Vacation Part 1: The Busschers in NY

For our 2008 summer vacation, Cortney and I decided it was high time that we travel out to the great state of New York to visit our friends, Phil and Liz Busscher. The last time we were there was four years ago–the summer before we were married–when Phil and Liz still lived in an apartment in Fairport, near Rochester. Since then, they moved to a house (not really that far from their apartment), got married, and got a dog. And just before we our visit, Phil called to tell us that Liz just got a new job in South Carolina, so they were moving before the end of the summer. Good thing we decided to visit!

We made the trip from Zeeland to Fairport in nine and a half hours on Friday. We were pretty pooped by the time we got there! We remembered that Phil and Liz were excellent hosts the last time we were there, and they actually outdid themselves this time! They made us dinner Friday night…homemade pizza. I know, I know…you’re thinking…gross! Pizza out of a box! Yeah, that is what I thought too…but nope. Their grocery store (which is a Wegmans) is the best grocery store I have ever been to! They sell dough and sauce that is pretty much just as good as what you would get if you ordered out. I’m just saying it was a damn good pizza is all. Liz stretched the dough and took care of the toppings. Phil was in charge of cutting them up when they were done.
I kept busy by mixing myself a drink. Hey, it was a long drive!
Saturday morning Phil and Liz made us french toast and bacon before packing a lunch and heading to the Finger Lakes for a wine tour. Cortney kept out of Liz’s way by playing with Farley. No, he is not so amused with Cort’s antics.

We could also NOT get over the fact that their cat, Elvis was SO much like our cat, Louis. Cortney thought it was funny that he was sleeping, but he appeared to be standing. It’s like a lazy version of spider cat!
After playing with the animals and getting ready, we were off to the Finger Lakes. Phil drove us and he warned us that the way there was sort of windy and turny, and some people get a bit of motion sickness. He was SO not kidding! I was sure they were trying to make me puke before even getting a drop of wine in me! But I made it! Our first stop was Dr. Frank’s. We thought we better snap a picture while everyone still had their wits about them.
Outside I thought I better get some pictures of the view. It was out of control. We only went to one of the lakes–which is about forty miles long according to Phil. This is Lake Keuka. It has about eleven wineries around it. One of the other lakes had about 50 wineries. Good for our livers that we chose one of the lakes with fewer stops!
Here is another shot of the view. We stopped at six of the wineries around the lake. Liz did a good job of choosing a really nice variety of stops. They varied from sort of fancy-pants to super laid back.
A quick shot of us having fun on vacation! Cortney and I were both looking forward to seeing Phil and Liz and getting away for awhile, but I think we were surprised at how much fun the wine touring was!

Our second stop was Bully Hill. This was the most laid back of all the stops. At each winery we tried about 5 wines. The first 2 here were dry and not my favorite, and I told Liz I thought this guy doing our tasting was a big tool. Then he busted out the sweet wines and guess what…he became my new best friend! Plus he pushed the gift shop by showcasing thong underwear. That is just funny.
YUM!!! One of their wines was so sweet, all the people at the tasting bar made a face. Cortney commented that it tasted like we were drinking purple skittles. Of course I thought it was delicious! I bought a bottle, don’t worry!
Oops! I got a little spot of red wine on my shirt. My new best friend went in the back and created a concoction of something and scrubbed it off for me. He was a little too excited to get that close to my shirt.
And he created a “special” wine mix for my sweet tooth. Yeah, he LOVED me…what can I say…my fans are all over the place!

After Bully Hill, we stopped at Heron Hill. This was quite a bit classier. Not a good place to take me after a winery that mixed me “special” wines. I was a bit giggly. We had lunch here though, so that brought me back to my senses. Liz packed a cooler of crackers, cheese, and summer sausage. mmmmm! We ate it on a picnic table in the sun over-looking the lake and the vineyard. On our way out, we thought we better get a picture with the wine grapes.

Phil found some on the ground…I SWEAR we didn’t pick them! I thought they would make a good souvenier, but Liz made us throw them out of the car.
Stop number four was McGregor Vineyard. This was a bit farther away on the other side of the lake. I had to go potty REALLY bad by that point, but they did not have indoor bathroooms…only port-o-johns. Oh well…it’s better than going by a grapevine! Liz had to go too, but she couldn’t wait for me to get out of the “women’s”, so she used the “men’s”. Who knew there was a diffrence when it came to mobile johns!
Hey! I’m done! Let’s go taste some more wine!
Our fifth stop was Rooster Hill. I liked all five of the wines I tasted here! Plus we still looked good enough for another group shot! I especially liked this place because, like McGregor’s, we could keep our wine glasses!
The last stop was Keuka Sping. It was a good way to end the day…plus they had MONSTER wine casks!

On Sunday, after another GREAT breakfast, we decided to go grocery shopping and to make a stop at the local liquor store. New York is funny because they don’t have party stores where you can get all your booze. Beer is sold at grocery stores and gas stations, but wine and liquor has to have their own store. Phil and Liz took us to this liquor store because we could get some of the wines a little bit cheaper here than at the winery. Phil pushed the cart–which was totally funny to me on so many levels. I think the main source of humor here is how small that cart is compared to Phil. This is a shot from the SHORT view of this store. I’m telling you…we NEED one of these in Holland! It has labeled aisles just like Meijer! Cort and Liz are deciding where to go next.
I found the Finger Lakes Wine aisle. mmmm! This is where I bought my wine from Casa Larga. We didn’t go wine tasting there because I already know I love their Lilac Hill wine. I bought 3 bottles.
When we got back from the grocery store, it was time to start dinner. Since they had a 13-pound frozen turkey that would have to be thrown out due to the move to SC, they decided instead to cook it up for us. Phil was on turkey and stuffing duty.
I was put in charge of the gravy. I don’t even LIKE gravy, but I was the only one who had ever made it before.

Liz worked on the apple crisp. Yeah, that’s right…she even made us dessert. I wasn’t kidding around when I said that they are the best hosts ever!
Cortney just wanted to eat! We put down three bottles of wine between the four of us in the process of making this meal, so we were ready to put some food in our bellies! Liz even busted out the fancy china and table cloth. Yeah, they don’t get guests often 🙂
Doesn’t that meal look yummy? I mean, dang! That picture could be in a magazine!
Sunday night we said our goodbyes since Liz and Phil and to get up to start their last week of work on Monday, and we were going to be leaving Monday morning. It was definitely sad to leave their cute house in NY!

Even though we will miss having a great place to stay in NY, we are looking forward to visiting their new place in SC when they find it! Thanks for a GREAT vacation, Phil and Liz!!!

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About Katie

Just a small town girl...wait no. That is a Journey song. Katie Sluiter is a small town girl, but she is far from living in a lonely world. She is a middle school English teacher, writer, mother, and wife. Life has thrown her a fair share of challenges, but her belief is that writing through them makes her stronger.