Watkins Glen Harbor Hotel Watkins Glen
Whether you choose to stay in a guest room or suite, youll enjoy plenty of space at the Watkins Glen Harbor Hotel. Known for their spacious, comfortable accommodations, this historic hotel is one of the best resorts in the Finger Lakes Region.
A perfect jumping-off point for exploring nearby Watkins Glen , this AAA Four Diamond resort offers guests breathtaking views of Seneca Lake, pillow-top mattresses, and a fridge in which to store late night snacks.
The Blue Pointe Grill serves American fare featuring fresh, local ingredients while the Coldwater Bar offers light bites that can be enjoyed on The Patio, beside a scenic outdoor fire pit. Work off your second helping with a trip to the fitness center, or swim laps in the indoor pool.
Address: 16 N Franklin Street, Watkins Glen, New York
The Best Towns In The Finger Lakes
The Finger Lakes region in upstate New York is home to some of the countrys best state parks, one of the best wine regions, and an up-and-coming food scene that should not be missed! If youve never visited the Finger Lakes before, theres no better time to do it than right now. But with so many possible destinations surrounding the 11 Finger Lakes, it can be difficult choosing the right one. Here are some of our picks for the best towns in the Finger Lakes and what there is to do. For even more great suggestions of things to do in the region, !
Hemlock & Canadice Lakes
The next two Finger Lakes- from West to East- are Hemlock and Canadice Lakes. These two lakes are smaller. In fact, Canadice is the smallest of all the Finger Lakes. They are also relatively rustic, and untouched by industry since the city of Rochester began buying family-owned cottages on the shoreline to begin preserving the lake for cleaner drinking water. This Finger Lakes region is surrounded by beautiful countryside and the old-growth of the Hemlock- Canadice State Forest.
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Best Time To Visit The Finger Lakes Waterfalls
The best time to visit the Finger Lakes waterfalls is in late spring, when the weather is warm and the waterfalls are flowing at their full potential. Some Finger Lakes waterfalls tend to dry up in the summer, so they may not appear as impressive as when visiting in the spring.
A good way to ensure a gushing waterfall flow is to visit after a big rainfall.
Fall is another beautiful time to visit the Finger Lakes, when the foliage surrounding the waterfalls become a stunning palette of oranges and reds.
Robert H. Treman State Park Gorge Trail
How To Get To The Finger Lakes And Its Many Waterfalls
The best way to reach the Finger Lakes and its many waterfalls and hikes is by car. While many of the waterfalls are located near one another, youll need a car to to get to each. Traveling to the Finger Lakes by car will also give you the freedom to explore the rest of the region, such as the different lakes, the many wineries and nearby state parks.
To get to the best Finger Lakes waterfalls, youll want to strap on some good hiking boots. Many of the waterfalls are located inside state parks and can be reached by hiking. Trails vary in difficulty, though most are beginner-friendly.
Some waterfalls can even be accessed without a hike at all. The Finger Lakes is home to several roadside waterfalls though I found that the best ones are hidden deep within gorges and the forests that engulf them.
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Grist Iron Brewing Company
This brewery wins on all counts: great ambience, beautiful views, delicious food, and really good beer. Since most of their drinks are on tap, you can ask to try a beer before committing to an entire class. I tried the grape beer and was floored by how delicious and refreshing it was!
Location: Seneca Lake
Stay In The Beautiful Finger Lakes Ny Wine Country
Yale Manor is conveniently located in the heart of Finger Lakes Wine Country, on both the Cayuga and Seneca Lake Wine Trails. Just minutes from Geneva, NY, Yale Manor is privately tucked away on ten acres, in a park-like setting. The manor’s boat house rests on the shoreline of beautiful Seneca Lake a short 5-minute walk from the Manor house, with a dock/deck that extends out 100 feet onto the lake, where you can swim and enjoy panoramic views and picturesque sunsets.
Originally built in the early 1900s, Yale Manor was the main structure of an impressive 365-acre farm complex built for a Mr. James Macdonald from New York City. Mr. Macdonald, U.S. manager for Royal Insurance Co. of Liverpool, England used Yale Manor as the operations center for his Seneca Juice business. The original farm contained the juice processing plant as well as its own railroad stop. A Yale graduate, he paid tribute to his school by incorporating the Yale name throughout his operations. After his death, the manor house went through various transformations. In a seriously deteriorated state, the structure was rescued in 2000 and has since been restored to its former glory.
The Inns Of Aurora Aurora
If youre looking for an intimate, luxurious, and romantic Finger Lakes escape, book a stay at the Inns of Aurora. Consisting of five distinct high-end properties that encompass the adorable village of Aurora, this lovely resort offers a variety of options for an enjoyable stay. Kids under 14 arent permitted unless youve rented the entire residence, so you can enjoy a quiet, almost adults-only retreat.
Each of the inns offers first-class service, plush furnishings, and stunning views, so you wont feel short-changed by choosing one location over another. Their amenities include two restaurants, a cooking demonstration kitchen, wellness center, yoga classes, complimentary bikes, canoes, kayaks and paddleboards, and access to a 3.5-mile nature trail. A plush spa also opened in June, 2021.
The various inns are set on the serene shore of Cayuga Lake and dotted throughout the enchanting village of Aurora, adding an impressive level of elegant charm to their surroundings.
Established in 1883, the Aurora Inn is the second oldest and most storied of the properties. It was restored in 2003 to add a bit of contemporary luxury to the historic allure. Only those over 14 are invited to stay here, making it a great option for couples looking for a romantic interlude.
Rowland House was built in 1903 and restored more recently, in 2014. The two-story boathouse is particularly charismatic, but its the waterfront Grecian temple that has us wishing we could sit here to enjoy a sunset.
The Upper Falls At Taughannock Falls State Park
Hidden Falls at Taughannock Falls
Often referred to as the hidden falls at Taughannock Falls State Park, this Finger Lakes waterfall is the one that feeds into the famous Taughannock Falls below.
The 200-foot Upper Falls plunges deep into a vertical tunnel of rock that can be seen from an abandoned yet easily accessible railroad bridge above. The bridge sits at the end of both the North and South Rim Trails, which form a loop around the park.
I wish there was a way to get closer to these falls, but the only view here is from the top. Nevertheless the sheer power of the water makes it worth the uphill hike.
Note: Taughannock Creek can dry up in the summer. The best time to view the waterfalls here is to visit during late winter or a day or two after hard rainfall in the spring or fall. I visited in May, and both waterfalls were in full force!
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Lucifer Falls In Robert H Treman State Park
I hadnt heard much about Robert H. Treman State Park before visiting, so I didnt know what to expect when we started the ~2-mile Rim Trail.
And then we stumbled onto the base of Lucifer Falls, one of the most stunning Finger Lakes waterfalls I came across on my trip.
I first laid eyes on the 115-foot waterfall from the Rim Trail, which takes you to the base of the falls before continuing upward. There were people playing and bathing underneath the falls, and I instantly regretted not bringing a bathing suit.
Id soon find out that Lucifer Falls is even more impressive from above.
I took the Rim Trail up and the Gorge Trail down, which was about 4 miles round trip. As beautiful as the waterfall was, the deep ravine at the beginning of the Gorge Trail might have been my favorite part of this entire hike. The gorge is stunning and like nothing Ive ever seen before! I felt like I was in a scene from Avatar.
When To Go To The Finger Lakesregion
This region in upstate New York is a great place to come in every season. The spring, summer and early fall bring many opportunities for outdoor activities. Visitors to the region enjoy hiking, biking, and water sports at the many state parks and open spaces in this expansive 9,000 square mile area. In the autumn, the harvest time brings apples, pumpkins, and cider, plus amazing fall foliage. During the winter months, the region is a favorite for skiers and other winter sports, plus there are many holiday festivals occurring everywhere.
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Taughannock Falls The Most Stunning Of All Finger Lakes Waterfalls
As I previously mentioned, Taughannock Falls was the waterfall that drew me to the Finger Lakes in the first place.
Taughannock Falls is a 215-foot plunge waterfall set deep in a gorge in a beautiful state park. The waterfall which is actually taller than Niagara Falls is surrounded by trees and 400-foot cliffs on either side, making it a truly spectacular sight.
An easy 0.75-mile trail takes you along Taughannock Creek to the base of the falls. Its a quick, mostly flat walk. The quiet forest leading to the falls is beautiful in and of itself its the kind of walk that forces you to be truly present.
To get to the Gorge Trail, follow directions to Taughannock Falls Gorge Trail on your Google Maps app. If you continue up Taughannock Park Road, youll reach the overlook pictured above, which is labeled Taughannock Falls Overlook View Point on the map.
There are two other trails at Taughannock Falls State Park, including the South Rim and North Rim trails. The North Rim Trail takes you to the second waterfall on this list.
Stony Brook State Park
The rustic cabins and family-friendly campsites at Stony Brook State Park provide the ideal base camp for waterfall hikes, sun-soaked picnics, and refreshing dips in the parks stream-filled natural pool. Take advantage of the easy trail access offered by the parks leafy campsites, or cozy-up in the one of the dog-friendly cabins , ideal for family getaways. In addition to the trio of waterfalls, natural pool, and woodland trails, Stony Brook State Park also features tennis courts, ball fields, and a playground for young campers.
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A Weekend Getaway For The Foodie
Being that I come from a small town, I typically expect more rustic food options when I venture away from the city. And dont get me wrong, I love those homey restaurants for the taste of local life they show you. But if you want some amazing food to pair with all the Finger Lakes wine youll be tasting, you wont be disappointedwhether youre a connoisseur of fine foods or just a wannabe foodie like myself.
Committed to sourcing their menu locally as much as possible, GRAFT Wine + Cider Bar is a must-visit restaurant in Watkins Glen. You may even end up sitting at the bar next to the owner, Ted Marks, in a serendipitous encounter and spend the evening chatting awayif youre lucky!
If youre in Watkins Glen from May September and need a break from all the eating, head out on a mushroom farm tour at Hawk Meadow Farm for a few hours to see how owners Steve and Anne grow and harvest shiitake mushrooms. Truly, they bring your respect for this one ingredientand the whole ecology of the forestto a new level. If you want a taste of what local chefs are creating with these mushrooms, Steve and Anne will be happy to share which restaurants are buying their products this season.
> > Head here for the full story of our mushroom farm tour < <
The Perfect Pairings: Where To Sip Wine & Stay In Finger Lakes Wine Country
Who says 50 is old? Not when it comes to wine regions! The Finger Lakes wine country is a young area, but its future was set into motion nearly two million years ago when a glacier carved its way through the area leaving behind rich soil, 11 lakes and the perfect setting for growing some of the finest grapes in the United States.
Named by Wine Enthusiast as one of the Top 10 Worldwide Wine Destination, along with numerous other accolades, the Finger Lakes wine country isnât just growing grapes. Today, itâs growing in popularity as an affordable and beautiful wine country destination. A region that wine lovers and those who simply like to sip their way through the weekend should not miss.
The Gulf Stream House
There are 3 apartment-style set-ups within the Gulf Stream House. We occupied Apartment #10 on the first floor, which can accommodate 4 guests. All of the apartments have their own private entrance and amenities. Included in each apartment are a full kitchen, dining area, living room, cable TV, WiFi, and of course a comfortable bedroom. The kitchen contains a fridge, dishwasher, microwave, coffee maker, and more.
The Gulf Stream House is actually run by the same fine folks who run the Village Tavern Restaurant and Inn. Not only do they have two other rental properties , but they also offer 4 rooms of Finger Lakes lodging at the Village Tavern Inn. Stay right above the Village Tavern in the heart of the Hammondsport town square.
Have almost immediate access to some of the best restaurants in town, including the Village Tavern itself. The tavern offers a nice selection of fresh fish and seafood , in addition to steaks, prime rib, chicken, pasta, vegetarian dishes, and salads. And be sure not to miss their hearty Sunday Brunch, complete with $3 mimosas all day and $2 draft beers from 10 am 12 pm. For more ideas of places to eat and things to do, have a look at our post on Hammondsport NY.
Local Small Businesses & Farmers
- honey made in this persons back yard
- organic garlic
- pumpkin shopping
- dried floral shopping
There are plenty of places, corners, stands and shops to do all sorts of shopping in the Finger Lakes. But one of my favorites? Buying local and supporting small businesses/farmers. The way of life in this region is much calmer, thus business owners will leave their businesses completely unattended with the prices listed above a box where you put the cash and take the product. Its based on the honor system! What a beautiful way to cultivate a craft via trust in the community.
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Watkins Glen Harbor Hotel Weddings
It’s easy to see why brides fall in love here. Our picture-perfect settings, both inside and out, inspire memories to be treasured for a lifetime. From an intimate wedding on our outdoor patio as the sun sets over Seneca Lake to a large formal wedding in our elegant Harbor Ballroom, our expert staff would be pleased to make every dream come true.
Places To Stay In The Finger Lakes
When it comes to your Finger Lakes home base, we have it all. Get pampered at one of our resort properties, rack up points at your favorite hotel chain, feel all the cozy vibes in an idyllic bed and breakfast or opt for a unique property with some FLX flair. However you travel, know each stay comes with friendly service and attention to detail to ensure you feel at home in our home!
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Ride A Hot Air Balloon Over Letchworth State Park
Known as the Grand Canyon of the east, the Genessee River flows through three waterfalls, as high as 600 feet. In addition to waterfalls, the park has 66 miles of trails, horseback riding, biking, skiing, guided tours, white water rafting, kayaking, and hot air balloon experiences.
Camp here in the summer, or stay in a winterized cabin during colder months. Snowmobiling is also popular here in the wintertime. Remember: before exploring Letchwork State Park, check their website for any alerts.