Area wineries and restaurants have partnered with Findley Lake businesses to host wine and food pairing showcases.
Seven wineries, six restaurants and five merchants have teamed up for the first annual "Taste of Findley Lake" wine and food pairing celebration. The event will officially run from 1-4 p.m. on Saturday, May 10, but businesses will be open during the whole weekend for those who wish to extend their stay.
According to Tobi Zenker Ahlquist, co-owner of The Blue Heron Inn, Nostalgia Shoppe and chairperson of the event, the celebration aims to feature members of the Findley Lake Area Chamber of Commerce, but it also brings attention to the picturesque lakefront hamlet.
A scenic picture of Findley Lake.
"The event captures the ambiance of Findley Lake, and extends our services by bringing local wineries and restaurants into the fold," Ahlquist said.
The celebration will mostly be focused on Main Street in Findley Lake, but Ahlquist believes it will result in a ripple effect that brings awareness to everything the region has to offer. As a member and representative of the Findley Lake Area Chamber of Commerce, Ahlquist is excited to share this project with locals and visitors alike.
"Whenever we have an extracurricular activity it brings excitement to the area," Ahlquist said. "Our location is beautiful, so people from Jamestown, Erie, Buffalo, Cleveland, Pittsburgh and Rochester love to come to Findley Lake. 'Taste of Findley Lake' gives them a target date to come out and spend the afternoon, or maybe even plan a weekend around it."
Each of the five merchants participating in "Taste of Findley Lake" will host at least one winery and one restaurant. The list of pairings is as follows:
Nostalgia Shoppe, 10412 Main St. in Findley Lake, will pair Liberty Vineyards with The Blue Heron Inn restaurant.
Our Own Candle Company, 2766 N. Road in Findley Lake, will pair Noble Winery with the Pine Junction restaurant and Sparkling Ponds Winery with Z's restaurant.
Secret Cubby, 10378 Main St. in Findley Lake, will pair Blueberry Sky Farm Winery with French Creek Tavern restaurant.
Wonderments, 10365 Main St. in Findley Lake, will pair Mazza Vineyards and Merritt Estate Winery with Peek'n Peak restaurant.
September Moon, 10371 Main St. in Findley Lake, will pair Sensory Winery with French Creek Store restaurant.
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The event is not only an opportunity for Findley Lake merchants to share services with visitors, but it also gives participants exposure to wineries that they may not have heard of before. One example is The Blue Heron Inn and The Nostalgia Shoppe's pairing with Liberty Vineyards. The Blue Heron Inn will bring the food, Liberty Vineyards will bring the wine and The Nostalgia Shoppe will serve as host.
"We are very excited to be part of the 'Taste of Findley Lake,'" said Bethany Margolis, marketing and special events manager for Liberty Vineyards. "This is a great opportunity for folks to get out and taste the local wines and experience the great shops and restaurants of Findley Lake. We are really looking forward to being paired with The Nostalgia Shoppe and The Blue Heron Inn for the event."
Tickets to "Taste of Findley Lake" are $10, and in addition to admission to each pairing, include: a welcome bag, wine passport, Findley Lake wine glass, and a chance to win a gift basket. Only 100 tickets will be made available to the May 10 "Taste of Findley Lake" event. Therefore presale ticket purchase is recommended for those who wish to participate. Tickets can be purchased in-person at the Findley Lake Market, 10375 Main St. in Findley Lake.
For more information, call Ahlquist at 769-7852, visit www.visitfindleylake.com or search for "Taste of Findley Lake" on Facebook.
Findley Lake, a hamlet located in southwestern Chautauqua County, offers visitors an old-world ambiance rarely found in today's fast-paced society.
"There's always been a special magic to Findley Lake that's not just felt by residents or lakefront property owners - there's something special that draws people out here," Ahlquist said. "It is leaving your everyday location and whatever you're entangled in to take a short drive to feel like you're someplace far away. That's the magic of Findley Lake - it feels like you're far away but it's not far away at all."
A short distance from Peek'n Peak, which is one of Chautauqua County's largest year-round family vacation destinations, Findley Lake serves as a get-away from the mundane.
"In our fast-paced, computerized, cell and smartphone environment, there's a little bit in all of us that yearns for something a little simpler - I think that Findley Lake fits that bill," Ahlquist said.