If you take a look through the New York section of canadiantraveller.com, you'll notice we love talking about the Finger Lakes region. It's a comfortable enough driving distance from the GTA to achieve proper getaway status and once you arrive you'll enjoy laid-back vacation vibes. But that's not to say there isn't much to do but kick your feet up. With a bevvy of varied activities and attractions, how hard or unhurried you adventure is up to you.
New York Kitchen | VisitFingerLakes.com
Begin your explorations of the Finger Lakes region with a stop at New York Kitchen. This nonprofit seeks to introduce visitors to the edible bounty of New York State. We’re talking charcuterie, cheese and everything else that makes life worth living. You can take a class in how to pair and pasta, then grab a bite to eat at the on-site restaurant (check the calendar for events and live music). It’s the most delicious introduction to a region brimming with deliciousness.
Get out on the water
Stand Up Paddleboarding on Canandaigua Lake | VisitFingerLakes.com
The Finger Lakes region takes its name from the many long, narrow lakes left behind when glaciers raked upstate New York. You can’t visit without at least dipping a toe in the waters, if not much more. Canandaigua Sailboarding offers kayaking, windsurfing and stand-up paddleboarding on Canandaigua Lake (equipment is available for renting).
Canandaigua Boathouses | VisitFingerLakes.com
The smaller but no less gorgeous Canadice Lake prohibits jet skis and motorboats. Canadice Lake Outfitters has you covered, should you wish to spend the day canoeing or kayaking on its peaceful waters, as well as Hemlock and Honeoye Lakes nearby. Might as well bring a fishing pole and see if you can’t catch dinner.
Finger Lakes for culture vultures
Ganondagan State Historic Site | VisitFingerLakes.com
According to Native American legend, the Finger Lakes represented the handprint of the Great Spirit as he touched the earth in blessing. Ganondagan State Historic Site recreates a seventeenth-century Seneca town. You can visit a full-size bark longhouse, watch a movie about the Iroquois creation story, attend an exhibit featuring work by Native artists and come to appreciate the contributions the Seneca made in such areas as ecology, women’s rights and democracy.
Sonnenberg Gardens and Mansion State Historic Site | VisitFingerLakes.com
Another historical must-visit is Sonnenberg Gardens and Mansion State Historic Park. Banker Frederick Ferris and his wife, Mary Clark Thompson, built the site's 40-room mansion in 1887, and the house and garden are now open to the public. It's a great opportunity to see how the other half lived, as well as to admire its greenhouse, rose garden, Japanese garden and various other blooms and blossoms.
Bring the entire brood
Antique Wireless Association | VisitFingerLakes.com
If you long for the days of telegrams, or have kids wondering what people did before iPhones, head to the Antique Wireless Museum. This museum specializes in communications technology, with displays detailing the history of military radio and the development of television, as well as other advances in how we talk to one another. Speaking of kids, you’ll earn serious parent points after spending the day splishing, splashing and frolicking inside the 55+ aquatic acres at the Roseland Waterpark. Among the adventures in store are a Giant Wave Pool and a family-friendly Mammoth Raft Ride. Sensing a theme? This waterpark is the region’s largest.
Bristol Mountain Aerial Adventures | VisitFingerLakes.com
If your brood prefers sky to sea, check out the Bristol Mountain Aerial Adventures, including ziplines, arboreal obstacle courses and rope walks. The kids’ courses are close enough to the ground to reassure nervous moms and dads – and to guarantee incredible photos.
Whet your whistle
Brew & Brats | VisitFingerLakes.com
After spending the day soaring through the air or riding the waves, adults might feel especially entitled to take a drive along the ROC/FLX Craft Beverage Trail. The trail will introduce you to 40 or so of the area’s best distilleries, cideries, breweries and wineries, some of the finest in the United States.
VisitFingerLakes.com | Lazy Acre Alpacas
If a glass of Gewürztraminer or Cabernet Franc doesn’t bring bliss, a visit to Lazy Acre Alpacas just might. This alpaca farm welcomes visitors to engage with its lovable, huggable herd. It’s hard to feel as if there’s much wrong with the world when you’re getting a nuzzle from one of these friendly creatures.
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