Road Trip! Watkins Glen NY!

This is where my love of cars and driving come from.  There’s nothing like a good old fashioned road trip to make you fall in love with our country and cars all over again.  Not that I ever stopped loving either of them, but going for a road trip is awesome!

For this trip we planned to go to Corning NY so that my wife and her friend could run the Wineglass Marathon.  Unfortunately, neither of them were trained to do the run and they deferred to next year. However, that did not stop us from going up there anyway and enjoying what the finger lakes region of New York had to offer.

Our trip took us from our home, out to 287 North in NJ and then to 78 West to head out to Pennsylvania.  From there we went to 33 North and then out to 80 West.  This was an all highway trip and on the way up we just went for it and got there as quickly as possible.  From 80 we took 380 North up to 81 North and then took 17 (or 86) West till we arrived at our hotel in Elmira NY.


We stayed at the Holiday Inn Express for a total of 3 nights.  However, we never really planned to spend any time there.  On the first night, we were a little tired so we decided to take a little break and then head out to dinner.  At this point we discovered Harry’s in Elmira Heights which had the most delicious wings.  They called them Dirty wings and we could not get enough.  I must have eaten 30 of them, plus their Harry Burger which was a mouth watering ¾ pound burger that was served on a sub roll.  Oh yeah, lets not forget the bacon cheese fries that were also unbelievable.  Who knew, from the outside, that this place would be so good!

After Harry’s, we decided to go take a look at Mark Twain’s gravesite.  This seemed like the thing to do since it was raining and it seemed that everything in Elmira closes after dark.  This was fun, but we got pretty wet looking around and the pictures did not come out too good.  This completed Day 1.

The next day we re-visited Mark Twain’s gravesite and were able to actually get pictures of it without having rain pouring down on us.

We then decided to have a late breakfast and ended up at Sugar and Spice’s in Horseheads, NY.  This was a quaint little place, but the food was again delicious.  I went with the special that day which was cinnamon French toast served with Bacon and Eggs.  It was a very nice little place and everyone’s meal was very good.

After breakfast we decided to go to Watkins Glen State park.  What a beautiful place to go!  The main attraction of the park is the gorge.  It’s amazing!  The gorge was formed by water runoff that has carved a canyon into the rock of the land.  The trail that goes along the side of the stream that eroded the rock has a ton of waterfalls and beautiful bridges and tunnels that you can see and walk around.  The pictures are below, but they don’t do it justice.  We spent most of the day at the park exploring the gorge and taking pictures.

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We then took a little trip to Finger Lakes Distilling that was on the opposite side of Seneca Lake from the gorge.  It was about a 20 minute drive and the ladies were able to get a cocktail in the last 20 minutes of the day before the winery closed.

Next up was another delicious meal that we had.  We ate at a small chain (we didn’t know it was a chain) called Garcia’s.  It was a Mexican restaurant that served the best Mexican food that I had in a while, it was a little place on the side of a bowling alley and we were skeptical at first, but it was authentic and delicious.  We had a giant plate of special chicken nachos, and I ordered the burrito platter which came with a beef and a chicken burrito.  They were awesome, and the taco I had as a side was a hard shell wrapped in a bean stuffed soft shell, yum!  Sorry to turn this into a food blog, but the food in this region was surprisingly good!

Now it’s Monday, and we had a plan.  We decided to go to Watkins Glen International racetrack!  Woot!  They have a program that you can pay $25 and drive your car on the track.  When we got there the Porsche Club of America was having a track day.  It was great to see all the Porsche’s out on the track and the people trying to improve their skill.

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Then they shut the track down and allowed us to drive on it!  We followed the pace truck and drove around the track at a reasonable pace.  It was not too fast, but it was still fun to be out there on the track.  We did two laps, took some pictures, and I got to drive a lap.  It was not my car, but my friend let me drive and I’m so glad he did.  Now all I want to do is get a car to do track days with.  The video of my friend driving the track is below!

After the track we went to Glenora Wine Cellars up on the western shore of lake Seneca.  It had a beautiful view of the lake and the surrounding landscape.  The girls purchased a couple of bottles of wine and some cheese.  The guys just looked at the scenery and enjoyed the view.

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Food was now a priority, and we found the Weinery!  It’s a little dive place on the side of the road that serves artisan burgers and dogs.  The floors were sticky as well as the tables, but just go for it anyway because the food was something that I could not get over.  I had the first artisan burger on the menu and have been wanting another ever since.  It had blue cheese, bacon, egg, and was served on some kind of awesome roll.  We had some loaded cheese fries that were like string fries but the cheese sauce and gook that was all over the top of them were sooooo good!

Another winery was next, Shaw, but the wine was not all that great and the girls were just about wined out by now.  This may have caused them to not like the wine all that much but who knows.  So we went to Starkey’s Lookout instead and sat out on the porch and sampled beer.  The view was stellar and so was the beer.  My wife ended up buying a growler of beer it was so good.

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Food, food, food!  We went to the Elbow room and were planning on eating dinner there and watching the football game, it was Monday night, but the atmosphere was a little stuffy and the TV’s a little small.  We did get the wings since they state that they were the best around but they were no better than Harry’s.  So after the wings at the Elbow room, we went back to Harry’s for some more dirty wings and football on their giant projection TV!

Tuesday morning, time to leave.  We left our Hotel around 9:30AM and headed to Tioga Downs Casino to try and get rich quick!  We put our mandatory dollars in the penny slots and proceeded to lose it in minutes.  So much for our plan.

Breakfast was next and Google was our source.  We found Becky’s Diner in Waverly NY.  What an awesome place!  Again, an unexpected surprise, the food was awesome.  They had a bag of donuts that come out fresh and hot and are ewy gewy delicious.  The menu was standard diner fare, but it was super cheap and delicious.

We then strolled the town of Waverly and found it to be about half abandoned.  I contemplated buying the theatre and the 4 abandoned buildings next to it to open a movie, food place, bar, and antique shop to revitalize the place, but that was just talk.  After Waverly, we headed home only stopping at a Krispy Kreme to get more donuts!

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