My husband and I decided to take my parents on a trip a few years ago as a Christmas present. We all love some wine, so we decided on the Fingerlakes region of NY. We chose Seneca Lake as our home base, specifically Watkins Glen. If you like the outdoors and wine, I highly recommend planning a trip here!
We did a 3 night, 4 day trip. It wasn’t freezing when we went at the end of March, but it wasn’t warm either. If we go back we’ll definitely be going in the summer months so we can enjoy hiking and being on the lake.
The weekend we went was Wine & Pasta weekend. Tickets were $40 and you got a sample of wine and pasta at every winery you went to. We went to 22 total. We’re Italian, what do you expect?
Where to Stay
I highly suggest getting an Airbnb! There are so many beautiful houses on the lake, with a wide range of price points. We stayed at an Airbnb and our view of the lake was beautiful. The house was very spacious and it was $600 for the 3 nights. The place could have slept 4 more people as well.
What to do
Watkins Glen State Park
I was disappointed it was a bit too cold to go hiking, although let’s be honest, I was more interested in the wine at the time. Part of the trail was closed when we went due to how slippery it can get in the winter months from snow/ice. Watkins Glen State Park is a must do next time we go! It’s a great hiking spot and has beautiful waterfalls throughout.
There are hundreds of wineries in this region. They are all pretty much up and down each side of the lake. One of my favorites was towards the north side of Seneca Lake, called Three Brothers. It was actually a winery, brewery, and distillery all in one. (The boys were a fan). In addition to the pasta sampling’s, Three Brothers had their own food selection and a small dining area to fill up on before drinking the day away. They had an awesome outback bar that had a New Orleans vibe. The staff informed us that during the summer they have live music and it turns into a fun party scene. I’ll make it a point to come back for that!
Although known for their wine, the region also has numerous breweries in the area. If we would’ve stayed another day I know my husband would have been all over the brew tours.
We did get to go to one brewery that was about 5 minutes from where we stayed, Rooster Fish Brewing. Spacious seating, friendly staff, and good brews!
Downtown Watkins Glen
Watkins Glen is at the southern end of Seneca Lake. It is a small town, but has many accommodations and some cute restaurants and shops along the main road. Rooster Fish Brewing is located here. Right down the street is Nickel’s Pit BBQ. AMAZING. A must go for dinner one night!
Corning Museum of Glass/Downton Corning
The day we left we decided to stop at the Corning Museum of Glass on our way home. It’s about 30 minutes south of Watkins Glen. To be honest, I’m not a big museum person (I get bored too easily), but it was pretty interesting to see the history behind various glass artifacts. They also have a section for kids (I liked it too) that is interactive. You can sign up to take a glass blowing class while you’re there as well! It took us a few hours to explore the museum, so we didn’t get to explore the rest of Corning, but the town is filled with restaurants and shopping!