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PLACE OF INTEREST
The Finger Lakes Area
The Finger Lakes is named for its series of long, thin lakes, and known for its vineyards. On Cayuga Lake, the city of Ithaca is home to Cornell University and its Johnson Museum of Art, showing ancient and modern art in an I.M. Pei–designed building. The surrounding area is marked by high gorges, many with dramatic waterfalls, including Taughannock Falls and Buttermilk Falls. Borrowing from Native American legend, the 11 lakes that cross central New York became known as the Finger Lakes. It was believed by the early residents that the Great Spirit blessed this 9,000-square-mile land with his hands. Today, there is much to see and do in the 14-county region. From virtually every outdoor activity imaginable to festivals to museums, it’s easy to fill a Finger Lakes itinerary.
Watkins Glen State Park: There are multiple parks with little canyons and waterfalls in this area, but Watkins Glen is the most attractive. It is not spectacular, but rather quietly beautiful, with so many places where you should stop to enjoy the view. You can tell that there was a lot of skills, effort and loving care invested in the stonework which looks almost natural.
Fall is a great time to visit the park. The main trail up the gorge is very doable, but you might want to take it slow if you are an inexperienced hiker. As you climb Jacob’s Ladder you realize how out of breath you can get but it is worth the climb. The higher trail is very steady and not difficult. It is a must that you climb to the suspension bridge and get an aerial view of the gorge. Breathtaking! Make sure to wear good hiking shoes as it is wet in several places. Take your time and enjoy the views! And NASCAR has a race in the area, too…
The Corning Museum of Glass: You need to spend at least a half a day here. During the day they have demonstrations relating to glass blowing etc. The museum has so much information it takes a long time to get through the information which is extremely interesting. This is an amazing art museum—featuring works of glass from a wide array of cultures and eras. The complex also offers shows and demonstrations of the making and the complexity of glass as well as a chance to make one’s own glass. Unbelievable gift shop to find some unique glass treasures too.
The Strong Museum: Discover exhibitions devoted to play, fun and kid-focused education with tickets to The Strong Museum in Rochester. Explore the cultural history of play in a series of creative, entertaining and colorful exhibits that range from comic books to arcades and a giant kaleidoscope. See modern and old-fashioned favorites in the National Toy Hall of Fame and World Video Game Hall of Fame and take in the world’s largest collection of toys, games and dolls. Follow the story of play in American history through interactive exhibits, or head straight to your own favorites: find comic book heroes and villains, enter the life-sized world of the Bernstein Bears then design your own racetrack and skyscrapers.
George Eastman Museum: Enter the world of photography and film! George Eastman Museum is one of the world’s foremost collections of photography and cinema and the historic estate of George Eastman, the pioneer of popular photography and motion picture film. The museum’s robust exhibition schedule features contemporary and historic photography as well as moving image art. The National Historic Landmark mansion and gardens tell the story of how this visionary entrepreneur and philanthropist lived. Located in Rochester, New York, on the estate of George Eastman, who was the pioneer of popular photography and motion picture film. Founded in 1947 as an independent nonprofit institution, it is the world’s oldest photography museum and one of the oldest film archives. The museum holds unparalleled collections in the fields of photography, cinema, and photographic and cinematographic technology, and photographically illustrated books.
Genesee Country Village and Museum: This museum features costumed interpreters in restored historic buildings, breathing life into an authentic 19th-Century Country Village. Watch the village craftsmen, smell the aroma of freshly baked 19th-century foods and stroll the beautiful gardens. With daily trade, craft, cooking and agricultural demonstrations occurring every day, you won’t want to leave!
Rochester Puzzling Adventure: Choose your own start time and embark on your adventure. With your smartphone as your guide, go on a brain-teasing and educational walking tour of your chosen neighborhood. Visit a series of locations and answer the questions or solve puzzles to receive your next instruction. There is no need to race as quickly as possible from start to finish. Part of the fun is enjoying the sights, sounds, and tastes of the tour. Before heading to your next location, you’ll have time to eat, drink, enjoy the sights. You’re only timed on your travel and puzzles. At the end of your adventure, see your rank based on a combination of your answers to the questions and game clock time. This is a unique way to have fun and see new places.
Silver Springs Winery: Excellent doesn’t cover it. Silver Springs goes above and beyond. The staff are friendly, and the wines are works of art. They have a huge tasting room, including a pizza oven. There are peace signs everywhere as well as Bob Marley icons that make you feel like every little thing is going to be alright. Go for the wines (Peach Paradise will knock your socks off) and stay for everything that makes this place so wonderful. If you are into wines, this is the place to go.
Finger Lakes Wine Trails: More than 50 wineries, hundreds of accommodations and even more restaurants welcome visitors to this popular New York vacation region – In the largest wine-producing region in the United States east of California, it’s only logical to begin exploring the Finger Lakes on one of its four wine trails. On every trail, you’ll find great wine, great restaurants and accommodations, shopping and plenty to do. The fabulous scenery around the lakes is a bonus. Let’s begin with the wineries, remembering that not everyone in the group drinks wine. No worry since some choices on the trail offer craft beer or cider.
Canandaigua Wine Trail
In Naples, Arbor Hill Grapery was the first to produce a spicy but semi-sweet white known as Traminette. You may get lost in its large gift shop. Also in Naples is boutique winery Inspire Moore Winery. Small lot production of aromatic varietal whites and vintage-driven varietal reds provides only 1,000 cases annually. Rounding out the Naples-area wineries is Hazlitt’s Red Cat Cellars. Along with its signature Red Cat, there are award-winning dry wines and Cider Tree, a sparkling hard cider. Hazlitt’s is one of the oldest wineries in the region.
In Canandaigua there are two wineries to visit. Heron Hill Tasting Room on Canandaigua Lake is the winery’s third tasting room in the Finger Lakes region. In the 46th year since planting its first viniferous vines overlooking the lake, Heron Hill is recognized as a leader in the area’s Riesling production. New York Kitchen celebrates all New York state wines, craft beers and ciders. There are the Tasting Room and The Pantry, but plan to enjoy lunch or dinner in the restaurant.
In Fairport, just south of Rochester, you’ll discover Casa Larga Vineyards & Winery, a major player in the Finger Lakes wine region for almost 40 years. Quality, award-winning wines are a tradition at Casa Larga. Another boutique winery along the trail is Raymor Estate Cellars, which perfected its wines for 20 years before selling them in 2011.
Groups of 10 or more should make reservations well in advance of arrival. Begin planning your visit with TravelKatz help. 352-277-7300
Cayuga Lake Wine Trail
Founded in 1983 to promote the wineries in the area, the Cayuga Lake Wine Trail with just four wineries became America’s first wine trail. Today, the trail has grown to include 14 wineries. Interlaken is home to American Vineyards, where you cannot go wrong with the award-winning wines and homemade fudge. Also in Interlaken, Lucas Winery, the first on Cayuga Lake, is celebrating 38 years of making outstanding wines.
Button Grove Winery in Romulus is winner of the 2017 Governor’s Cup and features some of the best lake views from a multi-level deck. Also in Romulus, Goose Watch Winery has been producing wines from historic local varietals and was honored as “Winemakers of the Year” at the 2017 San Francisco Wine Competition. Nearby Knapp Winery for 35 years has been producing viniferous wines for enjoying in its Vineyard Restaurant. Swedish Hill Winery has numerous 90-point-rated and gold medal wines and is a three-time Governor’s Cup winner. Varick Winery & Vineyard is the fifth but certainly not last of the Romulus sites with its relaxed atmosphere, wines and complimentary jellies, mustards, herb dips and other condiments.
Cayuga Ridge Estate in Ovid is a relaxing tasting setting and offers savory wood- fired pizzas. Hosmer Winery, not far away, has been growing grapes and making wine in the European tradition since 1985, garnering them numerous international awards. With 150 acres of lake frontage, Thirsty Owl Wine Company provides a beautiful setting for tastings and lunch at Bistro. Toro Run Winery boasts the “Best View” in the Finger Lakes along with world-class wines.
On the east side of Lake Cayuga near Aurora and with spectacular views of the lake sits Long Point Winery, specialists in both red and white dry wines. Seneca Falls is where you’ll discover Montezuma Winery Hidden Marsh Distillery, the latter “Winner of the NYS Best Distilled Spirit 2011-2013,” while the former offers a taste for every palate. Just a few miles from downtown Ithaca, SixMileCreek Vineyard offers memorable wines and distilled spirits with panoramic views.
Groups of 10+ should make reservations in advance. The fall months are particularly busy. Get started planning with TravelKatz – 352-277-7300.
Seneca Lake Wine Trail
With 34 wineries on both sides of Lake Geneva, this trail offers the most options. Ravines Wine Cellars in Geneva features a beautiful tasting room and The Ravinous Kitchen, a seasonal restaurant. Belhurst Estate Winery award-winning wines are as unique as Belhurst Castle. Zugibe Vineyards welcomes groups to its tasting room with estate viniferous wines in both dry and semi-dry styles. Three Brothers Wineries & Estates is unique in having three wineries and a microbrewery on site, featuring handcrafted wines, microbrews and hard cider. With dry, Old World-style wines, Ventosa Vineyards is a bit of Tuscany in the Finger Lakes. Fifteen premium wines, live music on Friday and Saturdays, handcrafted beers and hard cider, and lake views welcome you to
Fox Run Vineyards in Penn Yan offers estate-grown, award-winning wines, and a food and wine tour experience. Serenity Vineyards estate-grown reds and a new semi-sweet line are enjoyed in the rustic tasting room. A medieval theme and gold medal wines define Seneca Shore Wine Cellars. A uniquely designed tasting room, distinct award-winning wines and a new art gallery await visitors at Anthony Road Wine Company. Premium estate-grown wines are enjoyed at Prejean Winery, established in 1986.
Also in Penn Yan, Torrey Ridge Winery promises “a good wine is a wine you like” among its dry and sweeter offerings. Earle Estates Meadery provides a wide selection of meads, fruit wines and hard cider. With almost an antebellum look, Miles Wine Cellars welcomes visitors to its 200-year home in Hamrod to enjoy estate wines.
A newly remodeled tasting room featuring the Riesling experience is waiting at Villa Bellangelo in Dundee. Fruit wines from Blueberry to Exotic Chocolate Razzberry and a variety of grape wines are at the Fruit Yard Winery. Hickory Hollow Wine Cellars features viniferous red and white wines and the famous Liquid Explosion. Seneca Lake’s oldest winery Glenora Wine Cellars presents award-winning wines and Veraisons Restaurant for breakfast, lunch and dinner. A large tasting room resembling an old barn and wines drawn from both native and hybrid wines are awaiting groups at Fulkerson Winery.
In Rock Stream, its namesake Rock Stream Vineyards is Seneca Lake’s only grappa and grape brandy producer, and makes other unique wines. For 30 years Watkins Glen’s Lakewood Vineyards has been sharing their passion for Finger Lakes wine with visitors. Just a few miles from the center of Watkins, Glen Castel Grisch Winery is serving everything from dry reds to ice-style wines.
Lost Irishman, Sweet Revenge and a hard apple cider are specialties of boutique winery Catharine Valley Winery in Burdett. Nearby J.R. Dill Winery offers a wide selection of wines along with historic photos of their southeastern end of Lake Seneca location. Atwater Estate Vineyards uses estate-grown fruit to produce dynamic varietals.
In Hector you’ll travel down a sloping driveway with Lake Seneca as a backdrop to taste winners of Governor’s Cups, Jefferson Cups and Gold from Riesling du Monde at Chateau LaFayette Reneau. Small-batch, handcrafted wines are made from estate- grown premium grapes from the family-owned Leidenfrost Vineyards. Hazlitt 1852 Vineyards, established in 1985, is known for its award-winning Sauvignon blanc, Riesling and Cabernet Franc. A spacious tasting room welcomes guests to Penguin Bay Winery for Pinot grigio, Riesling, Cabernet Franc, Moscato and more. Sweet, semi-dry and dry wines in a fun, friendly atmosphere are the calling card for Bagley’s Poplar Ridge Vineyards.
Caywood Vineyards in Lodi invites visitors to a tasting in the 1800s restored barn and grape packing house set among one of the East’s largest vineyards. Close-by Wagner Vineyards offers more than 35 styles of wine with a friendly staff to help you find your favorite. Lamoreaux Landing Wine Cellars has built its craft on passion and commitment and an understanding that great wines are a natural expression of where they’re grown. Boundary Breaks Vineyard is just north of Lodi Point State Park and focuses on making wines that score 90 points or more.
All sites require reservations for groups of 10 or more. For additional information, including more about Seneca Lake. For help planning, contact TravelKatz at 352-277-7300
Keuka Lake Wine Trail
With five wineries, Keuka Lake is the smallest of the Finger Lakes wine trails. However, like diamonds, good things do come in small packages. Since 1977 Heron Hill Winery has been one of the leaders in identifying Riesling as the region’s featured varietal. Travel & Leisure chose the Hammondsport tasting room as “one of the 10 most spectacular.”
The family-owned Hunt County Vineyards in Brockport provides winery tours and a range of distinct wines, including ice wine. Seasonal items are served in The Cafe. Just up the road in Keuka Park you’ll find Vineyard View Winery, a fifth- generation grape farm with a tradition of producing quality wine from deep-rooted vineyards. Wines from dry to sweet are served in a tasting room with a dramatic view of Lake Keuka.
Since 1985 Keuka Spring Vineyards has been producing a variety of world-class reds and whites from its Penn Yan vineyard. Among accolades received are a two-time winner of the Governor’s Cup and Best White Wine in America. On the east side of the lake in Dundee, McGregor Vineyard has been the pioneer in producing dry red and white wines from its European wine grapes. Local food samples often accompany relaxed tastings.
For groups of 10 or more, begin with TravelKatz, – 352-277-7300
Discover more about the region of the Finger Lakes. For your Finger Lakes area vacation, you will want to fly into one of the New York area airports and pick up a car and drive to this area. there is plenty to see so give Travelkatz a call at 352-277-7300 and we will see to it that you have a great vacation.
New York State Capital: Albany
Originally ruled by the Dutch and called Beverwyck, Albany was taken over by the British in 1664, along with other Dutch lands in North America. King Charles II gifted a broad swath of territory to his brother James, the Duke of York and Albany. Once under British control, Beverwyck was renamed Albany in James’ honor. Before either the Dutch or British took over the region, the area was called Pempotowwuthut-Muhhcanneuw, meaning “the fireplace of the Mahikan nation,” by the Mohicans.
Walking Tour of Albany: You can explore the fascinating history and magnificent architecture of Albany by embarking on one of our self-guided walking tours of the city’s historic downtown district.
New York State Capitol: Worth to visit with your children. Does not require a guided visit, the person at the information deck is kind and super welcoming after that enjoy walking the halls and beautiful stairs, do not miss the wonderful collection of Flags, the Governors hall, the war room and the senate. From the stone carvings to ornate painting to halls laden with artwork…the restored and beautifully maintained building is an amazing place to wander around. A guided tour will bring many details to your attention as well as provide some fascinating stories. It’s worth it to just wander and get lost and explore every floor, every staircase, every nook and cranny after. Both houses of the state legislature convene here and visitors can visit those elaborate chambers and the surrounding parlors. This is a free and not to be missed highlight of Albany.
New York State Museum: The major reason to go now is the 9/11 exhibit. It gives you an amazing view point on what happened, and the video of Billy Green will make you emotional. It also highlights how incredible people/animals can be when working together. The 9/11 display is great including a fire engine and beams from the twin towers. Save time to visit the gift shop. And stroll through the adjoining Empire State Plaza Concourse, which contains a treasure of abstract modern art, and pick up lunch, too.
USS Slater DE-766: The galley the best as well as the sleeping quarters are interesting to see. Great tour, informative, great photo opportunities on a historical ship. USS Slater is a Cannon-class destroyer escort that served in the United States Navy. Arrived in Albany, NY on August 27, 1993 presently preserved as a memorial. The supporters of the USS Slater Destroyer Escort are enthusiastic and knowledgeable guides, able to share every feature of this WWII ship (the last floating one of its kind) with families and groups.
The Egg: What a great place for a concert. Not a bad seat on the house. Very personable vibe with the comforts of being indoors. The Egg is the catchiest element of Governor Rockefeller’s bureaucratic Stonehenge of a Mall. Great concert venue with superb acoustics. There is a great variety of concerts to choose from.
Governor Nelson A. Rockefeller Empire State Plaza: It adjacent to the capital as well as the NYS museum. There are several modern art pieces that are wonderful and the foreign war memorials should not be missed. There are food vendors and live music during the summer. You won’t be disappointed. It’s adjacent to the capital as well as the history museum. The view from the top of the Corning Tower is spectacular. The state library and museum are excellent, and there is even ice skating in the winter. But the two best things about the Empire State Plaza are the art collection and the Egg. The art collection has some truly world class pieces that reflect Nelson Rockefeller’s tastes in art. A Kline and an Oldenberg are favorites, but there are many other worthy pieces by some well known and unknown mid-20th century artists.
Dutch Apple Cruises: This is a 90 minute Hudson River cruise. It is great! You can really enjoy being out on the water. The narrator does a great job, as do the rest of the crew. Plenty of refreshments available–cider, donuts, hot dogs, soda, and a full bar, which was a nice surprise. Great scenery. If it gets too chilly or hot outside, there are plenty of places to sit inside on the second and third decks. Highly recommended.
New York State Executive Mansion: Mansion built in 1856, bought by Governor Samuel TIlden in 1875 and the official governor’s residence ever since. Beautiful Renaissance revival furniture & the artifacts of over 30 governors, several presidents. Enjoyed seeing FDR’s lap pool. You can understand why the governors chose not to live here, it’s a bit isolated. You do need to sign up ahead of time, one to two weeks in advance. Worth the tour.
Your vacation to Albany starts with a flight either from Orlando or Tampa. Just give TravelKatz a call, 352-277-7300, and we will make this vacation a memorable one.
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