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A Lake Village Tour

My debut novel is still in the editing phase but I’m getting closer to publication, closer than I ever have before. Yay!

The setting of my book, Long Time Coming, is a real place near my hometown. However, I’ve changed the name to avoid any problems with the townspeople. This is a work of fiction, after all, and I didn’t want to be accused of misrepresenting the town or the lake there.

 

The real Village of Skaneateles which sits at the north end of Skaneateles Lake is one of my favorite spots to visit. It sits just outside my hometown of Syracuse, NY and is one of the Finger Lakes of New York State that stretch from western to eastern NY.

NY map of Finger Lakes

Attribution: Wikipedia.org

 

In the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, the Finger Lakes area was home to one of the country’s most powerful Indian nations, the Iroquois. They fought off European colonization for two centuries after the first attempt at settlements.

During the American Revolutionary war, the Iroquois suffered their own revolutionary war, weakening their political power, when some of the tribes sided with the Americans and some sided with the British.

 

After the Revolutionary War, the Indians were assigned reservations and the Finger Lakes area was open for purchase and settlement. The lake area is rich with history that impacted our country.

  • Many Underground Railroad sites and the Harriet Tubman Home in Auburn, NY near the northern end of Owasco Lake
  • At the northern end of Seneca Lake, Seneca Falls is the birthplace of the Women’s Suffrage Movement. Also located there is the home of Elizabeth Cady Stanton and the Wesleyan Chapel where she held the first convention on women’s rights in 1848.
  • Waterloo is the birthplace of Memorial Day.
  • Palmyra is the birthplace of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints.
  • Toward the southern end of this area, Elmira was home to Mark Twain in his later life.
  • Corning is home to Corning Glass Works and the Corning Museum of Glass.
  • To the southwest area, Hornell was a major railroad center.
  • According to Wikipedia, Conesus remains the home of the oldest producer of pure grape sacramental wine in the Western hemisphere.

 

Today, there are over one hundred wineries in around these Finger Lakes, New York’s largest grape growing location.

I mentioned in a recent post how to make chocolate at home and how that figures large in my debut novel. Well, wine is almost equally prominent, particularly wine and chocolate pairing. My research on NY State wineries was done long before the writing of my book. I’ve toured many of the wineries in the Finger Lakes area and tasted most of the wines produced there. I love that kind of research!

My favorite: Gewurztraminer (“guh-Verts-trah-Meen-er”), a slightly sweet white wine with an aroma of passion fruit and roses purchased from Dr. Konstantin Frank’s Vinefera.

 

Skaneateles (pronounced “skanny-atlas” or “skinny-atlas”) Lake is one of the Finger Lakes in central New York State. The lake is sometimes referred to as “The Roof Garden of the Lakes” because its altitude (863.27 feet) is higher than the other Finger Lakes. It is 16 miles (25.8 km) long (17 miles long including the bogs at the south end of the lake) and on average .75 mile (1.21 km) wide, with a surface area of 13.6 square miles (35.2 km²), and a maximum depth of 315 feet.

The cleanest of the Finger Lakes, its water is so pure that it is used, unfiltered, to provide drinking water to the city of Syracuse and other municipalities. William Henry Seward (a former governor of New York and President Abraham Lincoln’s Secretary of State) called Skaneateles Lake “The most beautiful body of water in the world.”

 

Skaneateles Lake, The Finger lakes

Skaneateles Lake

Village of Skaneateles, Finger lakes area

Village of Skaneateles

My main character in my novel, Long Time Coming, Margo Stevens lives on a hill on the west side of the lake. There she sits on her patio in the evenings sipping her drinking chocolate and wondering where life will take her.

She rides her bike down into the village almost daily to visit with shopkeepers who have become her friends over the 2 years she’s lived there. The chocolate shop is her favorite stop where she chooses from an array of lusciously decadent handmade sweets. Hannah, the owner, packs the treats in a handled bag that Margo hangs on her handlebars, snatching a chocolate every few moments as she rides.

Next, she might visit her friend, Aggie, at the historical association where they discuss new donations from the elder residents of the village. Aggie has seen historic posters, postcards, old letters, paintings from long gone local artists, machinery parts from grist mills and hand tools. Margo is intrigued by the history and imagines the simple life early settlers enjoyed.

 On her ride back to her West Lake Rd. home, she stops frequently to admire the lavender fields, farmland and lake views. She’ll pick wild daisies, honeysuckle and Queen Anne Lace growing at the side of the road for her dinner table she shares with her husband, Jack.

If you enjoyed today’s post with a glimpse into my story, to be published this summer, please do subscribe to my blog and you’ll receive notice of my blog posts just four times a month.

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If you’d like to see more pictures on my novel’s Pinterest board, please click HERE.

 

Do you have a favorite place full with history that calms you, excites you, or intrigues you?

Please share.

Marcia Richards

 

 

 

 

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Discussion

  1. Jolyse Barnett  April 10, 2014

    Marcia! How exciting! I am eager to read your book when it releases, being a huge fan of wine and history. My first book was also set in the Finger Lakes (still unpublished). Fascinating area. :)
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  2. Sheila Seabrook  April 10, 2014

    Marcia, I popped over to check out the Pinterest pictures and read the blurb about your book. Fascinating and I can’t wait to read it! I love those small town lakes and villages. They are so peaceful (well, except maybe for tourist season). And the fact that the residents can drink the water is unheard of!
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  3. Debra Eve  April 10, 2014

    I’ve never been to the Finger Lakes area, Marcia, but perusing your Pinterest board made me long to visit! Can’t wait to read your novel. I’m already hooked by its evocative setting!
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  4. Patricia Sands  April 9, 2014

    When we lived in Pittsford for a year, we spent a great deal of time exploring the Finger Lakes so I really enjoyed this tour of your area, Marcia. What a great setting for your novel! Thanks for the sneak peek too. I can’t wait to read the whole story! Congratulations!
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  5. Inion N. Mathair  April 9, 2014

    Marcia you have us drooling for your book! Such rich history & culture!!! And no, we knew nothing of this area shockingly enough so it was all new & interesting to be sure!!!! If it’s fiction I don’t see how anyone could get angry. But then again, it’s covering all your basis which is probably a good thing. Great post, can’t wait to read your book!!
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    • Marcia Richards  April 9, 2014

      Thanks so much, my friend! Hey, any chance you can make a road trip to Charlotte the first weekend of June?
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      • Inion N. Mathair  May 16, 2014

        So sorry Marcia we’ve been tucked away in our writing cottage off 28 so we can concentrate on our two books we’ve been writing and editing. Great place, nice and quiet, but no internet. So we’ve been going online only an hour or so at night at our Aunts down the road and very little traffic. We will do that sometimes when our home gets kind of crazy as it has been these past two months, with my husband deciding to remodel the kitchen. lol. Now as to your question…YES!!! We can damn sure try if it means visiting a sexy redhead!!! Cross our fingers, we can get these two projects done in time, we will skip on over there and have some coffee and girl talk!! Perfect timing by the way, GingerBrooke’s birthday is the first week of June! Celebration!!!!
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  6. Diana Douglas  April 9, 2014

    We almost moved to the Finger Lakes area many years back. Your description is so lovely that I’m almost regretting that we didn’t. I look forward to reading your novel when it comes out.

    (reply)
    • Marcia Richards  April 9, 2014

      Oh, you definitely would have loved it, Diana and maybe we’d be neighbors! But you wouldn’t love the winter weather, especially since you’re used to warmer climes now. ;) I’ll keep you posted on my book.
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  7. Elizabeth Anne Mitchell  April 9, 2014

    Congratulations, Marcia! As a newish resident of upstate New York, I’m loving all the history around me. I can’t pick a particular place, because every time I visit a new place here, I love it.

    It’s a great experience for a native of Atlanta, which seems to feel Sherman had a great idea, and tears down everything over thirty years old!
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    • Marcia Richards  April 9, 2014

      See, that demolition of everything old would make me angry! i lived in Vegas for a year and nothing is really old there either, for different reasons. I missed the quaint towns and the valued history of the northeast. So glad you’re loving NYS. We are much too close not to meet one day!
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  8. David N. Walker  April 9, 2014

    Congrats on getting it done, Marcia.
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  9. Raelyn Barclay  April 9, 2014

    What a great backdrop for your story! Thank you so much for the walk through the area. And congrats on being that much closer to publication. I’m definitely lining up to buy it :)
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    • Marcia Richards  April 9, 2014

      Yay, Raelyn! thanks for the vote of confidence! It would be great fun if I could gather up all my online girlfriends for a boat tour on the lake. It’s a really cool village for shopping and eating, too!
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