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The Finger Lakes: Don't Overlook an Ideal Vacation Destination
By Caitlin Moore

Upstate New York, particularly an area like the Finger Lakes, has the potential to be overlooked and generally ignored by travelers from other parts of the country. Don’t make the same sad mistake as these folks; this region is filled to the brim with year-round opportunities for leisure and laughter and shouldn’t be missed.

Beginning with the obvious, the lakes are the true reason for all the hubbub. Eleven separate bodies of water formed by long-ago glacial activity mark the landscape with indelible beauty and provide pleasure-seekers with an endless span of surfaces over which to glide, swim and float. The seven largest lakes receive the bulk of the attention and attract visitors to this otherwise purely agricultural region.

Nature reigns supreme from Otisco Lake to Conesus Lake but believe that there are plenty of man-made diversions to be taken advantage of. Seneca and Canandaigua each have annual Trout Derbies and casual anglers are welcome to fish the stocked lakes all summer long. Boats can be brought from home or rented here, so whether you choose to visit one of the big ones or a smaller stretch of fresh water, having fun on the lake is a sure bet.

As might be expected, the whole of Ontario County has a certain openness to recreation. In other words, golf fans can relax, because there’s plenty to appease them. Nine public courses that accommodate all skill level make their home here, showcasing the rolling green hillsides, views of the glittering lakes and the occasional wide-open countryside vista. Things have changed since the days when the Iroquois were the primary inhabitants of this blessed land, but much of the original splendor remains.

Not that summer is the only time to visit the Finger Lakes. Bristol Mountain Winter Resort offers ski conditions that are no joke, and the surrounding landscape looks incredibly lovely draped under a blanket of snow. Sleigh rides, winter shopping, holiday festivals and lights and the sheer thrills of downhill and cross-country schussing should be enough to tempt travelers into the snow. There’s always a glass of Finger Lakes wine waiting at the end of the day, too.

There are over 70 wineries to be found in this region, the largest collection of vineyards in New York. Between the Lake Effect and the local dedication to producing a fine product, this has become a fine place to tour, sample and buy quality wine and support the local economy. A bottle makes a great souvenir for all those poor souls who couldn’t make the trip, too.

Regional cuisine is another pleasant little detail to look forward to. Grape Pie is probably the most famous and unusual local creation, so be sure to save room if you’re visiting during the fall. All grape products, especially those made with the much-coveted Concords, are a hit, as is a plate of fresh lake trout. Area restaurants cater to all tastes, however, so expect to find everything from pizza to comfort food in Lake Country.

To truly capitalize on the idea of comfort, pick out a cozy vacation house or cottage along one of the lake’s shores or tucked back into the countryside. Nothing promotes deep relaxation like putting your feet up on your very own dock and gazing across the water, or cooking up the catch of the day on the grill in the backyard and finishing it off with a homemade pie picked up down the street.

Finger Lakes Vacation Rentals are plentiful and provide more convenience and charm than average lodging situations, and they tend to smoothly and easily enhance what already has the makings to be a wonderfully low-key vacation event.

Visit HomeAway.com as you start to plan your next hard-earned getaway.