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Keuka Lake, NY - History & Attractions

Keuka Lake
Keuka Lake …

Lady of The Lakes

Nestled in the heart of the Finger Lakes Wine Country, lies serene Keuka Lake – its pristine, glacial waters glistening as it catches the rays of the sun. Although early settlers dubbed it "the Crooked Lake" because of its unique "Y" shape, its natural beauty quickly earned it the nickname "Lady of the Lakes." Surrounded by rolling, vineyard-covered hills, Keuka Lake is a haven for anyone looking to relax and recharge. Whether sailing its waters, or lounging along its shores, people discover an other-worldly peace about Keuka that seems to make time slow down and everything become more beautiful.

The Formation of a Finger Lake

From the Iroquois name meaning "Canoe Landing," Keuka Lake has some unique qualities separating it from the other Finger Lakes. Before glaciers carved the region's river valleys into deep chasms which are now the Finger Lakes, Keuka's western and southern branches were a single, north-to-south flowing watershed. What is now the current east branch of Keuka was then a major tributary to the main river. Glacial actions gouged that tributary, which created both the east branch and a reversed flow of drainage, south-to-north. Its western branch continued to flow in the opposite direction.

Today, Keuka Lake is the only lake in the country and one of few lakes in the world that flows both north and south. It is also the only Finger Lake to drain into another, with its eastern branch reaching Seneca Lake.

Located in both Steuben and Yates counties, Keuka Lake is 19.6 miles long, 1.9 miles wide, and reaches a maximum depth of 183 feet. As the third largest Finger Lake, it is surrounded by the communities of Hammondsport, Branchport, and Penn Yan. Its ability to warm up more in the summer than deeper Finger Lakes makes it ideal for swimming and watersports of all kinds.

Keuka Lake Vineyards

In the late 1800s, prohibition threatened to destroy a young, thriving wine industry on Keuka Lake, but winemakers were creative. Vineyards sold grape juice with instructions for fermentation printed on the bottle. The industry on Keuka survived and flourished,and helped put the Finger Lakes region on the map. Today, it is "the world's most beautiful wine region," chosen by readers of Budget Travel magazine over France's Loire Valley, Italy's Piedmont, and Napa.

There are many outstanding, world-class wineries located in the hills along Keuka Lake. Dr. Konstantin Frank Vinifera Wine Cellars has been rated the "#1 Winery in the Northeast" by Wine Report for five years. For more than 40 years, it has been New York State's most award-winning winery.

Bully Hill Vineyards is one of the most eclectic in the Finger Lakes with many things for visitors to see and do, including tastings that follow a "wine with laughter" philosophy.

Pleasant Valley Wine Company & Great Western Winery is one of the oldest in the Finger Lakes, and the First Bonded Winery in the U.S. Travel & Leisure magazine named Heron Hill Winery as one of the 10 most spectacular tasting rooms in the world.

America's Coolest Small Town

Known as the "Cradle of Aviation," Hammondsport, located on the southern branch of Keuka Lake, was home to aviation pioneer Glenn Curtiss. In addition to manufacturing motorcycles, Curtiss dabbled in anything with an engine. He designed, built, and flew seaplanes off the waters of Keuka in the early 1900s. On July 4, 1908, Curtiss made the first pre-announced flight in America with the June Bug. A crowd of more than 1,000 people watched as the plane took to the sky over Keuka Lake. Curtiss is known as the "Father of Naval Aviation," as he convinced the Navy to invest in aircrafts. Today the Curtiss Museum is one of Hammondsport's biggest draws.

The Village of Hammondsport is filled with fantastic shopping opportunities as well. The wide variety of stores offers everything from teddy bears and T-shirts to antiques and pottery. Visitors can shop Village Square, or enjoy finding a treasure of a shop along the lake or on a country road. The Cinnamon Stick delights visitors with an abundance of gourmet goodies and collectible gifts, while Lake Country Patchwork offers fabrics, patterns and quilting classes. Whatever you're shopping for, you're sure to find something to cherish in Hammondsport. 

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Wine Fun Packages

Looking to tour the vineyards and wineries of the Finger Lakes? Book a getaway package with a hotel or winery and save some money during your trip!

Master Craftsmen: Lance Locey

Meet Lance Locey, owner of Keuka Watersports.

Fish Stocking with the Bath Fish Hatchery

We followed the Bath Fish Hatchery as they stocked the Conhocton River for Trout Season.

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Steuben County Conference & Visitors Bureau
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