I was lucky enough to receive a gift certificate to Belhurst Castle in Geneva, NY from my in-laws as a birthday gift! We stayed in the Chambers in the Castle, in which each of the rooms is unique and charming. We stayed in the Garrett Room, which was the only one vacant and not the most luxurious, but still great. It is a completely relaxing place with a really fascinating history. We're talking architectural beauty, pure class, insanity, gambling, and finally tourism and incredible hospitality. Scroll down here for the history - its a great read. There are complimentary chocolate castles, a wine spigot that spits out unlimited red wine free with your room (!), free slippers, a super comfortable bed, and incredible lake views. There's also something about lake front air that has a really fresh taste to it. There's also a great lounge, Stonecutter's, and fabulous restaurant, Edgar's. Oh they also have a spa and sell and offer tastings of their own wine. What more could you ever want in a weekend getaway? Needless to say, they do a lot of weddings.
First, I'll tell you about the Stonecutter's lounge. You walk in to an incredible view of the west side of Seneca Lake and sit down in huge comfortable leather chairs - no slippery bar stools here - the kind of real chairs that make you want to stay the evening. They had an acoustic musician playing covers including James Taylor songs. My dad used to play me James Taylor songs when I was 5 on his guitar to get me to go to sleep, and I tried to call him to tell him but he wasn't in, and I just ended up telling my mom about how every time I typed in "Belhurst Castle" in Google it recommended "Belhurst Castle haunted" and how much the employees didn't find this nearly as entertaining as I did. Scott started with the panko crusted deep fried calamari with sweet and spicy broccoli slaw and sriracha aioli:
It was great, and he really enjoyed the broccoli slaw. I sampled some tasty spirits produced just down the road and across the lake at Finger Lakes Distilling since I was milking my birthday celebration for about a month and celebrating a really awesome new job I started this week. I started with the large black tiger shrimp poached in court boullion and chilled, served with traditional cocktail sauce and remoulade:
I liked how big these shrimps were and that you got the remoulade as well as the cocktail sauce with it. These poached shrimp were a perfect match to the Seneca Drums martini I paired them with. The girl next to us ordered the cheeseburger chowder (house ground Black Angus beef tenderloin braised with onions, potatoes,
extra sharp cheddar and all of the condiments that make a burger so
special) and really loved it. I love in the Finger Lakes how friendly people are, and how you can chat with people who are incredibly knowledgeable about wine from as far away as Delaware, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and Buffalo. The girl who worked at the tasting room in Geneva for Ravines clearly could have written a book on the history of calling things Champagne and Port, and I loved her for her wine nerdiness.
For entrees, Scott had a version of a cobb salad that added crab, and I had a tasty chicken sandwich that had grilled pineapple on it of all things. Scott liked that his salad wasn't drowning in dressing, bacon or avocado and just had enough of each of these things to give a taste but not overwhelm. My sandwich with the pineapple, proscuitto, hot pepper relish,and cheese on it reminded me of Hawaiian Pizza, which is a long standing source of disagreement in my marriage.
So let me tell you about the brunch. Its served in Edgar's, the fancier restaurant in the castle.
So, Saturday and Sundays - $18 a person and all you can eat of many things, including: French toast, bagels with smoked salmon, capers, onions, cream cheese and crab on them, waffles with berry compote, fruit, veggies with dip, couscous and pasta salads, eggs, omelette station, carving station, lunch entrees like baked pollock with spinach and Gorgonzola, meatloaf, bacon, sausage, every kind of dessert and pastry you can imagine, quiches, complimentary unlimited bloody marys and mimosas after noon, every kind of juice, coffee, salted caramels to take with you at the end - my God, I am full just typing all that! In short, amazing, luxurious, relaxing, and a great value if you consider what a salad, coffee, and cocktail would cost you at New World Bistro on a regular Sunday (I love New World, I'm just saying this is an amazing deal). Then you can go wine tasting, and you don't even feel like eating the whole day. Amazing, Delicious food served with knowledgeable and friendly service.
Clearly, Belhurst Castle is the best. Now we want to go back and stay in all the different rooms. Balcony, lake view, in-room jacuzzi you say? Stop, you had me at wine spigot! Gatsby glamour, mixed with 1880s mystery, mixed with modern day wine tourism, topped off with great food and drinks and a relaxing atmosphere? I'm a fan.