New York’s Finger Lakes Vacation
Combine wine tasting with nature adventures, history and culture on the New York’s Finger Lakes Vacation. Discover Seneca Lake, Keuka Lake, area wineries, charming small towns and world-class museums. Talk with our Preferred Travel Advisor to book this trip or customize it to fit your needs or that of your group!
Nestled between the Pennsylvania border and Lake Ontario, New York’s Finger Lakes Region is comprised of eleven finger shaped lakes, lots of vineyards and a variety of small towns and cities, which offer arts, culture and farm fresh food to locals and visitors alike. This itinerary allows you to discover the Southern portion of the Finger Lakes with locals to guide you to Seneca Lake, Keuka Lake and through Corning, Hammondsport, Elmira and Watkins Glen.
Let our preferred Virtuoso travel agent help you with this Darley Vacations booking or have her customize it to meet the needs of you and your group or family.
6 days/ 5 nights starting at $2183 USD* per person based on double occupancy
* Daily inclusions listed below. Itinerary pricing based on double occupancy. We are happy to customize this itinerary to fit your needs.
New York’s Finger Lakes Itinerary
We hand curated this itinerary based on Darley’s experiences filming for her Emmy Award-nominated PBS series, “Travels with Darley.” The tours, restaurants, hotels and activities are top notch, as will be the agent putting this together, so for travelers who want to take this itinerary and customize it further, we’ve got you covered.
Day 1: Corning, New York
Arrive to Corning, New York in the Southern Finger Lakes, a charming small city with a walkable downtown where locals and travelers venture into independent shops, galleries, restaurants, soak in history and art.
How to Get to Corning:
You’ll want rental car for this vacation. Corning is located just an hour and 40 minutes from the Rochester Airport (ROC is 100 miles) and a little over 4 hours from New York City.
Check into your Corning B&B, your basecamp for this Finger Lakes vacation. This charming property feels like home and is well located for Finger Lakes adventures.
Tonight, we recommend dining in Corning at one of the many restaurants that welcome locals and travelers alike, including The Cellar with its top offerings of Finger Lakes wines or the more casual Aniello’s Pizzeria.
Day 2: Corning Arts & Small Town Charm
Corning was voted “The Most Fun Small Town in America!” for so many reasons! Get to know Corning with your private guide, and hear about Corning historical landmarks and main points of interests.
Your walking tour celebrates the city of Corning’s heritage and history. You’ll explore the historic Gaffer and Southside districts. On the 2-mile loop, your tour guide will share the stories behind many city landmarks, including the headquarters of Corning Glass, Inc., Market Street, and several notable residences that reflect the city’s unique commercial and cultural history.
Corning has a nickname, the Crystal City, because cut crystal was such a huge industry in Corning. Talented glass workers from TG Hawkes & Company created works for illustrious clients, including the White House, employing more than 400 workers by the turn on the century. Corning would take off as a mecca for glass making. Along with TG Hawkes & Company, Steuben Glass Works would get it start in Corning and Corning Glass Works, now known as Corning Incorporated.
GOOD TO KNOW:
- Distance: 2 miles
- Involves paved walkways and a brief three-block steep uphill climb. Please note, we can make accommodations for guests when needed.
- Level of Difficulty: Moderate
Corning Museum of Glass
Thirty-five centuries of glass history is intertwined with modern arts, science, technology and innovation at the Corning Museum of Glass and travelers can not only observe glass making through Hot Glass Demos, but actually try their hand at making something, too.
See a glass portrait of an Egyptian pharaoh, examples of the finest Renaissance Venetian glass, works by today’s contemporary artists – and everything in between. Watch live glassmaking in the Hot Shop. Live Glass demos are on offer every day. This museum is where master glassmakers work and in a theatre-like setting, you can enjoy their craft and explanation.
Classes are also offered every day. Get a taste of glassmaking in a 40-minute Make Your Own Glass workshop. If you want to spend a little more time exploring glassworking, we can arrange a one-day or weekend workshop or an intensive course at The Studio of The Corning Museum of Glass. Classes exist for all levels of experience, in a variety of techniques and are taught by some of the world’s best glassmakers (Feel free to request details about the classes).
GOOD TO KNOW:
Workshops can be arranged for all ages and can include glassworking, flameworking, fusing, sandblasting and more with the help of experienced glassworkers. You don’t need experience to participate and learn!
After your museum and tour adventures, we recommend any or all of the following:
– The Rockwell Museum, an affiliate of the Smithsonian Institution offering a unique window to view the American experience through art.
– Local cuisine and a glass of wine at The Cellar
– Local craft beer and casual eats at Market Street Brewing Company
– Ice cream at Old World Cafe
Day 3: Keuka Lake & Finger Lakes Wine
The Southern Finger Lakes are rich in aviation history and a great place to learn about one of the area’s most famous pioneers, who used Keuka Lake for many of his trials, is at the Glenn H. Curtiss Museum in Hammondsport.
Vintage aircraft, motorcycles, automobiles, boats, bicycles and even travel trailers tell the story of Curtiss’s myriad innovations, often tested in daring ways. Born in Hammondsport and only attending school up to the eighth grade, Curtiss started racing and building bicycles as a teen and would go on to manufacture motorcycles.
Curtiss held the “Fastest Man on Earth” title for four years and pioneered the design of seaplanes and flying boats and tested out many of his inventions in Hammondsport on Keuka Lake, where today, an annual Wings & Wheels festival in September honors his legacy and the many innovations still in use today from one man with ingenuity, determination and the courage to go fast, high and far to create something new.
Finger Lakes Famous Vineyard Tour
Many people travel around the Finger Lakes to enjoy wineries and one of the most important is located on Keuka Lake in Hammondsport. Dr. Konstantin Frank Winery was started by Meaghan Frank’s great grandfather, Konstantin, who immigrated to the United States from Ukraine in the 1950’s. A viticulturist, he revolutionized the wine industry in the Finger Lakes, successfully planting European species of grapes.
Tour the vineyard and enjoy a tasting experience with Dr. Konstantin’s granddaughter Meaghan Frank (subject to booking availability). This is a special experience in learning Dr. Konstantin’s innovative and scientific approach to cultivating grapes that continues today with Meaghan Frank, the fourth generation of her family to work at the vineyard.
Learn about the over 25 different varieties of wine grapes grown, many of which are esoteric and unique, on this stunning property, which offers sweeping views down to Keuka Lake.
Following your wine experience, we suggest making a stop at Steuben Brewing Company, where food trucks during the warmer months, compliment Keuka Lake craft beer. This New York State Farm Brewery is family run and family friendly, often having live music and games onsite.
If you can eat dinner at this point, here are some recommendations:
Union Block in Hammondsport: Serves up good and healthy portions of Italian with great local wines. Live music is in the downstairs grotto.
Timber Stone Grill in Hammondsport: This restaurant offers great wine and beer and serves up dishes made with locally sourced meats. With an extensive menu, you can find something for everyone at Timber Stone.
Day 4: Finger Lakes National Forest
This morning, after breakfast, drive to Finger Lakes National Forest (32 miles-Est. driving time 50 min). Located between Seneca Lake and Cayuga Lake in the Finger Lakes Region, this is the only national forest in New York State. It draws in hikers, riders, history buffs and travelers who want to combine wine tasting at nearby vineyards with exploration.
Follow your naturalist for 2 hours on a fabulous historical path to visit:
– Caywood Point: Home to an important historical site for the Women’s Suffrage Movement. Queen’s Castle or Camp Fossenvue was a retreat for women’s rights activists like Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Elizabeth Smith Miller from 1875 to the early 1900’s. Learn about its significance and the history of this site listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
GOOD TO KNOW:
- Includes picnic lunch
- Guiding by a naturalist and the historical context of the place
- Access to the lake beach for swimming available.
- Walking time: 10min Level: up hill and steep, not easy. (20% angle). Not suitable for people with poor physical condition.
This afternoon, enjoy a guided horseback riding adventure in the forest. This tour can be catered to riders with little or no experience or more experienced riders.
The lands where the Finger Lakes National Forest rest today were inhabited by Native Americans for more than 10,000 years and would later be settled by farmers and loggers. Archaeological sites today abound in the forest, making for a fascinating horseback riding excursion. If you’re visiting the forest in the fall, we can try to time your visit with the changing leaves and to be able to have some of the fall apples, which which visitors are free to pick and eat while visiting the forest.
All riders must weigh under 220 lbs. for the type of horses at the Ranch.
Rest of the afternoon you are free to explore more forest trails, like the Interlochen Trail, part of the longest continuous footpath in New York State, the Finger Lakes Trail. It connects to other large trail networks, including the North Country National Scenic Trail and The Long Path, allowing outdoor enthusiasts to hike from the New York- Pennsylvania border to the Catskill Forest Preserve in eastern New York and beyond.
Dinner suggestions close to the forest tonight:
Grist Iron Brewing Company for great beer and casual eats.
Stonecat Cafe for locally sourced food and wines. Upscale, yet casual with great sunset views.
Day 5: Seneca Lake
The largest of the Finger Lakes and the deepest lake in New York State, Seneca Lake is surrounded by dozens of wineries, charming Watkins Glen and has a fascinating history.
Enjoy exploring the lake in a kayak on a guided tour with a few options for adventures. This three hour tour has the option for:
– paddling along the Western Shore to a Tiki Bar for lunch, music and games
– paddle to the Village Marina Bar and Grill for live music, food and drinks
– paddle up the Lake inlet to Frog Hollow Marina for a “backwater bayou” feel in a laid back waterside hideaway with excellent food and drink selections
The day’s destination will be decided upon by your guide that day based on the weather conditions on the lake. This three hour excursion includes double kayak rental and guide services (food and drinks are separate).
Rather go on your own? We can arrange unguided kayak rentals or stand up paddle board rentals, too.
This afternoon, stretch your legs Watkins Glen State Park, just a few minutes down the road. Meet your guide at the entrance of the park. At this stunning state park, over 800 stone steps lead visitors through a wonderland of waterfalls. Nineteen waterfalls within two miles cascade alongside trails, which weave hikers beside, around, over and under falling water.
Follow your guide for 2 hours on this amazing exploration of Glen Watkins State Park.
GOOD TO KNOW:
- Walking time: about 2 hrs with a lot of stops
- Up and down trail, with numerous steps.
- Level: Moderate
- Trail status is dependent on weather conditions.
Tonight, we recommend dining in Watkins Glen, where there are a number of dining options. For an upscale and tasty dinner, try Graft Wine & Cider Bar.
Day 6: Homeward Bound
Check out of your hotel and say goodbye to the Finger Lakes OR let us plan a few more days here for you.
Other options for things to do in the Finger Lakes area not covered in the above itinerary, but that can be added on or subbed out for the above, include:
- For Adventurers! Soaring at Harris Hill, where you can also visit the National Museum of Soaring, where over 80 years of soaring history is on display. Soaring is flying in a glider, also called a sailplane, a motorless plane which uses columns of rising air, called thermals, to soar through the sky. It’s an amazing experience for those with a thirst for adventure. (since the museum is here, if someone in your group doesn’t want to fly, they may enjoy watching the other flights and checking out the museum)
- For lovers of literature! Visiting the Center for Mark Twain Studies at Elmira College, including Mark Twain’s octagonal study, where Twain penned works like The Adventures of Tom Sawyer and Adventures of Huckleberry Finn. His gravesite is also nearby.
- NASCAR enthusiasts! Drive the Glen at Watkins Glen International, make a stop at the International Motor Racing Research Center in Watkins Glen and grab a beer at family-owned Seneca Lodge, which for more than 50 years has been an institution for motorsports racing fans and drivers alike.
- Sailing and boating enthusiasts! Pay a visit to the Finger Lakes Boating Museum, which chronicles the history of boating in the region over the last century and also offers volunteer opportunities in sailboat building and refurbishment.
- Wine and craft beer lovers! There are loads more wineries and breweries where we can arrange insider’s tours. Just let us know what you like or your tastes and we can lead you to the best locations.
We are happy to customize this trip for you!
Trip Prices & Inclusions
6 days/ 5 nights starting at $2183 USD* per person based on double occupancy
* Daily inclusions listed below. Itinerary pricing based on double occupancy. We are happy to customize this itinerary for you!
Package inclusions for 2
5 nights B&B Accommodation
Corning Museum of Glass entrance tks (Combined w/Rockwell Museum
Hammondsport Curtiss Museum entrance tks)
Horseback riding experience
Guided tour with a naturalist at Finger Lakes National Forest
Guided tour with a guide at Watkins Glen National Park
Wine tastings at Dr. Konstantin
Beer tastings at brewery
Daily breakfast for 2
Picnic lunch at Finger Lakes National Forest
$50 Dinner Certificate for either Three Birds Restaurant or The Cellar
All taxes and fees are included
Any meal and service not showing in the inclusions
Rental car or vehicle for transportation around the Finger Lakes