New York State Finger Lake Region Finger Lakes Reviews
A more affordable and diverse alternative to American wine tasting versus California Jul 11, 2012
Finger Lakes: Home to over 100 vineyards surrounding several pristine glacial lakes, and many quaint villages, hamlets, and small cities.
I am originally from Central New York, and currently maintain a residence near Watkins Glen. There seems to be little information about the Finger Lakes region of New York State on this site, so wanted to provide a few details.
From the "FingerLakes.org" website:
"One of the largest tourism regions in the state, New York’s Finger Lakes covers 9,000 square miles from the southern shore of Lake Ontario to the Pennsylvania border and encompasses 11 parallel lakes spanning the center of New York State like a giant handprint. The most popular lakes located in the Finger Lakes region are: Canandaigua, Cayuga, Conesus, Owasco, Otisco, Honeoye, Keuka, Seneca and Skaneateles. Although each has a name of its own, these thin glacial lakes are most often referred to as a group: the Finger Lakes.
"This region includes two other famous waterways as well—the historic Erie Canal and Lake Ontario, one of America’s five, fresh-water Great Lakes—plus plenty of navigable rivers and more than 1,000 waterfalls.
"From stunning scenery and important historic sites to fertile farmlands and world-class museums, from hundreds of charming villages to exciting urban centers in Rochester and Syracuse, the variety of experiences visitors can enjoy throughout the region is impressive. It is home to more than 100 wineries while offering four-season recreational activities of every description. By car or boat, whether biking or hiking: visitors soon discover that New York’s Finger Lakes can offer the perfect road trip experience and that it is truly 'Splendid from Any Direction!'"
Things to see in while visiting include, Watkins Glen State Park (imagine mines of Moria but outdoors), the town of Skaneateless, the town of Geneva (home to Hobart and Smith College and Belhurst Castle) and the city of Ithaca (home to Cornell University and Ithaca College). All of these towns are right along the shores of the major glacial lakes in the area, so take advantage of water activities. Keep in mind, however, glacial lake = very cold... Even in summer.
Then there are the vineyards. Of the hundred-plus in the region, a few of the vineyards offer consistantly world-class wine. These include: Dr. Konstantin Frank, Heron Hill (Keuka Lake), Hermann J. Wiemer, Hosmer, Lamoreaux Landing, Standing Stone, and Shalestone. Also fun to visit are a few of the larger vineyards like Bully Hill, Glenora, and Wagner (also featuring a micro-brewery), althought the wines can be hit-and-miss. Finger Lakes Distilling NE of Watkins Glen is also worth a visit, but make sure you have a designated driver... The samples are large and potent!
I am happy to answer any questions you may have about travelling to this region as well as provide candid reviews of specific venues. Hope you get the chance to visit the Finger Lakes in the near future. Thanks!
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