History & Adventure Travel Guide: 48 Hours In The Finger Lakes
New York’s fabled wine country is home to more than 100 wineries, beer and wine trails, plus astonishing scenery. This pristine section of New York State also features world-class museums, extraordinary nightlife options and acclaimed restaurants to explore. You may decide not to pack it all into one weekend, but here’s a good jump-off point to get you started in your planning.
Saturday – 11 a.m.
Dine and Learn
Enjoy an extraordinary brunch experience at the Upstairs Bistro in the New York Wine & Culinary Center. When your tummy’s full, explore the history of New York’s wine, food and agriculture industries. Located on the scenic shores of Canandaigua Lake, The Center offers a vast array of experiential explorations into the world of New York’s flora, fauna and grapes.
Saturday – 2 p.m.
Make Like a Royal
Just 20 minutes away is fabled Belhurst Castle, a magnificent, historic stone structure overlooking Seneca Lake. This former, private residence currently offers sumptuous lodging accommodations and a pampering spa and is also home to one of the region’s most celebrated wineries. Known for its rieslings, the winery offers educational tours and exciting special events.
Saturday – 4 p.m.
Get Your Glass On
A one-hour drive through the countryside takes you to the Corning Museum of Glass. A world-class art museum, Corning houses a vast collection of magnificent glass spanning 35 centuries, from artifacts dating back 3,500 years and modern sculptures. A must-see is the Frederick Carder Gallery, featuring production glassware designed by the artist. Also on display are Frank Lloyd Wright windows, floor-to-ceiling Tiffany pieces and the magnificent pink Chihuly chandelier. Interactive visits include a glass-blowing show. Museum admission is valid for two days, so if you don’t see everything or make it into the amazing gift shop, pop back in on Sunday. You can also buy a museum admission package which includes the Rockwell Museum of Western Art, accessible by a complimentary bus, and learn about the Native American tribes and cowboys who populated the area centuries ago.
Saturday - 8 p.m.
End Your Day with Good Eats and Good Music
Fall into a nearby restaurant, like the Market Street Brewing Company, for an easy-going atmosphere, yummy food and a wide range of seasonal beer and ale choices. If you still have energy to burn, take in one of the local music clubs like grunge den Bug Jar or the Water Street Music Hall.
Sunday – 10 a.m.
Don’t Forget Your Hiking Boots
Grab breakfast on the fly and enjoy a day in the great outdoors on the Finger Lakes Beer Trail. Celebrating the history of craft beer making in the region, these 5.5-hour tours include a variety of itineraries to choose from, such as the Seneca Lake Loop or the Ithaca Area. All include multiple brewery stops and scenic views. If wine is your cup of tea, consider the Seneca Lake Wine Trail tour instead, featuring a magnificent lakeside experience, wine and food pairings, and comprehensive information about wine growing and its fascinating history in the region.
Sunday – 4 p.m.
Enjoy Doing It Yourself
If you wish to take matters into your own hands, make a quick visit to the Fulkerson Home Winemaking and Brew Shop, where you can pick up everything you need to enjoy winemaking at home. Located at the Fulkerson Winery, the shop also features wine and grape juice tastings.
Sunday – 7 p.m.
Fall into Luxury
Enjoy an elegant meal, featuring locally grown food and regional cuisine at the legendary Veraisons Restaurant, located in nearby Glenora Wine Cellars. Reservations are recommended, particularly if you wish to enjoy the scented night air on the terrace.
Corey Whelan is a freelance writer in New York. Her work can be found at Examiner.com.