A TASTE OF THE FINGER LAKES EXPERIENCE
Whether it is the pristine lakes, charming villages, or world-class wineries, New York’s Finger Lake region will be sure not to disappoint. The spectacular scenery and taste of rural life is enhanced by the rustic culture and warm hospitality found throughout the region. The Finger Lakes are an all-season destination so if you are looking for an excuse to get away, the Lakes will have just what you need whether it’s for a girls getaway, a weekend of family fun, a romantic escape, or a foodies adventure!
The region is full of activities and experiences to suit any taste and interest. With more than 100 wineries alone, there will be no shortage of things to taste. For travellers who wish to enjoy the full Finger Lakes experience, an itinerary blended with a mix of shopping, culinary pursuits, outdoor adventure, wine tasting, history, and relaxing by the Lakes will surely provide the visitor with a good idea of what the area is famous for.
Here is a sampling of ideas that represent the best that the region has to offer:
- SHOPPER’S HAVEN: The Traders Village in Romulus can be best described like a small town. It occupies a series of hollow building that feature sturdy colonial furniture produced by Amish craftsmen. There is no shortage of handmade items and the place is full of bargains from quilts to rugs and toys. Heading east of Keuka Lake, you will find the Windmill Farm & Craft Market which comprises twenty-six acres of various exhibits for sale. It’s reminiscent of a big state fair. Be sure to look for the freshly baked pies!
- CULINARY PURSUITS: In a region known for its wineries, it should come as no surprise that grapes take the spotlight here. The town of Naples is no exception from its heritage wines to its purple fire hydrants. While in town, Arbor Hill Grapery is a great place to savour specialty sausage and crafted beers within a rustic barn restaurant called Brew and Brats. Don’t ever leave Naples without sampling some Mountain Rise Granola or the infamous grape pie from Monica’s Pies. If you’re thirsty after that delicious pie, fresh fruit juice can be sampled just outside of Belhurst at Red Jacket Orchards. Perhaps one of the best places to enjoy the region’s finest culinary creations is at the New York Wine & Culinary Center on the northern shore of Canandaigua Lake. In addition to offering a delicious sampling of local cuisine paired with local wines, beers, and spirits, visitors get the opportunity to learn some tricks of the trade by enjoying one of the center’s cooking classes. Be sure not to leave the Finger Lakes Region without a box of homemade chocolates from Sweet Expressions in downtown Canandaigua.
- A REGION RICH IN HISTORY: While geology has its own explanation of how the Finger Lakes were formed, a more compelling tale comes from Native American history. According to legend, when the great Spirit laid his hands on the land to bless it, finger imprints were left that filled with water forming what is known as the “Finger Lakes.” Ganondagan is the site of an ancient Native American community that once thrived with thousands of Seneca people more than 300 years ago. A visit to the community will enable you to see a full-size replica of the 17th-century Seneca Bark Longhouse. In the town of Geneva, tourists can visit the restored 1894 Smith Opera House. The house still offers performances to this day. Historic Seneca Falls is home to Women’s Rights National Historical Park and the National Women’s Hall of Fame. The town is believed to have inspired the 1946 film, “It’s a Wonderful Life.”
- OUTDOOR ADVENTURE: No visit to the Finger Lakes would be complete without a trip to Taughannock Falls State Park. An easy twenty minute hike through a deep gorge brings you to a 215-foot free-falling waterfall. It is a sight worth seeing. A trek through the 776-acre Watkins Glen State Park will bring you to the home of an amazing gorge that formed at the end of the last ice age. It is a photographer’s paradise.
- WINE LOVERS: Being surrounded by the romance and rustic charm of the Finger Lakes villages, it’s hard to resist a good glass of wine. There are indeed more than 100 wineries to choose from but one of the more romantic locations can be found at Inspire Moore Winery. Their vast selections of red and white wines carry romantically themed names including Lust, Passion, and Love. If a weekend of romance isn’t part of your travel agenda, hop on the Seneca Lake Wine Trail on the east side of Seneca Lake and along Route 414, you will find wineries including Wagner, Red Newt, Standing Stone, and Lamoreaux Landing. Depending what time you visit, some of the wineries make excellent stops for lunch. The Cayuga Wine Trail on the west side of Cayuga Lake along Route 89, is home to wineries including Goose Watch, Hosmer, and Sheldrake Point.
- LAKESIDE PICNICS: While there is plenty of beautiful scenery along the way, one of the best ways to enjoy this region is by setting up your own lakeside picnic. Some of the popular spots include Seneca Lake State Park, Kershaw Park, and the County Road 12 Scenic Outlook. Kershaw Park is set upon the shoreline of Canandaigua Lake while County Road 12 offers a spectacular view of the miles of hills bordering Canandaigua Lake.
The Finger Lakes region of New York State is more accessible than ever before. Gone are the days when visitors needed to board a train and steamboat to enjoy the peace and tranquility this region had to offer. With the vast road network, maps, and easy to navigate wine trails, getting around the area is seamless year round. There are a number of operators in the region that have started their own fully insured taxi or tour business whisking tourists from one attraction to another. If you are planning a day of visits to wineries, it is wise to choose a reputable and qualified transportation provider who will be able to showcase the best that the region has to offer but also get you home safely without the need of a designated driver. That way everyone can enjoy their time in the Finger Lakes region. The scenery alone offers a different experience with each passing season. After sampling the diverse array of activities that the region has to offer, there is no doubt that you will be coming back for more.