On Labor Day weekend, with visitors from Maine staying with us, we made our way down to the Farmer’s Market and foraged for breakfast while also shopping for dinner. With Finger Lakes roastery coffee from inside the Visitor’s Center, croissants from a Trumansburg bakery and Scandinavian Kringle from a Genevan vendor, we sat on the deck in front of the Visitor’s Center and watched scores of kite-boarders and wind-paddlers coloring the ski and waves.
While it took only moments to devour the pastries, we sipped coffee for a very long time, relaxed and mesmerized. As if the sun and cerulean hues of azure sky and sapphire water were not sensual feast enough, Lori Pendleton and Pat Burke serenaded the waterfront from the gazebo. Lovely, just lovely.
Build it and they will comeis what this summer’s waterfront seemed to me. Every evening that we walked along the lake, or in the daytime when we biked, we were struck by the numbers of people and diversity of activities. Awash in music from the Ramada’s Friday “Live After 5,” transfixed and amazed by paddleboard yoga at dusk, or simply people-watching landlubbers and boaters alike – whenever the sun shined it was a gleeful and glorified day with tourists and boats galore. Never was it better than when walking with ice cream in hand (my wife discovered her bliss with chocolate cabernet).
This is only my third summer in Geneva, so my perspective on it is near-sighted. But activity on the lakefront and the number of tourists on the streets seemed to have exploded. It reminds me of what happened in Buffalo when the city finally found the right formula to make its Lake Erie waterfront attractive and accessible: Boom! In Geneva’s case, the synergy between restaurants, events, and the lake is fueled by what seems to be a vibrant and fortunate public/private partnership between state, city, and entrepreneurs. Congratulations, and thank you to all who made it happen.
Now the tourists are gone, students have returned, and the inevitable ebbing of warmth with the shifting of seasons will make for a quieter lakefront. It will not be a quieter lake though. Soon bulbous gray clouds and fierce winds will make walking the dog along the park both frigid and lonely. But that face of the lake is welcome too, at least to me. It’s color changes with the winds of autumn and then winter cold, and the willows along the path seem to grow more talkative. The waves thrash more urgently against the concrete and stones singing odes to its power. Late fall and winter along the lake offer an entirely different yet abundant feast.
While that will come soon enough, for now September walks us slowly into the courtyard of October full of autumn scents and ripened colors. The abundance of the Finger Lakes rises up from the summer and pours itself out into the fall, a stunning cornucopia of blessings.
James Winthrop Sargent says
Love your rich use of the English language! How long were you in Buffalo?
Cam Miller says
Thank you for your kind words. I was there for 14 years at Trinity Church downtown.
Cam — you paint a very attractive picture of life in upstate New York!
One thing strikes me in traveling east — the moment one passes into New York, it seems
that the price of gasoline soars — and E-85 becomes even less of an option than in
many places west of Indiana. Perhaps the best location for E-85 that is dependable
and always on hand is along the turnpikes of Oklahoma!
However, so long as the New York Times keeps publishing and NOW and THEN
getting the copies out of Louisville and up to Indy — NO, what would be better
would be if they could send by USPS the New Mexican printed edition!
And even Colorado now has its own edition printed in that state.
A couple of years ago I was frustrated beyond measure in not being
able to get the NY TImes at Trinidad, CO — about the last place
of “civilization” before you hit [20 miles later] Raton [yeah, like the
“rat”] in New Mexico. Then it is a long drive to Las Vegas, NM,
and then Santa Fe, and finally ALBUQUERQUE which is
civilization on steroids!
Hope to see you at Batavia on the last Sat. evening in October!
Cam Miller says
Ice cream is nice in Indiana, New Mexico, AND Colorado!
Edwin Beck says
Once again, Cam, you write as if you are made for such things. And, if I may make this “all about me” for a moment of print: your Finger Lakes attracts us like moths to a porch light (i.e., not the yellow kind, of course.) Geneva rocks, and the renovation of its opera house truly is a stunning example of consciencious preservationists putting it “all on the line” to cherish the present by honoring the past. One of these days we would like to visit your Trinity Church, which I understand is the oldest of its kind in the Rochester Diocese; perhaps another “beautiful monster,” ay? Best wishes, always….e2b2
Cam Miller says
The church is closed for renovation and adaptive re-use and we won’t be back worshipping in it for a couple of years. Meanwhile, we have created a wonderful space in downtown Geneva, an old wine bar. Life is good.