Returning to Cayuga Lake

A few weeks ago, my husband and I enjoyed a weekend getaway on Cayuga Lake, in Aurora, NY. Even though it was a short trip, it was so nice to get away, see some new things (and see again, some old things) and just enjoy the time together.

When we got married last July, we received a gift card to the Inns of Aurora as a wedding present. Their properties get booked fast, especially on weekends in the summer. Luckily, I managed to snag a night the first weekend of April that was open! This would be my first time back in Aurora since 2013 (when I also went to Cayuga Lake, and stayed at the E.B. Morgan House), and it was so nice to return, albeit with my life in quite a different state.

With nothing but time, we decided to take the long way to Aurora – no highways whatsoever. After a lunch stop at Tom Wahl’s in Avon, we went for the mini-Finger Lakes tour. (One of my goals is to see every Finger Lake, and I’m nearly there after this trip!) My husband has really never experienced the Finger Lakes, aside from a quick stop at Conesus a few years ago, so this was a nice treat for both of us. We stopped at Hemlock Lake, whose shoreline is mostly undeveloped. We found a “park” at the north edge of the lake – very simple, very peaceful. You just walk up some stairs to the crest of this hill, and there’s the lake, in all its untouched beauty.

Hemlock Lake

From there, we also stopped at Canadice and Honeoye lakes, both quite small but beautiful nonetheless. Just like that, I’ve now visited nine of the 11 Finger Lakes. (Otisco and Owasco are the ones missing, for the record. Maybe this summer I can knock those off as well.) Again, with nothing but time, we then stopped in Geneva to visit some friends. One thing I could’ve done without: the number of hilly roads we encountered. The worst part is that you never know if it’s a sharp drop or not, until you hit it. My stomach thanked me when I was able to get out of the car and rest.

Steadily, we made our way to Aurora. A quick stop at MacKenzie-Childs left me empty-handed (I just couldn’t quite find anything worth splurging for this time!) and then it was off to the E.B. Morgan House. We chose perhaps the best room in the place: a lake view, a bit secluded in a corner of the home, and just beautiful. So lovely. After resting for a bit, we enjoyed the wine and cheese hour with the fellow travelers staying at the house, then headed to the Fargo Bar & Grill for dinner! I would’ve loved to revisit the Pumpkin Hill Bistro, but they were unfortunately still closed for the season! The Fargo was great though – a short walk from the E.B. Morgan House, quick service and good food. If you’re looking for good, greasy, bar-type food in Aurora, this is the place. Oh, and don’t forget the mac & cheese. Yum.

After our stay at the E.B. Morgan House, we did brunch the next morning at the Aurora Inn – but not before walking out to the lakeside, which is really just in the backyard of the Morgan House, and enjoying that wonderful view. It was a little chilly – April, after all – but so worth it. Perhaps one of the best parts was when I woke up at 7 a.m. on Sunday (early, for me) and got to see the beautiful sunrise over the lake from our room. Breathtaking!

The folks who run the Inns of Aurora really know what they’re doing. The service is just incredible and I can’t say enough for how accommodating they are. Our host at the Morgan House, Reginald, was always willing to put out a hand for us. We were even able to keep our car parked there after check-out so we could walk, rather than drive, to brunch. In addition, there was an issue with refunding part of our payment (since we had a gift card & were applying that), and he worked tirelessly to figure out the issue. In this day and age, it’s easy (and often cheaper) to stay at hotels, which are so often impersonal and focused solely on business. To a point, I can understand this. It goes: provide basic service, that is still pretty good, to lots of people at once, day in and day out. But places like the E.B. Morgan House, and I’m sure the other Inns of Aurora properties, focus more on the experience, the interactions, the service. It’s more personal, more intimate, and it makes all the difference.

I digress. Brunch at the Aurora Inn was fantastic. I had made a reservation, but really, I probably would’ve been okay without, considering it’s April and not the busiest time of year for tourists. I decided to try their quiche of the day, which was broccoli parmesan. Yum. After a delicious brunch, it was, sadly, time to begin the trek toward home – but filled with delicious food, fresh air, and a whole host of wonderful memories to cherish for years to come.

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