Northeast Travel Series: Get to Know the Finger Lakes | Travel

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Reinvent tourism in the Finger Lakes! This summer, you can still find plenty of safe and exciting things to do in Cayuga, Onondaga, and Seneca counties. From exploring scenic drives to visiting award-winning wineries, here’s how you can have fun in the Finger Lakes:

Satisfy your sweet tooth

The family Finger Lakes Treat Trail is all about the unique sweets and treats Cayuga County has to offer. The 20 stops along the trail include bakeries, farms, shops, ice cream parlors, U-pick orchards, restaurants and cafes, all offering locally grown or produced treats.

Friday: Start at the New Hope Mills Store & Café for breakfast, then head to Owen Orchards or Smokey Hollow Maple Syrup and pick up some goodies to top off the best pancake mix around. Later, refresh with an authentic old-world snack at Muzzi’s D’Italia Ice and enjoy a scenic drive to Fair Haven. There you can pick up cookies at Fly-By-Night Cookie Co. and visit a miniature museum for some local history. Finally, continue the fun with a late lunch at Octane Social House in Auburn.

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Saturday: Meet at Susan’s Servings in Union Springs for breakfast and stroll through nearby Frontenac Park to enjoy a family picnic. Back in Auburn, pick up extra large cookies in a variety of flavors at XL Cookie Company and enjoy exquisite coffee and chocolates at Gretchen’s Confections. Then, park downtown in the garage and shop at Taste NY Market at the NYS Equal Rights Heritage Center. Then you can also head to Exchange Street and enjoy a fresh lunch at Café 108, followed by seasonal local produce and pies at Morgan’s Half Acre Produce. Finally, end your evening just around the corner with an American-style dinner and homemade ice cream at Reese’s Dairy Bar.

Sunday: A hearty breakfast at Dugan’s Country Grill awaits, so bring your appetite! Call Standing Stone Honey Bee Products to arrange pickup at their home or find their handcrafted wax and honey products at local markets or at the Farmers’ Depot at Fingerlakes Mall. Stop at the King Ferry Corner Store to fuel up for the day’s adventure. They also have local crafts here and a rotating lunch menu. Revisit scenic Route 90 as you head north to the Aurora Village Market and grab roadside snacks or another lunch option. Admire the regional beauty on your way to Rudolph’s Ice Cream. Or buy personalized cookies at Moonflower Macarons. End your weekend at Strawberry Fields Hydroponic Farm. The whole family will have fun picking strawberries, browsing the maze of sunflowers or buying charming gifts and handmade bouquets.

Tip: Look for the Finger Lakes Culinary Bounty logo when traveling in the area. This lets you know that participating restaurants and chefs are using the freshest, highest quality produce from local farms.

Lift your spirits!

Have you always dreamed of taking a wine tour of the Finger Lakes? The area offers more than a dozen upscale wineries and several wine routes that run along the shores of five different lakes.

Wrapping around Cayuga Lake in the heart of the Finger Lakes region, the Cayuga Lake Wine Trail offers a unique blend of award-winning wines, scenic views and local restaurants. Established in 1983, the Cayuga Lake Wine Trail is America’s first and oldest organized wine trail. Le Sentier is open year-round and includes 16 wineries, as well as a cider house, distilleries, and even a mead house. Many wineries also offer New York State beer by the bottle or on tap.

The Lake Ontario Wine Route runs along the southern shore of Lake Ontario and is home to wineries, distilleries and cider houses. The Trail also includes unique bed and breakfasts, restaurants, farmers’ markets and shops for a complete Lake Ontario experience. Fun events take place throughout the year, from ‘Roll out the Barrels’ in April to ‘Christmas around the World’ in December.

Cayuga County is also close to all of the other famous Finger Lakes wine trails, including Seneca Lake Wine Trail, Keuka Lake Wine Route and Canandaigua Wine Route. Each is only a short day’s journey away!

And don’t forget to stop by the local breweries and cider houses! The Finger Lakes Beer Trail has over 100 craft breweries and stretches approximately 200 miles through central New York. It’s a great way to experience all the flavor of the Finger Lakes!

Explore “The Hometown of History”

History lovers, prepare to be amazed! Marvel at the Tiffany-designed stained glass windows in the Willard Memorial Chapel, and learn where Harriet Tubman settled after her many journeys to rescue slaves on the Underground Railroad. Next, stop at the Seward House Museum, the former home of William H. Seward, best known for his role in the Alaska Purchase. Tip: head to the new Heritage Center for Equal Rights to see interactive exhibits that highlight the state’s long history of equal rights.

Or head to Seneca Falls and visit the best rides celebrating the suffrage movement. Howland Stone Store Museum is in the historic Sherwood Equal Rights neighborhood and features quirky posters about women’s suffrage. While in the neighborhood, be sure to visit Opendore, the home of Emily Howland, who was known for her contributions to education, women’s rights, and abolition. Both properties are listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

make waves

Lake Ontario is one of the five Great Lakes in the United States and we are fortunate to have a portion of it on the northern border of Cayuga County. Cayuga County’s parks, lakes, and trails offer great opportunities for hiking, biking, boating, fishing, or just taking in the scenery.

Fair Haven Beach State Park offers cabins as well as campsites for RVs or tents. Or for a day trip, pay a moderate entrance fee to park near the water. A beautiful sandy beach with a supervised swimming area is the ideal place for swimming. On-site boat rentals include rowboats, paddle boats, canoes, and kayaks for use on the Sterling Pond inland waterway. Would you believe that there is also an 18-hole golf course in the park? Share a picnic together or visit one of the restaurants in the village for a great meal at home.

For a captivating appreciation of nature, visit the nearby Sterling Nature Center. Here you’ll find maintained trails, some leading to a rocky beach bordering Lake Ontario – another desirable spot to launch your own small watercraft, while other trails will lift you to the top of glacier-carved chimney cliffs. These higher elevations provide an ideal location to fly a kite and take in views stretching for miles across the water.

If you’re looking for a high-octane adventure, try your hand at Great Lakes fishing on Lake Ontario via Little Sodus Bay. Lake Ontario is known as a world-class fishery, with the largest Great Lakes king salmon ever recorded. Live the adventure and have a good time for the whole family!

Review Art and Entertainment

Cayuga County is the entertainment center of the Finger Lakes region. Whether it’s theatre, dance, shows or the music you love, you’ll find it all here. Enjoy plays, comedy, dance, film and music at Auburn Public Theatre, the arts center of downtown Auburn. The Finger Lakes Musical Theater Festival brings professional musical theater to the Finger Lakes all summer and the New York Dance Festival brings world-class dance to the area each July.

If the visual arts inspire and intrigue you, visit the Schweinfurth Art Center for contemporary exhibitions on fine art, architecture and design or attend an art class and create your own works of art! Spend the day exploring Wells College, located in the quaint village of Aurora, this liberal arts college offers a variety of events and self-guided tours. Explore their historic campus and enjoy art exhibits, special programs, guest lectures and more.

Plan a shopping spree

Do some shopping at nearby Waterloo Premium Outlets, the historic villages of Aurora and Skaneateles, or the Destiny USA mega-mall.

Content provided by the Cayuga County Tourist Board. Visit www.tourcayuga.com to find a comprehensive list of all there is to see and do in the area.

If you are currently in the destination or planning future trips, we strongly advise you to contact the company and/or organization directly for the most up-to-date information.

Presented by: Presenting Sponsor Oswego County Tourism and the rest of the Northeast Travel Series 2022 sponsors.

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