April 10, 2019 by: Debbie Meritsky and Marc Rotman
First time in the Finger Lakes?
It’s right there in the name of the region. Lakes. It is most definitely all about the lakes. Our magnificent, glacially formed lakes have a lot to do with everything that’s happening here. After the last Ice Age, the receding glaciers carved huge gouges in the terrain, creating not only the lakes, but also all of the surrounding gorges, ravines and waterfalls. This spectacular geology has attracted visitors from far and wide for more than 100 years.
The four larger lakes, Canandaigua, Keuka, Seneca, and Cayuga, with their deep waters, create microclimates on the adjacent hillsides making for ideal conditions to grow grapes. And we all know what that means, delicious wine. Wine has been a major draw for the Finger Lakes region for more than 50 years. With well over 100 wineries spread around the region, accounting for 90% of all NY wine production, the Finger Lakes is New York State’s #1 Wine region, and boasts countless awards and accolades.
We’re not just wine, though. With fairly recent changes in NYS regulations, in the last five years our region has seen an explosion of Craft Breweries and Craft Distilleries as well. It’s starting to seem like all we do is drink around here, isn’t it? That’s not the case (no pun intended). As we talked about in last week’s post, the glacial activity thousands of years ago also provided us with an extensive selection of gorges and waterfalls to hike and explore. In fact, there are enough to keep you busy for a month!
If we get a break from our idyllic weather, and it happens to rain, you have your pick of a wide range of world-class museums, including the Corning Museum of Glass, Johnson Art Museum, Glenn Curtiss Aviation Museum, Finger Lakes Boating Museum, Rockwell Museum of Western Art, the International Motor Racing Research Center, and many more.
Now that the great weather is back, you may want to rent a kayak or powerboat to personally get out on one of the lakes. Or you can take a Sailing or Fishing excursion through one of the many charter outfits that operate on any of several of the lakes. After your time on the water, you will definitely need a snack, and the Finger Lakes is home to a variety of handcrafted Ice Cream spots to satisfy your sweet tooth.
We haven’t even talked about food yet. Throughout the region, you will find an amazing assortment of restaurants and cafes to cater to your cravings. The selection includes Farm to Table offerings, (our favorites), lakeside dining, and lots of great “Continental” cuisine. You may also want to try an original Finger Lakes specialty, Grape Pie.
Throughout the year there are festivals and special events, and in the summer, many of the small villages and towns host live music on their squares every week. It may also surprise you to find an extensive art community here in the region, featuring painters, glass artists, potters, and jewelry-makers. We can guide you to galleries that exclusively feature local artists, and you can visit the individual studios, too. In fact, some of the artists offer “Hands-on” experiences where you can learn how to create artwork all your own. If you prefer something a little older, we have a tremendous collection of antique vendors from stand-alone shops to multi-vendor antique malls. Our favorite is the Ontario Mall Antiques that features 1000 vendors in a clean, well-lit, and well-staffed facility, and for an added bonus, they supply us with discount coupons to offer to our guests.
We have covered a lot of mileage with this scratch-the-surface overview of the Finger Lakes, but we by no means covered it all. Being at the southern end of Keuka Lake, the Black Sheep Inn and Spa is centrally located to everything you want to do in the Finger Lakes, and we have made it easy for you to plan a trip with our sample itinerary that you can review here.
Come on out and have some fun!
Deb and Marc