There was a time when my kids, in the back seat, would have
stopped ridiculing me for being a dork to complain about my choice
of roads. This time, though, they are 28 and 26 and they just keep
on ridiculing me for being a dork. I'm driving up a twisty,
wooded, incredibly hilly narrow road in the Finger Lakes Region of
We have all been able to get away for a few days over
the holidays to visit Marsha's family.
We arrive at the Amazing Grace Bed and Breakfast, where our
hostess, Alicia, greets us. She is a happy person, and hers is a
This place is about 1/2 mile from the middle of nowhere, which
suits me just fine.
We sleep in antique beds, warmed by Alicia's cats, in a house
that was built in 1837. The land was given to a revoluntionary war
soldier, and my guess is, this is the second house. The first was
probably a log cabin.
"I thought you might like to see my ferret," Alicia announces
one morning, ferret hugged to her shoulder. She likes animals.
Bird feeders draw all kids of
songbirds and squirrels, which can't sing at all.
Our in the
meadow being the house there is a pair of mules and a horse, which
belong to the man who lives in the tepee in the next meadow over.
Hens roost in the henhouse, and we feast on fresh eggs and
delicious fruit and breads, juices and coffees.
"My grandmother was a southern woman," says Alicia. "And, she
always said, 'They's no such thang as coffee theyats too strong.
Only mayen that's too weak.'"
Alicia tells us about a six week trip she took across the
country on back roads on her motorcycle. She sings as she works in
the kitchen, sometimes accompanying Bing Crosby on the little boom
box she keeps with her.
The stairs to the second floor bedrooms are so steep and
narrow, getting the suitcases up and down is a challenge. The old
pine floor boards in our room are two feet wide. The house creaks.
We take a long walk up into the forested hills, following a
logging trail. The views are spectacular, and the morning is cold
and white. Lovely! Deer scamper across the road, and we can see a
snow squall headed our way.
"Here, try some of this comb honey on your cornbread," says
Alicia, handing me
a plate with a lump of brown bee's comb oozing honey. "It comes
from wild bees. I was lucky last summer and came across a swarm. I
used to be a bee keeper, so I knew that when bees are swarming,
the don't sting much."
"How did you get the honey?" asks one of
"I got a cardboard box and just went out there and started
scooping bees into the box with my hands. I got the queen, so I
set them up in an old hive box I had around, and this is the honey
One evening, we hosted Marsha's parents as well as her sister
and her family for a Christmas celebration. We gathered in
Alicia's parlors, next to her big tree, and opened presents. It
was a warm and wonderful time.
"Let me know when you are all done showering!" she hollers up
the stairs the next morning. "We have to refill the horse trough."
Next to the house stands a giant white oak tree. One brand is
horizontal, and two rope-and-board swings hang from it, swaying in
the winter breeze. A frozen pong is situated just beyond the tree.
We have to leave. Alicia's happy house has been home for a few
days-creaky floors, wonderful meals, strong coffee, songs, mules,
cats, hens, ferret, horse, deer, birds and all.