Road Trip to Hamburg, NY – Meeting Friends at Ten Thousand Vines

We woke up on our last day in Westfield feeling even more relaxed.

After another good sleep and breakfast at Barcelona Lakeside B&B, we wanted to continue those lazy holiday feelings of relaxation into our day – starting with a leisurely drive around the area to gawk at all the beautiful historic homes.

This is a bit of a problem. You see, Ken and I can never resist going dream house hunting whenever we travel somewhere. The process usually starts with us having a hypothetical conversation about what it could possibly be like to live in the spot we are visiting. We think about what kinds of businesses are there, and what the community might be like. Another very important topic of this train of thought is also the weather in the region. And then sometimes we stumble upon a house that totally captures our hearts.

Boy oh boy, did this happen in Westfield.

That morning, we drove by a gorgeous old home from the late 1800’s, and it stopped us completely in our tracks. We were mesmerized by this house, as it had such a strong, almost romantic, spirit of the past about it. I kept expecting to see a carriage pull up to the front door, with a woman in Victorian dress inside.

At the same moment, Ken and I looked at each other and just knew – yep, the house had us. He quickly turned the car around and we drove by again. And again. And on the next slow drive by, we noticed a small sign at the end of the property.

IT WAS FOR SALE.

This was dangerous for us. Or serendipitous, depending on how you see it, I guess.

There was something about this house, a certain special feel that totally grabbed our attention. It had us dreaming pretty quickly, and we were utterly convinced that this would be a great second location for Highbrook.

Come to think of it, this exact same process happened when we bought Highbrook.

Uh-oh.

But.

Reality, sadly, eventually, set in.

While we adore historic homes, and in our heart of hearts would love to properly restore one someday, it’s just not in the cards right now. The massive budget required to properly restore such a grand old beauty just isn’t there yet.

Until then though, we keep dreaming.

So, as we had plans for the afternoon, we said good-bye to our lovely dream house and began the drive to Hamburg, where we were meeting a Twitter pal of mine.

Yes, thanks to good old Twitter, I have met a wonderfully talented photographer, Karen Glosser. Karen and I have been chatting over social media for about two years now, and I’m so glad that through it, I’ve been introduced to her and her work. Even just looking at the shots on her Instagram page brings a dose of peace and calm into my sometimes crazy days. You can see what I mean right here.

And the images on her website are just beautiful too.

In one of our online chats earlier this year, Karen mentioned she had a couple of upcoming shows. Given that Highbrook is closed for the winter, I thought it would be great to travel down to see one of them, and possibly meet. I was happy when Karen told me that she thought it was a good idea too. Then she suggested we meet up for the show that was being held at her brother’s winery.

Since I spend a wee bit of time at wineries, I thought this was a splendid idea.

Karen’s brother Mike owns Ten Thousand Vines Winery in the town of Hamburg, New York.

Like the other wineries I had visited so far on our trip, Ten Thousand Vines is a very unique place, for several reasons. First, they produce wine using the juice of grapes from all over the world. Second, they also sell the juice and supplies to aspiring at-home winemakers. They also offer winemaking classes, and have a very popular wine club. Additionally, you can just pop in to buy a bottle or two, and have a sample at the tasting bar while you are making your selections.

To top it all off, the location of the winery is also an interesting spot, as it’s in the old town firehall and jail. Mike works some of the town’s history into some of the wines he produces too. I was particularly partial to his Village Chardonnay.

Well, you know me and my Chardonnay….

As we sampled, I got to know both Karen and Mike a bit better. We covered all kinds of topics, from our work, to travelling through Western New York and Niagara, our love of wine, and all the differences between what wineries can offer both there and here. Of course, the governmental role always adds an interesting layer to this dicussion.

I could have kept right on chatting, as our conversation was just so easy and lovely, and I felt like I was with old friends. But eventually, Ken and I needed to think about heading back to Niagara-on-the-Lake.

So I picked up a couple bottles of wine, and asked Mike for a good place to stop for dinner before we left.

One of the spots he suggested was The Grange Community Kitchen. On our walk to the restaurant, we couldn’t help admiring all the beautiful old buildings along Main Street in Hamburg. We were so absorbed in looking at them though, that we didn’t take any pictures.

You’ll just have to take my word for it that it’s a lovely street in the town. And that the dinner that we had at The Grange was superb.

We enjoyed our three days in Westfield and Hamburg very much, and we’re looking forward to discovering more of Western New York in the days to come.

If you have any tips for any other great spots to visit over there, I’d love to hear them!