago (1848) in Seneca Falls, NY.   It was then that five, strong-willed women, mustered the courage to solicit public interest and pursue reform in the civil and social injustices.

On a recent trip through Seneca Falls, I spotted this remarkable statue and stopped for a photo session with these three important  ladies from the past. 

This bronze statue depicts the initial introduction of the Susan B. Anthony and Elizabeth Cady Stanton by Amelia Jenks Bloomer which took place in Seneca Falls in 1851. 

All three women were pioneers in their own rights, assuming roles of some of America’s very first feminists.  On their agenda’s; anti-slavery,  women’s suffrage,  and the temperance movement

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seneca falls 011

After taking the photo’s I couldn’t help but notice the images of the women appeared shadowed.  The shadows could have been caused by the direction of the sun, the time of day, or the women’s hats.  Or maybe, it is an accurate depiction of the first meeting between some very strong women that turned out to be forces to be reckoned with.

To learn more about The National Women’s Rights Convention in Seneca Falls, visit the National Park Service.

Thank you Seneca Daily News for posting my story!

Willard Asylum for the Insane – Updates

In May of 2011, the Willard Asylum for the Insane located in Willard, NY, Town of Ovid, opened its doors to the public for a one day guided tour of the grounds and some of the buildings that remain on the property.  The tour, conducted by some of the former employees of the institution and local historians allowed the curious, like myself, to take a rare glimpse at one of the most overlooked historical sites in Seneca County’s history, and one of New York State’s most notorious asylums for the insane.

willard 001

Grandview

Following the tour, I decided to share my photos and thoughts about Willard in a post titled A Day at Willard Asylum for the Insane.  That post has received a huge amount of (unexpected) daily traffic. I’ve had visitors who are searching  for information on relatives who were committed there, former employees, ghost enthusiasts, people looking for information on future tours, and people who have authored books on Willard leaving comments on my post.  Because of all this interest I’d like to share a couple of updates.

First, a news article published by the Seneca Daily News explains some of the plans being considered by local enthusiasts to rehabilitate the asylums severely neglected cemetery where 5776 patients were laid to rest.  There are obstacles concerning the HIPPA regulations that are slowing the project from moving forward but one task has been accomplished.  On September 21, 2011, a large sign was erected and now marks the location of the cemetery.  For more information on the cemetery project visit The Willard Cemetery Memorial Project.

Secondly, I’d like to share information about an upcoming presentation about Willard that is scheduled for December 14, 2011, 7PM – 8:30PM, at the Ovid Library.  “Craig Williams, curator and senior historian at the New York State Museum, will give an illustrated commentary on the Anna Hopkins scrapbooks, what they say about 19th century life and how they portray Willard Asylum. Anna was the spouse of a Willard physician and lived at the asylum from the mid-1800’s until 1894. Her scrapbooks contain original photographs, newspaper clippings and other ephemera giving an unparalleled view of life at Willard.”  If you’re interested in attending this event pre-registration is required. Visit the library’s link above for contact information.

If you’re interested in Willard updates stay tuned by subscribing to my blog, or follow @thejoyofcaking on twitter.  For information related to Seneca County subscribe to the Seneca Daily News.

Additional pictures I took during the May tour. 

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The Morgue

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Hadley Hall

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The Projection Room

If you have information on Willard please feel free to share it in the comments section.