Saturday, September 11, 2010

Greek Peak - Green abode in Finger Lakes Region

This was decided and arranged few days in advance by my friends Anamika (mostly) and Bulet.

Friday, 3 September 2010,

After office went to Queens side to Anamika & Bulet's home via the F Train and then Q36. Met with them after a long time and spent the evening in a Starbucks cafe chatting away. I also met Minm the darling daughter of my friends. Anamika works late and came home after midnight. After dinner we hit our beds very excited for the next three days ahead of us.

Saturday, 4 September 2010,

I am normally an early riser , thus was up by 7:00 AM and was complete with morning chores. The rest were late. Anamika  works in shifts and due to the late night shift she required the much needed rest as she was going to drive the whole way. We were 10 people (2 toddlers) in 2 SUVs. After a few false starts we were on our way at around 10:45 AM. We took the Gorge Washington Bridge and were immediately greeted with a big vacationers' traffic.  After being out of sync for around the first 25 miles both the cars were on track for Greek Peak.

Roads in US are great and the scenery that you may come across while driving are breath taking. We crossed quite a few such moments of breathlessness during our journey.

On the way we stopped for some snacks. We ordered pizza from a small local Italian restaurant, the cheese was melting and so was the pizza in out mouth, in one word heavenly. The rest of the journey was pretty event less except

After a long drive, of which that last 25 were on hilly roads we reached Greek Peak - Hope Lake Lodge around 5:30 PM. The area is called Courtland. Our lodge was a nice big wooden structure with cheerful and helpful attendants. The lobby area was packed with local wildlife in stuffed state along with a nice and cozy fire place. The temperature was around 23 to 27 C. We checked in to our rooms or shall I say room; it was  actually three rooms all joined with passage doors. On the sides were two bed rooms with three queen size beds. One of the bed rooms' and the dining room also had sofa-cum-beds. The middle room was the living, dining room with a kitchen. I should not forget to mention all three rooms had good bathrooms. A special  mention of the keys that were provided; all of us occupying the rooms were provided with a type of wristband cum identity card which was tripled as the key. This meant all of us had a key to the rooms. We were told not to take it off (the only way was to cut it, once you put it on), otherwise all the ten of us would have to change the identity-cum-key again.

After we  settled down, the food was unpacked which we brought with us. Sadly we forgot the rice grains, Raja-da (Anamika's cousin brother) had to drive around 20 miles back to get a rice pack.

In the mean time we made good use of our time and went to visit the indoor water park of the resort all dressed in swimming gear. The park was great, it  was  complete with artificial waves, rapids, jacuzzi, swimming pool, a kiddies pool, a basket ball pool and also a overhead tank that got emptied every 15 minutes for the patrons to get drenched. The best part of the pool is, the lowest point it was just 6 ft deep, which helps if you don't know how to swim and still want to enjoy the water park. Moreover there were several lifeguards posted at every point. The kids were supplied with a life jacket to help them float. There were ample tubes to lie and laze on while on water.

After enjoying the tank and the waves, me and Bulet went for the rapids, it was unadulterated fun. The jacuzzi was the last and the most refreshing. In between  I took time to capture the beautiful sunset that was happening behind the mountains. with the camera. In the meantime Raja-da was back and we all enjoyed with renewed vigour. At around 9:30 we called it a "night" and went back to our rooms where we had a nice dinner before hitting the bed.

Sunday, 5 September 2010,

I was up early as usual and decided to take a hike along the perimeter of Hope Lake. I took some small detours with paths leading to other trails around the area. The Lake has fishing, boating, swimming facilities. Also there is a beach to the lake. The area was very well maintained. Back at the lodge we had a great breakfast stuffed with great sandwich's that Mou-di made.

Around 11:00 AM we set out for the go carting arena. The temperature was around 20 C, so a lot of us decided to get a jacket before we go there. What better place to buy cheap, decent stuff than Walmart in US, so Walmart is were we went. to After jacket, people were in mood for exotic food, but I shall keep that part for later narration.

We reached the go-karting arena after numerous wrong turns. During one of these wrong turns we came across a small ice-cream shop which produces its ice cream in house.  All of us had this tasty ice cream to savor.  After getting numerous direction we managed to reach the go-kartingkarting. It was great fun with Raja-da & Babi (Anamika's brother) trying to outdo each other. Anamika did a lot of blocking. All in all it was great enjoyment.

We reached the hotel around 4:00 PM, a bit too late for lunch.  As I had mentioned before we bought Lobster and Shark after buying the jackets  was over , from Price Chopper. Babi made the lobster, great taste, also this was my first time. Rani (Anamika's cousin sister) prepared the shark, which was fantastic as well (my first time for this one as well). Add to this I also had two great dishes made by Mou-di, mutton and egg.

Lunch done, everyone hit the beds for an hour before the evening sojourn  to the water park. I decided to give the water park a miss and became the photographer. I took a lot of pictures and enjoyed the view of the surroundings in general.

Most called it a night at 9:00 PM but me and Bulet stayed on. The sportsman in Bulet took over, he went into the basketball pool and tried to do a Michael Jordan and I tried my had at sports photography.

Around 10:00 PM we went to our rooms, had dinner and hit the bed.

Monday, 6 September 2010

I was a bit late getting up today, but was ready by 8:30. Raja-da, Rani, Abhisa (Raja-da, Mou-di's darling daughter and Kaki (Anamika's mother)) went for fishing in Hope Lake. We - me, Bulet, Anamika and Nim were out a little later and walked to the Lake. On the way Bulet got very excited with apple trees.

Reaching the lake we took a paddle boat to enjoy the lake and were in the water for about 45 minutes. All done we trekked back to our hotel room and checkout out. After the final settlement we went to the a Chinese buffet and had a sumptuous lunch.

Horse Riding was next in the agenda, we reached Maybury Brook Stables for the same. Bulet got the biggest horse of all,a Persian-Belgian breed. Everyone except me and Nim went for the ride. We chatted with Bob the owner of the ranch. He explained that he had been here all along and met his wife here as well. He had an extended family and all works out fine. Almost every domestic animal was present in the ranch; cows, goats, sheeps, hens, ducks, dogs, cats, rabbits and ofcourse horses. I also learned that the family did some type of farming as well. Looked pretty self sufficient to me.

Once the goodbyes were done we started on our way to New York. Anamika was kind enough to drop me off at my hotel around 11:00 PM after a lot of searching for the same.

All in all it was a very enjoyable trip with a lot of activities.

You can check out the photos of the trip here.

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