On the afternoon we embarked on our “home circuit,” we were hungry. Really hungry. We had gotten a bite at Tim Horton’s about six hours previous, and then traversed what seemed the entirety of the greater Western New York region, hunting for the perfect used armchairs (me) and the perfect vintage wedding bands (her). I gained an adorable four-color, 18-piece breakfast set and a crocheted handbag among other random estate sale jewels, but alas, no chairs. At about 2 p.m., I was ready for wine.

The circuit we were tackling was the Cambria Circuit, where five wineries* call home, as do we. I’m a Cambria native (excepting my first years spent in Niagara Falls and then Youngstown, until age 9), and Brooke, my partner-in-crime today, is Cambria’s Town Historian. I also volunteer on the Cambria Historical Society board as unofficial secretary and very official jackass-of-all-trades.

Planning our “home circuit” where elevation is all part of the fun.

We set off from my** farm, out there where Molyneaux Corners once reigned supreme on the frontier in the 18-naughts. Just west of the farm is a delightful breakfast/lunch spot that I had been dying to try since moving back to the area four months ago. In my formative youth, it was a burger-and-ice-cream joint owned by a high school friend’s family, and where I learned I really loved overindulging in sweets and fried goods. Today, the Wine Trail Cafe sits as THE place to grab a pre- or post-wine nosh in the countryside. Or so I assume. On the two days I’ve tried to dine here, including this day, the day of no food but lots of shopping, biking, and wine, they were just closing. I’ve heard great things; however, call ahead just to be 100% certain they’ll be available to serve your empty belly before your wine day. That’s an imperative.

All wineries are now open regular hours, 12 p.m. – 6 p.m. every day of the week, and sometimes a little earlier on the weekends. Check hours on the website and give a call ahead if in doubt.

Arrowhead Spring Vineyards

THE RIDE: Because the farm/our starting point sits north, at the very bottom of the Niagara Escarpment, a delicate mission was formulated. The wineries begin in the south, near the top of the escarpment, and sort of snake to the west down the escarpment. Since we were pedaling from the north, no matter where we landed first (or second, or third, etc.) we would need to go… up. We decided to start as southerly as possible, and let gravity take us down the rest of the circuit. In doing that, we would have both wine and physics on our side during this ride.

You know you want to have a glass of wine right here at Arrowhead Spring’s picnic area.

THE WINERY: Midway between Lower Mountain Rd and Upper Mountain Rd on Route 93/Lockport Junction Rd sits Arrowhead Spring Vineyards. When turning onto the hilled gravel road that leads one down to the tasting room and winery, watch for the chickens. Some predators got a few chicks earlier in the season, but they persevere nonetheless, just like our Cambria chicken do. And if you’re on a bike, take the ride. It’s a bit like a rollercoaster from your youth, but with all of your newfound adult terrors of falling.

Arrowhead Spring Vineyards is a little over four years old, but its proprietors have been in the wine game for a little longer than that. The official winery is a testament to their lifelong love of wine, with its picture-perfect location and dedicated, knowledgeable staff. In the coming months they plan to build a new public room, closer to the road. In the meantime, watch for the chickens, and enjoy their handcrafted wines and the ridiculous view. You can even pick up a buy-one-get-one deal on their white most days (I do).

Can I get you something white?

The day of our visit, Bisco’s Italian Salsa was in the house, with six salsa tastings and as many tortilla chips as your tastebuds and hungry belly could handle. Bisco’s, out of nearby Elmira, is making a family legend for the rest of the world to try, and we are so thankful for that.

As a double-bonus, super-cutie Ryan behind the bar will be showing his photography, art gallery-style, sometime this season. Dibs on two prints, minimum! 4746 Lockport Town Line Rd., 716-434-8030.

LOCAL ATTRACTIONS: This isn’t really an ATTRACTION, per se, but it IS the damned cutest little corner store that ever did corner. Mannings Corner Store sits right at the top of the escarpment, on Upper Mountain Rd before you begin your great descent into the Cambria Bowl. If you have embarked on this ride without bringing a bottle of water and some cash, make your way up the hill (I won’t watch, don’t worry) and take care of all your conveniencing here before stopping in at Arrowhead. 5218 Upper Mountain Rd.

Freedom Run Winery

Don’t be fooled by the outside of this winery, it’s what inside that counts.

THE RIDE: You got a nice, happy buzz from Arrowhead? PERFECT. It’s time to cruise…

Less than a mile north is the next stop on the circuit. Stay on the same side of the road as Arrowhead, and head in the cruising direction. Jump onto what we locals call “The Townline Spur” (incidentally, this is also where you’ll find the cutest and smallest graveyard in town, so do stop for a minute and honor the founding Cambria townfolk). Hang a left at the stop sign (again, stay on the “wrong side” a.k.a. left side/oncoming traffic side, you don’t have far to go), and hang a left into the huge Freedom Run gravel lot.

THE WINERY: The lot, combined with the wonderfully kitschy and utilitarian aluminum siding might throw you off. Don’t miss Freedom, though: Here you’ll find all manner of greatness: beautiful glassware, party-size tasting space, gorgeous outdoor expanse, reception area, and, oh yeah, my favorite white. (And my favorite wine writer and editor, wink.)

(I once had a blind date at Freedom Run. We played Scrabble for three hours and drank wine all afternoon. It was pretty much the best afternoon I had had since being home in WNY. And the best date I’d had in 10 months (the datee though… Fizzletown. Dang.)

The glass art on Freedom Run’s tasting bar is simply amazing.

Freedom Run is bike-friendly. If you and your crew want to start out here, call ahead and tell ‘em you want to park your vehicles and haul your bikes from your racks. They’ve done so in the past and will do it again. It’s the town’s unofficial bike tour starting point.

Freedom is also wedding-friendly. They had a tent, chairs, and a pulpit set up when we arrived, in anticipation of vows. If it wasn’t for already booking tickets to Alaska, my partner for the day would have settled up at Freedom for her upcoming nuptials (at least, I would have strongly suggested it). 5138 Lower Mountain Rd., 716-433-4136.

 *: It’s actually the home of seven wineries, but two of them appear in the previous Wino on Two Wheels article, dubbed the Ransomville Circuit. Cambria is nearly 40 square miles in size, but has no zip code of its own. Unless you have a town geography map at your disposal, you might mistake a Cambrian location for a Ransomvillian or Lockportian location. No postal love for this, the oldest town in Niagara. C’est la vie.
**: It’s my parents’ farm. I just live there and soak in the gorgeous acreage and renovated 100-year-old farmhouse as my own.
 Kristy currently lives in Cambria, New York with her parents, who have begun repopulating their nest with adult children. She can be found blogging sporadically at THE71SIX.BIZ and twitting @KristyTwittedIt. In a past life she wrote too much about comedy, and thinks comedy nerds everywhere should download every issue of RE:COM.