Sunday, October 13, 2019

A historic home, a traditional day in the valley and we're off

Thursday afternoon we were invited to a little tour of the beautiful Esperanza Mansion and lunch with the Thursday Night Dinner Club.    Our good friend, Bill, has a special "in" to the place because relatives recently bought and reopened the historic home, Inn, and restaurant overlooking Keuka Lake.     After a leisurely morning at home, we drove about an hour and a half east to Keuka Park and met Bill, Robin and Tom on the grounds of the majestic old house.

We really had a lot to do at home in preparation for our departure,  but couldn't pass up an opportunity to get a behind the scenes look at Esperanza with friends.

No detail has been spared.   The linens on the beds are first class, the paintings fit the environment,  the mirrors and chandeliers sparkled, the guest rooms are period with beautiful furniture, drapery and rugs and the bathrooms are modern and state of the art.    Green, rolling lawns dotted with white chairs overlooked a one of a kind view of Keuka Lake.

  We ate in the small tavern room because the formal dining room was closed for a function but the food was "slap your chest and fall back in your chair good.    Three of us had one of their specials - turkey wellington with local brie and blackberry gastrique.   Gawd.....

Bill and Dave examine a beautiful bedroom cupboard

Tom, Dave, Bill and Robin

Lewis reminded me that, while I painted a beautiful picture of OUR Thursday, he didn't exactly see it that way.     He went to the vet's office to receive an annual inoculation and that it wasn't all that exciting.  They took him in a back room and a stranger....a very nice young woman, but a stranger nonetheless, stuck him with a needle and then tied a bandanna around his neck - a bandanna with ghosts and pumpkins!    He felt it made him look like a sissy, but she looked so pleased that he just put up with the indignity of it all.   When one is a poodle, one has to guard against looking too fancy and frou frou. 

Yesterday, Saturday,  was cold and windy and gray.   A perfect day to spend outdoors watching horse racing, right?     Only the 121st annual running of the Genesee Valley Hunt Races would get us (Dave) out in that kind of weather.     At least the rain had pretty much stopped by the time we got to Nation's Farm.

beautiful Nation's Road

This traditional Valley event is held every year on the second Saturday of October, rain or shine.   It's a celebration of horses, hounds, agriculture and the Valley itself.    In addition to Steeplechase type races (racing over jumps), flat racing, stock horse racing (riders using western type saddles), and plenty more races in a more light hearted vein.    There was a card of  Hobby Horse races,  and the very popular  "weiner dog" races.      The Hunt paraded their hounds down the center of the race course and then opened the gates so the spectators could come in and meet the hounds.   It didn't go as planned......

threatening skies

The atmosphere is wonderful, almost like an old fashioned country fair.    People of all ages and dogs of all description walking the grounds, standing at the fences to cheer on the racers, tailgaters vying for Best Tailgate Picnic awards, sheep, chickens and hound puppies patiently enduring pets, kids playing with trucks and sand pails in piles of shucked, dried corn kernels, the smell of hot cider and blooming onions and the sound of live, unamplified music.

one of the unique tailgate spreads

chick magnet

start of the 3 1/2 mile timber race

neck and neck finish!

stock horse race
Yee Haw!!!!

happy Hobby Horse contestant

At a break in the races, the Whipper In brought the hounds into the infield and the announcer told us all a little about them as they trotted happily back and forth at the feet of two or three beautiful bay horses.     When the group came back in front of the judges stand, the rider's dismounted and the spectators were invited in to meet and pet the hounds.     

Happy Hounds = gay tails!

sniff sniff sniff

lets all pet the doggies

One hound took a good look at all the children swarming the pack and took off, tail down, in the opposite direction.    Hounds are not supposed to break from the pack....they're to stay together.
When young pups are taken out for their first few times, they are "coupled" with an older hound so they can learn the ropes and stay with the pack.   

As I said, hounds are to stay together but when a few of the pack noticed the escapee they were conflicted.      Are we supposed to follow him or stay here?    Stay - go.....stay - go.....


Within a few minutes, half the pack split and followed the runner.   Mayhem ensued.....hunt horn was blown, hunting whip was cracked (in the hunt, the whip is used as a communication device, not to hit the hounds), outriders rode after the split pack.....     In the end, everyone was reunited and we all were reminded that you just can't trust kids or dogs to perform perfectly when someone is watching......All in good fun, they left the field laughing.

Our financial advisor was sponsoring a hospitality tent for friends, family and clients and we were invited to join in the camaraderie and good food.   The wind break their tent provided was also much appreciated!

hospitality tent decorations

two Davids

We had a wonderful day but soon it was time to go home and get down to business.   We were almost ready to hit the road but there are always plenty of last minute details to take care of.

The nastiness of the day finally receded and by evening we were treated to a beautiful sky blue pink sunset.


This morning the sun had a little trouble breaking through the fog but the result was ethereal.

Once the sun finally broke through we enjoyed a last second cup on the deck stairs and then hooked up the Jeep and pulled out around 10:30.   

We're south of Erie, Pennsylvania for the night and tomorrow we'll begin our west, east, south and west journey.

gratuitous poodle shot



  1. You had a great last couple days for your send off. Seeing the hounds split and run from the kids was too funny. Like you said you never know with animals and children.
    Lew looks so sweet posing for a photo to make me happy. What a dear boy! Happy travels!

  2. Yippee....for a fabulous post. The fall colors on Nations Road!!!!!! Great shot. Happy travels, friends.

  3. How fun and festive! I would love the Esperanza Mansion and the Thursday Night Dinner Club. And the Genesee Valley fall event looks like a blast! That hobby horse race must have been adorable. And the hound mayhem is hilarious. By the way, please tell Lewis that he looks "dashing" and not frou-frou at all.
    Wishing you delightful and safe travels...

  4. With all that cold and wet you've been experiencing I bet you'll be delighted to get yourselves out west!

  5. A great way to spend your day before hitting the road.
    Safe Travels!

  6. A great post!! So much fun and beauty to wrap up your NY summer. That dark sky over the tent top shot is fabulous. I would love that event with all the horses and dogs. Great hound adventure, so glad you shared it.

  7. Yay!! On the road again!! What a perfect way to wrap up your summer visit. The mansion is just beautiful, both the building itself and the details. And you know I love me some doggy chaos! You know that first escapee dog was all "Oh hell no, I'm outta here!!" Haha! Smart puppy! Glad it all worked out and everyone had fun. Safe travels, you two!!

  8. Lewis looks deeply offended by the vet visit and the bandana.
    Your neck of the woods is just gorgeous. Our first year with the 5th wheel we went to the Adirondacks which was a pretty area, but it rained too much.
    Happy trails, looking forward to seeing what you see.

  9. What a beautiful last couple of days! The mansion with all its gorgeous details and the hunt in a picture perfect setting. Oh how I do miss the maple trees and their fall grandeur.

    Safe travels and happy trails!