Monday, October 22, 2007

Winter in the Finger Lakes

While the winter may seem dull, the Finger Lakes region has something to do even through those cold, dreary months. The eleven lakes are located to the west of Syracuse and there is something to do for every member of the family.

This area produces New York’s largest amount of wine. Canandaigua Lake, Keuka Lake and Cayuga Lake all have wineries, but Seneca Lake has the most with about 54. The Seneca Lake Wine Trails don’t just close up when the weather gets chilly – they are open year round. The Deck the Halls Second Weekend is one of the more popular events and takes place on December 1 and 2. During this event several wineries, including Fox Run Vineyards and Amberg Wine Cellars, will sell limited edition wine labels that reflect the events theme song “The Twelve Wine Days of Christmas.”

Winter events at Seneca Lake don’t stop there. On February 10 and 11 there is a Valentine’s Day inspired event called Chocolate and Wine. Perfect for couples, this event’s name says it all – enjoy different types of chocolate and wine over two days for only $25 each.

Cayuga Lake also has wine events through the seasons. Mardi Gras at the Wineries on February 2 is on Super Bowl weekend. King Ferry and Long Point Wineries give away Mardi Gras masks and beads. Best of all, for only $20 guests get a food and wine sample at all 16 wineries.

Even Canandaigua Lake is even getting in on the cold weather activities. Night skiing begins at the Bristol Mountain Resort on December 7. Also, Light Up Canandaigua!, December 13-14 is good for the whole family. Touring houses and businesses compete for the best holiday displays and people can tour this area from the warmth of a tour bus – for free.

New York’s Wine and Culinary Center is a good way to combine wine and gourmet food. Located right off the lake, visitors can taste a sample of wines, attend a cooking class, or just indulge in good food upstairs in the restaurant. The good thing about this place is all of this can be enjoyed even when the snow is falling.

Wineries are not the only places to be enjoyed at the Finger Lakes. Sometimes relaxing is just as good - and, anyone coming to this area needs a place to eat and stay. The Snug Harbor Restaurant and Inn on Keuka Lake is open year round and lives up to its name – it really does look snug and that's a good thing in the winter. There’s live music through the weekend. All 3 dining rooms offer a panoramic view of the lake. The menu offers wintertime favorites like four cheese fondue, roasted pumpkin bisque and potato gnocchi.

Rogue’s Harbor Inn on Cayuga Lake is an elegant and historic place to stay and eat. Rogue’s has provided lodging since 1830 and still has a lot of the original woodwork and pressed tin ceilings. Also, this Inn was once connected to the Underground Railroad. The food in the restaurant is varied and offers a lot of hearty, winter foods such as apple onion chicken, balsamic duck and wild berry cobbler.

If you love great movies and lakes, then the Gone With the Wind Bed and Breakfast on Keuka Lake in Branchport is probably a good place to stay. Rooms are named after characters associated with the movie, like the “Bonnie Blue room,” “Melanie and Ashley’s room,” and “Rhett and Scarlett’s Hideaway.” In the “O’Hara room”, the hot tub is painted “Irish green.” Located on 14 acres, the Inn is so popular that the owners had to build an additional building to house all of the guests.

The Bristol Harbour Resort on Canandaigua Lake is an Adirondack style Inn. While this lodge is open all year, during the off-season guests can get up large discounts – up to 30% off with dinner vouchers. During the winter might actually be the best time to go here because all rooms feature a view of the lake, a fireplace and heated bathroom floors. The resort also offers ski and stay and cross country packages.

One of the more popular places to visit in the Finger Lakes is the village of Skaneateles on Skaneateles Lake. On Saturdays and Sundays all through December, there is the Dicken’s Christmas. This takes people back to the old days of carriage rides and hot chestnuts from street vendors. There is an interactive street theater, bagpipers and holiday sing-a-longs. The best part is all the free stuff – hot chocolate, carriage rides, cider donuts and Mother Goose reading children’s stories.

When all of the holiday festivities are over in Skaneateles, there is still a lot to do inside. Eating, relaxing and shopping are all good options to being outside in the cold winter months. Imagine is a store that offers an eclectic mixture of handmade gifts, like kaleidoscopes, blown glass vases and gemstone rings. But, if you have kids, the Teddy Bear Nursery might be more up you alley. Kids can hand stuff their own doll or teddy bear and custom make them – right down to the name on their new plaything’s birth certificate.

After all that shopping, people just want to relax. In comes the Mirbeau Inn and Spa. Relax in a guest room or private cottage with a fireplace and soak-in tub. Or while waiting to receive a spa treatment – soak your feet in a massaging pool, take a dip in a mineral salt bath or relax in a steam bath. This isn’t just for women either. The Mirbeau is rated high on the AAA Most Romantic list. There is also a restaurant here called Giverny and is styled in a Provencal French countryside theme. A lot of the items on the menu are organic and fresh.

The Finger Lakes region is diverse in nature. So pretty much wherever the Finger Lakes may take you, there is always something to do snow or shine.

1 comment:

Chelsea Pizzi said...


Your story was easy and fun to read. Every paragraph was a new idea. It was very organized, but, you still kept it creative!

I learned something within the first sentence--I did not know there are 11 Finger Lakes!

You used very conversational writing, especially when you were talking about one of the inn's being "snug." I was able to really feel what the inn would be like.

I am actually going to stay at a B&B at the Finger Lakes in May, and I am now thinking about making a reservation at the Gone With the Wind Bed & Breakfast. I love that movie and I'm sure I will love the inn, too! I am also making a mental note to visit the New York Wine & Culinary Center.

You were very good with describing each destination in the second sentence. I didn't have to wait to read about each place/event. I really enjoyed that aspect of your story.

There are only a few things that are questionable:
-The first sentence in the second paragraph about the Finger Lakes region being the largest producer of wine, I am now wondering what other areas of the state produce wine, if any.
-The number 3 should be spelled out.

Overall, I think you approached and handled this story very well. You were able to take a great amount of information and concentrate on the most important/interesting aspects. You used great pictures. I especially like the picture of the two people dressed like Dickens' characters walking down the road. I am going to reference your story when I plan my long weekend in the Finger Lakes! Thanks!