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Flying into Finger Lakes

Atlanta, Georgia
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95 posts
32 reviews
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Flying into Finger Lakes

We're planning a girl's trip (50 yr. old+) to the FL region in early Oct. Delta has a direct flight from Atl to ELM. Would that be the best place to fly into, rent a car, and begin our journey? Or should we fly into another city and rent? We're interested in the beautiful scenery, some touring and shopping. The wine regions are not highest on our list, but certainly will want to visit & sample! Suggestions for an itinerary for the 4-5 days we'll be in the region early Oct? Thanks so much!

Vestal, New York
Destination Expert
for Auburn, Finger Lakes
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1. Re: Flying into Finger Lakes

Since all the places to fly into (Syracuse, Ithaca, Elmira/Corning) are relatively near each other, you should go with Elmira/Corning if that's the best price then rent a car and check out the nearby lakes. This would put you nearest Seneca Lake. Flying into Syracuse would put you closest to Skaneateles, flying into Ithaca would put you closest to Cayuga. Elmira/Corning would be the closest to the western lakes (Keuka and Canandaigua) but you really aren't too far from any of the lakes from any of these landing points.

It's difficult for me to recommend one lake over another as they are all beautiful. I recommend Ithaca as a city to perhaps base yourself as I feel it has the best overall choice of amenities. There is a great weekend farmers market there. There is an outlet mall near Waterloo near the northern end of Cayuga and a farm/craft market (the "Windmill") near Penn Yan (north end of Keuka Lake).

I recommend visits to Watkins Glen State Park (south end of Seneca Lake), Corning Glass Center (Corning) and the three Ithaca state parks (Taughannock, Buttermilk and Robert Treman).

Enjoy your visit!

Atlanta, Georgia
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95 posts
32 reviews
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2. Re: Flying into Finger Lakes

This is a tremendous help to me! It's such a big region that I don't know where to begin, even with all the reading I've done. I can't wait to see in person what all I've been reading about.

Atlanta, Georgia
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95 posts
32 reviews
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3. Re: Flying into Finger Lakes

Are the 4 lakes all close enough we'll be able to drive to and visit the surroundings in the 4-5 days we are there, or should we concentrate on 2? I didn't know if we should make reservations in two different locations, or have just one home base and travel from there.

Auburn, New York
12 posts
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4. Re: Flying into Finger Lakes

Be sure to make Cayuga County one of your stops. The city of Auburn is home to incredible museums & cultural sites. Visit the Seward House Museum, Harriet Tubman Home, Cayuga Museum & Ted Case Research Lab - the birthplace of talking films, Louis Tiffany designed Willard Chapel & Schweinfurth Memorial Art Center. Take in a show at our downtown Auburn Public Theater. And don't miss the MacKenzie-Childs factory store and house tour in Aurora. Our county is also home to fabulous restaurants, wineries, & award winning accommodations. Check out our web site at tourcayuga.com.

Lodi, New York
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711 posts
18 reviews
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5. Re: Flying into Finger Lakes

There actually 11 Finger Lakes! If you stay anywhere around the two largest (Seneca and Cayuga) you can easily visit several to either side though. I am partial to Ithaca because of its central location and proximity to so many state parks and wineries.

Rochester, New York
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22 posts
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6. Re: Flying into Finger Lakes

Since you're flying into Elmira, you might want to consider visiting the Corning Museum of Glass while you're right near there.

Ithaca would be a terrific base, although I'd caution you to check to see what events might be going on at Ithaca College and Cornell during that time frame [homecoming, football games, etc.].

I'm partial to Keuka Lake, and it has lots of wineries to visit, although there's "more to do" in Ithaca. I'd think you'd want to choose two of the lakes, unless you want to do a lot of driving. Seneca and Cayuga are very long lakes; Keuka is a bit more manageable, at about 20 miles between Penn Yan and Hammondsport or H'port and Branchport. Keuka will be closer to Elmira, for leaving/arriving. It's going to be two-lane roads driving around and between the lakes, although the NYS Thruway goes along the northern ends of the lakes [more or less] and 86/17 goes along the southern ends, again, more or less.

Atlanta, Georgia
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95 posts
32 reviews
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7. Re: Flying into Finger Lakes

Thanks for your advice. I can tell from my reading there's soooo much to see and do, but I'm glad to have experts like you leading me in the right direction

Binghamton, NY
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152 posts
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8. Re: Flying into Finger Lakes

I agree that Ithaca has the most to see and do, and I'd also recommend it as a base, depending on college activities at that time. There are so many parks, waterfalls, wineries, shopping, etc. there. It really is a beautiful area, although all of the Finger Lakes are truly wonderful.

Atlanta, Georgia
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95 posts
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9. Re: Flying into Finger Lakes

Thanks so much! I believe Ithaca will be our base from what each of you have said. The trip is coming together. I can't wait!

Seneca Falls, New...
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210 posts
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10. Re: Flying into Finger Lakes

It might not be a bad idea to plan a stay in Ithaca for 2 days, and then elsewhere for 2 other days. Somewhere like Seneca Falls or Canandaigua, they are both cute towns. I live in Seneca Falls and there isn't a whole lot to do, but it is very conveniently located. Canandaigua is a little more scenic with many little shops and restaurants to check out. Canandaigua lake is right there too.