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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Summer Visit to Gervasi Vineyard in Canton Ohio

gervasi vineyard lake

As I’ve raved many times before (first visit, second visit) Gervasi Vineyard, a winery in Canton Ohio, is simply amazing. The grandeur starts as you pull in the grounds, and doesn’t diminish in any detail throughout the compound. Seriously please just check out these 360 tours on the Gervasi site to see more of the space. The grounds feature plenty of spots to explore including the vineyards, lake, Marketplace gift shop, casual dining spot the Crush House, outdoor patio the Piazza and main Italian Bistro.

I was lucky enough to visit this past weekend for their annual 8th Annual Bellissimo arts & craft festival.

To me, one of the best things about a visiting a winery is the fun of a wine flight! The Brigante, their sweetest red is my favorite wine by Gervasi (besides the moscato of course).  It is is described as having an “assertive structure, complex berry flavors – ‘Bad Boy’ personality. I’m surprised that I like this wine so much because its not just sweet, but has another layer of something, maybe a smokiness, that I didn’t think I’d like so much. It is delicious. I can’t help but take another bottle home with us after each visit.

Gervasi wine Gervasi wine Gervasi wine moscato is my mantra

 

I am still fascinated with how gorgeous the Bistro restaurant is. It appears to have been designed with an attention to detail. From the looks of it no cost was spared on the hardware, finishes or decor, really creating a lovely ambiance. I was lucky enough to be treated to another amazing dinner here by my boyfriend 🙂 For dinner I enjoyed the Apple and Brie Salad with mixed greens, dried cranberries, toasted pecans, and a balsamic vinaigrette. My main meal was a delicious and rich pasta dish the Breaded Chicken Campanelle of garlic, shitake mushrooms, spinach, fresh tomato, garlic cream sauce.  My boyfriend had another great meal. The Mela Maiale a bone-In Pork Chop with blue cheese, creamy polenta, topped with brussels sprouts, pancetta caramel apple sauce – a pretty fancy dish for $22!

 

gervasi bistro gervasi bistro gervasi bistro dinner menugervasi bistro dinner menu

 

On this visit we were able to take a free behind the scenes tour of the winery in the Crush House building!

 

 

I love looking around in each building on the compound, the unique lighting really stands out to me! I see myself having a wine bottle chandelier of my own in the future.

 

As lavish as the decor is you’d think the menu would be too right? It is! Full of rich, rustic Italian fare, so many delicious choices. Check out the menu here. The best part of all of this? It is affordable. I’m serious. A trip here is a lot more affordable than the usual upscale Italian in downtown Pittsburgh.

It is hard for me to say if its the wine, the food, the scenery or the ambiance that keep me wanting more of Gervasi. I love it all.  Even the drive home through the fields of Ohio is great scenery. I’d love to stay here someday, everytime I call it is booked </3. I’ll keep waiting to see the inside of those villas. I would encourage anyone to check Gervasi winery out for themselves.

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Coquette Patisserie of Cleveland Ohio

Coquette Patisserie

While visiting the Cleveland Flea last Saturday, my friends and I took a break after shopping for a sweet treat. Coquette Patisserie is a bakery & bar that specializes in French pastries, macarons, cakes, confections, savory small plates, and craft libations. My friend had actually discovered the spot through adorable Instagrams of their exquisite-looking cheeseboards. The space is very quaint with Parisian-inspired decor and display cases full of treats almost too pretty to eat.

I treated myself to a “Coco Loco” of genoise soaked with dark rum and topped with toasted coconut, all enveloped with coconut mousse. I already love coconut and rum, but this was truly delicious. It tasted similar to that of a cheesecake, but without the heaviness.

After an early morning start, nearly three hours of driving, and shopping all morning I was exhausted. I ordered a fruity tea to revive myself, which I was really excited to try. It  was served it a pretty glass teapot with the sweetest tea timer. Fun, but I’m pretty sure it was just an Argo brand tea mix I have at home though. Next time I’ll try something different.

My three girlfriends ordered champagne, a cheeseboard and french macaroons. They enjoyed the bubbly, but the macaroons were extremely stale. The cheeseboard was definitely grammable. The cheeses were as delicious, as picturesque. We’d suggest asking when the pastries were made before ordering and asking for additional toast if its too hard for you to enjoy.

This is a great place to try on a weekend afternoon for a relaxing sweet treat. The decor throughout the indoor and outdoor seating areas is very charming. The staff was also whipping up some fancy and beautiful drinks while we where there, that I’d love to try.

I’d love to return sometime to bring my mother and try more of the pastries. Definitely check out the Coquette Instagram if you’re into pretty food & drink snaps!

 

New seasonal quiche: roasted @rittmanorchards asparagus with Brie

A post shared by Coquette Patisserie (@coquettepastry) on

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Gervasi Vineyard, Tuscan Getaway in Canton Ohio

Gervasi pumpkin patch

Driving from Pittsburgh through the fields and farms of northern Ohio, you wouldn’t expect to run into a grand Italian getaway. Gervasi Vineyard is noting short of unexpected, a true destination complete with picturesque lake, winery, fine dining, casual dining, and onsite Tuscan villas. This winery embodies Italian grandeur, and encourages you to indulge in the finer things. I’ve gushed about a previous trip to Gervasi beforehand, and my second trip for my 26th birthday did not disappoint.

On this October weekend the Gervasi property was amplified with the autumn leaves changing colors. I was pleased to find many pumpkin displays as we wandered the grounds.

Gervasi pumpkin patch

Gervasi pumpkin patch

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The gift shop called Marketplace featured festive seasonal items.

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Before our dinner at the bistro we enjoyed drinks and a delicious meat & cheese pairing at the Crush House. My BF tried a milk stout which was very rich with smooth chocolate flavor with a sweet milky balance – tasty! We learned that the GV craft beers are brewed in partnership with Thirsty Dog Brewing Company.

Gervasi Chrush House meat and cheese plate

After our snack we wondered the grounds some more and headed to the main event, dinner at the Bistro. As I’ve raved before, this place is simply amazing. Seriously just check out these 360 tours on the Gervasi site to see more of the space. The grandeur starts with the front door and doesn’t diminish in any detail throughout the Bistro.

Gervasi Bistro grand entranceGervasi Bistro dining room

The Brigante, a sweet red described as having an “assertive structure, complex berry flavors – ‘Bad Boy’ personality” was our wine of choice for the night. I’m surprised that I like this wine so much because its not just sweet, but has another layer of smokiness I didn’t think I’d like so much. It is delicious and we couldn’t help but take another bottle home with us.

Gervasi Brigante wine

For dinner we enjoyed a filet special with gorgonzola sauce and a seafood pasta dish. Both were of excellent quality and taste. The staff even treated me to a birthday dessert of vanilla bean gelato!

 

It is hard for me to say if its the wine, the food, the scenery or the ambiance that keep me wanting more of Gervasi. I love it all. I cannot wait to return to Gervasi, hopefully I can make it for the holiday decor & maybe even finally stay in the villas! I would encourage anyone to check Gervasi winery out for themselves.

Even the drive home through the fields of Ohio is great scenery.

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