The Lake House’s chefs create innovative seafood plates and hearty steaks as diners take in lakeside views from the interior of an historic hotel built in 1843. Scan the menu before electing upscale eats such as pumpkin-seed-encrusted trout filets in sherry cream ($16.99) or pan-seared hunter’s ducks dressed in a pear-and-peppercorn au jus ($22.99). Chefs stuff the Lake House bone-in pork chop with an autumnal mélange of apples, onions, blue cheese, and cloud bacon before tossing it on the grill and drenching it in an apple-cider glaze ($17.99). Dinner diners sink meat fangs into a New York strip steak’s side ($19.99), and luncheon guests peruse burgers and sandwiches such as the grilled-chicken cordon bleu, which sports ham, swiss cheese, and a jaunty monocle atop its grilled roll ($8.99). Lounge on the patio facing the lake or illumine meals indoors with the light of Tiffany-style stained-glass table lamps.
Cosmopolitan gastronomes can sample cuisines from across Europe with a menu that includes fare from France, Spain, Greece, and more. Send hunger to the Greek isles with spanakopita, a delicate spinach-and-cheese concoction tucked inside flaky phyllo dough ($5.50). The pastete smuggles ground seasoned roast beef across German borders inside an inconspicuous fried pancake ($7.75). Opt to use man’s most natural eating utensil and spear the spicy spanish chicken kebabs, stacked with grilled meat, artichoke hearts, and veggies bathed in lime-and-herb marinade ($22).
Howe Caverns, a series of underground expanses dating back six million years, awes visitors with its colorful collection of stalagmites, stalactites, and flowstone. An aboveground animatronic show starring discoverer Lester Howe welcomes guests before passengers embark on a 32-second elevator ride that descends 156 feet underground. Experienced guides then forge the trail on the 80-minute traditional tour, which covers a distance of approximately 12 city blocks. As cave connoisseurs expound on the caverns’ ongoing conservation efforts and history as Batman’s original lair, spelunkers pass geologic features such as the Sentinels, Titan’s Temple, and the Giant Formation. Halfway through the tour, a boat casts off the shores of the Lake of Venus, ferrying subterranean pilgrims 15 minutes downriver to a place few humans have seen or vandalized in more than 100 years. The journey concludes with a serpentine route through the 500-foot Winding Way passage carved over millennia by water erosion.
Chef Laura Pensiero has trained at the French Culinary Institute, possesses a background in nutrition, and radiates with genuine enthusiasm for healthy, local and sustainable foods. So, it’s not entirely surprising she’s racked up some local and national fame, including features in O Magazine and the title as one of Hudson Valley Magazine’s Four Best Veteran Chefs in 2012. Best of all, patrons don’t even have to visit one of Pensiero’s award-winning restaurants, Gigi Trattoria or Gigi Market, to get a taste of her food; they can stop into Just Salad, where she is the master-mind behind all the recipes.
Dedicated to providing healthy and fast meals, Just Salad assembles more than 14 varieties of wraps and salads, or puts customers in charge, allowing them to concoct their own lunch from a wide range of fresh vegetables, cheeses, proteins, and Chef Pensiero’s homemade dressings. Salads are tossed inside reusable bowls, which the shop encourages customers to bring back on their second, third, and so-on visits. In return, they’ll receive two free “essential toppings”—such as lentils, mandarin oranges, and artichoke hearts—and one free cheese tossed onto a salad, tucked inside a wrap, or pelted at their mortal enemy.
Piada founders Andrea, Daniele, and Giovanni import the tastes of their native land into the eatery’s eponymous dish, a hot flatbread sandwich popular in the Emilia-Romagna region of Northern Italy. Diners can pick from eight traditional piadas—each named for a film by Emilia-Romagna native Federico Fellini—or opt to construct their own from organic, locally grown vegetables, imported Italian meats, and cheeses made only with milk, rennet, and salt. Behind gleaming floor-to-ceiling glass, communal tables host crowds of midday diners and itinerant tomato jugglers, and sippers wash down meals with gulps of hot italian coffee.