Thursday, October 6, 2011

Finger Lakes Roadtrip

Eleven is not a finger too many when it comes to the beautiful Finger Lakes of Upstate New York. When seen from a plane, the long, narrow, roughly parallel lakes are reminiscent of outstretched fingers on a pair of hands; when seen up close, they are breathtaking.

Owasco lake
Photo by Lida Rose, Flickr

Aside from their natural beauty, the lakes are a water-sport playground, offering endless opportunities for fishing, swimming, canoeing, sailing, motor boating, water skiing and anything else you can think of.

In the surrounding area, you’ll find parks, waterfalls, farms, ski resorts, museums, historic sites and plenty of opportunities for shopping, dining and entertainment.

And let’s not forget the wineries. Finger Lakes is New York’s largest wine-producing region, and is well known for its world-class Riesling.

Take a road trip around the two main lakes to discover some of what Finger Lakes has to offer.

Day 1

Starting in Elmira, check out the National Soaring Museum, the only museum in the United States focused on the history of motorless flight.

Head northeast up to Ithaca, where you’ll find the fascinating Sciencenter, a place to “Look, Touch, Listen and Discover”.

Next, take a short diversion back the way you came and up Cliff Street/Trumansburg Road to Museum of the Earth, a significant find for budding palaeontologists!

Head back around the east side of Cayuga Lake, north up to Auburn. Get a bite to eat at one of the many restaurants, then head west down Arterial W/Clark Street Road to Finger Lakes Drive In, where you can catch a movie under the stars! (The drive-in is open between late April and early/mid October.)

Go back and stay the night in Auburn.

Day 2

Head west along State Highway 20 to the top of Cayuga Lake, where you’ll find Montezuma National Wildlife Refuge. This is a bird watcher’s paradise, but also home to various mammals, reptiles and amphibians.

Bird at Montezuma National Wildlife Refuge
Photo by Lida Rose, Flickr

Get back on Highway 20 and travel southwest to Geneva. Time to sit back, relax and take a scenic trip on the Finger Lakes Railway or a cruise on Seneca Lake!

Finger Lakes Railway
Photo by Mike Roqué, Flickr

Further along Highway 20, at the top of Canandaigua Lake, you’ll find Roseland Waterpark, a great place to cool off if you’re travelling during summer.

Roseland Waterpark
Photo by visit~fingerlakes, Flickr

There are plenty of accommodation options for staying the night in Canandaigua.

Day 3

A tour of Finger Lakes wouldn’t be complete without tasting the work of some of its 100-plus (many award-winning) wineries. So, before you leave Canandaigua, experience their wine trail.

Head south and then east on State Highway 364, and at Penn Yan, turn right onto Liberty Street, which becomes Highway 14A. Travel all the way down to Watkins Glen.

If you’re a petrolhead, you’ll find your happy place at The Glen, a racing track hosting all kinds of motor-sport mayhem.

If screaming cars and petrol fumes are not your thing, visit in July when Watkins Glen hosts the Finger Lakes Wine Festival.

Time to head home.

As you can see, Finger Lakes has something for everyone, and this road trip’s just a taster!

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