I’ve briefly touched upon a trip to the Finger Lakes in my Cayuga Scenic Byway post but have a renewed interest in them after this past weekend. It was my parent’s 30th wedding anniversary last week and my brother, sister and I threw them a surprise party Saturday (sidenote: throwing an actual adult party is much harder than the 2 kegs of keylight shindigs I was used to) so I was back in NEPA Thursday to start making some arrangements. I got home just a little bit before my parents got home from their non-surprise anniversary celebration up at Lake Seneca. As we sat around the kitchen island talking and catching up, they got out a brochure of the Finger Lakes district and within minutes I started formulating plans for at least a day trip in my head.
The Finger Lakes are a series of 11 thin lakes located in upstate New York and are primarily known as the best wine tasting region in the Northeast. There are more than 100 wineries located in the Finger Lakes region. The four biggest lakes are Keuka, Canandaigua, Seneca, and Cayuga, with most of the action centered around Seneca and Cayuga due to their size. Each of these lakes has its own respective wine trail. Cayuga’s is made up of 16 wineries, while Seneca has 32. I’m not a big wino but standouts seem to be the Swedish Hill Winery which has won all sorts of awards (and has a Lake Placid location) and Hazlitt Winery, which produces Red Cat, which seems to be the go-to for anyone from NEPA resident who visits.
If I were to simply go from what I see on my Facebook feed (which, luckily I don’t) the Finger Lakes is the number one destination of NEPA bachelorette parties, and while not completely true, it is a popular day trip for groups of women. My parents talked to a number of people at wineries who said that in order to pander to males and a younger population, a number of wineries are adding distilleries and breweries. Finger Lakes Distilling, the only stand alone distillery is located near Seneca Lake, while Bellwether Hard Cider is the only cider distillery and located on the western shore of Lake Cayuga. If wine, beer and cider aren’t your thing, there’s a Finger Lake Cheese Trail and a Desert Trail. The Finger Lakes are a gorgeous area that also have a lot of hiking (see my Cayuga byway post) as well as water sports and the town of Ithaca (on the south tip of Lake Cayuga) is worth checking out.
I hope to go up there this week to hike Taughannock Falls, do some paddleboarding, definitely try some cider and see how many breweries we can hit.