Blog Entries in 2018 | Finger Lakes Region
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Blog Entries in 2018

With stunning gorges, gushing waterfalls, vast expanses of dense forest, and, of course, the iconic, glacier-carved lakes—the Southern Finger Lakes region in New York has plenty to entice visiting hikers. Even better, the area is also teeming with panoramic footpaths, from leisurely, lakeside loops to historical rail-trails to tree-covered pathways ideal for birders and wildlife enthusiasts.

With so many options in the Southern Finger Lakes region, it’s tough to pick just one local trek. These nine hikes offer something for outdoor lovers of all stripes and give you a taste of what to expect in this scenic part of New York.

1. Birdseye Hollow State Forest

1DpTQFraVywOcWwsk8QCaC At Birdseye Hollow State Forest, you’ll find hiking trails that allow you to explore the lakes in the region. Seabamirum

Located just east of Hammondsport, the Birdseye Hollow State Forest is laced with smooth trails suitable for hikers of any ilk. Stroll the short-but-sweet 1.6-mile loop ringing Birdseye Hollow Pond in Birdseye Hollow Park, or plan a more extended excursion on the 580-mile Finger Lakes Trail, which meanders across west-central New York, from the Pennsylvania border to the Catskill Forest Preserve.

Post-hike, head to the southern half of the state forest and spend the afternoon paddling Sanford Lake, where you can cast for largemouth bass. Or enjoy relaxing beside the water with a picnic lunch in the shade of the towering pine trees edging the lake.

2. McCarthy Hill State Forest

Keep an eye out for white-tailed deer darting through the trees while hiking the seven miles of trails stashed away in the McCarthy Hill State Forest. The Beaver Pond Trail takes you on a beautiful 2-mile circuit and provides access to multiple options on the forest’s interconnected trail network. Bring a picnic lunch to enjoy at Levi Pond, while resident bullfrogs give a background chorus.

For a full day outing, combine a tour of McCarthy Hill State Forest with a visit to adjacent Pinnacle State Park, offering panoramic picnic spots and access to the Crystal Hills Branch of the Finger Lakes Trail.

3. Spencer Crest Nature Center

6NIKubjPJCGYEMWcQewKc2 The kid-friendly trails at the Spencer Crest Nature Center are great for a family hike. SCCVB

Located just minutes from downtown Corning, the Spencer Crest Nature Center is the perfect addition to a visit to the visually-stunning Corning Museum of Glass or the iconic Rockwell Museum. Families with young hikers love the easy-to-navigate, kid-friendly trails—like the 0.5-mile Dike Way Trail to Amelia Pond—winding through secluded woodlands and isolated wetlands teeming with chipmunks, songbirds, and turtles.

For enthusiastic young naturalists, the nature center is also open to visitors from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. whenever Corning Community College is in session.

4. Keuka Outlet Trail

Running from Penn Yan eastward to the town of Dresden, the nearly 7-mile Keuka Outlet Trail is steeped in local history. The footpath was first the towpath for the Crooked Lake Canal, which operated between 1833 and 1877, running between Keuka Lake and Seneca Lake. Less than a decade later, the thoroughfare became the route used by the Fall Brook Railroad, which ran for nearly a century, from 1884 until 1974.

Plan a day to walk the entire rail-trail or get a taste of the historic pathway with a hike to Seneca Mills Falls. The tiered, 40-foot waterfall is located approximately halfway between Penn Yan and Dresden, and it is easily accessible courtesy of a brief, 0.3-mile trek from the parking area on Outlet Road, just east of Penn Yan.

5. Urbana State Forest

Wildlife enthusiasts love exploring Urbana State Forest, west of Keuka Lake. The 2,690-acre forest melds into the adjacent Pigtail Hollow State Forest, providing hikers a sizeable swath of wilderness to explore. For a longer haul, a segment of the Bristol Hills Trail—a 50-mile offshoot of the Finger Lakes Trail—also rambles through the state forest.

For the chance to spy lumbering black bears, beavers, and wild turkeys, take the 5.4-mile loop around Huckleberry Bog.

6. Mitchellsville Gorge Branch Trail

2KODdPxk5iY4see2emIa8Y A footbridge takes you over the Keuka Lake Inlet on the Mitchellsville Gorge Branch Trail. Stu Gallagher

This section of the Finger Lakes Trail stretches 2.2 miles from Mitchellsville to Pleasant Valley, mostly following the Mitchellsville Gorge. The entire length of the trail runs through private property, so stay on the path. Starting in Mitchellsville, the trail runs almost entirely downhill as you drop about 600 feet in elevation. If you’re looking for an easier hike. Take two cars and make it a one-way trip. Otherwise you can decide if you want the climbing to come on the first or second half of your 4.4-mile, out-and-back trip. Either way, you’ll enjoy some very picturesque scenery from the rim of the gorge, with the sounds of the Mitchellsville Creek coming from below.

7. Stony Brook State Park

Aside from the eponymous lakes adorning the region, the Finger Lakes area is also known for breathtaking gorges, etched into the landscape by ancient glaciation. Get a taste of one of the region’s trademark gorges at Stony Brook State Park, combining the East Rim and Gorge trails to create a 2.25-mile circuit showcasing the park’s tumbling waterfalls and captivating rock formations. After a hiking tour of the park’s natural wonders, stop for a refreshing swim in the stream-fed, natural pool.

8. Kanakadea Park

For youngsters still easing into the art of hiking, family-friendly Kanakadea Park in Hornell is perfect. Young trekkers can tackle the 1.7-mile tree-covered loop in this recreation area, and for anyone craving more miles, the park also provides access to the Finger Lakes Trail. When you finish hiking, stick around for a picnic in the grass beside Almond Lake. Plan a lazy, afternoon barbecue or rent one of the park’s cabins or campsites for an entire weekend of family-friendly adventures.

9. Erwin Wildlife Management Area

Birders will love exploring the 10 miles of trails meandering through the Erwin Wildlife Management Area, just west of Corning. A hotspot for songbirds, the wildlife management area is suffused with oak-dominated woodlands, glassy ponds, and secluded gullies. Keep an eye out for hunting harrier hawks, ruffed grouse, and black-throated blue warblers while roaming the natural area. From the Erwin Wildlife Management Area, you can also jump on a portion of the Crystal Hills Trail—the youngest branch of the epic Finger Lakes Trail—which forms part of the Great Eastern Trail, a regional footpath running all the way from New York to Alabama.

Written by Malee Baker Oot for RootsRated Media in partnership with Steuben County.

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Outdoor Recreation

Spending time on the water is the best way to soak up the scenic splendor of the Southern Finger Lakes region around Corning, New York. With family-friendly beaches, impressive rivers, secluded fishing holes, and majestic waterfalls, the area is filled with a variety of ways for visitors to enjoy the water. From waterfall hikes to boating, here are eight of the most unique ways to explore the rivers and lakes in this beautiful part of the Empire State.

1. SUP on Keuka Lake

51eEc6qX84u0eSyWIGG2Ua Calm Keuka Lake is the perfect place to learn stand-up paddleboarding. Photo courtesy of Corning and the Southern Finger Lakes

The pristine waters of Keuka Lake are ideal for paddleboarders of all skill levels. This placid lake is perfect for first-time paddlers still honing their balancing skills, and with 11,584 acres of water to explore, there is also plenty to entice seasoned pros. Seek out the lake’s quiet alcoves for the chance to spot native water birds—like mallards, wood ducks, and buffleheads—get a full-body workout paddling the open water in the middle of the lake, or just opt for a relaxing float.

Ready to hit the water? Grab an hourly rental from Keuka Watersports at Champlin Beach in Hammondsport. Once you’re finished, wander into Hammondsport for breakfast or lunch.

2. Canoe the ‘Little Finger Lakes’

Why paddle just one lake, when you can tackle two instead? Dubbed the "Little Finger Lakes," conjoined Lamoka and Waneta lakes are connected by a half-mile channel meandering through the Waneta-Lamoka Wildlife Management Area, allowing paddlers to explore both bodies of water.

From Lamoka Lake, kayakers can continue south to paddle adjacent Mill Pond. Spend a day seeking out the perfect swimming spot on the islands punctuating Lamoka Lake, keep an eye out for great blue heron trolling the shoreline, or drop a line for the famously oversized largemouth bass inhabiting the lakes. You can even have a rental boat delivered by Reagan’s Canoe and Kayak Livery or Keuka Lake Kayak and Bike Rentals.

3. Take a Dip

Pack a picnic and head for one of the inviting beaches edging Keuka Lake, including Keuka Lake State Park, Red Jacket Park in Penn Yan, or Champlin Beach and Depot Park in Hammondsport. Beyond the inviting waters of Keuka Lake, the Southern Finger Lakes region is peppered with singular swimming spots. Plan a gorge hike at Stony Brook State Park, where you can see three major waterfalls and six smaller ones. The Upper Falls, Middle Falls, and Lower Falls of Stony Brook are all accessible by a scenic hiking trail.

Once you’ve seen them all, cool off in the rock-hewn, stream-fed swimming pool in the park. Another waterfalls-focused trip is to Watkins Glen State Park. In the park, Glen Creek descends 400 feet over a two mile length through a series of 19 waterfalls. Take the gorge path and you’ll see 200-foot cliffs as you wind your way over, under and through the waterfalls (as in the case of the spray found at Cavern Cascade). You can also cool off in the Olympic-sized swimming pool.

4. Learn to Sail on Keuka Lake

7gwkFMKUAEiwg4wcM6GIQ2 Both group and private sailing lessons are available on Keuka Lake. Corning and the Southern Finger Lakes

With a rich sailing tradition that dates back to the 19th century, Keuka Lake is the ideal place to learn to sail. Hone those sailing skills with a lesson from the Lake Keuka Sailing Foundation. The Hammondsport-based non-profit offers group sessions throughout the summer for young sailors over the age of 8. It also provides private lessons for small groups and adults sailing solo.

Not quite ready to practice harnessing the wind yet? Check out the local sailing scene from the shore while watching one of the weekend sailboat races organized by the Keuka Yacht Club. The competitive and engaging races take place every Saturday and Sunday throughout the summer.

5. Family Fishing Trip on Sanford Lake

6jpMA7nguA6A0wWcYoi8s2 Sanford Lake is known as one of the region’s top fishing destinations. Malee Oot

Load up the kids and spend a memorable day on the water casting for bass, pickerel, and sunfish on Sanford Lake. The serene 18-acre lake adorns the southern portion of Birdseye Hollow State Forest. Bring some food along and relax with an al fresco lunch at one of the pine-shaded picnic tables beside the lake or grab one of the waterside campsites for an entire weekend of fishing, boating, and hiking the park’s trail network.

6. Kayak the Chemung

Aside from the stunning lakes, visiting paddlers have plenty of moving water to explore along the Chemung Basin River Trail. The picturesque paddling trail stretches for nearly 80 miles. Dotted with accessible boat launches and points of interest scattered throughout the Southern Finger Lakes region, the water trail is one of the best ways to experience the area’s stunning landscape, rich history, and charming towns.

Get a bite-sized taste of the extensive paddling trail with the two-to-three-hour Paddle the Palisades Tour offered by Southern Tier Kayak Tours. The six-mile expedition takes paddlers along the stretch of river between Corning and Elmira, showcasing the eponymous Palisades, a series of vertiginous cliffs looming on the riverbank.

7. Wildlife Watching on Guyanoga Creek

Bring the binoculars, and keep an eye out for resident wildlife while paddling Guyanoga Creek, on the northwest corner of Keuka Lake. White-tailed deer, industrious beavers, and dinosaur-like snapping turtles all frequent the waterway. Birders have plenty of opportunities to spot acrobatic osprey, melodious wood thrushes, and barred owls.

If you need a boat, schedule a canoe or kayak delivery from Reagan’s Canoe & Kayak Livery.

8. Paddle the Countryside on the Cohocton River

Get a scenic glimpse of Steuben County by paddling the crystalline Cohocton River. Between Wallace and Bath, the curving waterway meanders through a landscape of family farms, leafy hardwood forests, and undulating foothills sculpted by ancient glaciers. The 15-mile river run is loaded with plenty of picturesque picnic spots, and paddlers can hook one of the river’s resident brown or brook trout.

For even more ideas of what to do on your next visit to the Corning and Southern Finger Lakes region, check out our Experience Guide.

Written by Malee Baker Oot for RootsRated Media in partnership with Steuben County.

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Outdoor Recreation

Steuben County Fair
Steuben County Fair

Returning for its 199th year the Steuben County Fair is the longest continuously running fair in the United States. Every Summer families flock to the Bath fairgrounds for the carnival, classic fair foods, live entertainment and shows, and more. Catch the Steuben County Fair this year when it runs from August 14th-19th.

The week is packed with special carnival days, live music, demolition derbies, contests, and more.
Exciting rides, favorite fair foods, and family fun are all waiting at the carnival open daily. Wristbands are sold each day, make sure to check the schedule to see what time the carnival is open each day.

In addition to the daily carnival there are free shows everyday including 4-H shows and open exhibits, and Rosaires' Royal Racing Pigs. Check out farming exhibits on agriculture and horticulture, and exhibits on local history.

Watch the extreme and daring at the demolition derby on Wednesday and Thursday at 7pm, and Sunday night at 4pm. On Friday night don't miss the Exstream Freestyle Motocross Show at 7pm. Saturday during the day from 12-4pm is a gas engine and antique farm equipment show and demos, and that night is the truck and tractor pulls at 6pm in the Grandstand.

Country music night is happening Wednesday with award winning country music artist Easton Corbin. The show starts at 7:30pm with Alyssa Trahan opening. Get your tickets now.

There is all of this and more during at the 199th Steuben County Fair, happening August 14th-19th. You won't want to miss this Summer tradition.

Admission to the fair is $6 or $20 for a six-day pass, children 12 and under are free. Fair parking is free.

Steuben County Fair
Steuben County Fair

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Events, Family Fun

Celebrate family fun month in August by spending time in Corning and the Southern Finger Lakes. While there are plenty of activities for the whole family to do from visiting museums to exploring the great outdoors, check out these 5 activities that the whole family will enjoy.

1. The Studio at the Corning Museum of Glass
You can't bring the family to Corning and the Southern Finger Lakes without a visit into the Corning Museum of Glass. Kids and parents will be wowed by fascinating art, captivated by hot-glass shows, and blown away the size of the glass market. While you're there pay a visit to The Studio at the Corning Museum of Glass for a make-your-own glass project. Kids will love sandblasting, blowing a glass pumpkin, or making a glass flower. Parents can get in on the fun too and make it an activity for the whole family.

courtesy of Corning Museum of Glass
courtesy of Corning Museum of Glass

2. The Rockwell Museum
Just down the road from the Corning Museum of Glass is the Rockwell Museum. This Smithsonian Museum is a hidden treasure for family fun. The family exploration studio is where families can get hands on and create art project, draw on the light table, put together puzzles, and read together in the book nook. Older kids may also know the artist who is displayed in the exploration studio. The works of world renowned Andy Warhol line one of the walls. Venturing out into the rest of the museum there is traditional art that depicts the American experience, and there is the more eccentric. An Art Hunt gets young visitors excited to be out exploring the galleries by matching small snippets of images of the collection to the actual paintings and objects on display. Prizes are involved! The Rockwell Museum offers families a chance to create and explore among incredible works of art.

courtesy of the Rockwell Museum
courtesy of the Rockwell Museum

One of the best parts about The Corning Museum of Glass and The Rockwell Museum? Kids and teens 17 and under are always free! (The Studio at CMOG is not included and requires additional fees.)

3. Keuka Watersports
So, you have explored the wonders that are indoors, it's time to get outside! What better way to enjoy the Finger Lakes than to get out on the lake. Keuka Watersports makes family fun on the lake easy and enjoyable. Rent a boat for a day, or the whole week. Sit and relax or hop on a tube and go! Grab a few kayaks and venture out for an afternoon.

Keuka Watersports
Keuka Watersports

4. Park Avenue Sports Center
Park Avenue Sports Center is the complete package when it comes to family fun. Families will enjoy activities like mini-golf, water wars, and combat zone laser tag. After running around an engaging in friendly combat and competition cool down with an ice cream treat.

Park Avenue Sports Center
Park Avenue Sports Center

5. The 199th Steuben County Fair
The Steuben County Fair is the longest continuously running fair in the US since opening in 1819. Families go to enjoy the carnival rides and food, harness races, traditional fair contests and shows, and concerts. You can catch the fair this year at the Steuben County Fair Grounds from Tuesday August 14th through Sunday August 19th.

Steuben County Fair
Steuben County Fair

You'll need a home base where you can wind down and rest for the next day of fun ahead. Hickory Hill Family Camping Resort gives you the place to rest your head in one of their cabins and cottages, or bring your tent or camper, while keeping your trip fun and family friendly. Kids will love the spray ground, pools, mini golf, daily activities and more.

Hickory Hill Family Camping Resort
Hickory Hill Family Camping Resort

Corning and the Southern Finger Lakes has activities the whole family will love whether you like outdoor adventures or museum discoveries. Spend quality time together this August during Family Fun Month!

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Attractions, Camping, Cool and Fun, Family Fun, Museums, Outdoor Recreation

Keuka Lake has been a place for innovation and creation for wineries in the Finger Lakes region for over 150 years. Discover the wineries that have been a part of the Finger Lakes history for decades to the up and coming wineries that are bringing a new diverse take on wine to the region. Wine Traditions and Innovations on Keuka Tour by Experience the Finger Lakes offers an exclusive and all-inclusive way to experience some of the best that Keuka Lake has to offer.

Vineyard and lake view from Dr. Frank
Vineyard and lake view from Dr. Frank

Starting at Dr. Frank's Wine Cellars, guests will enjoy a private tasting in the 1962 Reserve Tasting Room sampling some he best wines in the Dr. Frank portfolio while hearing the stories that span over the past 56 years and 4 generations, all starting with the vinifera revolution.

Next, you'll head to Heron Hill Winery where the Ingles have been producing their Rieslings, Cabernets, and more since 1977. After you enjoy your private tasting settle into the Blue Heron Café for a lunch made with locally owned ingredients.

Heron Hill Winery
Heron Hill Winery

The tour then takes you to the East Side of Keuka Lake where European winemaking heritage is bringing a new vision to Finger Lakes wine.

Domaine LeSeurre is producing wines that are influenced by the French roots of owners and winemakers Sébastian and Céline LeSeurre. Savor a private tasting featuring side by side variations of their different varietals.

Domaine LeSeurre Winery courtesy of Stu Gallagher
Domaine LeSeurre Winery courtesy of Stu Gallagher

End the day uncovering the newest winery on Keuka Lake, Weis Vineyards. There they are creating wines that are inspired by the similar climate and minerality of winemaker, Peter Weis', native land in Mosel, Germany. The tasting in the converted barn features wines with distinctive characters, including their house specialty, Heart of the Lake.

Wine Traditions and Innovations on Keuka Tour by Experience the Finger Lakes runs from 10am-6pm on:
Saturday, August 5, 2018
Friday, August 17, 2018
Friday, September 7, 2018

The price for this level of experience and convenience. At $149 per person your transportation, all tasting fees, the tour at Chateau Frank, lunch, and special food pairings are all included. The tour departs from The Best Western PLUS Hammondsport or Watkins Glen Harbor Hotel. Tickets can be purchased here.

Choose the half-day option from 12-6pm and visit three of the wineries after lunch on your own in Hammondsport. This tour is $115 a person, and still includes your transportation, all tasting fees, and special food pairings. To book this tour click here.

Saturday, August 18, 2018
Saturday, October 20, 2018

This inclusive tour is one you don't want to miss out on. Discover why Keuka Lake wineries were at the forefront of the Finger Lakes Wine Region, and how they are keeping their place there today.

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Events, Wine Fun

With glistening glacial lakes, vast expanses of pristine forest, bountiful family farms, and charming towns, the Southern Finger Lakes region of New York is the ideal place for a one-of-a-kind health and wellness getaway. In the Southern Finger Lakes region, it’s easy to combine fresh air and exercise with fresh farm-to-table cuisine for serious relaxation. Slow down and spend a weekend soaking up the restorative serenity of this scenic region of the state.

Peaceful Paddling

No visit to the Finger Lakes is complete without some time on the water. Spend a morning gliding over the crystal water of Keuka Lake on a stand-up paddleboard in the company of ducks, loons, and grebes with a rental from Keuka Watersports in Hammondsport. The sinuous, Y-shaped lake stretches for nearly 20 miles, and for newbie paddlers still mastering the art of balance, there are plenty of sheltered nooks and crannies to explore.

If you prefer moving water, trade the quiet waters of Keuka Lake for the Chemung River. Formed by the Cohocton and Tioga rivers just outside Corning, the Chemung River flows eastward eventually meeting the Susquehanna. Once a vital trade artery, today the river offers plenty of picturesque paddling. On the Paddle the Palisades tour offered by Southern Tier Kayaking, kayakers float past rolling hills, woodlands, and the namesake Palisades on the 6-mile trip between Corning and Elmira. Experienced paddlers can explore even more of the waterway along the Chemung River Trail, which forms part of the Chesapeake Bay Gateways Network, a massive conglomeration of regional water-trails covering the eastern United States.

Trail Time

5aBZMQ1WKW0gAIogCeCg66 Spencer Crest Nature Center offers a peaceful place for the whole family to explore. Corning and the Southern Finger Lakes

The vast forests and rolling foothills of the Southern Finger Lakes are laced with scenic trails that are perfect for a hike, run, or leisurely stroll. Trail runners love the leafy footpaths through the Spencer Crest Nature Center, just outside Corning. The 7-mile trail network moseys through tranquil woodlands surrounding a cattail-edged pond. Rather cover a few more miles? Head to the Erwin Wildlife Management Area, just west of Corning. Runners can tackle more than 16 miles of trails rambling through forests filled with maple, oak, and hemlock.

If you’re not a runner, don’t worry—head to Stony Brook State Park, just south of Dansville, and explore one of the stunning, glacier-sculpted gorges. On the park’s appropriately named Gorge Trail, hikers are treated to views of three stunning waterfalls. The trail ends at the park’s stream-fed swimming pool, perfect for a refreshing, post-hike dip.

Take to Two Wheels

Cyclists have almost unlimited options on the quiet country routes and scenic byways covering the Southern Finger Lakes region. Roll past nationally renowned wineries, historic towns, and the clear waters of Keuka Lake on the 36-mile Hammondsport Circle Tour. Or try the shorter Savona-Sonora-Sanford Lake Loop. The 9.2-mile circuit includes a ride through the Birdseye Hollow State Forest, taking cyclists past the idyllic picnic spots perched beside Sanford Lake.

Eat Well

4jJ3vGhrPOCamqECMcQY0i Check out the Corning Farmers’ Market for seasonal fruits and other local foods. Corning and the Southern Finger Lakes

The family farms dotting the tumbling foothills of the Southern Finger Lakes region are known for their seasonal yields, producing everything from sweet summer berries to crisp, autumn apples to delicious, artisan-crafted cheeses.

Round out the health and wellness weekend with some nutritious, locally sourced fare, and pick up provisions at one of the thriving farmers markets scattered throughout the region. The Corning Farmer’s Market takes place in Riverfront Centennial Park, in the heart of the historic Gaffer District, on Thursdays from June 7-October 25. You’ll find local delicacies including seasonal produce, wildflower honey, fruit preserves, and naturally raised meats. In Hammondsport, the farmers market occurs twice a week (Wednesday and Saturday) beside Keuka Lake from June through October.

After a session at the farmers market, delve further into the local agriculture scene with an insightful visit to Healing Spirit Herb Farm and Education Center in the cozy hamlet of Wallace. The 30-acre family farm specializes in producing medicinal herbs, crafting a wide array of products, including everything from tinctures and salves to healthful teas. The location also regularly offers hands-on educational opportunities for visitors, hosting events like farm walks, classes, and informative seminars.

Enrichment for Body and Mind

Recharge mind and body—and meet some adorable four-legged locals—with a Goat Yoga session at the ZiegenVine Homestead in Savona. During the 45-minute session, held in the middle of a grassy meadow, curious members of the homestead’s goat herd make the rounds to mingle with practicing guests. Tranquility-seeking visitors can also get centered at Keuka Peaceful Roots in Hammondsport, just a few blocks from Keuka Lake. Aside from yoga, the studio also offers Pilates classes, rejuvenating massages, and Reiki.

Get Pampered

6Ov1kmc0gwOEgscCUG2okA Take a local yoga class with baby goats for a fun way to get your practice in while on vacation. Allison Lavine

After spending your day hiking, biking, and paddling, schedule some well-earned pampering at one of the region’s restorative spas. In Corning, the Four Feathers Massage & Wellness Center offers a range of massage options, including chair massage sessions as short as 5 minutes, and extensive therapeutic massages stretching for an hour and a half. Also in Corning, A Touch of Tranquility also has a buffet of health and wellness treatments, including custom-massages, body scrubs, exfoliating wraps, and even private yoga sessions. For a whole weekend of pampering, book a stay at the historic Black Sheep Inn & Spa, offering an array of rejuvenating treatments, including deep tissue, hot stone, and Swedish massages. There’s no better way to recover from a weekend exploring the natural beauty of the region.

Written by Malee Baker Oot for RootsRated Media in partnership with Steuben County.

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Attractions, Outdoor Recreation

The landscape of New York’s Southern Finger Lakes region is anything but ordinary. The region’s gently rolling blue hills, shimmering lakes, wildlife-rich forests, and endearing towns offer a whole range of accommodation options, with something for every type of traveler—from off-the-grid adventurers to farm-to-table foodies to artistically inclined culture vultures. Break the mold and plan a getaway at one of these unique accommodation options in the Southern Finger Lakes region surrounding Corning, N.Y.

1. Black Sheep Inn & Spa

Located just outside Hammondsport and within walking distance of Keuka Lake, the Black Sheep Inn & Spa is a truly singular escape. The historic, octagonal-shaped structure is done in an Italian stucco style and offers five uniquely appointed guest rooms, along with plenty of cushy perks, including locally sourced farm-to-table breakfasts, special packages for beer and wine lovers, and an on-site spa offering Swedish, deep-tissue, and hot-stone massages. For the artistically inclined, innkeepers Debbie Meritsky and Marc Rotman create art with creatively repurposed materials at the property’s F.L.A.V.O.R Studio & Gallery.

2. Taylor Farm B & B

Wildlife lovers will adore the bucolic Taylor Farm B & B, located just west of Keuka Lake. Book a room in the homey bed & breakfast or rent the Carriage House featuring two sleeping lofts and master bedroom spread over 1,200 feet (including a massive balcony). The 315-acre farm also features scenic walking trails, providing guests the opportunity to encounter area white-tailed deer, beavers, and pileated woodpeckers.

3. Pleasant Valley Inn

There is plenty to entice traveling foodies in the Finger Lakes, including the Victorian-inspired Pleasant Valley Inn. At the chef-owned inn located just outside Hammondsport in the aptly named Pleasant Valley, guests can take advantage of the daily continental breakfast served al fresco and indulge in gourmet meals at the inn’s in-house restaurant, which even offers homemade ice cream (it’s freshly churned every single day!). The elegantly yet cozy inn also has an on-site pub, the perfect place to linger for a nightcap after a scrumptious dinner.

4. The Gaffer Inn

Check out the cultural offerings of the Southern Finger Lakes at the Gaffer Inn, located on Market Street in the bustling center of Corning’s historic Gaffer District, a hub for arts and entertainment. The stylishly appointed inn offers four spacious guests rooms, convenient to iconic cultural attractions like the Corning Museum of Glass and the Rockwell Museum, which highlights the work of American artists. The trendy inn sits directly above Burgers and Beer of Corning, a character-infused eatery serving classic comfort food and offering 30 different beers on tap.

5. Button’s Creekside Farm B&B

Bask in the charm of the Southern Finger Lakes at Button’s Creekside Farm and B&B, just outside the town of Cohocton. The historic farmhouse dates back to the middle of the 19th century and offers four homey guests rooms, each decorated with tasteful antiques. Relax on the front porch with a riveting book, tuck into heaping, homemade breakfasts (including juice made from local concord grapes), or help out with farm chores, which involves meeting resident lambs and kittens. The bed & breakfast also offers unique packages for guests, including pottery experiences with local artisans and culinary experiences that include a visit to Healing Spirits Herb Farm and Education Center located just down the road.

6. Hickory Hill Family Camping Resort

 

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Located just south of Keuka Lake, the Hickory Hill Family Camping Resort has something for everyone. Outdoor lovers can pitch a tent at one of the resort’s campsites, while visitors craving a few more creature comforts can opt for a cabin, cottage, or loft-filled lodge. The resort also has a handful of options for larger groups, including the Bunk House, which sleeps 18 and offers summertime perks like a spacious firepit for s’mores and a sizeable gas grill. Large groups can rent the historic Lehman House, which dates back to the 1850s but now features modern conveniences like a spacious kitchen and family room. It can accommodate up to 12 guests.

7. 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 park’s stream-filled natural pool. Take advantage of the easy trail access offered by the park’s leafy campsites, or cozy-up in the one of the dog-friendly cabins (which sleep four), 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.

8. Birdseye State Forest

For the ultimately camping experience, head to Birdseye Hollow State Forest, and spend a night beside the lily-pad covered waters of Sanford Lake. For campers already equipped with gear, the state forest offers shady campsites tucked among the towering pines bordering Sanford Lake, ideal for a weekend of bass fishing or kayaking. Besides Sanford Lake, the state forest has plenty of other outdoor offerings, including a portion of the Finger Lakes Trail, a 558-mile footpath meandering across west-central New York from Allegany State Park eastward to the Catskill Forest Preserve.

9. 18 Vine Inn & Carriage House

 

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History buffs can plan the ultimate getaway at 18 Vine Inn & Carriage House in Hammondsport, part of a 19th-century property once belonging to the country’s first champagne producer, Jules Mason. The historic bed & breakfast offers six uniquely decorated rooms, each named for notable historical figures, tucked away on a property adorned with restful gardens and a pool. Guests can also rent quarters in the adjacent Carriage House, including the two bed Coachman’s Quarters or smaller Coach Suite. Large families can even rent the entire Carriage House, which comfortably fits seven.

10. McCarthy Hill State Forest

Craving a little trail time and a night in the backcountry? Head for the McCarthy Hills State Forest, just outside the town of Addison. Primitive camping is allowed throughout the 794-acre state forest (free of charge), and backpackers can easily craft overnight or multi-day hiking loop on the interconnected trail network, showcasing seclude ponds, woodlands, and wildflower-sprinkled meadows. Visitors can also explore the trail system at adjacent Pinnacle State Park, or hop on the Crystal Hills Trail, a 50-mile long offshoot of the regional Finger Lakes Trail.

Need a few more ideas of what to do on your next trip to the Fingers Lakes? Download our free experience guide here.

Written by Malee Baker Oot for RootsRated Media in partnership with Steuben County.

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Lodging, Outdoor Recreation

Verdant rolling hills, shimmering waters, and a lively culture make New York’s Southern Finger Lakes the perfect adventure destination. Soak up the sun while lounging on the shores of Keuka Lake, spend an afternoon sampling craft beverages, or get out in nature—you really can’t go wrong when it comes to how you spend your time here.

Known for its sprawling vineyards and wishbone-shaped lake, the Corning and Finger Lakes area is the perfect summertime playground for water sports, fishing, biking, hiking, and so much more. Start exploring with this list of the most iconic outdoor adventures and things to do in the region. (Don’t be surprised if you find a new summer tradition!)

1. Get on the Water at Keuka Lake

2aIBuXqfisEmoOcw0oq2AC Keuka Lake is perfect for stand-up paddleboarding. Photo courtesy of Corning and the Southern Finger Lakes

Almost endless opportunities abound on the clear, cool waters of Keuka Lake. Rent a motorboat and cruise the 22 miles of undulating shoreline or get the family out on water skis, boogie boards, or in a tube. For a more hands-on experience, kayaks, canoes, and stand-up paddleboards are all widely available for rent. While not exactly a watersport, another not-to-be-missed Keuka Lake experience is a seaplane ride that offers an overhead look at the famous Y-shaped lake as well as views of the vineyards stretching into the horizon.

2. Cast a Line in the Chemung, Cohocton, or Tioga

The fish are jumping and the waters are flowing year round for both experienced and novice anglers alike on the Chemung, Cohocton, and Tioga rivers. More than 30,000 stock trout are released into area waters, helping create some of the best fishing in the northeast. The Chemung and Tioga Rivers are known for their muskie fishing, but the jewel of Steuben County fishing is the Cohocton River, which is home to both wild and stocked trout. A nice stretch of the waterway where you can drop a line is off State Route 415 and Wentworth Road, where there is a special angler footpath for river access.

3. Cycle Through the Countryside

5DvPwbDIu4GCoKkO68IMGS The Southern Finger Lakes region features excellent cycling, with well-maintained roads and scenic views. Bonnie Gustin

Breathe in the crisp air as you explore the lush, vine-covered hills while biking through the Southern Finger Lakes region. Of course, a couple of winery stops and a picnic along the way is always a popular option, but for a real heart-pumping adventure, try the Hammondsport Circle Tour. This 36-mile route takes you through some of the most breathtaking scenery in Steuben County.

If riding for a cause is appealing, sign up for the Tour de Keuka, an annual charity bike ride around the lake region in July that benefits the Food Bank of the Southern Tier. There are several scenic routes and distances to choose from including 16-, 45-, 60-, or 100-mile rides.

4. Chase Waterfalls at Stony Brook State Park

4XtbspzVVKM8K0wKa4ia0S Take a hike through Stony Brook State Park for some of the prettiest views in the region. Photo courtesy of Corning and the Southern Finger Lakes

Stony Brook State Park in Dansville is a go-to destination for waterfall lovers, and three moderately challenging trails are the best way to explore the park. The Gorge Trail is the easiest, following Stony Brook as it winds past picturesque rock formations and three waterfalls, ending at a stream-fed pool at the North Entrance. Wear brightly-colored clothes during your visit to attract the grey petaltail dragonfly, often seen landing on arms and hats.

5. Tour the Craft Beverage Scene

It’s well-known that the Finger Lakes region produces great wine, period. But the area also has a thriving—and growing—craft brewing and distillery scene. With almost 30 brewers to choose from, you’re sure to find a beer, cider, vodka, gin, or whiskey to suit even the most discerning palate.

Four Fights Distilling in Corning is Steuben County's oldest distillery. This "one-man show" produces small-batch vodka, gin, bourbon, and a variety of specialty products, including the intriguingly named Imperial Apple Pie. Find out first-hand just how many options you have on the self-guided Craft Your Adventure* *tour and sip into some of the most innovative craft brews and spirits on the East Coast.

6. Explore the Finger Lakes Trail System

A true labor of love, the Finger Lakes Trail system was born in the 1960s and has grown to almost 580 miles of trails winding their way across the Finger Lakes Region. (When you consider neighboring trails off the FLT, the total system reaches close to 950 miles.) About 70 miles of the trail twists across Steuben County, with the expanding network growing thanks to a dedicated band of volunteer helping to create and maintain trails. You’ll find multiple access points for getting onto the trail, including many hikes starting at most of the area state parks.

The trail system is perfect for day hikes or weekend-long adventures, and highlights include crashing waterfalls, treks through vineyards, a wide range of diverse habitat and ecosystems. The well-maintained and marked trails make access easy—the biggest decision will be where to start! One of the more unique places is the Huckleberry Bog Nature Trail on the Bristol Hills Branch Loop near Hammondsport, which is great for families and anyone interested in the history of the area.

For even more ideas of things to do on your next trip to the Corning and Finger Lakes region, download our Experience Guide and start planning!

Written by Lisa Collard for RootsRated Media in partnership with Steuben County.

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Fishing, Outdoor Recreation

While we hear plenty about the Appalachian Trail, New York’s long-enduring Finger Lakes Trail(FLT) has managed to slip beneath the radar of most East Coast hikers and backpackers. Meandering across the southern portion of west-central New York for 580 miles, the trail showcases some of the most spectacular scenery in the Empire State—past family farms and historic towns, through hardwood forests, and along precipitous gorges, all while skirting the region’s ancient glacial lakes.

While charting its course across New York from Allegany State Park to the Catskill Forest Preserve, the main Finger Lakes Trail also splinters off into an extensive series of branch, loop, and spur routes, creating a massive trail system totaling nearly 1,000 miles. The Finger Lakes Trail system also offers access to a handful of the East Coast’s other long-distance footpaths, including the Great Eastern Trail, the Long Path, and unheralded gems like western New York’s Conservation Trail, which meets Canada’s Bruce Trail in Niagara Falls. For approximately 420 miles, from the Pennsylvania border until just northeast of Cortland, the Finger Lakes Trail also serves as the route for the North Country National Scenic Trail, a 4,600-mile hiking path running from New York to North Dakota.

Inspired largely by the Appalachian Trail, the FLT was envisioned just a few decades after Benton MacKaye first pitched the idea for the East Coast’s most iconic footpath. In 1961, after hiking portions of the Appalachian Trail and the Long Trail in New England, and reflecting on the landscape of the Finger Lakes region, outdoor enthusiast and western New York resident Wallace Wood dreamed up the notion of a long-distance footpath across central New York. Just a year later, Wood’s vision was set into motion with the creation of the Finger Lakes Trail Conference. Five decades after Wood first conceived the idea, the non-profit organization still maintains and continues to expand the epic footpath, relying on assistance from volunteers and regional outdoor clubs.

om83IKDY2Gk0GGeimmAMC There are plenty of sections perfect for a day hike if you don’t want to tackle the entire thing. Photo courtesy of Corning and the Southern Finger Lakes

Why Hike It

The Finger Lakes Trail provides an enticing blend of scenery, history, and bucolic charm. The bulk of the trail is located in central New York’s eponymous Finger Lakes region, a glacier-chiseled landscape punctuated by deep, slender lakes, plunging gorges, and towering waterfalls, which also happens to be one of the country’s most prolific wine-producing regions.

Between the Pennsylvania border and the Catskills Forest Preserve, the FLT strings together dozens of state forests, eight state parks, and the Finger Lakes National Forest—but also serves as a portal to some of central New York’s most inviting towns. Hikers can deviate from the trail to explore the smattering of lakeside wineries outside Hammondsport, sample the offerings at Ithaca’s famed ice cream parlors, or tour the iconic Corning Museum of Glass in Corning.

In comparison to other distance trails like the Appalachian Trail or the Pacific Crest Trail, hikers on the FLT will get two priceless commodities: solitude and serenity. Less than 400 thru-hikers completed the entire Finger Lakes Trail between 1974 and 2017, according to the tally kept by the Finger Lakes Trail Conference. In addition to mingling with central New York’s trademark dairy cows, the solitude afforded by the Finger Lakes Trail provides hikers ample opportunity to spot the region’s resident fauna, including white-tailed deer, barred owls, and coyotes.

SzVGmF8yqsoKcqEu4MMMc If you’re looking for solitude, try the Finger Lakes Trail. Photo courtesy of Corning and the Southern Finger Lakes

Classic Adventures

For hikers and backpackers without the time to tackle the entire Finger Lakes Trail system, there are many ways to get a bite-sized taste of the extensive footpath. The ample mileage and breadth of side trails means there is something for all sorts of outdoor lovers.

Birders can search for scarlet tanagers and black-capped chickadees at Birdseye Hollow State Forest in Bath, while seasonal petal peepers can catch the spring wildflower bloom at the Sweedler Preserve just outside Ithaca, and budding geologists can gape at towering trailside formations in the Little Rock City State Forest, along the western leg of the Finger Lakes Trail.

While the footpath is named for west-central New York’s Finger Lakes, the distance trail also showcases some of the state’s most dramatic scenery (think glacier-carved gorges and thundering waterfalls), providing plenty of fodder for epic day hikes and backpacking trips.

In central New York, a 21.5-mile portion of the Finger Lakes Trail winds through Letchworth State Park, treating hikers to a natural wonder fondly nicknamed the ‘Grand Canyon of the East.’ At the southern edge of the park, hikers can peel off the Finger Lakes Trail to tackle the 7-mile Gorge Trail, which provide an eyeful of the tumbling waterfalls adorning Genesee River Gorge. Farther east at Watkins Glen State Park, the Finger Lakes Trails parallels a stream-laced chasm bedecked with 19 waterfalls.

Wedged between Seneca Lake and Cayuga Lake, the Finger Lakes National Forest treats hikers to a quintessential Finger Lakes Trail sampler and opportunities to cobble together a multi-day loop. Only about 4.5 miles of the Finger Lakes Trails runs through the lake-cradled national forest, but the footpath serves as a portal to a 30-mile trail network ideal for weekend outings. Inside the national forest, the Finger Lakes Trail crosses paths with the 12-mile Interlocken Trail, a northbound route running through the heart of the protected area, and providing options for easy weekend loops linking the Burnt Hill or Chicken Coop trails.

Al805qbe8KIAUqMGQe0I The Finger Lakes Trail is a favorite for serious hikers, families with young children, and everyone in between. Photo courtesy of Corning and the Southern Finger Lakes

Tips for Thru-hikers

While the Finger Lakes Trail meanders through some of New York’s most spectacular public lands, nearly a third of the footpath’s route is on private land. When planning a trip on Finger Lakes Trail, thru-hikers should be mindful of portions of the trail traversing private property, and plan a route which ensures tents are pitched only in places where camping is permitted. The volunteer-driven Finger Lakes Trail Conference provides detailed maps and trail updates, while also offering critical logical support to thru-hikers, including arranging ‘car spotters’ to assist with transportation along the route.

Written by Malee Baker Oot for RootsRated Media in partnership with Steuben County.

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Outdoor Recreation

It seems fitting that both camping and the great outdoors are nationally celebrated during the month of June. Spend your days exploring scenic biking trails, woodsy hiking trails, and fishing on Keuka Lake. End your nights around a crackling campfire with a star covered sky overhead.

Hickory Hill Campground is a vacation destination perfect for families. Bring your own camper or tent, or stay in one of their cozy rental units. Kids will enjoy their sprayground, laser tag, pedal carts and more. The whole family can enjoy the pools and daily activities.

Hickory Hill Family Camping Resort
Hickory Hill Family Camping Resort

Just a few miles down the road from the campground is beautiful Keuka Lake. During the Summer months you'll find families out on boating, and friends kayaking and canoeing. Book a fishing charter  with an experienced guide and set out on an exploration for a wide variety of fish like Brown Trout, Smallmouth Bass and Landlocked Salmon.

Fishing on Keuka Lake
Fishing on Keuka Lake

Camp near Corning at Ferenbaugh Campground. Their wooded and Creekside sites will get you more in touch with nature. Relax at the pool then challenge your family to a game of mini-golf or volleyball. End the night with a campfire and s'mores.

While you are in Corning visit Ranger Outfitters for all your outdoor gear needs for a hiking adventure. If you are a less experienced adventurer or want a guided tour, no fear, they do that too! Book a hike with an experienced guide on the Finger Lakes Trail and discover beautiful waterfalls and breathtaking scenery.

Finger Lakes Trail courtesy of Stu Gallagher
Finger Lakes Trail courtesy of Stu Gallagher

Campbell Campground offers fun for everyone. Weekend activities, hiking trails, horseshoes, and swimming give campers a fun filled camping experience.

Take a cycling tour on the Savona-Cooper Plains loop  conveniently located near Campbell Campground. The moderate 22- mile trail will lead you along charming country roads and through small villages. Along the way stop at antique shops for a break.

For a back-to-basics, rustic camping experience get a spot at Stony Brook State Park. Wake up in the great outdoors and set out on hikes through deep gorges and past spectacular waterfalls.

Stony Brook State Park courtesy of Michael B. Studios
Stony Brook State Park courtesy of Michael B. Studios

Camping and the outdoor adventures go hand in hand, and June is the perfect time to experience both in Corning and the Southern Finger Lakes.

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Camping, Family Fun, Fishing, Outdoor Recreation

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