IMG_2387On Sundays opposite my New York apartment there is a farmer’s market. Most of the vendors come down from the Finger Lake region here in upstate New York, standing out in winter weather with numb fingers, half asleep from their very early rising to get to the city. Today, in glorious summer sunshine, I got to see their produce first hand.

vineyards in the Finger Lakes

vineyards in the Finger Lakes

The Finger Lakes region is primarily known for its wine. New York State wine used to be a joke many years ago, but a number of the wineries have now managed to build their reputations to an acceptable level. Cristal and I did a bit of a wine tour around the Lake—to the extent that it’s something of a miracle I can still write today. As Designated Driver, I had to decline tasting at the last winery—beginning to feel somewhat wary of facing these winding country roads.

Carp in The Japanese Garden at Sonnenberg Mansion

Carp in The Japanese Garden at Sonnenberg Mansion

Our tour also included a stop at the Sonnenberg Mansion, a post-Civil War home

The 'Old Fashioned Garden' at Sonnenberg Mansion

The ‘Old Fashioned Garden’ at Sonnenberg Mansion

in the Tudor style built by Frederick and Mary Thompson, a wealthy NY banker and his wife. Mary apparently loved flowers and gardening, and the grounds around the house are divided into twelve different types of garden. But what caught my eye was the story of how flowers actually ‘saved’ her life. She was travelling in Europe when she discovered the tulip festival in the Netherlands was taking place. She therefore changed her plans to return home and went to see the tulips. Mary had had tickets to travel on the Titanic…

Weeks ago in Nashville, as we wandered around The Old Opry and read stories of the great and the good of country music, there was the biography of Waylon Jennings. Jennings, before he was truly famous, had been a guitarist for Buddy Holly. He gave up his seat on Holly’s fateful flight to another man.

Life is full of those, ‘what if I had done this?” or “ what if that happened?” but for most of us, it doesn’t hit with such a resounding thud.IMG_0986


  1. Great post, Andi. I had no idea the beauty of the area you are writing about here existed.


    • Upstate New York is quite a treasure but the winters are very harsh. I love the Adirondacks in particular but even as far south as the Hudson valley, two hours from the city, the weather is far cooler in general, though it’s a lovely area with a lot of history.


  2. Enjoyed this post, Andi. For all the years I lived in upstate New York, the Finger Lakes was a region my family did not visit. I just read about it in the history books. I did not know about Mary Thompson, though I knew about Waylon. I often think about “what if?”


    • Since learning about Wsylon I’ve been wondering how that incident affected the rest of his life. So many people ‘saved’ in that wAy seem to believe they were saved for a reason


      • I think there are reasons for everything, and being “saved” is one that very much affects people in different ways. Hubby and I visited Kona, Hawaii, in 2010. Our return flight to the “Mainland” (the US) was just hours before the tsunami hit Kona! We had stayed at the same hotel that was evacuated because of the tsunami! And we had toured the tsunami museum there, so we pretty much knew about all the precautions that were being taken when we turned on the news. So, yeah, What if?


      • Yeah, I’ve had a couple of close calls myself–was in Vienna and flew out a couple of days before the airport was bombed, was down at the twin towers, an area I rarely go to, to buy a computer two weeks prior to 9/11. But these two examples in the post were changes of plan, last minute decisions, and that’s what particularly fascinates me.


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