What do you do with three former high school friends who are coming to town for a girlfriends’ weekend? Actually, I hesitate to even call it a girlfriends’ weekend, since we are all over 60 and no longer making candy wrapper bracelets. But then, what? Ladies lounge-about? Golden girl junket?
Anyway, since I’m the only one who stayed put, I’ve been tasked with putting together a fun-filled weekend for the gals — a spirited group who has said they want to see a side of Rochester they don’t know. It’s a tall order, compounded by the fact that we all have aged-related needs, issues and peccadilloes.
Nonetheless, I’ve come up with a smashing weekend I’m excited to unleash!
Friday late afternoon: A secret sidewalk
With all the gals arriving around 4 p.m. — surely pent up from taxing travel — I’ll be whisking them pronto to one of my favorite Rochester walks. Tucked along Lake Ontario’s shoreline and only a mile long, roundtrip, this enchanting walk provides the best of both worlds: stunning views of the lake on one side, glorious glimpses into the backyards of private homes on the other. Park on Clematis Street, cross Beach Avenue, turn left on sidewalk, after a few steps secret sidewalk begins on your right.
Friday evening: A hidden dining gem
After our walk, we’ll head to another favorite: Bernard’s Grove. Only 5 miles up the road and nestled in a neighborhood, this casual restaurant set in a historic house consistently delivers the goods: classics with a twist, great wine and friendly service. I’ll make reservations for the flower-festooned outdoor porch. Since we pass Abbott’s on the way home, we’ll cheerfully stop for some chocolate almond frozen custard.
Saturday lunch: A bike and bite
Around noon, we’ll hop on bikes (electric also available) rented from Towpath Bike Shop in Pittsford and make our way to Bushnell’s Basin — 4 flat miles along the tree-canopied Erie Canal. Once there, and after a quick tidy-up, we’ll head to Richardson’s Canal House, where we’ll lunch outside on the relaxed patio that overlooks the canal. The setting is simply beautiful and the casual gourmet menu has something for everyone.
Saturday night: Brews and views
Genesee beer and the gang go back, way back, so far back, we may “ask for a Jenny” when we arrive at Genesee Brew House, a happening destination with tours, tastings, food, music and more. We’ll sip our beers and enjoy gourmet burgers up on the rooftop patio, an inviting area that offers breathtaking views of High Falls and the Genesee River Gorge. After, we’ll stroll across the nearby Pont de Rennes Bridge for an even closer look of the picturesque falls.
Saturday nightcap: A sweet ending
We’ll end our evening at Via Girasole, a cozy wine bar along the Erie Canal, that features an impressive selection of wines, beers, ciders and nonalcoholic beverages. There’s typically live music — from jazz to acoustic — and there’s always gourmet brownies.
Sunday breakfast: A real original
The Original Steve’s Diner, set in our old Penfield stomping grounds, is a slam dunk for this group. Cheery, bustling and enveloped in old-timey charm, this popular diner serves up more (and more unique) versions of eggs, waffles, pancakes and frittatas than your average diner. The wait, typical on weekends, is always worth it!
Details about venues are easily found online.
Anne Palumbo writes this column for Messenger Post newspapers. Her email is avpalumbo@aol.com.