People of Keuka Lake

Photography has taken Lisa Carp from small towns in Vermont and Maine to the Oval Office and the New York photo scene. She has photographed World Cup ski racing in the Rocky Mountains and yacht racing in the Florida Keys. Today, Lisa and “Blue,” her yellow lab, live in her hometown of Rochester, where Lisa works as a freelance photographer. When she’s not working, she skis, paints, plays the violin, sails or simply hangs out at her family’s cottage on Keuka Lake.

“I grew up on the shores of Keuka Lake, then took off to pursue a flying career, always knowing I would return to ‘God’s Country,’ as my father would say. Now, here I am back and married to a dairy farmer! Isn’t life an amazing adventure?”

-- Tiffany Gage, Dairy farmer & helicopter pilot

“I have spent 59 years here on Keuka Lake. I am 60 so that is almost my entire life. I love every minute I spend here, every season and every weather... sailing has been a part of my entire life here on Keuka Lake. As kids, my dad would take us to watch the races. Finally my dad put me on a boat...wind just makes me happy.”

-- Dr. Annie Smith, Professor of Art and Art History, University of Toronto

“Grapes inspire me to do my artwork. I take raw steel and transform it into organic living forms. I make a lot of grapes and vines and leaves out of steel. My grandfather built this barn. It has been a working farm since before even then. We always had grapes here. I never realized how much an influence the grapes have over me.”

-- Sam Castner, Sculptor

“I have been playing the harmonica since I was 12 years old. I learned as a schoolgirl. I have lived here in Hammondsport since 1943. It still looks the same except for all the trees, they are all so big now – you can’t barely see nothing...What should I play for you? ‘You are my Sunshine’? Or a polka? Maybe I should get off this porch and go over there to the vineyards and play for the ’em grow faster!”

-- Virginia “Gini” Jacobus, Harmonica player

“I grew up hiking this gorge that flows into Keuka Lake. I have climbed it just about every summer of my entire life. It was always exciting to me to see how it would change from year to year. Wow, now I am 26 and standing here in my wedding dress! It is amazing how things change and we move on...but I will always come back here and check in on this gorge.”

-- Rebecca Lynn Genauer, Registered nurse and newlywed

The majority of the land base in the Keuka Lake region is handled by Mennonites. They farm eggs and dairy, grapes and produce. The Mennonite religion frowns upon the concept of bringing attention onto themselves. Their first priority is God, and family is their second priority. Individual attention is uninvited.

Children of a Mennonite Family, Penn Yan, New York

“I grew up in this I am the owner of all the rides. I was a little kid running around the fairs like my grandkids are doing now. I started working some of the games, moved on up to sellin’ popcorn and helped my mom sell the cotton candy. We use to sell it for 15 cents on a it is $2. We take these rides all over, but these people here, (the firemen in Hammondsport) they’ll do anything for ya...They fix things, anything we ask – very cooperative. It’s not like that everywhere.”

-- Avery D. Wheelock, Carnival Owner

“This is a WW II, 225 horsepower Stearman. It took me, with the help of a friend, 18 years in our spare time to rebuild...finished in 1986. I moved here in 1943 and started Penn Yan Aero Service in the basement of a barn. Now it has become Penn Yan Airport. My son runs the business now, but I still fly.”

-- Harold “Eagle” Middlebrook, Pilot

“The Finger Lakes region is emerging as the finest Riesling producer in America and even the world. It’s because, well, Keuka Lake at 270 feet deep rarely freezes over. The water cools down and warms up slower and then so does the surrounding soil, which prolongs the growing season...this is the next Napa.”

-- Willy K. Frank, Chairman/Dr. Konstantin Frank Winery, President/Chateau Frank, son of founder Dr. Konstantin Frank

“In today’s hectic and complex business world that never stops around the clock, it is a comfort to go to Keuka Lake where I can be with my family and relax in a small town atmosphere. For me it is a place to recharge my
batteries and re-establish balance.”

-- Daniel A. Carp, Chairman and CEO/Eastman Kodak Company

“Keuka Lake is so beautiful and clean and pure, it just fits this little town...I have always felt like the whole community has had a part in raising me. They taught me my
values and brought me up in such a way that I want to give back to these people for as much as they have given me.”

-- Melanie Bush, age 17, Miss Penn Yan 2001

To contact Lisa Carp, email her at, or call (585) 781-4425.
Check out her website at

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *