Once again a group of my friends embarked on a journey of epic proportions. Over the Memorial Day weekend we travelled from the wilds of Pennsylvania to the beautiful scenic vistas of New York’s Finger Lakes. This year our destination led us to the banks of Keuka Lake, a breathtaking and serene location where once again we all found ourselves enraptured at the blissful escapism that seems to permeate from the deep blue waters.
When we arrived on Friday afternoon, the weather was cold and it was raining on and off. By the time all of us met up at the house, it had cleared off as if expecting our arrival. The house was beautiful and held even more places to relax than our previous vacation home. It made for a more connected experience where we all had space to sit and talk and laugh.
I walked down the long staircase that led to the water’s edge, which was secluded and contained two canoes, a rowboat, and chairs around a fire pit. I stood on the dock as the small waves lapped upon the shore and stared out unto the vast lake. Staring outward gave the impression that I was moving with the flow of the water and made me feel at one with the landscape. We stayed up late into the early morning hours playing a drunken game of ‘ASAP’. We fought over the validity of cucumber sandwiches and the yelling turned into raucous laughter. We thought of the possibilities of having Jeff Goldblum and Shia Lebouf together in one film that would probably sound like
‘Life uh uh uh uh uh uh uh uh uh uh uh finds a uh way’
We also discussed the use of the phrases such as ‘bro-sauce’, ‘bro-ting’, ‘lil’ bit’
The next morning, my wife and I woke up early making a breakfast of scones, muffins, scrambled eggs, copious amounts of bacon, and some pancakes; all of which was washed down with some strong coffee and some Bloody Marys. The day was beautiful with large clouds and bright blue skies with a cool breeze moving through. In order to enjoy ourselves fully we had rented a limo for the day to take us on another wine tour.
We stopped at Dr. Franks, Heron Hill, Hunt Country, and Bully Run. At Heron Hill we all were feeling the effects of the tour and had a hilarious conversation with our wine guide, who proceeded to get us even more buzzed with practically full glasses of wine. We then ate and were ready for naps (which some of us took when we got back to the house).
That night we had burgers stuffed with pepper jack cheese and onions. This then led to copious amounts of beer. We had a conversation about our sequel idea for E.T. which involves a psychotic ET who is a drug addict, wants to harm Elliot, and at some point guillotines a whole slew of cats. I also introduced them to my idea for a joke involving ‘Air Bud: Golden Receiver’ that worked out nicely. At some point we started dancing again and eventually the drinking probably resulted in this photo, which my recollection of is quite hazy.
On Sunday, our last full day, saw our now annual tradition of the splitting off between the women and men. The girls all went out for the day to a small town, looking at antiques and going to a café. The guys did what we do best, which was absolutely nothing. I think the girls may have worried about what we could possibly get up to.
Most of what we got up to was the following: drinking, playing lawn games, going to the lakeside and throwing rocks into the lake trying to hit a raft, and then sitting in chairs. This was literally a 4-5 hour period where we did nothing other than sit around getting up only to throw more rocks or grab more beer. And I will be honest; I can’t think of a better way to spend an afternoon on the edge of a lake.
When the girls returned we had a large lunch of a delicious spinach salad, grilled sausage, and honey mustard chicken and veggie kabobs. We all realized that our trip was almost over, and just how quickly it had come upon us. We took in all the conversations, all the laughter, and held them close to make sure they wouldn’t leave us when we returned home. That night we had the best tacos ever made and then sat by the fire underneath a full moon.
The next morning we all got up and going early as we had to make our way home. Having to say goodbye for the year was once again a somber occasion as we all packed our things and left one by one. Since we left early, my wife and I decided to make a detour on our way to Watkins Glen State Park, which is a breathtaking place filled with giant waterfalls and a perfect hike up the mountainside. Then we drove home, picked up our daughter, and relaxed for the rest of the afternoon; once again refreshed.
The first year we did this was incredible. It bonded us all together, and it was to all of our surprise that this year’s trip was even better. The previous year had been a bit more wild, but this year was perfect, and cemented all of our relationships. There is a transformative quality to the lake. It grabs you with its magic. It has this power to transfix your mind and to show you the importance and beauty of life and friendship. This year was filled with so many memorable experiences, ones that I will not forget. I only am left with the feeling that I want all of us together again soon, so we can share some more excitement and life together.
Oh yeah, and I am almost definitely sure I spotted a UFO while looking up at the stars. No one else was looking. But it was there, I swear.
All photos by or property of Seth Dombach (kloipy)