If you think winter in New York means hibernation and no chance for excitement, you’d better think again. Leave it to the people who live here to find wonderful ways to beat the cold and make the most of those shorter days. We know how to turn up the heat on fun.

Corning Clocktower in Winter
Jake Cornelius

Outdoor Winter Recreation

While the air here is some of the freshest in the country all year long, the outdoors is especially fresh and fabulous in wintertime.

Snow shoeing, cross country skiing, ice fishing, snowmobiling, ice skating. There are a number of fun ways to enjoy the scenic outdoors on your very own winter adventure.

For some peaceful winter hikes, explore the sundry branch trails of the Finger Lakes Trail which meanders throughout the region, or take a walk at the Houghton Land Preserve or Spencer Crest Nature Center, both in Corning, for a chance to reconnect with nature. With the trees bare, don't be surprised if you discover wildlife you might not see during summertime. 

Snowmobiling in Winter
Bob Magee

While Keuka Lake doesn’t usually freeze over entirely due to its depth, the northern and southern tips often do, which makes Hammondsport a great spot for ice fishing. Even if you're not into walking out onto a body of water for ice fishing, there are several rivers and streams in the area that are great for angling all year long.

Ice Fishing on Keuka Lake
Jake Cornelius

Nearby Waneta and Lamoka lakes, and other smaller lakes in the area do frequently freeze. As a result, there’s often a lot of action taking place on the surface from ice fishing to ice sailing. As with any such activities, anyone interested in spending time on the ice is urged to use caution and to good judgment when determining the safety of the ice before adventuring out onto the surface as these activities are not regulated.

Ice Sailing
Bob Magee

And while some ponds and small lakes might make for inviting skating, you can safely ice skate all winter long at Nasser Civic Center's Ice Rink. (Please note, during the pandemic the rink is currently only open to Corning residents and reservations are required.)

Indoor Winter Recreation

Historically, winter used to bring a fair amount of snow, but these days the weather often remains moderate which means the world doesn’t freeze over. Those milder winters, in particular, find visitors taking advantage of the exceptional indoor activities to be found in “America’s Top Wine Region” (USA Today).

Winter Wine Tasting at Heron Hill
Bonnie Gustin Photography

Ice wine? Oh, yeah!

Sure, ice wine is a decadent treat you can enjoy any time of year, but it seems only fitting to mention this delicious dessert wine during winter as you won’t find many wineries in the region making it, especially in the traditional method (you know, braving the frigid temperatures, picking the frozen grapes by hand, pressing that golden nectar for your enjoyment).

Be sure to try the latest exceptional vintages at Point of the Bluff VineyardsHeron Hill Winery, and Weis Vineyards (whose 2017 Riesling Ice Wine was rated 94 points by Robert Parker’s Wine Advocate: the highest ranked 2017 vintage from the Finger Lakes).

Of course, in wintertime you can also enjoy the many other vintages and craft beverages found here. As a matter of fact, winter might just be the best time to savor our award-winning wines and brews and to visit our world-class museums, as the lines are small, the experience more intimate.

Spend some time indoors exploring remarkable art at world-class museums like The Rockwell Museum, or at The Corning Museum of Glass where you can watch live glassblowing demonstrations and take daily workshops working with molten glass (sure to keep you nice and warm) as you make your own personal keepsake to take home.

Hot Glass at The Corning Museum of Glass
The Corning Museum of Glass

Turn Up The Heat

The Corning Museum of Glass celebrates winter with a series of free winter concerts. That’s right! On the third Thursday of every month from November through March enjoy live music in a world-renowned setting at 2300°. These widely popular events offer locals and visitors alike the chance to savor regional wine and beer, observe special guest artists during live glassblowing demonstrations, and listen to excellent musical acts from throughout the country.

2300° Celebration  Guest Artist Austin Stern
The Corning Museum of Glass

Time to Get Romantic

There's never a bad time of year to add a little romance to your life, but winter tends to be a popular choice thanks to Valentine's Day. While you can enjoy chocolate and wine and a little alone time during any season, the Hammondsport Winter Stroll and the Keuka Wine Trail's annual Wine and Cheese Lover's Getaway are two popular events around Valentine's Day that combine the peacefulness of small town life with exceptional libations. 

And the Chocolate Trail in Corning adds just the right amount of sweetness to a fun getaway. Enjoy chocolate martinis at the Steuben Bar, sample locally made treats by Finger Lakes Chocolates including special beer and chocolate pairings and wine and chocolate pairings featuring locally-crafted libations and Finger Lakes Chocolates.

Whether you're craving some spa treatment, delicious food and wine, the sensory stimulation of world-class art, the chance to try your hand at something new like throwing pottery, or simply strolling hand-in hand on a quaint street in a small town where life slows down a bit, and where you can focus on each other, winter is a great time for a weekend of romance. 

Love Birds Couple on Market Street Centerway Square Corning in Winter
Robyn Baty

“Party down when the weather turns cold and snow is forecast in the Finger Lakes. The small craft breweries, hard cider mills and wineries of the region welcome winter with seasonal offerings.”

David Latt, New York Daily News


For ideas creating your own magical winter escape, click here or call 607-936-6544.

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