Life in the NY Finger Lakes

Life in the NY Finger Lakes
Featuring Seneca Lake

If you’ve ever vacationed or lived on a lake, one quickly realizes that lake living is a place where time stands still. It is a place of tranquility, and a calmer, simpler lifestyle. Living on the lake is where you experience the release from everyday pressures of life.

For this segment, we are going to focus on the beautiful Seneca Lake.

Living on the lake (known as a ‘Laker’) and vacationing now for 11 years, we certainly have our favorites and want to share those with you. Come along with us and we’ll share our favorite places to eat and stay, wineries to visit and things to do from boating and kayaking, hiking among waterfalls, swimming in this beautiful lake and auto racing.

There are 11 lakes that make up what are traditionally considered the Finger Lakes. The Lakes are known for their breathtaking natural beauty, and the deep waters of the largest lakes at 38 miles (61 km) long, combined with the high hills alongside, create a “micro-climate” ideal for wine production.

The Finger Lakes region is one of the most popular tourist destinations in the United States. Seneca Lake, the largest [38 miles (61 km) long] and deepest [618 feet (188 m)] of the Finger Lakes, sports the largest selection of wineries in the region. Watkins Glen, home of the Watkins Glen International Race Track, resides on its southern shore, while the city of Geneva adorns the northern lakefront.¹ Seneca Lake is also promoted as being the lake trout capital of the world, and is host of the National Lake Trout Derby.

Seneca Lake
Seneca Lake

Our Favorite Two Wineries – We Love Our NY Wines!

There are about 49 wineries on Seneca Lake and growing [rapidly]. There are also a number of breweries and distilleries being hosted on this beautiful lake. Seneca Lake also features a Seneca Wine Trail in which more than 35 wineries have joined together to participate in the many annual wine and food pairing events each year, such as Deck the Halls, Spring Wine and Cheese Weekend, Preferred Pairings, and Pasta and Wine Weekend. The Deck the Halls is extremely popular and tickets for this winter event must be purchased very early within the calendar year, including any car or limo service.

Seneca Lake Wine Trail Map
Seneca Lake Wine Trail Map

As a local ‘Laker’, Hermann J. Wiemer Vineyard and Damiani Wine Cellars are our top two favorite wineries on Seneca Lake. They prominently feature dry reds and whites.

Hermann J. Wiemer Vineyard
Hands-down, they have the most incredible and highest quality wines. Herman J. Wiemer is referenced as a pioneer of viticulture and winemaking in the Finger Lakes and came to the Finger Lakes in the 1960’s with a rich heritage of wine making. They feature top Rieslings, exceptional Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and full-bodied Cabernet Franc and many more. Their winery is rustic and inviting and their tasting room has knowledgeable servers. Hermann Wiemer has also been recently been selected as one of the Wine & Spirits Magazine 2016 Top 100 Wineries.

Hermann J. Wiemer Vineyard

Damiani Wine Cellars
Damiani has an extensive selection of award winning reds and whites from Riesling, Sauvignon Blanc, Pinot Noir, Cabernet Franc, Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, Sparkling, Meritage, and many more.  Their wines have depth and maturity.


Our Top Three Places to Stay

Belhurst Castle
The Castle is a great spot to go and a definite ‘must see’. You can take your boat to the Castle as they provide a nice dock area with a number of slips. There is so much going on at Belhurst – two restaurants, wine tasting room and gift shop, a great spa/salon, weddings, brunches, beautiful accommodations in the original castle, as well as accommodations in the later additions. The property is very expansive for strolling around the grounds and Belhurst directly overlooks the lake.


Photo Credit to Belhurst Castle [Stonecutter’s]
Photo Credit to Belhurst Castle [Stonecutter’s]

Geneva on the Lake
The beautiful Geneva on the Lake is located in historic Geneva, NY overlooking the stunning Seneca Lake. The resort has an Italian Renaissance architecture, formal gardens and exceptional dining and service. They feature a smaller restaurant with gourmet cuisine.

Photo credit to Geneva on the Lake
Photo credit to Geneva on the Lake

Watkins Glen Harbor Hotel
Another great place to stay is the Harbor Hotel in Watkins Glen – everything is right there surrounding the hotel. It’s right on the lake in the quaint town of Watkins Glen, near the Watkins Glen State Park. The hotel hosts several restaurants [Blue Pointe Grille, Coldwater Bar and The Patio], next to the Glen Harbor Marina for sailing adventures and fishing charters and near the Watkins Glen International Racetrack. This is a great location with so much to do.


You can also rent houses on the lake, plus there are many wonderful B&B accommodations as well.

Our Choices for Local Food

Photo credit to Beautiful Linens™ (casual dining at a vacation home on the lake)

Grist Iron Brewing Company
Grist Iron Brewing Company is fairly new to the area, but is quickly being embraced by locals and visitors alike. The charm of the open and expansive Brewing Company that also includes comfortable picnic-style seating outdoors has views of the magnificent Seneca Lake. It has a relaxed atmosphere, a delicious casual food menu, and great beer (and wine). There is also an inn onsite overlooking the lake. If you want to just relax with family and friends and settle in with views of the beautiful lake, this place is a terrific place to stop.

Photo credit to Grist Iron Brewing Company

Edgar’s Restaurant at Belhurst Castle
Edgar’s is a fine dining restaurant that is located in the 1880’s Belhurst Castle. It is very traditional in its’ décor with the most amazing dark woodwork and trim. If you have a chance, try being seated in the separate library. It’s just a wonderful atmosphere.

Bar area at Edgar’s
Bar area at Edgar’s

Other great places to eat include Stonecat Café (local ingredients /organic), the newly renovated Inn at Taughannock, Geneva on the Lake, Harbor Hotel Blue Pointe Grille.

Other Things To Do

There are so many things to do at this great lake, please see some of the website links below for a more detailed listing.

  • Fishing / Fishing Charters
  • Biking
  • Water and Boating Activities (including jet skiing, kayaking)
  • Sailing Excursions
  • Watkins Glen International Raceway
  • State Parks/Hiking (Watkins Glen State Park and its 19 waterfalls and Toughannock Falls – excellent places to go)
  • Wine Tours


Photo credit to Beautiful Linens™
Photo credit to Beautiful Linens™

Seneca Lake is a wonderful place to visit and vacation. You won’t be disappointed.; Welcome to the Finger Lakes – The Lakes

Linens featured in this article are from Beautiful Linens™ at

Turkish-T Seashore Towel Terry Lined

Turkish-T Sorbet Towel Terry Lined

The Linen Mill Versailles Linen Tablecloth Set in Terracotta/Natural Flax

More information about our beautiful Finger Lakes Wine Country

For more information on the Seneca Lake Wine Trail and Events

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