You learn a lot about a destination when you visit in the off season. Things are quieter, sleepier, you get to see the locals interacting with other locals, you see the sites that are typically overcrowded during high season nearly empty. And although the weather might not be ideal during low season, there’s something to be said for seeing beautiful destinations next to empty. That was the case during my recent visit to the Finger Lakes region in New York.
Visiting the Finger Lakes in April was an absolute treat- even though the weather wasn’t! I have to say, being from Maine spring has been unseasonably cold featuring the occasional snowfall- even in April. That didn’t stop me from eating my way through the Finger Lakes, don’t worry I made a few stops to take photos between restaurants! Here’s what I got up to (and what you should too) when visiting the Finger Lakes.
VISIT AND STAY AT THE LOCAL, STATELY HOTELS AND BnB’s
I had the opportunity to stay at three different types of accommodation over the course of my visit to the Finger Lakes. Here’s the low down.
For old time luxe and romance, Belhurst Castle is a great option.
This 11 room stone castle overlooks Seneca Lake perfectly appointed as if you were living in the 1800’s. There’s a complimentary wine spigot on the second floor, so naturally you will need to make a stop there before heading to the outdoor fireplace. Don’t get greedy, there is a two-glass limit. There’s always a silver lining though, you get to pour your own!
For downhome relaxation and comfort, head to the Mountain Horse Farm.
The Mountain Horse Farm is situated on 33 acres surrounded by the Bristol Hills. You have the option of staying in the Carriage House, the Lodge and traditional Sioux Indian tipis. YES TIPIS! The Farm is really focused on wellness which is why they have a spa with all sorts of services like massages, sauna, acupressure treatments, the horse experience and forest bathing.
For a home away from home.
For a home away from home, Bella Rose Bed and Breakfast is the spot for you. This restored Victorian aged home is located in Canandaigua. There are only three rooms each completely different from the other. I had the opportunity to stay in Ann Eliza’s Suite… and it was SWEET. It’s complete with a park facing balcony, in room bath (read: JACUZZI), literally THE MOST COMFORTABLE BED I’VE EVER SLEPT IN, and fireplace. Not sure it gets much better than that! Also included in your stay is a complimentary fridge stocked with water and soda, daily snacks, and coffee/tea. A must have is the breakfast! Rob and Jill (owners) go above and beyond every morning for their guests. The breakfast spread is what dreams are made of. I enjoyed two delicious courses of fresh fruit (the good stuff not canned), eggs, turkey sausage, gluten free bread and unlimited coffee with almond milk. They accommodated every single one of my dietary needs! Unheard of really. Jill said, the real deal spread (mine was rushed because I was catching a flight) is out of this world. BUT HOW COULD IT BE BETTER!?
THINGS TO DO
Any wine trail. More info on that here. I did the Canandaigua Wine Trail this is by far the most scenic and convenient wine trail as its only 41 miles! Perfect for a day trip. Not only are there wineries along the CLWT you’ll also find wine tasting centers, breweries, restaurants, and shops! The perfect Finger Lakes experience. Some other wineries worth the trip are Heron Hill, Raymor, Hazlitt and Inspire Moore Winery (home to my favorite wine of the trip Blaufränkisch).
County Road 12 Scenic Overlook
This is exactly what it sounds like. A pull over now moment in South Bristol. The view of Canandaigua Lake is simply stunning and its arguably the best spot for a picnic!
Eat (and don’t stop)
Literally though. YOLO. And The Finger Lakes is home to some delicious eateries. The breakfast spot: Simply Crepes where every single crepe imaginable is served, sweet or savory! For a special occasion or unique experience head to FLX Table, the menu has fresh ingredients sourced locally and the menu changes daily. Make sure to book a month in advance, as they’re only open on the weekends they book fast. For taco Tuesday, head to Rio Tomatlan. Authentic Mexican cuisine made of the freshest ingredients and over 100 tequila selections? Sign me up. For that “from scratch cooking” Kindred Fare is the spot. They were SO accommodating with my df/gf diet I couldn’t get over it. Kindred Fare butchers their own meats, bakes their bread in house along with their own pastas and sausages. In true farmhouse cooking style, the menu changes with the seasons or even when the chef is looking to spice things up. For the after dinner drink, head to Linden Street Social Club in Geneva, a speakeasy inspired bar.
Tips to know before you go
Uber is nearly non-existent, especially in the off season, so your best bet is to rent a car.
14 counties and 11 lakes make up the Finger Lakes region. Also another reason to rent a car!
It’s foodie heaven, splurge while you can!
PROMO CODES just for you!
The promo code is FLX2018 and it is good for the following spots.
Use this code for 10% off when you book a room in Belhurst Castle, the Vinifera Inn, or White Springs Manor! Hurry though! This offer is valid for stays through December 31, 2018. Discount dependent on availability. Take advantage of this one-time deal – special only for my followers! Your room must be booked over the phone and mention the code FLX2018 when you call.
Free petite dessert with purchase of an entrée ($8 value). Expiration date: October 31, 2018.
Inspire Moore Winery
Receive 20% off your online or in-store wine purchase when you use the special promo code FLX2018. This offer is valid through December 31, 2018.
Receive 50% off your first drink with Rio Tomatlan when you use the special promo code FLX2018. Hurry though! This offer is valid through October 31, 2018.
Heron Hill Winery
Mention the code FLX2018 at any Heron Hill location and receive a complimentary Heron Hill stemless glass. This offer is valid through December 31, 2018.