David Beroff (d4b) wrote,
David Beroff

Turning Lemons into (Hard?) Lemonade

Cat Lady and I had decided a while back to split our New York visit into two trips: Corning GlassFest in May, and then we just got back from Seneca Lake, a bit further north. Our original plan, the reason why we had made two separate trips in the first place, was to go to the Finger Lakes WineFest this past weekend... except that plan changed.

On our trip to Corning, we had carefully packed Cat Lady's laptop, power cords, etc., but had forgotten the mouse. Since she'd spent over a year getting the touchpad completely disabled, I wasn't about to reverse her work, and so I had opted to simply skip doing any work, and instead minimally used the iPad Mini and my cell to tweet here and there. (Yeah, one doesn't absolutely need a pointing ability in Windows, but boy, can simple operations quickly become painful!) No huge deal, then; there wasn't any pressing work that really needed to happen then, anyway.

This time, I had specifically recorded additional audio in advance for a specific, rather nervous client, with the intent of sending him a file each morning, and ideally leaving him none the wiser as to our travels. Except that this time, we remembered the mouse, and (almost comically) forgot the laptop. None-the-less, with some effort, I was able to rescue myself, again using the iPad Mini. Both Dropbox and Upwork had various significant issues with Safari on that platform, but persistence won, and the client got his files each morning as expected. (If you still haven't set up your own free Dropbox account, use my affiliate link to do so now, and potentially save yourself from a similar sort of future disaster. I get free storage or cookies or something when you do so.)

So, our trip up Friday was uneventful, taking the scenic route north, and we were even able make a quick stop to see Shequaga Falls, from both the bottom and the top. We got to Watkins Glen, and settled into our amazing AirBnB home for the weekend, Burdett House. We made a half-hearted attempt to don togas as suggested for the WineFest launch party, then ditched that idea and simply went as we were.

Our original logic for attending WineFest was that there'd be a ton of vineyards represented, and that we'd simply be able to walk from tent to tent to sample each of their wares, rather than dealing with a lot of driving and facility touring. We met a bunch of very friendly people at WineFest, but quickly discovered some flaws in our plan: Unless you were a cute girl, (ideally in a revealing toga), or highly aggressive, (we are neither), it was very difficult to actually reach the front of each "line". Further, even if you succeeded, the pours were incredibly tiny, to the point where one couldn't even taste the wine, much less get any real effect.

The one saving grace here was that we had three separate pairs of tickets: Friday night, Weekend days, and the Saturday evening fancy dinner. We reluctantly came to the conclusion that the weekend day events were only going to yield more of the same, and we really had to change gears quickly. (We correctly guessed that the slightly-more-formal dinner would be a completely different atmosphere, and stuck to plan for that part.)

This is where the magic of AirBnB came into play. Our hostess, Ashley, was very happy to help us plan a complete replacement tour of the local vineyards on Seneca Lake, as well as a quick stop at Hector Falls. Her other two guests really surprised us in that they hadn't yet purchased their WineFest tickets, despite having planned this trip even earlier than we had, and so they were very happy to buy ours at practically full face value, so as to avoid the crazy lines at the gate. (This is the only vacation we've been on where we came home with more physical cash than what we started with.)

Ashley and her partner Dave gave us all sorts of tips to make the whole weekend far more enjoyable, and we found that the trips to the individual vineyards were seriously no big deal, as there are a ton that are all on the same road that circles Seneca Lake. It was actually far more economical for us to pay a few dollars for each vineyard's flight, (series of tastes), than the "free" dribbles offered at WineFest. We had a much better opportunity to talk to the business owners and employees, and the discussions were much more relaxed, many with stunning views of the respective farms and the lake. Ashley also works at some of her neighbors' businesses, so we actually bumped into her again when we stopped for lunch Saturday, (and no, she hadn't mentioned that particular restaurant among her recommendations).

After Cat Lady and the other couple went to bed, our hosts and I chewed the fat over an outdoor fire, mostly about business and marketing and SEO: how to direct people who were looking for a great Watkins Glen hotel to instead consider their Bed and Breakfast, (technically located in Burdett), as a superior experience. It's not an easy pursuit. Maybe they could offer packages which include bus tours of wine and cheese and sailing? Maybe they could bundle venue discounts, such as the $25 travel voucher that I offer each of you, (with my affiliate link), so that you, too, can have amazing AirBnB experiences such as those offered by Ashley and Dave's Burdett House B&B. :-)

Tags: cat lady, computer, marketing, travel, video, voice
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