Features NY Life — 01 July 2010
The Finger Lakes: Hot Town, Summer in the City

Summer in the City can be long and hot. And sometimes, those of us working inside all day (like yours truly for example, here at LocalBozo headquarters) need to get away. As August progresses, let’s be honest: There are only so many times we can take the same old trips to the Park or a train ride day trip out to a beach. If you’re like me, you’re frothing at the mouth for some kind of different, exciting way to spend your weekend….and a little booze wouldn’t hurt either. LocalBozo.com is happy to oblige with a special place that you probably didn’t know existed.

The Finger Lakes Region lies in north-western New York and is about a five hour drive from Manhattan. And if a drive through the deliciously green areas of New Jersey AND Pennsylvania doesn’t excite you, perhaps the home to over 100 different wineries & vineyards, breweries, & distilleries will. Named after the different lakes they border, the Finger Lakes feature five different wine trails and a separate wine path, all located within minutes of each other. And each trail offers you the ability to simply drive down the road and stop every five minutes at a new winery. It gives a small taste of each of the different bottles they offer- straight out of Napa, or maybe more appropriately, the movie Sideways. Known primarily for its Rieslings, the region itself is a beautiful throwback to a simpler, country life. When the weather accommodates, life around the lakes is simply breathtaking, with the hot sun beating down on boaters, kayakers, bikers, hikers, and yes, even sunbathers around any of the stunning sceneries. But the environment only compliments the real draw to the region: fantastic wine.

We recommend staying at an old-fashioned Bed & Breakfast in the small outlying towns of Geneva, Watkins Glen, or Penn Yan, for the ultimate experience. The towns are undersized and traditional, and they plant you in the proximity of a number of different starting places along the trails. While peak weekends typically last from April through September, the Finger Lakes has no shortage of old-fashioned and charming ancient homes with availability. And the number of B&B’s in the region is so vast, one of them is sure to suit your budget. After a delicious, homemade breakfast, you can shower and head right to the vineyards, as most open at 10am daily, and you can stop in or skip any wineries that you choose. More formal touring options are also available (depending on the size of your party) that will transport you from place to place by the busload. Or you can walk or drive through the local towns and just relax in the quaintness of the small town life. After all, isn’t that why you left Manhattan?

If you only have time for one of the trails, we implore you to check out Seneca Lake which features the most wineries all the way around of any of the Finger Lakes. With a lengthy path at one end, the lake is perfect for a walk or bike ride, or fishing, if you should feel inclined. For the less adventurous types, along the trail, we recommend checking out the Anthony Road Wine Company, which coincidentally also sells at the Union Square Greenmarket every weekend. The modern looking space is both large and similarly picturesque, with views of the green vineyard & garden from the tasting rooms and retail shop. (The Devonian Red & Pinot Noir selections were our favorite) On the other hand Cascata Winery, a much smaller but unbelievably consistent winery right off of Route 14 (on your way back to the City) features some lighter red wines, perfect for a steamy summertime afternoon or an accompaniment to a special dinner. (The 2007 Luna Rossa- Pinot Noir & the 2008 Red Bouquet were our choices)

The region is beautiful. The wine, affordable. And the drive, manageable. If you’ve been to one park, or one beach town, you’ve been to them all. When was the last time you got a true taste of the countryside with all the tastings of Napa? The sun, water, and wine make the Finger Lakes, the quintessential escape from the City and the perfect summertime getaway.

- Jane Van Arsdale

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