Finger Lakes Trip Part 1: Hiking and Seneca Lake Wineries

I recently went on a long weekend trip up to the Finger Lakes in New York for my birthday and I wanted to share a few pictures from my trip and some of the places we visited! I had been to the finger lakes one time before a few years ago but my boyfriend has never been, so I was excited to show him the area and explore a few new places I didn't get to visit the first time around.

We drove up on a Thursday evening and got to Ithaca area pretty late (it's about a four hour drive from where I live outside of Philly.)  We stayed in a hotel in Ithaca Thursday night then went out Friday morning to go hiking at Robert H. Treman State Park which was only about 15 minutes outside of the downtown of Ithaca.

This park was BEAUTIFUL! The gorges and waterfalls were just simply amazing.  The hike was so much fun!


It was a fun hike - but not the easiest in the world ;) We parked at the lower park entrance and took the Gorge Trail to climb to Lucifer Falls (the stunning show of the park) and the upper entrance to the park.  It was a little over a two mile hike one way with a decent amount of stairs along the way including the "steep stairs" section shown on this little map!


I had a moment where it dawned on me that I was actually doing this hike and climbing all of these stairs FOR FUN - when I was heavy I never would have wanted to do something like this! I would have just been hot, sweaty, tired and grumpy the whole time!


I still got a little sweaty ;) but I was all smiles during the hike - even on those dang steep stairs.  Getting to the top of the park and being able to look out over the 115 foot falls and see views for miles and miles - it was an amazing experience!

We took a slightly easier trail back but overall ended up hiking over two hours and a total of five miles.  At the very end of the park there is a spot you can go swimming during the regular season: there is even a diving board installed right next to these waterfalls that you can jump off of into the swimming area.  For late September the weather was actually really nice and I totally would have jumped right in if it was still in season and we were allowed to.  If I ever come back during the summer I would DEFINITELY do this hike again and pack a baithing suit for the bottom - I'm sure the water would be freezing but would feel so refreshing after such a great hike!


After our hike we drove about 45 minutes up to Seneca Lake to where I rented a cottage for the weekend (I'll share more about it in my next post!).  We showered and changed and then it was time to hit up the wineries!  I subscribe to the annual plan at Rent the Runway so I got a free rental dress for my birthday that I decided to wear out for this first day.  At first I worried it might be a little too fancy for wine tasting but I got SO MANY COMPLIMENTS on it throughout the day that I think it ended up being the perfect fit (quite literally) for the day.




 We stayed on the Eastern side of Seneca Lake in the town of Lodi New York and there were SO MANY WINERIES so close to us! My boyfriend was so surprised: as we got close to our house we literally just started passing one winery after another - he couldn't believe how many there were! It's a wine lover's dream vacation location!

The very first winery we went to ended up being one of my most favorite: J.R. Dill Winery.  It was a smaller, family owned winery but I loved every single wine that I tasted and they let you put the full $5 tasting fee towards any purchase of wine which I always appreaciate.

They were across the highway from the lake but there was still a beautiful view from the deck.  Since this was the first winery we visited I was ready to do my tasting, buy my wine and then move on to the next one but my boyfriend requested that we relax for just a little bit before moving on.  We each got a glass of Riesling which is my favorite wine and the Finger Lakes region is well known for growing great Riesling wines.  My boyfriend doesn't normally liked Rieslings but he even enjoyed them on this trip!

We enjoyed the rest of our Riesling and munching on a soft pretzel on the deck before continuing along our way down the road to some more wineries.  We stopped at Hector Wine Company but I didn't really love any of the wines I tasted there.  They DID offer tastings of cider from The Finger Lakes Cider House though - which I really enjoyed so I made sure to add that spot to our itinerary for the next day.


Next up was Bagley's Poplar Ridge Winery which we stopped in on a whim: this winery lets you pick to do a pre-selected tasting from their sweet, semi-dry or dry flight list.  I did the sweet flight and only really liked one: the "busty blanc" which I ended up buying.  Even though we didn't love the wine here, there was a really fun atmosphere in the tasting room.  One of their wines was called something along the lines of the "Big Red Pecker" and a 75 year old lady ordered three bottles of it on her way out - I almost busted out laughing when I heard her say "I'll take three Big Red Peckers!"


Next up was Idol Ridge Winery were I enjoyed both the wine AND the tasting room. They had a lot of sweeter bubbly wines which I enjoyed - I bought the sparkling Riesling which was my favorite! The tasting room was pretty big and had a bunch of fun wine themed gifts as well. I thought this sign was fitting for my weekend - that was the only diet I cared about on this trip ;)


One of the most beautiful buildings we stopped at was at Lamoreaux Landing Wine Cellars.  The building was huge and had great architecture and was also located right on the lake so the views from outside the tasting room windows were stunning.

This winery was a little more on the pricer side than some we visited but seemed to have some fancier wines as well including some "library" wines which were available along with their sparkling and dessert wines to pay a few bucks extra to taste.  I didn't love the wines here as they tended towards the drier side - but my boyfriend enjoyed them. This was the first winery he bought something at! He purchased their Merlot and I grabbed a Moscato.


Our last official tasting spot of the day was at Wagner Vineyards. This winery actually featured a winery AND a brewery at the same location.  After tasting wine all afternoon with me, my boyfriend was very eager to try a few brews so we actually paid for separate tastings and split up: I did the wine tasting and he went off to try the beers!

We met back up afterwards on the GORGEOUS deck attached to the winery.  I bought a glass of wine (I really liked the wines here!) and we enjoyed chatting with some other tasters with the gorgeous view in the background.

Our second to last stop of the day was at Atwater Vineyards. We got there too late to do a formal tasting but the winery actually stayed open until sunset serving wine and cocktails out on their deck! This winery had one of the most beautiful locations that we visited because it was right on the lake.  I enjoyed having a few raspberry Bellinis while we relaxed on the deck and watched the sunset and once again enjoyed chatting with some of the other couples vising the winery. Even though we couldn't do a tasting my Bellini was mixed with some local raspberry juice and their own bubbly Riesling which I made sure to buy a bottle of on my way out.


Most wineries are only open until 5PM and a few stay open until 6PM but Atwater was a nice visit since they stayed open a little past that until sunset.  Since we got a late start to our day of tastings due to the long morning hike, we ended up doing one last stop at Hazlitt Vineyard which was having a special event outside since it was Friday with live music and they stayed open until 8:30PM with their outdoor patio bar offering drinks and music.  I had actually visited this winery the last time I went to the Finger Lakes to do a tasting and really liked their wines, ciders and whole tasting experience.  It was fun to come back this time around and end our amazing day of tasting with one last drink and some dancing with my honey. I would definitely recommend this place for a tasting during regular hours but this is really the only "night-life" in the area so if you are able to visit when they have this special event on Fridays - even better!

Whew - eight wineries in one day! I'd call that a success :) Next up I'll share about the cute cottage we rented and the wineries we visited the next day including one more on Seneca Lake and a few more over on Cayuga Lake. Stay tuned!

2 comments

  1. Love the pics...we vacation in Watkins Glen each year for the NASCAR race..love that area!

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  2. My boyfriend introduced me to the Finger Lakes when we first started dating and I've been lucky to visit often (his family has homes around Keuka Lake). It's such a dream, and your post made me miss it. Can't wait to hear about the rest of your trip! :)

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