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Girlfriend getaway at The Aurora Inn, Aurora, NY

By Michele McIntyre, GoGirlfriend contributor

Making (and learning to say) gnocchi

I can't quite get the hang of it, this gnocchi (YNO-kee) making thing. My dough is near perfect, but I've yet to master the technique of forming the dough into dumplings. Still, my dumplings look a bit frumpy. In the end it doesn't matter how they look, it’s how they taste and they are fantastic.

Returning to the kitchen

I'm at The Aurora Inn on Cayuga Lake for one of their monthly Tuesday night cooking classes. We're making homemade pasta under the expert guidance of Chef Patrick and two of the Inn's star personalities. Meryl Davis is the Director of Marketing and the Inn's beverage manager. It's Meryl we have to thank for the stellar wine list and locally produced spirits that grace the pages of the cocktail menu. Heather Davidson, known around wedding circles as the 'Bride Whisperer', is the Director of Events.

Aurora Inn, New York

If you've been to a wedding at the Inn in the past seven years, Heather and her team have likely been the force behind the event. At our cooking class Chef Patrick, Meryl and Heather work absolute magic to make all the guests feel welcome and at home while infusing a spirit of fun. Their hospitality is bubbling and infectious – within minutes our class of six laughs and jokes together like old friends. 

The sad truth is I stopped cooking recreationally almost twelve years ago when my son was born. Now I cook to feed my family but no longer make time to cook or bake for pleasure. Being in the inn's commercial kitchen surround by the highest quality ingredients, the best equipment and all this kitchen talent has me inspired to start flipping through recipes again.

So close and yet a world away

The Aurora Inn is exactly the kind of place you're hoping to find when traveling along the shores of Cayuga Lake. Heck, it's the kind of place I've been hoping to find since I discovered my passion for traveling.

sitting hearthside at the Aurora InnI quickly check in and drop my bag in my second floor guest room. At 6 pm, I head to the dining room for cocktails with five other women – I’m told that it's the first all-women class the inn has ever hosted. I can’t think of a better way to spend time with girlfriends than cooking and eating together. Okay, maybe cooking classes are tied for first place with a visit to a spa.

I read the wine and cocktail list like it's a novel. It's so interesting to see the wines that have been selected with the Finger Lakes wines taking center stage among the national and international selections. Always on the hunt for new signature house-made cocktails, my drink of choice is a Rye Smash. It's a blend of McKenzie Rye, apple cabernet simple syrup and freshly squeezed lime juice. It's delicious in an unexpected kind of way.

We make fettuccine, pappardelle, spinach artichoke ravioli, gnocchi and agnolotti. The fillings are prepared for us ahead of time. It's a messy job but mixing bowls and utensils are whisked away the moment we're through using them. And my drink glass?  It never seems to be empty. When the pasta dough is formed, Chef Patrick sends us out of the kitchen and stays behind to cook our fresh pasta and prepare the sauces. We’re given a folder filled with recipes of all the dishes we create this evening and are gifted a ravioli stamp to encourage us to try our new talents at home.

We gather around a table and enjoy a classic Caesar salad, more wine and cocktails and the fruits of our labor: a pasta bar. The scratch-made delicate capsules of pasta filled with butternut squash is my favorite of all the pastas we prepared that night. Of course, I had to try them all. 

When class ends, I meander back up to my guest room where a roaring fire is blazing in the fireplace and chocolate has been placed on my pillow. It is the perfect night. 

Room to choose

Aurora Inn roomsThere are 10 rooms in the main inn. The most desirable rooms face the lake but you can't go wrong with any choice. Groups of girlfriends will feel right at home in room 8, a suite with two double beds tucked away at the top of a private staircase. Stash a few bottles of local Cayuga Lake wine in the in-room fridge and enjoy cocktails in your private sitting area before dinner.

Couples will appreciate everything about room 7, a very private lake view suite with king-size bed, deep-soaking whirlpool bath with skylights and sitting room with fridge and mini-bar. 

Breakfast is served

a delightful breakfastI hear a gentle knock at my door and I peek out to find the storied basket of tea (or coffee) and mini muffins. I enjoy my goodies in my room snuggled in my fireside chaise lounge while a winter storm brews outside. A full a la carte breakfast in the Aurora Inn Dining Room is included with your stay.

If you’d like to learn more about The Inns of Aurora, visit them online at innsofaurora.com, Facebook or Twitter and read what other travelers have to say about them on TripAdvisor.com.

Got a favorite girlfriend getaway? Tell us in the comments! Find us on Twitter or Facebook and let's start talking!

About Michele McIntyre

Michele McIntyre ~ @cnyspagirlMichele McIntyre is a freelance writer who covers spas, travel, fitness, wellness and healthy living/eating. She is happiest when lying face up on the treatment table, writing about her spa and travel experiences or testing new products to share with her readers. She lives near Syracuse, NY with her husband and son. Michele is a regular travel contributor to LivingBetterat50+ and has written for Today’s Central New York Woman Magazine and online at Tripology, TripAtlas, and Splash Magazines Worldwide. When she isn’t writing about or visiting spas, Michele loves traveling, hiking, skiing, camping, yoga and reading. If any of these pursuits can be combined with a visit to the spa, even better! Catch up with Michele online on Twitter or LinkedIn.

To comply with the long list of regulating bodies, possibly even Geneva Conventions and in the interest of transparency, Michele’s trip was sponsored. Commentary and perspectives are those of Michele McIntyre.

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