The Lodge at Geneva-on-the-Lake

Sunset view Lodge at Geneva on the Lake Hotel

In need of a getaway? For a lovely weekend trip discover The Lodge at Geneva-on-the-Lake, just an easy 2 hour drive from Pittsburgh. With breathtaking views of Lake Erie this hotel, located in Northeast Ohio Wine Country, is the ultimate relaxing retreat. Beyond the picturesque location, Geneva-on-the-Lakes’s main attraction is the almost two dozen wineries in the area. Who knew Ohio had a wine country?! Guest can hop on a wine tour bus to explore the local wineries, an activity great for couples, or a bachelorette weekend.

  

 

Recently I was lucky enough to be invited to stay at the resort and partake in the wine tour! I really enjoyed the weekend stay, and can’t wait to return again.

The hotel is welcoming and appears to have been recently updated. The room I stayed in was spacious and well equipped for a comfortable stay. The cozy in-room fireplace had me dreaming of returning again in winter!

As far as amenities there is a small general store on site, a restaurant for breakfast and dinner, along with a full-size bar. They have both and indoor and outdoor swimming pools, as well as a gym. You can explore the grounds along the lakeside path, there’s even bikes fun cruiser bikes for rent.  If you need more space during your stay, there are brand new cottages for rent on the property with porches and shared fire pits.

 

The wine bus shuttle hosted by the lodge is a convenient and fun way to get out and explore wine country. I really enjoyed having a worry-free way to take in the wineries. The bus tour included 4 stops, with at least an hour at each winery. The shuttles are advertised as routes with specific stops, but it turns out the driver stops wherever taking requests from the patrons or going wherever has capacity that day. I was disappointment at first. I had spent time researching which route I wanted to take based on the winery stops. Overall I still had a good time at the wineries we were able to attend.

Check out the wineries I explored here in this post.

For a peek into my adventures, check out the video below. It’s an export of my Instagram Stories from my stay and wine tour day.

 

My Saturday night lodge stay included dinner and brunch at the lodge’s restaurant, Horizon’s Restaurant & Lounge. The dinner meals and dining experience were nice, nothing to rave about. Brunch is a self-serve buffet with lots to choose from. Honestly most items were underwhelming. Overall its nice to have a restaurant with lots of choice on site, but don’t be expecting much.

The lake setting is the main attraction to this lodge.  I’d definitely recommend escaping to the Lodge at Geneva-on-the-Lake. Sometimes all we need is a little reset in a relaxing environment, this lodge is perfect for that.

Disclosure: this trip was sponsored by the Lodge at Geneva on the Lake. All opinions are my own, honest review without influence.

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Ohio’s Wine Country, Grand River Valley Wine Tour

Did you know that Ohio has a beautiful, picturesque, lakeside wine country? Well fellow Pittsburgh-area, wine-lovers get your weekend bags packed! We don’t have to board a plane to Napa to immerse ourselves in wine country, its just a short drive away along Lake Erie, Ohio.

The Grand River Valley area of Ohio surprisingly has thriving grape growing conditions. The limestone in the soil apparently helps grape trees flourish. I was recently invited to stay the The Lodge at Geneva-on-the-Lake, and adventure on a wine shuttle bus tour. The winery hopping experience here is quaint and unpretentious, just relaxing and fun!

Read a post covering my lovely stay at the lodge here.

Visitors can hop on one of many wine tour buses to explore the local wineries, a activity great for couples, or a bachelorette weekend. My bus was hosted by the lodge, joining me was a mix of retired couples and a rowdy bachelorette party (so be warned, you may have a lively bunch along for the ride haha). Expect to pay for wine samples, as giving away alcohol in Ohio for free/as complimentary is apparently illegal.

Kosicek Vineyards

Our route’s first stop was Kosicek Vineyards a family-owned 3rd generation vineyard. The setting here truly feels like you’re in a wine region with the tasting room set back on land surrounded by rows of grape trees. The tasting room has both indoor and outdoor seating and games. I loved the fun wine-bottle chandelier and light fixtures across the interior.

The wine samples at Kosicek are $1 each, $3 for the ice wines. I sampled all of their sweet varietals (of course), really enjoying the Dam Red. I took a bottle home with me for only $10! I also enjoyed a local cheese plate, sustenance is important when you’ve got a long of wine drinking ahead 🙂

Debonne Vineyard

The second winery stop was to the Debonne Vineyard. Debonne is very popular, as its the largest estate winery in the region with 175 acres of grapes. There’s also a micro-brewery onsite, which is great if there’s any beer drinkers in your group. The place is more casual than I was expecting for a winery, but there’s plenty of outdoor seating, food options and a live band.

At Debonne a choice of several tasting trays are available for $10.00 each (Premium $12.00) and include a souvenir glass, bottled water, crackers and almonds or chocolate. Each tray contains your choice of 6 to 8 different wines. Individual wine samples are $1.00 and Ice Wine and Cask samples are $2.00.

I really enjoyed the wines here, they had so many fruit and sweet options. My tasting tray the “Sweet Wine Selection,” included their Vidal Blanc, Moscato-Riesling, Classic Rosé, White Catawba, Pink Catawba, Peach Tree Grigio, Strawberry Rosé, Blueberry Noir. I couldn’t decide what was my favorite. I ended up purchasing a bottle of the Moscato-Riesling and the Peach Tree Grigio, but I also really loved the Catawba varieties.

Laurentia Winery

Next on our tour was a stop at the beautiful Laurentia winery. This is a very upscale winery. The tasting room is beautiful set on a small lake with beautiful landscaping. The fine finishings throughout the interior create a stately vibe. The wine list is smaller here, with no sweet or fruit options. They have whats called a “wine club” which is basically an exclusivity thing, giving more options to those that are members (like at a golf club). This would be a beautiful spot for wedding. The space reminds me a bit of my favorite Canton, Ohio winery Gervasi.

Laurentia Winery

I sat outside on the stone porch and enjoyed sampled the 2016 Estate Riesling, and the 2016 Estate Gewurztraminer (I think they were $2 each). I didn’t like either, but did enjoy the flatbread I ordered. The overall vibe here is definitely different than the more low-key, fun stops previously on the tour. I enjoyed relaxing by the lake, but would have liked more choice in wine options.

 

Ferrante Winery

The final stop on our tour was to Ferrante Winery and Ristorante. This was the biggest spot we visited, as far as size and amount of people. The wine sample trays were really fun, with plenty of fruit and sweet wines to sample. I tried the “Specialty Wine” tray with, Holiday Blush, Celebration Spice, Raspberry Blanc, Cranberry Blanc, Blueberry Blanc, 2016 Vidal Blanc Ice Wine, Sparkling Riesling and Sparkling Raspberry Blanc.

There’s a full restaurant on the property which I didn’t get to try, but heard was good. The outdoor space has a live band and a fountain. At this point in the day, the clouds had cleared and the sun was out, so I ended my wine tour with a citrus sangria.

 

If you love wine, or love fun I would suggest trying hoping on a wine tour in the Grand River Valley region of Ohio, aka wine country!  Let me know if you’re going, I might (most definitely) want to tag along 😉

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Tea at Greensburg’s Victorian Lady

One of my favorite special occasion things to do is to visit the Victorian Lady of Academy Hill tearoom. This tearoom is located in downtown Greensburg within a charming historic 1880’s Queen Ann house.

The house serves as an event space hosting afternoon tea events. The teas are themed around fun topics, seasons or holidays. I’ve been coming here for years with my Mom and her friends and have had the pleasure of attending a few of the Christmas and Mother’s Day teas.

  

During the events you enjoy a full afternoon tea at a beautiful table setting. This means attendees get to enjoy a continuous serving of a few flavors of hot tea, paired with a few courses of food. There’s a starter, followed by a tiered tea tray with scones & frosted grapes, classic tiny tea sandwiches, and baked goods. The tiers are consistent, but each event has unique seasonal flavor features.

The most recent tea I attended was a special treat to celebrate this past Mother’s Day. The tea options were raspberry peach, raspberry apricot and a Darjeeling, the “champagne of teas.” The courses started with a cheesy potato bacon soup. It was flavorful and delivered in just a big enough serving to not feel overly indulgent. The starter was followed by the three-tiered plate, dressed in beautiful flowers. The scone featured a raspberry jam center. The tea sandwiches were really well done with delicious savory fillings. The ham sandwich was highlighted with a champagne mustard, the egg salad was spiced with curry and the chicken salad had added flavor with almonds. The top tier had a few tempting baked treats including a delicious pineapple coconut cookies. The tea ended with a cupcake and a gift of flowers in a vase.

  

In addition to serving tea in a beautiful parlor area the space, the Victorian Lady is also a gift shop, with goods on display throughout the various rooms of the Victorian house. All kinds of beautiful tea-themed and Victorian-inspired items are available for purchase, like teacups, food items, jewelry, stationery, and home decor items.

I highly recommend spending your next special celebration the Victoria Lady tearoom.  Just don’t take my reservation spot 😉

Here’s a few pictures from a past truly festive Christmas tea.

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Influenster Free Product Trials

Have you noticed all the fun beauty products I’ve been trying out lately thought my Instagram posts? I’ve been indulging in lush and fun products courtesy of freebies sent to me from Influenster. Are you wondering how to get your own free full size products from Influenster? Well I’m here to share the scoop!  P.S. ITS FUN!

So Influenster – What’s that?

Influenster is a community to discover new products and to read honest reviews about popular products authored by users sharing their honest product experiences. The vocal community is also post photos, sharing videos, writing articles covering what they experience when they’re testing. You can access the vast community through the website or through the simple app.

What is a VoxBox?

A VoxBox is a box of free, often full-size products that Influenster delivers directly to its active members for testing purposes. These are products you actually want to try out by some of the biggest brands! I’ve received makeup and beauty indulgences from Dior, Ciate London and Origins just to name a few desirable brands. It’s truly exciting to get the email notification that you’ve qualified for a box! I usually love the products, so I find it fun to share my enjoyable experience through reviews.

The program works through brands looking to Influenster members to provide honest feedback and share authentic experiences on social media.

 

The Iconic VoxBox of Pampering

My latest gift was the #IconicVoxBox ! This VoxBox is full of finds to help you unlock your inner icon, with a little help from Origins, Patchology, St Moriz, Hope Fragrances, Go Smile Whitening and Velour Lashes!  Check out these Instagram posts to see my reactions to the products.

 

So What are you waiting for?

Sign up to start receiving your own product freebies from Influenster HERE 🙂

 

I received the product(s) shown complimentary for testing!

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Pittsburgh’s Charming French Bistro

This past week I had the pleasure of dining at Pittsburgh’s most exciting new restaurant Poulet Bleu, a charming french bistro. I was lucky to get a random open reservation for 7:45 on a Thursday. This new spot is booked for months out, for many good reasons!

The location is beautiful inside and out. To start, guests enter through a beautiful open courtyard with french music playing, a fountain, and yellow stripped awnings.

The entrance area features a long bar. I loved the touches of gold and the antiqued mirrors in the bar space. Tip: its first come first serve, you can order a full meal and its empty on Pens game nights.

I know I keep using the term charming, but the design and decor truly brings this small spot to life. I love the gold light fixtures, blue hues and white marble throughout. The bathroom houses my dream sink + faucet, and there’s many beautiful mirrors framed in flourishes throughout the space.

It’s so unique that the kitchen is in the center of the dining space. I couldn’t stop staring at the chefs preparing food in the open kitchen. Next visit I want to sit right at the island up close for the show.

We enjoyed a few starters or “petit plats.” Including the french onion soup made with braised oxtail, cognac veal stock and emmental, gruyere cheeses. The best part is the floating bread smothered with cheese and crisped flowing over the edges of the bowl. Definitely rich and could be a meal in itself. Also enjoyed the mussels in a creamy sauce with fennel, garlic, white wine and fresh herbs. 

 

For a main dish we shared a 12oz prime NY strip paired with cognanc pepper sauce and pommes frites. Steak and french fries are already a great combination, but at Poulet Bleu this was an extra special treat. I really enjoyed the tender steak and the flavorful red wine caramelized onions it was served with. The super skinny frites were delicious, crispy and salty. 

For dessert we indulged in the already famous chocolate souffle. It’s a fun pouf of chocolate served with accompaniments banana ice cream, cherry compote, candied pineapple, chocolate sauce, and a delicious creme anglaise.

 

Cheers to exploring another unique dining spot in Pittsburgh!  I can’t wait to return to Poulet Bleu! I’ve already made a lists of things to try, like the cheese plate and the Parisienne gnocchi.

My grainy iPhone pics don’t do this place any justice, I would encourage you to check out these professional pictures by Adam Milliron in the Eater review.

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