The Finger Lakes Region: Between Your Winery Visits

Constance Bassett. Senators. On view in the Tripp-Rose Gallery.

Constance Bassett. Senators. On view in the Tripp-Rose Gallery.

Yesterday, we began an armchair journey through the Finger Lakes wine region of New York. Today, we’d like to share a few ideas about where to go between winery visits.

In addition to the Watkins Glen raceway and Corning Museum of Glass, which we touched on yesterday, there’s the Rockwell Museum, which boasts the finest collection of American Western and Native American art east of the Mississippi. The museum features engaging and interactive hands-on activities, and its permanent collection of art is complemented by special exhibits throughout the year.

The Arnot Art Museum is housed in its original 1833 showcase along with a grand late-20th century gallery addition. The permanent collection includes 17th to 19th century European paintings, and 19th and 20th century American art. Temporary exhibitions highlight various aspects of the collections and often include works from around the world.

Mark Twain spent many summers of his adult life in Elmira with his wife Olivia and her family, as Olivia was from Elmira. The author penned many of his famous works in his octagonal Elmira study overlooking the Chemung River Valley. The study now sits on the campus of Elmira College, where the Elmira College Center for Mark Twain Studies was founded in January 1983. The center offers distinctive programs to foster and support Mark Twain scholarship and to strengthen the teaching of his writings at all academic levels.

If you’d prefer to spend more time outdoors, the Finger Lakes National Forest is among the most immersive of year-round nature experiences in the region. Tanglewood Nature Center offers more than 10 miles of trails, exhibits, educational programming and more, and it’s just 10 minutes from downtown Elmira.

Watkins Glen State Park also is a perennial favorite where visitors can hike among 19 waterfalls. Expert paddlers, on the other hand, might want to head to the waters of the Keuka Lake Outlet Trail, the Chemung River, or the pristine lakes.

And then there’s the food. With farms galore, it’s no wonder that the culinary scene is a huge draw in the Finger Lakes. You’ll find many top-rated restaurants along Seneca and Keuka Lakes. Some vineyards in the region also perform double duty. Veraisons Restaurant at the Inn at Glenora Wine Cellars, for example, offers upscale dining that locals love.

In warmer months, don’t forget the farmers markets in any of the flagship towns. There’s also the Chocolate Trail with 30-some stops in Corning’s Gaffer District, and the stops along the Finger Lakes Cheese Alliance Trail.

Whether it’s adventure you’re craving or inspiration you seek, it awaits you in Finger Lakes Wine Country… along with a lot of good wine and food.


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