Finger Lakes

TimTrecker

Running for the Mouse
Joined
Nov 19, 2018
Who has vacationed in the Finger Lakes region of NY? I’m hoping to go for a last minute getaway next week and am looking at that spot on the map. Where is the best area to stay? Any recommendations on what I should not miss? I understand, like everywhere, things are going to be different but I’m looking to make the most fun I can. Hopefully do some outdoor activities and have a few glasses of wine. Thanks!
 

bookwormde

<font color=darkorchid>Heading out now, another ad
Joined
Mar 16, 2008
It is a beautiful area, lots of smaller inns.. I would suggest one on one of the bigger lakes.

Be prepared to drive some to see the areas of interest.

Watkins Glen gorge is a nice manageable walk. lots of wineries to visit. weather tends to be comfortably cooler then the east coast.

Even take some back roads and just see farms and rural areas is enjoyable.

Lots of stunning vistas.

FYI lakes tend to be cold so with the exception of shallow areas on the smaller lakes you need to be ready for it before you jump in
 
  • nkereina

    Last chance to lose your keys.
    Joined
    Feb 11, 2009
    I live about 40 minutes from parts of the Finger Lakes region and got married in Canandaigua a few years ago, which is a city and one of the largest areas in the region. Canandaigua is the largest wine producing region in the state, located on Canandaigua Lake. We like this area best because (in normal times) it has a nice Main Street area with several restaurants and things to do. Danny Wegman, the owner of Wegmans grocery stores, has a mansion on Canandaigua Lake so its fun to boat along the coast and see the wealth.

    In Canandaigua, they are getting ready to open a brand new gorgeous hotel called the Lake House. It opens mid-August, but the Sandbar restaurant will be opening there today and it looks awesome. They completely re-built this hotel from the ground up, and we loved the old version of the Sandbar so the new one is going to be amazing. Right next door to this property is NY Kitchen where they have wine tastings and pairings and cooking classes. Nolan's Restaurant (steak and seafood) and Murphy's Law (casual pub) are also right there, both are great. We got married at Sonnenberg Gardens which is a state park and I believe that is currently open. Beautiful grounds and an on-site mansion with a lot of history.

    The Finger Lakes spans a large area of Central NY. Skaneateles is another quaint area but I'm not sure how much would be open now. Seneca Lake is the largest of the 11 lakes, and the town of Geneva has some things going on. The town of Aurora on Cayuga Lake is nice, home to Mackenzie Childs brand. You can certainly drink wine and take wine tours in any of these towns.

    I agree with PP that you should be prepared to drive most places. Canandaigua proper has a lot in walking distance, but a lot of activities and wineries can be found scattered around the respective lakes which are miles and miles long. Also, the water temperature at Canandaigua Lake as of last weekend is 71 degrees. May be cold to some, but perfect when it will be 90 this weekend! lol!
     

    JaxDad

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Sep 23, 2014
    We spent a couple nights in Ithaca a few summers ago. We stayed in the Statler Hotel, right on the Cornell University campus. It's a great area to walk, including the campus itself and the two waterfall-filled gorges that bracket the campus. The Fall Creek Gorge ends at the beautiful Ithaca Falls. The Cascadilla Gorge trail is a fun walk through the gorge that leads from campus to the pedestrian-friendly downtown area along a series of waterfalls. Directly adjacent to the campus, within an easy walk from the Statler, is the Collegetown area with lots of restaurants and shops. (I'm not sure how they're doing with COVID though.) There are also several state parks within easy driving distance, including Robert H. Treman (my favorite), Buttermilk Falls, and Taughannock Falls. I believe there are some wineries north along Cayuga Lake and east toward Watkins Glen.

    I've added a picture of the Robert H. Treman State Park swimming hole. As others have noted, the water is cold!
    treman.jpg
     
    Last edited:

    TimTrecker

    Running for the Mouse
    Joined
    Nov 19, 2018
    It is a beautiful area, lots of smaller inns.. I would suggest one on one of the bigger lakes.

    Be prepared to drive some to see the areas of interest.

    Watkins Glen gorge is a nice manageable walk. lots of wineries to visit. weather tends to be comfortably cooler then the east coast.

    Even take some back roads and just see farms and rural areas is enjoyable.

    Lots of stunning vistas.

    FYI lakes tend to be cold so with the exception of shallow areas on the smaller lakes you need to be ready for it before you jump in
    Thanks for the help! Great to know about the cold water. I might look into doing some fishing.
     

    TimTrecker

    Running for the Mouse
    Joined
    Nov 19, 2018
    I live about 40 minutes from parts of the Finger Lakes region and got married in Canandaigua a few years ago, which is a city and one of the largest areas in the region. Canandaigua is the largest wine producing region in the state, located on Canandaigua Lake. We like this area best because (in normal times) it has a nice Main Street area with several restaurants and things to do. Danny Wegman, the owner of Wegmans grocery stores, has a mansion on Canandaigua Lake so its fun to boat along the coast and see the wealth.

    In Canandaigua, they are getting ready to open a brand new gorgeous hotel called the Lake House. It opens mid-August, but the Sandbar restaurant will be opening there today and it looks awesome. They completely re-built this hotel from the ground up, and we loved the old version of the Sandbar so the new one is going to be amazing. Right next door to this property is NY Kitchen where they have wine tastings and pairings and cooking classes. Nolan's Restaurant (steak and seafood) and Murphy's Law (casual pub) are also right there, both are great. We got married at Sonnenberg Gardens which is a state park and I believe that is currently open. Beautiful grounds and an on-site mansion with a lot of history.

    The Finger Lakes spans a large area of Central NY. Skaneateles is another quaint area but I'm not sure how much would be open now. Seneca Lake is the largest of the 11 lakes, and the town of Geneva has some things going on. The town of Aurora on Cayuga Lake is nice, home to Mackenzie Childs brand. You can certainly drink wine and take wine tours in any of these towns.

    I agree with PP that you should be prepared to drive most places. Canandaigua proper has a lot in walking distance, but a lot of activities and wineries can be found scattered around the respective lakes which are miles and miles long. Also, the water temperature at Canandaigua Lake as of last weekend is 71 degrees. May be cold to some, but perfect when it will be 90 this weekend! lol!
    I am most excited about the wineries so this area sounds about perfect for me. Thanks for the detailed response!
     
  • TimTrecker

    Running for the Mouse
    Joined
    Nov 19, 2018
    We spent a couple nights in Ithaca a few summers ago. We stayed in the Statler Hotel, right on the Cornell University campus. It's a great area to walk, including the campus itself and the two waterfall-filled gorges that bracket the campus. The Fall Creek Gorge ends at the beautiful Ithaca Falls. The Cascadilla Gorge trail is a fun walk through the gorge that leads from campus to the pedestrian-friendly downtown area along a series of waterfalls. Directly adjacent to the campus, within an easy walk from the Statler, is the Collegetown area with lots of restaurants and shops. (I'm not sure how they're doing with COVID though.) There are also several state parks within easy driving distance, including Robert H. Treman (my favorite), Buttermilk Falls, and Taughannock Falls. I believe there are some wineries north along Cayuga Lake and east toward Watkins Glen.
    I love walking through college campuses! Any chance to be outdoors would be ideal. Thanks for the help!
     

    PollyannaMom

    I was a click-clack champ!!
    Joined
    May 16, 2006
    I grew up near one of the smaller lakes in the region (Keuka) and agree it is a beautiful area! I’m not sure how much is open right now, as we decided not to travel to visit this year. But I definitely second Watkins Glen as a great place to be outdoors!
     

    TimTrecker

    Running for the Mouse
    Joined
    Nov 19, 2018
    I grew up near one of the smaller lakes in the region (Keuka) and agree it is a beautiful area! I’m not sure how much is open right now, as we decided not to travel to visit this year. But I definitely second Watkins Glen as a great place to be outdoors!
    Last night I was actually looking at an AirBnB in that area. Penn Yan, I believe. Thank you for the feedback!
     

    nkereina

    Last chance to lose your keys.
    Joined
    Feb 11, 2009
    Last night I was actually looking at an AirBnB in that area. Penn Yan, I believe. Thank you for the feedback!
    We've had a cottage in Penn Yan before. There's a market there called the Windmill that's fun to browse. Farmer's market, crafts, Amish made items. Bus tours visit here as well. I believe it is currently open as its primarily outdoors.
     
  • bookwormde

    <font color=darkorchid>Heading out now, another ad
    Joined
    Mar 16, 2008
    I grew up near one of the smaller lakes in the region (Keuka) and agree it is a beautiful area! I’m not sure how much is open right now, as we decided not to travel to visit this year. But I definitely second Watkins Glen as a great place to be outdoors!
    My dad grew up on Keuka, on the 1920s-30s, I visited family there and Canandaigua lake each summer in the 60-70s. I also farmed there in the 80s. if it was not for the winter I would love to live there
     

    mrs. magoo

    Mouseketeer
    Joined
    Dec 10, 2003
    My father used to own a cottage on Canandaigua Lake. The taxes were absolutely crazy so he sold it like 10 years ago. The water is not cold. My kids and myself were in all day everyday. When they woke up in the morning we just dressed them in bathing suits everyday. We were up there in June, July and August and never was the water cold in my opinion. We never did touristy things since we live in Rochester (it was 45 minutes from door to door) but we loved that cottage and just hanging out on the porch was my favorite activity.
     

    DeniseJH

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Mar 28, 2008
    Gotta visit the Glenora Winery. Nice inn there too.

    We've stayed here several times - we live about an hour away. The winery is beautiful, and the dining here is excellent, but the rooms are in need of some attention. The bathrooms especially. They're clean, but really need some updating. (The last time we stayed here was in 2018.)

    Dr. Frank is the best winery in the area - a can't miss!

    Edited to add: Our favorite place to stay Is the Watkins Glen Harbor Hotel, especially if you can get a harbor view room with a balcony! The harbor isn't really a big deal, but a view of the water is always nice. The restaurant here is excellent! There is also a great barbecue place in town - a short walk - "Nickel's Pit".
     
    Last edited:

    AppleDumpling

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Apr 8, 2015
    I’ve spent a lot of time in that region, though it’s been a few years. I’d suggest staying somewhere in the central area. There are tons of wineries all along Seneca, Cayuga, and Keuka Lakes, as well as Canandaigua. At the northern end, Canandaigua, Geneva (top of Seneca Lake) and Seneca Falls (top of Cayuga Lake) are all nice small towns with easy access from the NYS Thruway. If you go to the village of Canandaigua, I second Sonnenberg Gardens. Seneca Falls has the Women’s Rights historical sites, if that interests you.

    From Geneva, you can drive the length of Seneca Lake down to Watkins Glen SP, one of my favorite places. Watkins Glen and Ithaca are both beautiful- great hiking, waterfalls, gorges. Be sure to wear good shoes for hiking, no flip flops, especially at WG, where the gorge trail is narrow, wet, and slippery, with lots of steps. A nice side trip from WG, about a half hour south is Corning, and the Corning Glass museum.

    IMO, Keuka is one of the most scenic of the lakes. Good place to rent boats in either Penn Yan or Hammondsport, both also cute small towns. If you should venture a little west (depending on where you’re coming from) I’d also recommend Letchworth SP for hiking and scenic vistas.
     

    TimTrecker

    Running for the Mouse
    Joined
    Nov 19, 2018
    We've stayed here several times - we live about an hour away. The winery is beautiful, and the dining here is excellent, but the rooms are in need of some attention. The bathrooms especially. They're clean, but really need some updating. (The last time we stayed here was in 2018.)

    Dr. Frank is the best winery in the area - a can't miss!

    Edited to add: Our favorite place to stay Is the Watkins Glen Harbor Hotel, especially if you can get a harbor view room with a balcony! The harbor isn't really a big deal, but a view of the water is always nice. The restaurant here is excellent! There is also a great barbecue place in town - a short walk - "Nickel's Pit".
    I love bbq! Thanks for the recommendations.
     

    TimTrecker

    Running for the Mouse
    Joined
    Nov 19, 2018
    I’ve spent a lot of time in that region, though it’s been a few years. I’d suggest staying somewhere in the central area. There are tons of wineries all along Seneca, Cayuga, and Keuka Lakes, as well as Canandaigua. At the northern end, Canandaigua, Geneva (top of Seneca Lake) and Seneca Falls (top of Cayuga Lake) are all nice small towns with easy access from the NYS Thruway. If you go to the village of Canandaigua, I second Sonnenberg Gardens. Seneca Falls has the Women’s Rights historical sites, if that interests you.

    From Geneva, you can drive the length of Seneca Lake down to Watkins Glen SP, one of my favorite places. Watkins Glen and Ithaca are both beautiful- great hiking, waterfalls, gorges. Be sure to wear good shoes for hiking, no flip flops, especially at WG, where the gorge trail is narrow, wet, and slippery, with lots of steps. A nice side trip from WG, about a half hour south is Corning, and the Corning Glass museum.

    IMO, Keuka is one of the most scenic of the lakes. Good place to rent boats in either Penn Yan or Hammondsport, both also cute small towns. If you should venture a little west (depending on where you’re coming from) I’d also recommend Letchworth SP for hiking and scenic vistas.
    This is some great info. You are mentioning many of the things I like to do. Thank you!
     

    adkkev

    hiking fool
    Joined
    Jan 6, 2008
    Where are you coming from? Just remember that NY state has instituted a 14 day quarantine for people coming from a number of other states. Please be careful and respect our state’s wishes. Thank you!
     





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