Finger Lakes, a 4-5 hour drive from Toronto, with hikes + wineries on the get the f out of the city agenda! Booking an Airbnb on-route, we found a sailboat on Cayuga Lake. (And by found I mean it was the last available option).
After a quick detour to Trader Joe’s, we met Jim, a chatty world traveller who after years of sailing decided to dock in the Finger Lakes. After a few random stories from Jim, he sent us off in a rowboat to our anchored home for the night.
6:30 AM Rocked awake by ripples we quickly learned we had neighbours – the Cornell Rowing team’s morning practice. Admiring the view, we snacked on our latest Trader Joe’s favs and attempted to use the solar shower.
Solar shower: A bag of water left outside (for who knows how long) in hopes to be heated by the sun.
10:00 AM Carrying on with the day, we were delighted to find our sailboat was within walking distance of the Ithaca Farmers Market. An around the world flavour fest for foodies. We tried everything from Thai tea to local donut peaches.
Pro tip: Visit the wine booths – multiple wine tastings for $1 – need I say more…
After the market love affair, we drove to Watkins Glen State Park. (Approx. 35 mins drive from Ithaca.)
4:00 PM Watkins Glenn State Park, lived up to its reputation as the most ‘Instagramable’ of the Finger Lakes State Parks. Visiting the last long weekend of the summer, we spent the first km of the trail dodging tour groups.
The hike, only 6km return, was stunning. Winding along the river over and under waterfalls, the breathtaking views of stone etched by the melting glaciers 10,000 years ago. The rim trail, 200 meters above, offers a different perspective overlooking the gorge.
After the gorge-ous hike, we walked into the village of Watkins Glen. Surprisingly, the very few dinner options were fully booked. We ended up finding a kitchen, run by Nona’s serving up handmade perogies.
8:30 PM Another late night, last minute quest for an Airbnb. We found (again, one of the last avail options) a rustic and secluded cabin. My need for trip planning felt slightly threatened by the success of our last min. Airbnb finds…
8:00 AM The next morning we made jackfruit tacos and enjoyed the stillness, overlooking hundreds of pollinating bees above the mirror-like lake.
REST OF THE DAY Our intentions were to drive to Letchworth State Park. What we didn’t know, is that on any path around the Finger lakes your destination is dictated by wineries and vegetable stands. Surrendering to an open schedule, we stopped at the Cayuga Lake Creamery
(which def didn’t disappoint), a pick-your-own-apple farm with apple cider slushies (which I could have done without), did a quick drive-by of Taughannock Falls State Park, (this warrants a second visit to climb down to the base of the waterfall), and visited many wineries and cideries. Have you ever had a cookie and wine pairing?
Finger Lakes is corky. With so much more than 2 days of nature to explore, I will definitely come back. If you love gorgeous views, and wine chilled upon arrival, consider visiting the Finger Lakes.