Finger Lakes Weekend - please advise.
Planning a weekend trip in November, post Thanksgiving, and the Finger Lakes came up as an option as both of are head-over-heels into wine. We are interested in visiting artisinal wineries and will eat just about anything anywhere as long as it's quality (local, organic, thoughtful...). Any recommendations on how to make the most of a weekend stay in the Finger Lakes? Thoughts on accommodations would also be helpful, thanks!
Here is a thought from a Finger Lakes native. DON'T go in November; it is gray and cold - and a lot of operations are closed. On the other hand October can be truly gorgeous. Keuka and Seneca definitely have the best wine trails (Dr. Frank and Hunt Country in Branchport have really good whites.) but there are dozens of small operations and although some of the wines can be terrible, finding the gems is part of the fun. The Wine and Culinary Center in Canadaigua is funded by Wegman's (a Wegman's is like a Fairway and Stew Leonard's rolled into one and is worth a visit in and of itself) and is a first class operation; their tasting room is congenial and the food is decent. The names and recommendations on the other replies and past postings for restaurants like Esperanza near Penn Yan and numerous ones in Ithaca and Skaneateles are all good and accurate. The one restaurant in my opinion which comes to NYC standards for service and food is Henry B's in Seneca Falls. Also the Village Tavern in Hammondsport has decent food with live jazz. Except for the Center, Canandaigua which is one of the nicest towns in the region, is curiously devoid of good (tablecloth) restaurants as is Watkin's Glen. Most hotels in the area are ho hum chains; first class big hotel/resort accomodations are few and far between. Belhurst and the Castle in Geneva are definitely on the recommended list and Esperanza could be. There are a number of decent B&B's especially in Penn Yan and Skaneateles. Although not on a lake, Corning has a decent Raddison and lots of good restaurants as well as the Glass Museum If you are coming from NYC that is a good Friday night entrance into the area.
Hi - I usually just lurk here, but when I saw this topic I figured I would sign-up and reply as my wife and I go up to the Finger Lakes several times a year.
Places to stay:
We always stay at this bed and breakfast:
The two we always hit when we go up there are:
Danos Heuriger on Seneca (really unique
Stonecat Cafe (all regional organic, a number of vegitarian and vegan options
Well, we usually hit a bunch, but some of our favorites are:
- Atwater (www.atwatervineyards.com
)- Leidenfrost (www.leidenfrostwine.com)
- Fox Run (www.foxrunvineyards.com) - their reserver Reisling just got a 93 by Winespectator
- Damiani (damianiwinecellars.com) - some of the best reds
- Hermann J. Wiemer Vineyard (www.wimer.com
- Chateau Renaissance Wine Cellars (www.winesparkle.com) - a ton of different champanges
- McGregor Vineyard Winery (www.mcgregorwinery.com) - also some of the best reds
- Ravines (ravineswinecellars.com
Regarding the weather - it can be a little dicey, but they are usually a bit protected with the hills and the weather isn't as bad as in, say, Buffalo. Most of the wineries are open on the weekends year round, but if you are there during the week at that time you may want to call ahead.
Hope this helps :-)
I don't know of a lot of great restaurants in the Finger Lakes region, but be sure to stop by the New York Wine & Culinary Center.
Also, use the web sites for the Finger Lakes Wine Trails - it is an excellent way to get it all in perspective. (Here is a link, click on the "Wineries & Wine Trails" tab.
For the Canandaigua Wine Trail:
Cayuga Lake Wine Trail:
Keuka Lake Wine Trail:
Seneca Lake Wine Trail:
We liked the Glenora Inn the one time we stayed there.
And, yes, BEWARE THE WEATHER!
I agree. If you really want to enjoy the natural beauty of the Finger Lakes, and have a chance at some decent weather, I'd say to go anytime except November through March. During those 5 months, the sky is generally overcast, with a chance of snow showers each day. But it is a wonderful region with many wineries (usually cheap or free tastings) and good food. The wineries around Seneca are better than the ones around Cayuga, in my opinion.
Disregard that NY Times article - it focuses on just one lake, and even then leaves out what are the true jewels of the Finger Lakes, the wineries around Seneca and Keuka.
This article from a few years back hits on a few of them, along with one of the best restaurants up there, Dano's.
As for which wineries you should visit - it all depends on what you like. Reds? Try Miles, Fox Run, Lamoreau Landing and McGregor. Whites? Dr. Frank's, Bloomer Creek, and Anthony Road. A little of both? Hunt Country, Fulkerson and Atwater.
Be aware, though, that the wineries and restaurants really slow down after Thanksgiving, so you might want to call ahead to make sure you won't arrive to a big "closed" sign.