My Birthday…Unplugged

Oh my, what a birthday! My mom called early this morning to see if we might be coming to visit them today. I wasn’t sure, but after talking to Mark, we decided that would be fun.  We left home this morning and were on our way.

When we arrived at my parents’ home, we sat and talked in the back yard for a long time.  It is always so fun to walk around the yard as there is always something in bloom. We had fun talking until it was time to head to the Rod and Gun Club for dinner.  Yay! My birthday was on a Friday this year, so that meant we could enjoy a fish fry!

As always, dinner at the Rod and Gun Club was outstanding! We have never been disappointed by their food or service! After dinner, my brother, Randy, rode home with Mark and the kids. I went with my parents. We stopped at Coldstone Creamery where my parents told me to pick out an ice cream cake!  I picked a Cookie Dough Delirium Cake. 

 Mom, Dad, and I went home and we waited for over an hour before Mark, Randy, and the kids finally got home.  Randy had bought a small screenroom so I thought we should eat outside in the screenroom. After dinner,  Mark  and the kids had me open gifts they bought me at the dollar store. By this time, things were getting pretty silly! Mark told me about a gift he wanted to get me but he wants me to pick out what I want.

As we sat at the table,  I removed my temporary tooth because, well, the thing just outright drives me buggy! This sent my mother into waves of laughter, which in turn made me nearly crack, laughing hysterically.  Everyone else thought my mom and I were crazy, but oh, what fun we had laughing! After the ice cream, I began to feel chilly, so I thought maybe the tissue paper from my gift bag might insulate me, taking away the chill…..

Michelle really got into the action, stuffing tissue paper inside my sleeves and fashioning  a hood for me! The bright yellow thing in my hand is a duck keyring.  It has a push button on it that when activated, makes the little duck cast a bright light and it “quaxks”! It is so cute.

We didn’t leave until after 10pm.  I am bloging remotely, via the wee netbook. What a long and terrific day!

Dining at the Castle

Mark mentioned once that he and the kids had wanted to take me to Belhurst Castle for lunch on Mother’s Day, but they forgot to call in the reservation on time.  Well, having a memory like an “elephant”,  (an inherited trait, as I also always claimed the same thing about my own mom!)  when Mark asked what I would like to do on our anniversary, I said I wanted to go to the castle for their lunch buffet!  We were celebrating anniversary number twenty.

The kids said they didn’t need to go with us, but how could we leave them out?  Mark called and made reservations.

Not having any idea what to expect when we arrived, we were glad to see formal dress was not required.  We made our way inside….

I love this huge arched window looking out toward West Lake Road.  Even though the parking lot is located not far away, the view remains scenic!

A menu greeted us….I thought it was so nice that one could see the entire menu before being seated. Mark then told me this was the fare of the day for the buffet!

Because the Finger Lakes of New York State are famous for grapes, there are many wineries and micro-wineries located along all of the lakes.  And, of course,  many of the items listed on the buffet were prepared with wine.

If you enlarge the architect’s drawing below of the main floor, you can see how everything is laid out. We were first seated in the reception room, but when we saw the veranda with all of its windows overlooking Seneca Lake,  we asked if we might move out there.  Our waitress lead Mark to the room while I gathered up my camera bag and purse.  It looked like a no-go as there was a step between the entrance hall and the veranda.  Mark was about to turn around when another waitress suggested using the ramp they use for their ice cart.  Someone brought it right over and Mark was able to wheel down the small ramp to the veranda!  This place earned a *huge* plus for their accommodating nature! 

Before I left the table at the reception room,  I had to take a photo of the ornate carving in the wood!  Isn’t this beautiful?

Because we arrived early at the castle,  the tables were still not totally occupied and I was able to get a shot of the veranda….

There was a couple seated across from our table when we were seated.  By the time we left, the entire area was packed.

While we were leaving,  Mark told me to look over to our left at the conservatory. Wow! It was so pretty. I was trying to move along quickly-I was told I could photograph freely, but I kept getting in the way of waters and waitresses and customers! Oops!

This article from The New York Times, dated December, 1985, hangs on one of the walls.

If you read that article, you would note that the writer suggested the food was less than great, but that was, well, back *then*!   Now?  Well, let me ust say we ate ourselves silly!  While we typically like “homestyle” cooking,  the food at the castle was amazing!  Mark commented on the “many layers” of flavor and I think that would best describe the food.  We left very filled, very happy, and feeling quite smug.  The price for the luncheon buffet is a mere $9.99 per person.  This is an unbelieveable value!

As we left, the waitress called out she hopes to see us again.  I assured her she will!  I never dreamed that such an “upscale” place would serve such “bargain” lunches!  (I am drooling all over again, reminiscing about the delightful open-face prime rib sandwich and the three onion sirloin with chianti and toasted orzo soup! Oh, those were so tasty. But so was the braised summer squash with tomatoes.  As were the blue cheese red skinned mashed potatoes! The salad bar was so fresh, I wondered if there was a garden on the premises!  Oh my, I am hungry once again….

Along the way out, we passed through the gift shop.  Since we don’t serve wine, we didn’t look much, but I did notice some nice-looking cheeses. Hmm.

Outside the gift shop, Mr. Man O’ Luxury, AKA “Ben”, enjoyed sipping some tea…

Seneca Lake and the Belhurst Castle grounds….

Ben grabbed my camera and took a photo of Mark and me. Then he began to take MORE photos as he rolled on the ground, imitating the paparazzi!  I nearly fell on my face laughing until I realized he was rolling on the ground with my NIKON!!!!

At the edge of lawn is a deep drop off and below lies railroad tracks!  Just a short few steps from the tracks is Seneca Lake!  Belhurst has a dock located there so folks can also reach them by boat!

And, before leaving the grounds, I just had to photograph a bit of thistle to add some “Scotch” to our adventure!

Mark and I have decided….we WILL be going back her again. And again!

More Prayers, Please!

I have mentioned here previously about my friend, Eunice and her tiny baby, Susanna. 

Yesterday,  Mark drove his mom to a doctor appointment. When this was done,  I asked Mark if I might be able to visit with Eunice.  We drove over to the Ronald McDonald House where Eunice is staying. I found her there and she invited me into her room to visit.

Through a miscommunication, Mark thought I was going to call when I was done visiting, whereas I had asked that he call me after about an hour and I would leave.  As it was, Mark was awaiting my call!  So, in the end, Eunice and I visited for about two and a half hours!

Mark finally did call and when several family members arrived,  I took my leave!  I had to wait a few minutes for Mark and the kids to come pick me up, so I walked around the Ronald McDonald House grounds a little.  This house is for parents and family to stay when a child is in the hospital.  Most of the children are in pretty serious condition and so the house offers a pretty setting, even though it is located in the city.

What a great alternative this house offers to parents.  It is much nicer than staying in an expensive hotel room and people may interract if they would like.  The house offers refrigerator space,  pantry space,  a cooking and baking area, and also a nice library.   Eunice told me they also offer dinners (food donated by local grocers and warehouse club) that are cooked by various churches and other organizations.  What a comfort to suffering families!

I ask that if you are inclined, please lift Eunice, Noah, Chris, and little Susanna up in your prayers!  Susanna happened to have surgery yesterday and although Eunice was told everything went well,  I know this is so stressful for the family.

On our way home, we saw some incredibly beautiful skies!

T’was a bit of a struggle photographing the sky through the rear window of the truck traveling about sixty miles per hour….using the camera on my cell phone!  Ah well, you get the idea!