While our outward journey to Howell, Michigan from New York offered the delights of Brookville, PA, we also had to contend with hours on interstates so busy with trucks that often it seemed as if we were the only car. Pennsylvania is a wide state to drive across and, after several hundred miles of driving on relatively straight tree-lined roads, the scenery, while initially attractive, began to get a little monotonous.
Fortunately, there are several alternatives to the direct route via I-80, one of which offered the option for our return journey of following the southern shore of Lake Erie from Detroit to Erie before heading down to Chautauqua Lake, New York for an overnight stop.
While part of this journey does take you through Pennsylvania (and on the I-90 and I-86 at that – all those trucks again!) the majority of the first half of the trip is on US23 in Michigan and Oh2 in Ohio, allowing some fleeting glimpses of the lake en-route and some pretty towns, albeit interspersed with miles and miles of wheat fields. I suppose the latter made a change from those tree-lined interstates.
It was somewhat of a welcome relief to cross back into New York State, all the more so because our destination for the night was just across the border. Chautauqua Lake is about seventeen miles long and advance research online had turned up several potential places to stay. Pine Hill Cottages and Motel caught my attention, not only for the fabulous looking location, but also for the very reasonable rates.
It turned out to be a gem of a find. As the name suggests Pine Hill offers both motel rooms and small cottages, the latter dotted among the trees, but all right on the lakeside. Given we were only staying one night we opted for rooms in the motel. The rooms were spacious, well-equipped and incredibly clean, which might account for why, despite it being well past the end of the summer season, there were still numerous guests.
The place was such a delight that I have added it to my list of places to visit again, but next time for a longer stay. I couldn’t help thinking that one of those little cottages would make a wonderful writer’s retreat!
Our overnight stay was made all the more enjoyable by a dinner at Andriaccio’s, an Italian restaurant a few miles further north up the lake from Pine Hill. Offering good food in a cozy atmosphere, it was the perfect way to round off the day.
Day two of our drive, we were able to take Route 17-E from Chautauqua all the way back to within thirty-five miles of our final destination. Three hundred and sixty miles through spectacular rolling countryside offering sweeping views, made all the more beautiful by the unexpected tapestry of colors afforded by early fall. It was certainly enough to make the long day on the road worth-while.