A t the outset of the 36-hour tour, it was the first Porsche inspired tour that I have co-hosted or had been a part of. When I purchased my 997 C4S last year, my friend Jason Figueiredo, who is a GT driving and travel enthusiast (obsessive really), suggested we host a tour. With his guidance we constructed the itinerary and added a few surprise stops along the way. My wife and I were very excited to meet all the participants and to cohost our first tour.
Our tour started the morning of Saturday May 23, 2015, at a Tim Horton’s in Niagara Fall, Ontario. Meeting time was slated for 6:00 am and to my surprise all of the participants had arrived on time and eager to meet each other and introduce themselves.
We departed approximately 30 minutes later and headed to the U.S boarder, where a friendly U.S customs officer, who made the experience fluid and painless, greeted us. The officer allowed us to set up our convoy of vehicles just inside the crossing and shortly thereafter we all departed for our first destination in Ellicottville, NY, a restaurant named Dina’s.
At Dina’s, we had the opportunity to get to know each other and share stories. Breakfast was delicious and we were all eager to get back on the road to our next destination; The Longhouse Scenic Byway. This is a spectacular road. A surprise highlight was our visit to the Kinzua Bridge, located in McKean County. Originally built in 1882, it was one of the tallest railroad bridges in the world. The bridge had been destroyed by a tornado in 2003 and now partly restored. It is considered historic and attracts visitors from around the world.
Lunch was at Cabin Kitchen, located in the heart of Elk County. Over lunch it became apparent that we have a phenomenal group of travel and driving enthusiasts.
Of course we had to work off our lunch by travelling the beautiful Bucktail Scenic Byway Route 120. This road was full of twists and turns, coupled by the gorgeous music, composed by our Porsche engines. Another surprise for our group was a visit to the top of Hyner Mountain were we enjoyed the vista and the numerous Hang Gliders that were taking off from the mountain.
After taking some great pictures, our journey continued to Williamsport, Pa, where we checked in to Hampton Inn & Suites. Some of the group had a rest, while others walked around the historic town. The Hotel was nice enough to have sectioned off part of the parking lot for our Porsches.
Dinner that evening was at Peter Herdic House, located in a restored Victorian Mansion. The atmosphere and food was incredible and we had our room dedicated to our group.
After a great day of driving and beautiful evening of laughs, we called it a night and prepared for the following morning, however to the groups surprise, Jason and I had prepared a gift bag for all the participants, which included Porsche key chains, Porsche lanyards, posters and magazines generously donated by Sean Santos of Porsche Oakville. Additionally custom labeled bottles of red and white wine was generously donated by Joe Costa of Costa Wine Country, in Hamilton and finally, Lucas Scarfone of Autostrada Magazine provided his first edition for our group.
The following morning, Jason and I took our machines for a bath before driving the Tail of the Dragon North along route 44 toward our final surprise location; Cherry Springs State Park astronomy field. Jason led the way along route 44 with a 997TT and 996TT on his heels. I had a great view following these classic cars and experiencing my C4S as it should be. Cherry Springs is located on top of a 2300ft mountain and it is said to offer a great view of the nucleus of the Milky Way Galaxy.
Our final destination was to experience and have lunch at The Lodge at Glendorn, a Relais & Chateux resort in Bradford, PA. Jason selected this location and it was a perfect location to cap off the tour. Greeting our group on the entrance next to the great lodge was Stephanie Schafer, Director of Hotel Operations Marketing and Amada Kessler, Head of Guest Services. They also provided our group with a private tour of the property after lunch. Executive Chef Joe Schafer and his staff prepared a special lunch menu and the presentation was exceptional. What a way to end a tour!
I would like to thank all the participants for their attendance, my wife, and Jason and his spouse for their assistance and dedication in making our first GT tour a memorable one.