Spring is here in Finger Lakes NY, and that means you’ll find plenty of opportunities to frolic through the flowers, experience the outdoors, and enjoy the great lake, Finger Lakes wine and scenic backdrop that defines this New York State region. Whether you are looking for a low-key day of fun or a high-energy adventure, we’ve rounded up ten ways to celebrate spring in the Finger Lakes region on your next trip:
Waterfalls are not to be overlooked in the Finger Lakes Region. Known for the 11 lakes (like Keuka Lake, Seneca Lake and Cayuga Lake) that stretch across the land, the region is also home to dozens of waterfalls in all shapes and sizes. Watkins Glen State Park features 19 falls along a two-mile gorge pathway that provide perfect, picturesque views. Letchworth State Park has over 25 falls within the park – including their iconic lower, upper, and middle falls with their own dedicated overlook areas. And across the region are many others – Taughannock, Buttermilk, Grimes Glen, Montour – places to wade, swim, hike, and capture for Instagram.
The region is in bloom – and has no shortage of activities to show it. The Rochester Lilac Festival is a ten-day event featuring food, music, crafts and the beautiful blooming lilacs of Highland Park. Sonnenberg Gardens & Mansion State Historic Park also hosts an event in the spring – Roses and Rosés – a celebration of the Rose Garden’s more than 2,500 roses, paired perfectly with wine and food. And if you prefer a simple stroll in the gardens, just choose one of the many historic sites, farms, or public parks that offer fresh, fragrant flowers.
Cider is meant to be sipped on sunny days in the spring. Especially when it’s as perfect for the season as 1911 Spirits’ Full Bloom Hard Cider – a sweet, sparkling blend of hard cider and New York State red wine grapes infused with hibiscus that results in a bright, floral flavor. Or maybe the Rootstock Rosé from Apple Country Spirits is more your style – notes of apricot and ripe red gooseberry that is just too good to pass up. Either way, cider equals spring in our minds, and the Finger Lakes NY has just the right flavors to tickle your taste buds.
Nature is all around us in many square miles in the Finger Lakes region. From the earthen spires of Chimney Bluffs State Park on Lake Ontario to the glacial valleys of Lime Hollow Center for Environment & Culture, the area is full of fascinating sights to see and trails to explore. A hike through this scenic region on a warm spring day can be summed up in three words: refreshing, relaxing, rejuvenating.
You’ve had all winter to organize your tackle box and prepare for the day that fishing season arrives. Well it’s here, it’s finally here. With 11 lakes and numerous waterways to choose from in Finger Lakes NY, the places to fish are endless. Take an offshore sport-fishing excursion with Seneca Lake Fishing Charter Services, sign up to participate in one of the region’s Fishing Derbies, or simply pick a spot, settle in, and cast off.
Partner with a four-legged friend to enjoy the sights and smells of spring. Take a guided trail ride through the Finger Lakes atop a horse, and experience rolling hills, rugged terrain, and the scenic beauty of this idyllic region. There are plenty of places to saddle up and get out on the trails – like Painted Bar Stables in Watkins Glen or A Horse’s Friend in Pittsford, NY.
“Spring” into a high-flying adventure through the trees with Bristol Mountain Aerial Adventures. Starting in May, the park opens seven challenge ropes courses that will have you dangling, balancing, climbing, and weaving your way through the treetops. Kid’s courses are available for ages 4-7. For the more adventurous, a Zipline Canopy Tour takes you across seven different lines, four bridges, two off-road rides to a final “Leap of Faith” on a three-hour tour. Greek Peak Adventure Center also offers a ropes course challenge, zipline tours, fat bikes, and an alpine coaster for an added experience.
The Montezuma Wildlife Refuge, in Seneca Falls, stretches across 9,809 acres and through three Finger Lakes communities – Seneca, Wayne, and Cayuga. In the spring, the visitors center opens for the season, as does the 3.5-mile Wildlife Drive. A refuge to many animals – waterfowl, herons, white-tailed deer, muskrat, fox, coyote and mink – Montezuma also serves as an outdoor classroom educating visitors about wildlife and natural resources. It is home to six active bald eagle nests, which is a sight to see at any time of year.
Manicured fairways and picture-perfect golf courses are scattered across the Finger Lakes Region. There are dozens of great courses to choose from and the Finger Lakes Golf Trail is a good place to start. They are four challenging courses – Bristol Harbour, Greystone, Ravenwood, and Mill Creek – located on the western side of the region. Play them all, and then seek out new greens to get your golf fix.
Finger Lakes NY is edible, seasonal, and fresh. And the best part of spring are the new ingredients gracing every farm-to-table menu – some of the best eats served region-wide. Reserve a table at Hazelnut Kitchen in Trumansburg, NY and you’ll find seasonal dishes and desserts in a low-key open kitchen setting. Settle in at Stonecat Café for regional innovations and nightly specials. Or find your favorite fare at F.L.X. Table, voted Best New Restaurant in the Country by USA Today. The restaurant only seats 14 and the menu changes every single night – but is promised to be both creative and delicious.
For more fresh ideas and travel tips in the Finger Lakes NY Region, visit www.fingerlakestravelny.com.