Monday, October 10, 2005

Home again, home again...

We just got back from a short trip into upstate New York. You see, growing up next to a Cider Mill (and being a big fan of Halloween ;), fall has always meant alot to me. The air is fragrant with the smell of hot apple cider and fallen leaves, pumpkins are lit up with huge smiles and the cold chill of winter hasn't quite hit. So, here in New York, already with a bit of homesickness, I found myself really missing my Ohio Fall. Unfortunately, a trip back home would have cost too much, so we opted to rent a car and head upstate.

Our first stop was a small Cider Mill in Westchester County. For those who don't know, Westchester is the kind of place all exclusive snobby country towns want to be (Martha Stewart has a fortress around there, to give you an idea). The house across from the Mill was going for 1.5 million. Anyways, we grabbed some good, if not kind of pricey, cider and a few apples.

The next stop was closer to our final destination (a Bed and Breakfast built from an old Cider Mill..sense a theme here?), a pick-your-own orchard. This was probably my favorite part of the trip. Wandering around a huge orchard, munching on apples fresh picked from the tree and ending up with a whopping 14+ lbs of them (for only 8.50), it was heaven for me.

Before heading to the b&b, we had one more stop, Warwick Valley Winery, makers of wine and hard cider. We arrived in the middle of a tasting, so I grabbed a awesome slice of pumpkin cheesecake and sat down to wait for the next one. As it turned out, the cheesecake was better than what I was waiting for. Though the hard cider was good, more of European style cider with a definite dry wine taste, the wines were ranging from iffy to, in the case of their port, downright astringent and bad.

Not much to say about the bed and breakfast. It was nice, quaint and our host (the b&b is owned by a husband and wife team, but we never saw the wife) was very helpful and friendly. But, we were around there for the Fall experience, the cozy night was just an added plus. That said, if you ever find yourself around Warwick in the Hudson Valley, I would definitely recommend the Cider Mill Inn. They even helped us make reservations at a nice dinner location (the chef, like so many around there, was a CIA grad), as well as pointed us to a nice dry bit of the Appalachian Trail the next morning.

After hiking a bit this morning, we slowly made our way back home, but not before making a couple more stops. Once at a small store and cider mill (more cider!) and next at another cidery and winery, this one called Applewood Winery. Applewood was a definite step up from Warwick Valley. Though their Reisling smelled and tasted slightly of diapers, their apple wines were very good. They managed to hit that nice balance of a fruity, sweet taste upfront and finish with something a bit drier. They also had a dessert wine which was the equivilent of fermented mulled apple cider, which I picked up. We finished our trip with some fresh doughnuts (which are 100X better than those stale, hanging out all morning, kind I'm used to) and hot apple cider.

There was a huge hassle in getting home, but I'm trying to put that past me, so I won't share that with you. All in all, we had a great time and our fridge is currently stuffed to the brim with the taste of fall.