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Going to Fingerlakes for 2 nights from NYC. Need help!

New York City, New...
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Going to Fingerlakes for 2 nights from NYC. Need help!

Hi all.

My date interest (or maybe you can call it "boyfriend") and I are planning a trip to the Fingerlakes region from 3/24-3/26. These dates are from a Sunday through Tuesday. We will be leaving by car early Sunday morning from Manhattan.

We both have never been to Fingerlakes and are huge wine fans. Although we want to visit some well-known wineries, we wouldn't mind a couple hours of recommended hiking/outdoor activities. I would like to know the MUST SEE's and MUST Do's. Any suggestions anyone?

I don't know where to start so ANY imput would be greatly appreciated! Thanks so much in advance!

New Jersey
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1. Re: Going to Fingerlakes for 2 nights from NYC. Need help!

Hello from another wine lover and frequent Finger Lakes visitor. I’ll try to briefly sum up things and if you have more specific questions, please ask. Because it is a cool climate, whites, and in particular, Rieslings, are usually the best wines. Some red vinifera wines are gaining in stature, with Cab Franc and Pinot Noir being your best bet, but still a work in process.

The highest concentration of good wineries are found on Seneca Lake, particularly the eastern shore, where around Lodi and Hector there is even a good climate for reds (locally know as the “Banana Belt”).

Here I would recommend Damiani, Bloomer Creek, Shalestone, Lamoreaux Landing, Red Newt and Atwater, with others worth trying as well. This side of the lake also is rare in that it has several good places to eat, which can be hard to find outside of Ithaca. Look for Red Newt Café, Dano’s, Stonecat and Suzanne’s (upscale, dinner only). There are some good wineries on the West side as well, with Hermann Wiemer being one of the best in the FL, and some others e.g. Anthony Road or Shaw, doing good things.

Keuka is probably the most scenic lake, and for me the must visits on that lake are Ravines, Dr. Frank and Keuka Lake Vineyards (a newish place doing great stuff). Cayuga Lake also has a few worthy places to visit: Sheldrake Point, Hosmer on the west side and Heart & Hands on the east (isolated, but great wines). Ithaca is a nice town if you want something to do at night and there are state parks nearby (e.g. Buttermilk Falls) where you could take a hike. Trumansburg is a well located little town with some nice B&Bs if you want something more rural.

It is a good move to avoid the tasting rooms on Saturday or Sunday, although it shouldn’t be such an issue in March. Some places may be closed on Mondays, so plan ahead here. Most of the wineries I’ve mentioned have websites that you can check for details.

Edited: 05 March 2013, 16:24
New York City, New...
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2. Re: Going to Fingerlakes for 2 nights from NYC. Need help!

NewJerseyCycle thanks for your thorough recs, greatly appreciated:)

I have done some fundamental research this morning and here is my proposed itinerary, what do you think... is it doable?

3/24 Sunday- Wake up 8am, leave NYC by 9am. Arrive Penn Yan/Seneca around 2-3pm, check into hotel. Have late lunch (if haven't eaten along the way). Visit some wineries in Seneca area (need to check daily hours/closing time). Have dinner, Sleep.

3/25 Monday- Wake up early. Have breakfast, then head towards Watkins Glenn State Park to do some light scenic hiking. Have lunch there then head to wineries along Keuka Lake or Seneca Lake. Dinner, then sleep.

3/26 Tues- Sleep in a little. Have breakfast, head to Ithaca and drive along the wine trail along Cayuga Lake OR drive to Canandaigua Lake (some people claim it is the "Most beautiful lake in the Fingerlakes region and Home of Fingerlakes wine and Culinary Center"). Tour the area (whichever area we decide to visit) until 3-4pm then head home and arrive NYC around 10-11pm.

What do you recommend for us to do on the last day? We are trying to decide if we should visit Ithaca (but you say that the nightlife is better there then "day-life"?) or Canandaigua. How long is the drive to Ithaca and how long is it to Canandaigua Lake?

Which do you think is "better" in your opinion, for 2 people in their 30s?

Thank you so much.

New Jersey
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3. Re: Going to Fingerlakes for 2 nights from NYC. Need help!

Here are a few thoughts on your proposed itinerary (looks like you have a place in Penn Yan?):

Sunday – Take Rt. 80 west through NJ into PA and then Rt. 380 N, joining Rt. 81 around Scranton. Keep on 81 until you reach the Binghamton area. Here you can go west on Rt. 17 to Owego, and then take Rt. 96/96B north to Ithaca. Or you can stay on Rt. 81 past Binghamton to the Whitney Point exit, get on Rt. 79 north and follow it to Ithaca – either of these routes are about the same, time and mileage wise.

I would probably eat lunch in or around Ithaca before continuing on, following Rt. 79 west out of Ithaca towards Watkins Glen. Once you reach Seneca Lake, you could go north a few miles north on Rt. 414 to have lunch at Stonecat Café or Red Newt. Otherwise, proceed into Watkins Glen (no good places to eat, AFAIK) and take Rt. 14 north along the west side of Seneca. If I were doing this, I’d stop at a few wineries along here (or on the other side, if you had lunch over there), probably Wiemer and another. The tasting rooms close at 5 or 6, so you would be driving right by some good wineries just to get to Penn Yan by 3 pm. Just follow Rt. 14 north to Rt. 54 to reach Penn Yan. Aside from a little Mexican place, Penn Yan doesn’t have too many good places to eat, outside of diner/fast food.

Monday – A walk through the gorge at Watkins Glen is worth doing. You will be well positioned to visit wineries on either lake. If you have run out of eating spots in Penn Yan, you could nip up to Geneva, which has some better (but not great) options .

Tuesday – I would skip Canandaigua Lake on a three day visit. Nice lake but mostly private cottages/homes and the town isn’t up to much, IMO. I didn’t mean to slight Ithaca in the daytime, just that they roll up the sidewalks in some of the other towns. If you fancy some more hiking, you can try Treman or Taughannok (another gorge) State parks. I’d probably hit some wineries on Seneca or Cayuga, maybe have a walk and then poke around Ithaca before heading back. The Ithaca brewery makes some good beers and has a tasting room, if you’d like a change from wine.

Naples, New York
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4. Re: Going to Fingerlakes for 2 nights from NYC. Need help!

Here is a good place...

http://www.naplesvalleyny.com/

Vestal, New York
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5. Re: Going to Fingerlakes for 2 nights from NYC. Need help!

You won't be able to hike in the gorge at Watkins Glen as it is closed and doesn't usually open until around Memorial Day. The same can be said for the gorges in Ithaca. A good walk near Ithaca is along the creek to the waterfall at Taughannock State Park.

I'd personally focus on Ithaca and the Cayuga Lake wineries on a short visit. Ithaca also holds more to interest 30-somethings than towns like Watkins Glen, Geneva or Penn Yan.

New York City, New...
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6. Re: Going to Fingerlakes for 2 nights from NYC. Need help!

Thank you all, for you recommendations. I truly appreciate all your help and will use it for our trip!

7. Re: Going to Fingerlakes for 2 nights from NYC. Need help!

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