Seneca Lake Wine Trail#5 in Best Things To Do in The Finger Lakes
The Seneca Lake Wine Trail, situated in the heart of the Finger Lakes wine region, is one of the most popular trails, offering more than 35 wineries, cideries and breweries in a concentrated area adjacent to the 75-mile shoreline, making it easy to visit several in a daytrip. Known for its excellent riesling, the region's varietals also include chardonnay, pinot noir, cabernet franc and gewurztraminer.
Recent visitors said the Finger Lakes wine region ranks highly in comparison to well-known regions like Napa or Sonoma, and travelers loved the convenience of having a concentration of wineries in one area. Many recommended appointing a designated driver for a day of tastings and suggest researching your route in advance, as the products and quality may vary. In addition to the wineries, visitors were impressed with the cideries in the area, citing excellent hard cider and mead in particular. If you're visiting during high season (Memorial Day to Columbus Day), plan your daytrip during the week: weekends see long waits in the tasting rooms, according to travelers. Another tip from recent visitors? Most popular spots for lunch and dinner are on the east side of the lake. Doug's Fish Fry is a regional favorite.
Most wineries are open daily during high season and are marked with an official Seneca Lake Wine Trail sign. Operating hours and tasting fees may vary at each establishment, but generally, tasting rooms are open daily from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. To view an area map and upcoming events, check out the Seneca Lake Winery Association's website.
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#1 Skaneateles Lake
Located about 23 miles southwest of Syracuse, Skaneateles Lake is the sixth-largest of the Finger Lakes. The name means "long lake" in the Iroquois language and indeed, the 16-mile-long lake crosses three counties: Onandaga, Cayuga and Cortland. The historic Skaneateles Village dates back to the Revolutionary War and is filled with local shops, restaurants, inns and bed-and-breakfasts. The sparkling, clear lake is a favorite for boating and fishing.
Many recent visitors to Skaneateles Lake said it was a favorite stop and loved the charming, historic town, saying that both dining and shopping were excellent. Visitors also commented on the lake's calm and clean "crystal clear" waters and said that even though it's off the beaten path it's well worth a visit. Several recommended one of the local boat tours, such as those provided by Mid-Lakes Navigation, as a way to learn the history of the area.