Leaving Lavender Fields

We love the Finger Lakes. Our kids have grown up enjoying the pristine waters of Keuka Lake, the funny y-shaped one above Hammondsport, NY, the Coolest Small Town in the US. (Where’s that? Near Rochester. Where’s that? Many miles west of New York City.)

It’s chilly in the spring–and summer. This year the lake temperature at our house barely reached 70 degrees, but it’s refreshing to jump in after biking, running, walking, doing the dishes, anything to work up a sweat.

And this is our view. The bluff is the center part of the Y, dividing the lake into a 14-mile length on the west and a 21-mile length on the east. It’s a mile from our house across the water. Just to the left is what we call the point, recently dubbed the Little Bluff by our friend Jesse.

It’s soothing to fall asleep listening to the gentle lapping waves and the tinkling of our chimes or sometimes thunder and rain. We like listening to The Nature, as our sister-in-law Kathy describes it. It’s  awesome (in the original sense of inspiring awe) to watch the sunrise. Like snowflakes, no two are ever alike.

This summer we’ve particularly enjoyed the area surrounding the lake. Being able to live here for the whole season rather than just weekends, we’ve taken time to leave our little bit of paradise and traveled all around the shore and up into the hills. We have become Strava addicts, tracking our biking and running or hiking.

Those earlier lake dimensions come into play now. We’ve done the one-mile swim to the bluff (once) and kayaked there a few times. A nice morning activity is the 15-mile round-trip bike from our house to Hammondsport’s Artisan’s Bakery for an almond pastry.  A longer day is the stop for the pastry, then the ride up the east side of the lake for a Rachel sandwich at Olney Place, then on to Penn Yan and an ice cream at Seneca Farms, followed by the ride up the big hill near Branchport and the home stretch back down the west side of the lake–45 miles in total. I mention the food stops because they provide a good part of the motivation for the ride…and the food is good.

A couple years ago we wouldn’t have contemplated this type of activity and weren’t in shape to do it. After all, we’re old and now retired. But we just passed the 500-kilometer (300-mile) mark for biking for the month of August and we’re going strong.

On the hill above our house, an enterprising woman planted lavender last year. Simply beautiful with the clusters of blooms in the forefront and the lake and bluff beyond. It’s hard to leave a place like this. But it’s autumn now, blueberry season is over, the lavender is languishing, grapes are being harvested, and winter won’t be long.

But leave we must since we’ve given up our home in Charlotte NC and we couldn’t stay the winter in our cottage here at Keuka. We leave tomorrow to start our adventure round the world, ending up eight months from now in the lavender fields of Provence. A fantastic voyage, we hope, concluding with a home-like setting in France before we start all over again next summer.

Lavender fields forever.

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