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.