The Finger Lakes region of New York State is slowly being recognized as one of the country's premier wineries. Anyone who has ever visited the lakes knows the wide variety of wines available for all palates, from novice to connoisseur. Dr. Konstein Frank is considered the Father of Vinifea in the Eastern United States and is New York's most award winning winery, capturing over a hundred gold medals for their Rieslings and other wines. Their medium sweet version is rated as one of the top twenty best tasting Rieslings in the world, and Dr. Frank's is considered in the top 101 Wineries in America. They are also well known for their Pinot Noir, which are produced from the second oldest vines in the United States. Set high above Lake Keuka the views are spectacular and the people very friendly. Another bonus is their free wine tasting and discounts.You can purchase a Pinot Noir for $14 to $20 and an award winning Riesling for only $15-$20.
Two miles down the road you can find Heron Hill Wineries with their wonderful paired wine and chocolate or cheese tastings. Tasting prices vary from $5-$6 and they are well worth the price. You can also add an aromatic dessert wine tasting for only $2. Overlooking scenic Lake Keuka, this winery sports one of the most beautiful tasting rooms. Further down the road is the well known Bully-Hill with its friendly staff, a full service indoor/outdoor restaurant, a gallery and gift shop. The views from the deck of the dining room are truly spectacular and the food delicious. You won't want to miss their crab cake special served on a portabello mushroom.
While your in the area don't by pass the village of Hammondsport with its small town flair. Known as the cradle of aviation, Amelia Earhart is said to have flown there and befriended a pilot from the town. Part of its quaintness is a white steeple church sits close to the town's main square that houses free concerts in the summer. The antique hunter will be pleased to find many treasures in several tempting storefronts, which I myself could not resist. A trip to Hammondsport isn't complete without a visit to the local ice cream shop serving the best Perry's ice cream I've ever tasted. This year's cherry infused chocolate, "The Queen of Hearts" captured my discerning taste buds.
Other than wineries, there are many other places to visit and things to do. A visit to the New York Wine and Culinary Center in Canandaigua is well worth the trip. There you can take a class and learn how to create " Gourmet Dishes in Minutes" in their Hands on Kitchen or you can sit and relax while you're learning in the educational state of the art multi media theater. You can also sample regular or chocolate wines in their tasting room and savor a delicious meal at their restaurant. Next door to the center is the Inn on the Lake which hosts weekly wine, beer, chocolate and cheese tastings under a beautiful tent by the lake. Close by, you can take a stroll and further down explore the unique boat houses that have their own little boardwalk.
The Finger Lakes region truly has something for everyone: boating, fishing, swimming, golfing, wine tasting, hiking, art galleries, gardens, parks, mansions, shopping and of course delicious food.This article is just a sampling of the many wineries that dot the Lake region, as well as some of the things to do. My next article will focus on the State Park at Glen Falls and some of the above mentioned activities.