Last fall, I enjoyed several days on a girls getaway, in one of the the Finger Lakes Regions of New York State. I had a wonderful time, and would like to share some of those highlights with you all. There are 11 lakes that comprise the Finger Lakes Regions- but I’m going to focus on Seneca Lake. Here is a list of all 11:
- Canadice Lake
- Canandaigua Lake
- Cayuga Lake
- Conesus Lake
- Hemlock Lake
- Honeoye Lake
- Keuka Lake
- Otisco Lake
- Owasco Lake
- Seneca Lake
- Skaneateles Lake
Maybe best known for the Watkins Glen International Speedway races, at it’s Southern end, Seneca Lake is lined with lovely villages, lush vineyards, rolling hills and roadside produce stands (where grape pies are a big thing).. The drive along it’s shores is relaxing at just about any time of year, and a stop to take a look at the beautiful Hobart & William Smith Colleges in the town of Geneva (on it’s North end), is worth the time. Watkins Glen State Park is a great place for an afternoon picnic and some hiking if you’re game! There are 19 waterfalls to see, and during the summer you can choose to take guided or self-guided hikes through the gorge. If you’re like me, and prefer lazy nature enjoyment…you can take advantage of the shuttle service up to the top!
The first night out, Becky and I stayed at the Ginger Cat Bed & Breakfast, located in Rock Steam, just Northwest of Watkins Glen. This is quite a unique establishment… one of the only Vegan B&B’s that I’ve heard of. You can read about our experience HERE.
On recommendation of Innkeeper, Gita Devi, we decided to check Farm Sanctuary on Saturday morning. I had stepped on a stainless steel eye pin a few days earlier and my foot was killing me, so we didn’t hike the mile or two throughout the farm, but we did check out the lovely gift shop. The ride up to the farm was absolutely beautiful. The leaves had just started to change.
Nestled in the beautiful Finger Lakes Region of upstate New York, the rolling green pastures of Farm Sanctuary’s 271-acre New York shelter are home to more than 800 rescued farm animals. Spend the day with us and take an hour-long guided tour, browse our unique gift shop, learn more about farm animals in our Visitor Center, or enjoy a snack on our scenic deck. We are located next door to Sugar Hill State Forest, just west of Watkins Glen.
They even have overnight facilities – cabins and tiny houses.
Immerse yourself in the Farm Sanctuary experience with a stay at one of our cozy cabins or luxurious tiny houses! No matter which you choose, you’ll enjoy stunning views of our picturesque location in the Finger Lakes region of upstate New York. Farm Sanctuary operates this program to provide an ideal way for members to immerse themselves in the Farm Sanctuary experience, learn about farm animal issues, and forge a closer bond with the rescued animals at our shelter.
Just a few doors down from the falls there is an old church that has been turned into a private residence. The new owners obviously have a great sense of humor!
We sort of went the traditional route in Horseheads, and stayed at a Marriott. What I have to tell you about is THE FOOD. I took Becky to Cracker Barrel – her first visit. She enjoyed it so much, I took her back the next day and had her husband, Rog, meet us for dinner. They headed back to Watkins Glen, while I spent another night at the Fairfield Inn. On my way back to Watkins Glen the next day, I had to stop at Mooney’s Sports Bar & Grill, where I was told they serve the best Macaroni and Cheese. I was determined that Mac and Cheese was what I was going to get..until I saw they had a Reuben on the menu. ACK…I was so torn. I LOVE a good Reuben, but I was told that you just can’t go to Mooney’s and NOT order Mac and Cheese – so I got BOTH. How could I not? And let me tell you – there were so many different Mac and Cheese options to choose from!
- Kenny Pow Supreme
- Philly Cheesesteak (my choice)
- Stuffed Banana Peppers
- Pizza Mac
- Bacon Cheeseburger
- Cheddar Broccoli
- Three Pigs
- Beef on Weck
It was pretty loud and busy that Monday at lunchtime, but I got great service and the food was delicious! Yes, if I’m in the area again, I will go back for more.
You can find the Big Flats Menu HERE.
I had most of the day on my own on Monday and Tuesday. Innkeeper, Cheryl, suggest that I go back to Montour Falls and check out the Library and that I should most definitely go to Oak Hill Bulk Foods in Penn Yan I took her up on both counts and I’m so glad that I did. The Library in Montour Falls is like stepping back in time. I felt like I was in Mayberry. Everyone was so friendly and the building itself is beautiful.
The stain glass windows in the front are beautiful, the cozy seating areas make for quiet comfortable reading and the bright and cheerful children’s room, brought a smile to my face. After purchasing a raffle ticket to give to Cheryl, I walked down the street to have lunch at Paridiso’s Village Bakery.
The owner had gone to school with my besty Becky, so I wanted to be sure to give it a try. I can say without a doubt, that I had the most delicious Monte Cristo sandwich that I have ever eaten! So often they are served with just too much powdered sugar. This one had just the right dusting…and was grilled to perfection. The addition of a simple side salad with home made croutons made for a great afternoon meal. I had a lovely chat with Kathy, the owner, and picked up some baked goods to enjoy later in the evening. They serve breakfast and lunch, so if you’re ever in the area I highly recommend that you stop in for a bite to eat.
I strolled down for another looks at the falls before heading back to meet Becky and Rog for dinner. On Tuesday, I headed to Penn Yan to the Oak Hill Bulk Food Foods. I had a good time wandering up and down the aisles. I picked up quite a few things…for a little picnic and to take back to Rochester with me.
For my picnic on Tuesday, I drove to the Watkins Glen Catherine Creek Wetland W.M.A. Restoration Project. I parked and enjoyed watching the butterflies and birds, while eating my snacks from Oak Hill Bulk Foods.On the way back to the Red Kettle Inn, I pulled off the road to watch a mother and her young daughter braving the cold water at the bottom of another smaller waterfall…there are so many the dot the area.
About the Catherine Creek Wetland W.M.A. Restoration Project
The primary purposes of Catharine Creek Marsh Wildlife Management Area (WMA) are wildlife management, wildlife habitat management, and wildlife-dependent recreation. At the southern end of Seneca Lake, between Watkins Glen and Montour Falls, New York, an unusual natural area has evolved. Sedimentation and manipulation of the lake level has led to the formation of a 1,000-acre marsh complex. The area provides a haven for innumerable wildlife. Once navigable into what is now Montour Falls, the waters of Catharine Creek still feed a remnant section of the Chemung Barge Canal, which runs through the center of the marsh.
Oh, this post has become way too long. I’ll stop here for now, but if you’re ever nearby, stop by and check out all the Seneca Lake and it’s surrounding areas has to offer.