The Finger Lakes in upstate New York are a slightly off-the-beaten-path weekend getaway full of pretty views and a few hidden gems. Whether you’re interested in getting outdoors, looking for a taste of small town life, or just here for the wine, these are the best things to do in the Finger Lakes.
Table of Contents
- 1 Things to Do in the Finger Lakes for Wine Lovers
- 2 Things to Do in the Finger Lakes for Nature Lovers
- 3 Things to Do in the Finger Lakes for Foodies
- 4 Things to Do in the Finger Lakes for Shoppers
Things to Do in the Finger Lakes for Wine Lovers
Go Wine Tasting
The rightful centerpoint of any Finger Lakes getaway, going wine tasting is a must-do in this region known for its Riesling.
Enjoy Vineyard Views
You can have a glass of good wine anywhere in the world. What makes a trip to the Finger Lakes is the scenery! I think the best vineyard view in the Finger Lakes is at Keuka Springs Vineyard.
Pair Wine and Food
Some of the best wine tastings in the Finger Lakes also have food pairings available. I tried Ravines Wine Cellars’ unique sparkling Riesling with a caramelized onion and gouda flatbread.
Learn About Local Wine History
American winemaking owes a lot to the Finger Lakes. Dr. Konstantin Frank planted some of the first vinifera vines (that’s European grape types) in the United States. Learn more about this founding father of American wine at his winery, still going strong 60 years later.
Have a Glass While Jamming to Local Music
Wagner Vineyard has live music every Friday night in the summers on its large patio. They also have a craft brewery if you need a break from wine, but I preferred the beer (and the band and general vibe) at Grist Iron Brewing just down the road.
Try American Champagne
Did you know there’s a loophole that allows certain wineries outside France to label their sparkling wine Champagne? Pleasant Valley Wine Co. has been producing since 1860 – before European labeling laws took effect – so they are still able to make their award-winning Great Western Champagne! This is hands down one of the most unique things to do in the Finger Lakes.
Things to Do in the Finger Lakes for Nature Lovers
Take a Hike
There’s ample hiking in Watkins Glen State Park. If you want a shorter, easier nature walk, head to Keuka Outlet Trail and enjoy the views of manmade waterfalls along the canal locks.
Speaking of waterfalls, there are plenty to find in the Finger Lakes. Shequaga Falls are illuminated at night and while this trickle may not look like much, in years with more rainfall you can see an impressive gush.
What’s a lake trip without getting on the water? There are plenty of boat rentals available in the Finger Lakes.
Watch Sunset Over the Lake
Slow down and enjoy the view. If you find accommodations on the east side of your favorite lake, you’ll be able to watch the sunset every evening.
Things to Do in the Finger Lakes for Foodies
Grab Lunch at a Local Deli
Tabora Farm & Winery has a great selection of sandwiches at its deli, including this super tasty chicken salad. There’s also a fantastically stocked gourmet market for you to stock your pantry with edible souvenirs.
Have a Cheese or Ice Cream Flight
Wine’s not the only thing to taste in the Finger Lakes. Shtayburne Farm offers tastings from their family-run creamery. You can enjoy a flight of frozen treats with flavors like s’mores, grasshopper pie, toasted kettle corn and strawberry jalapeno. Or try a cheese flight – there’s even an entire Finger Lakes Cheese Trail if you’re a real connoisseur!
Things to Do in the Finger Lakes for Shoppers
Browse the Windmill Farm & Craft Market
There are over 175 vendors at this craft market open on Saturdays. I’ll be honest – many of the crafters selling here weren’t super impressive to me, but for sheer volume, this market is hard to beat.
Window Shop in Downtown Hammondsport
The Finger Lakes is full of charming, postage-stamp-sized towns. Hammondsport is just one of the classic, antique-shop-studded Main Street strips for you to browse.
I may be partial to the wine, but there’s plenty more to do in the Finger Lakes on a weekend getaway.
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