On Finger Lakes

Smooth as glass

Seneca Lake smooth as glass at Watkins Glen

Last fall we spent some time in New York’s Finger Lakes region. Given May was Finger Lakes Wine Month, thus I missed the perfect chance to look back. Oh well, better late than never

The Finger Lakes region is in central New York, far from the hustle and bustle of New York City. On the map, there are a series of long, narrow, parallel lakes looking like fingers, which are actually very deep.


For many years I’ve heard of people vacationing to the Finger Lakes region – but the urge to go never overwhelmed us enough to act on a trip. Given last year’s change of address, 2014 turned out to be a good time for a driving vacation.

As people who enjoy the fruit of the vine, wine was our primary focus. Although known for many years for its sweet, low-cost wines, todays Finger Lakes winemakers produce very respectable wines.

View from Dr. Frank's

View from Dr. Frank’s

Anyone expecting hardy reds will be (for the most part) disappointed. Reds as Cabernet Franc and some blends are good, but far from the deep, rich reds from California or Washington.

Riesling is king of grape in the region. Although I prefer a wide variety of red wines, Rieslings have captured my attention for a long time. Similar to their Germans and the French Alsatian counterparts, Finger Lake winemakers produce Riesling in a variety of styles, which range in sweetness and dryness.

Most tasting rooms have a small fee ($3-5) for a series of wines. To me, the following wineries were exceptional (lake name in parentheses)
Domaine LeSeurre (Keuka)
Dr. Frank Konstantin (Keuka)
Herman Wiemer (Seneca)
Lamoreaux Landing (Seneca)
Ravines (Seneca)
Thirsty Owl (Cayuga)

Towns as Watkins Glen, Hammondsport, Seneca Falls, and others are small, but large enough to have restaurants, small hotels, and bed & breakfast inns. Besides wineries, the region also includes state parks, hiking trails, local artisans, and museums.


Taughannock falls


Ithaca is one the region’s largest cities (30,000+), and is home to Cornell University. Because one of my Bucket List oddities is to visit all the Ivy League universities, we enjoyed the campus, the botanical gardens, and arboretum.

3 daily bell concerts at the famed Cornell tower

3 daily bell concerts at the famed Cornell tower


Visitors Center at the Cornell Botanical Gardens

Visitors Center at the Cornell Botanical Gardens


Corning (population 11,000+) is less than an hour away, and home to the Corning Museum of Glass. Our original itinerary didn’t include a stop, but to me, this was the biggest surprise of our trip. Simply fabulous!

Corning Museum of Glass

Corning Museum of Glass

A masterpiece by Tiffany at the Corning Museum of Glass

A masterpiece by Tiffany at the Corning Museum of Glass

For readers in the northeastern US and eastern Canada, the Finger Lakes region is a worthwhile destination – so, consider it.

Useful References
Finger Lakes Wine
Cayuga Wine Trail
Seneca Wine Trail
Keuka Wine Trail
Cornell University Botanical Gardens
Corning Museum of Glass