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See New York’s Finger Lake’s Like A Local With This Top 5 List

With the last name Schuyler, its fun to have a lake house in a county with the same name. My in-laws have been vacationing in Upstate New York for over 50 years now, so no research was required to see the Finger Lakes like a local. The first time we visited the lake house, we drove, which took 20 hours and is a completely different story. 

The story today is about the top 5 things to do when visiting the Finger Lakes. Believe me, there is a million other fun activities to occupy your time at the Finger Lakes, but these 5 are a great start. 

1.Sailing on Seneca Lake

True Love Sailing on Seneca Lake

You do not have to know how to sail to enjoy sailing on Lake Seneca. The “True Love” schooner excursion out of Watkins Glen has many options, all include snacks and a few that include adult beverages. The Sunset Sail is by far my favorite and allows you to take some beautiful shots of the area. With two hours on board there is plenty of time to enjoy the wind in your hair and time with loved ones.

2. Belhurst Castle

Belhurst Castle Finger Lakes

Belhurst Castle has it all, great accommodations, two restaurants, spa, winery and cute gift shop. That being said, the best part of the castle is the surrounding property that overlooks the lake. With quaint tree swings and fire pits surrounded by comfy Adirondack chairs, this is a great place to sit back and relax. Grab a chair and a glass of local wine and enjoy the view.

Once you are done sipping your wine, take a stroll through the gift shop. There is wine, gourmet snacks, art, and tons of other unique items to choose from. The best part is that all items in the shop are made by locals, with local products. You will not find the usual cheesy gift shop items here, so make sure to check it out.

3. Enjoy the Waterfalls at Watkins Glen State ParkWatkins Glen State Park

Watkins Glen State Park is the most famous of the Finger Lakes State Parks, with a reputation for leaving visitors spellbound. With two miles of trails, the glen’s stream descends 400 feet and is home to 19 waterfalls. The gorge path winds over and under waterfalls and through the spray of Cavern Cascade.

Local tip to make your trip easier: take the tram up to the top of the glen and then just walk down. You’ll have to pay a couple of bucks, but believe me, it’s worth it.

4. Make Your Own Glass at Corning

Making your own glass is such a unique experience and once in a life time event, unless you plan on going to Venice sometime soon. With so many options to choose from, this is an activity the whole family will enjoy. Projects include things like fusing glass to make frames, jewelry and clocks, however if you are up for an adventure, glassblowing a flower or sculpture is by far the most fun you can have at a museum.

While at Corning Museum of Glass, you must explore the galleries and appreciate the centuries of glass art Take the time to watch master glassblowers give live glass blowing demonstrations. You will also want to discover the glass innovation center and receive hands on learning about world changing innovations involving glass. No trip would be complete without a trip to this one of a kind gift shop. The glass art you will find here is magnificent and unique. This is a must see while visiting the Finger Lakes region.

5. Glenora Wine Cellars

Glenora Wine Cellar

The Finger Lakes have more than 100 wineries and is the second largest wine producing region in the United States, behind California. Because the vineyards are located within the microclimate of the 11 lakes, a magnificent growing condition is created and is ideal for a multitude of grape varietals. With everything from Riesling, fantastic whites, and award winning reds, everyone can find something they love on a wine trail. If you have all day, explore one of the four wine trails available: Cayuga Lake Wine Trail, Seneca Lake Wine TrailKeuka Lake Wine Trail and Canandaigua Wine Trail.

If you can only stop in at one winery however, I suggest the Glenora Wine Cellars, the first winery to be located on Seneca Lake. With events, tastings and tours offered year around, this wine experience is sure to be a winner. If you have the time, make a reservation for the Chocolate and Wine Experience, the unique wine and food pairing is worth the $15. If someone in your group is not into wine, the cellar just started producing hard cider as well.


That is my top 5. What do you think? Did I miss something? I would love to hear from you, so leave a comment below.

Like A Local Traveler

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