Top 5 Places to Unplug

In today’s internet savvy, tech-connected world, it seems even on vacation it is a real challenge to be in the moment and truly relax. We are always connected. Whether it’s checking work emails from your phone or being caught up in social media, we’re here to help you UNPLUG and truly ENJOY your next vacation to the Finger Lakes. So, here is our list of the Top 5 Places to Unplug.

Seneca Sol

4625 Satterly Hill Road, Burdett, NY
(315) 270-2084

Seneca Sol 2
Glamping at Seneca Sol
Seneca Sol is a “glamping” resort on the east side of Seneca Lake, just a few minutes drive from downtown Watkins Glen. If you’re wondering what “glamping” is, you can think of it as a combination of the worlds glamour and camping, hence – glamping! This property is the perfect place to get away from it all. It features spacious, furnished safari tents with private balconies in a secluded forest setting. There is an indoor commons area and a modern bath house, so don’t worry, even though this is part camping, you won’t really be roughing it. Click here for more information

Single Island Shores

5761 Rabbit Run Road, Hector, NY
(607) 742-7495

Single Island Shores 3
Luxury cottages await at Single Island Shores.
Single Island Shores is a unique lodging experience on Seneca Lake, featuring newly constructed luxury cottages situated in the heart of the region’s most popular wineries, breweries, and attractions. This brand new property features beautifully appointed cottages, complete with full kitchens and the best part? Each and every cottage has a view of the lake! When you check in, you’ll want to toss that cell phone aside and soak in every moment. Click here for more information.

Farm Sanctuary

3100 Aikens Road, Watkins Glen, NY 14891
(607) 583-2225
The rolling green pastures of Farm Sanctuary’s secluded 175-acreshelter are home to more than 500 rescued farm animals. Spend the day and take an hour-long guided tour, browse their unique gift shop, learn more about farm animals in the Education Center, or enjoy a snack on the scenic deck. They are located next door to Sugar Hill State Forest, just west of Watkins Glen. You can even stay on the property! Click here for more information.

Finger Lakes National Forest

Hector Ranger Station

5218 State Route 414, Hector, NY 14841
Painted Bar Stables Trail Ride2
The Finger Lakes National Forest encompasses over 16,000 acres between Seneca and Cayuga Lakes. It is the only national forest in New York State and one of only three in the northeast. With over 30 miles of interconnecting trails that traverse gorges, ravines, pastures, and woodlands, it will amaze you with its scenic beauty. The National Forest is open to the public for camping, hiking, trail running, backpacking, biking, camping, horseback riding, hunting, snowmobiling, snowshoeing, and cross country skiing. Click here for more information.

Sugar Hill State Forest

3361 Tower Hill Road, Watkins Glen, NY 14891

sugar hill fire tower
Climb the fire tower at Sugar Hill State Forest.
Sugar Hill State Forest is located west of Watkins Glen and covers approximately 9,085 acres. It is home to the Six Nations Trail System, approximately 35 miles long. It is open for hiking and horse use in the summer months. Roads winding throughout provide great mountain biking opportunities. Sugar Hill is also home to one of the last fire towers in New York State that is readily accessible to the public. The observation deck is closed, but the stairs up to the top landing are open for climbing at your own risk. At the end of your 68-foot climb you will be richly rewarded, with a 15-mile vista in all directions. On a clear day the view is truly spectacular. Click here for more information.


Because we would be remiss if we didn’t mention…

Watkins Glen State Park

Watkins Glen State Park- Triple Cascades for CMoreNY
Watkins Glen State Park – step out of reality and into a Tolkien novel. Incredible!
1009 North Franklin Street, Watkins Glen, NY 14891
(607) 535-4511
Watkins Glen State Park is a stop you cannot miss! Voted the #3 State Park in the Country by USA Today readers in 2015, this incredible park has delighted visitors for generations. It is the most famous of the Finger Lakes State Parks, with a reputation for leaving visitors spellbound. Within two miles, the glen’s stream descends 400 feet past 200-foot cliffs, generating 19 waterfalls along its course. The gorge path winds over and under waterfalls and through the spray of Cavern Cascade. Rim trails overlook the gorge. Campers and day-visitors can enjoy the Olympic-size pool, scheduled summer tours through the gorge, tent and trailer campsites, picnic facilities and excellent fishing in nearby Seneca Lake or Catherine Creek, which is renowned for its annual spring run of rainbow trout. Click here to visit the park website!

Top 10 Things To Do in Watkins Glen & Schuyler County

Operating a Visitor Center is what we love to do… and what so many visitors ask us is what you’d expect, “What is there to do?” and we often respond, “Everything!” But really, what does that mean? Here is our list of the top 10 things to do in Watkins Glen and Schuyler County:

  1. Wine, beer, cider and spirits tastings along Seneca Lake. Watkins Glen and
    Atwater Vineyards
    The stunning view at Atwater Vineyards


    Schuyler County are located in the heart of one of the premier cool-climate wine regions in the world! With an amazing concentration of wineries, the wine industry in the Finger Lakes offers incredible diversity. On the heels of the wine movement, craft beer and hard cider are adding to the libations offered in the region. Schuyler County is home to the region’s first standalone craft distillery. Beer enthusiasts can try hand-crafted pale ale, amber, lager, or any number of specialty offerings at one of the many microbreweries in the area.

  2. Horseback riding through the Finger Lakes National Forest with Painted Bar
    Painted Bar Stables Trail Ride2
    Trail riding with Painted Bar Stables

    Stables. Experience the Finger Lakes on horseback. Painted Bar Stables is a community-oriented riding facility located just up the hill from Watkins Glen. Specializing in trail riding, the stable has reliable horses to guarantee a safe, secure adventure on horseback for riders of all ages and abilities. Experienced horses carry riders through the rolling landscape of the Finger Lakes Region on beautiful trails ranging from simple to rugged terrain. Each ride is carefully crafted through matchmaking of the horse and rider and selection of the perfect trail to give every individual the best experience possible. For a truly unique experience, take one of their moonlight trail rides.

  3. Drive The Glen. F1 came here in 1961, NASCAR came back in 1986 – and now it’s your turn! Give yourself a taste of what road racing is all about through Watkins Glen International’s Drive the Glen program which allows visitors to drive their own car on three paced laps around the historic Watkins Glen International 3.4 mile Grand Prix Course! Follow the pace car down the Front Stretch into the Ninety, twist, climb and claw your way up through the Esses and onto the Back Stretch, braking as you hit the Inner Loop and navigate the Carousel turn, then drop off the face of the earth into the depths of the turn-heavy Boot, climb your way out into Turn Ten, regain your senses and make a run for the finish line!
  4. Say cheese! No, really… we mean it! The Finger Lakes Cheese Trail winds its way
    sunset view creamery
    Cows at Sunset View Creamery

    through the Finger Lakes. Featuring destination farms that produce delicious artisan cheeses of all kinds, most have regular hours and welcome visitors throughout the year. We definitely recommend Sunset View Creamery in Odessa, which is also home to the Finger Lakes Cheese Festival in July. Lively Run Dairy, which is one of the longest operating commercial goat dairies in the country offerings tastings, tours, and an opportunity to play with the goats!

  5. Immerse yourself in local history at IMRRC. The
    Always something to see at the IMRRC

    International Motor Racing Research Center is located in Watkins Glen and features a 5,000 square foot facility housing a reading room, film room, exhibits, and worldwide racing archives. Famous drivers give talks periodically. A vintage car is on display in the atrium and the car changes every few months. Who knows, you might see a 1972 Indy Car Eagle or perhaps a 1929 35B Bugati.

  6. Chase waterfalls. TLC may have told you not to “go chasin’ waterfalls” but hey, this is Schuyler County… and we have 44 named waterfalls – you’d be crazy to miss them! Here are just a few of our favorites…

    Shequaga Falls in Montour Falls
    She Qua Ga Falls
  • Shequaga Falls in the village of Montour Falls are a hallmark of the Finger Lakes. They tumble 156 feet and empty into a large basin.
  • Havana Glen Park, located just south of the village of Montour Falls features Eagle Cliff Falls. To access this beautiful waterfall, it’s just a short walk from the parking lot, only a few hundred feet. Hector Falls, located right next to State Route 414 appear seemingly out of nowhere, running directly along the road. There is a small area for parking along the road but be alert, traffic can be heavy in this portion of highway.
  • Aunt Sarah’s Falls are located just north of the village of Montour Falls and are also directly along the road. Sometimes, during the peak of summer or during dry spells, this waterfall will slow to a trickle and sometimes stops its flow completely. But when it is flowing, Aunt Sarah’s Falls is among the most accessible waterfall in the region.
  • Deckertown Falls are located in the western portion of the village of Montour Falls.
    Suits Deckertown Falls  MFalls
    Deckertown Falls

    There is a small parking area for a handful of cars. There are three waterfalls visible from just beyond the parking area and if you journey upstream, there are several additional, sizeable waterfalls. Traveling upstream is best in summer or fall, when the water levels are likely to be a bit lower.

  • Of course, there are also 19 waterfalls in less than 2 miles at Watkins Glen State Park. Because our area was carved by glaciers, there are countless waterfalls to be found along trails at Finger Lakes National Forest and Sugar Hill State Park as well.
  1. Hang with the locals at one of these hot spots:
  • GRAFT wine + cider bar is the area’s only wine and cider bar. Creative, simple,
    GRAFT wine + cider bar

    seasonal small-bites, snacks, salads, sandwiches and desserts are thoughtfully prepared in-house and designed to share and to pair, by popular regional chef, Christina McKeough. Christina. Favorite dishes include their take on grilled cheese – a crunchy, creamy Goat Cheese & Sun Dried Tomato Panini (featuring local goat cheese from Lively Run Goat Dairy, caramelized onion and a dried tomato olive oil puree on local focaccia from Village Bakery). Or the Brussels Sprout Salad with Lemon Vinaigrette (featuring local apples, parmigiana reggiano, and walnuts). You can finish your visit with a piece of their pie (a new offering every day!), and wash it all down with local wine or cider – talk about delicious! Oh, and you can enjoy live music there on Wednesday nights!

  • Nickels’ Pit BBQ is an authentic American BBQ located in the historic Watkins Glen fire department building. Their menu is homemade and locally sourced. Don’t miss their awesome Loaded Potato Tots, BBQ Mess Plate, and the classic Carolina Pulled Pork – our mouths are watering just thinking about it!
  • Montour House Café & Tapas Bar serves up delicious, fresh, chef-created foods, pastries, espresso drinks, and Finger Lakes wines and beers. We especially love the Slow-Roasted Veggie Wrap full of roasted red peppers, olives, lettuce, tomato, cucumber, hummus, sweet onion, and NY cheddar cheese, and their delicious Chicken and Cheddar Wrap stuffed with sliced chicken breast, Gouda cheese, mixed greens, tomato, onion, lettuce, and Kalamata olives. With a chef/owner who has served dignitaries and worked alongside internationally-renowned chefs and in some of the top kitchens in the country – the Montour House is definitely a can’t-miss stop!
  • The Harvest Café in Montour Falls offers up fantastic breakfast and lunch featuring wraps, salads, and our favorite – their quiche! Located in the heart of the Historic T district, with its idyllic dining room and beautiful exposed brick walls.
  1. Take a selfie at the iconic pier house in Seneca Harbor Park. This one is
    The iconic pier house at Seneca Harbor

    self-explanatory! It’s a must-do on your visit. If you’re not one for selfies, we understand… but you definitely don’t want to miss this incredibly photogenic spot. Walk the break wall to really get in touch with the water – literally and figuratively

  2. Unwind on a sunset sail with the Schooner True Love. Enjoy a lovely sail through the crystal waters of Seneca Lake aboard a 1926 John Alden Malabar VII Schooner. Schooner True Love has sailed the Caribbean waters of St.Thomas since the 1950s and was featured in the 1956 movie “High Society” with Grace Kelly, Bing Crosby, Louis Armstrong, and Frank Sinatra. Local wine is available for those who wish to imbibe and the friendly crew passes a fruit and cheese platter for snacking. You’re also welcome to bring your own snacks on board.
  3. Dine aboard Captain Bill’s Seneca Lake Cruises. A visit to Seneca Lake is not
    Seneca Legacy
    Captain Bill’s Seneca Lake Cruises

    complete without stopping at Captain Bill’s. The Seneca Legacy allows you take in views over a delicious meal. Whether enjoying a lunch among friends, or a romantic dinner, your time on the Seneca Legacy will be memorable. The Stroller IV, Captain Bill’s 50-foot mahogany vessel offers informative sightseeing excursions. This hour-long tour of Seneca Lake provides a brief look into the history of the lake and the surrounding areas – an educational and relaxing way to take in the scenery.

These are just 10 options… we could name dozens more. Want to hear them? Give us a call for expert -travel advice (800-607-4552) or visit our website to download your free official travel guide. The important thing to take away is that there are countless reasons to vacation here in the Finger Lakes, and in our opinion, out of all of your options, Watkins Glen and Schuyler County are the perfect place to call home during your stay.

A hidden gem in the heart of the Finger Lakes

Watkins Glen State Park is, without a doubt, the #1 outdoor attraction in Schuyler County and arguably, among the most popular destinations in the entire region. But beyond the park, outdoor activitiesPainted Bar Stables Trail Ride2 are many and varied in our area. From hiking and biking, to paddling and sailing, horseback trail riding and snowshoeing – there is something for everyone when it comes to getting “out and about” around here. The Finger Lakes National Forest is just one of many options, but it is truly unique.

The Finger Lakes National Forest encompasses over 16,000 acres between Seneca and Cayuga Lake. It is the only national forest in New York State and one of only a handful in the entire eastern United States. Sadly, it is not so easy to find information on the Forest. On the internet, the Finger Lakes National Forest shares a site with Green Mountain National Forest (located in Vermont) – and information is not readily available nor easily sort-able. So, allow us to help you with a brief overview and more information! Keep reading…Landscape - kari lusk

With over 30 miles of interconnecting trails that traverse gorges, ravines, pastures, forests, and woodlands, the Finger Lakes National Forest will amaze you with its scenic beauty. It is open year round  to the public for hiking, trail running, backpacking, biking, camping, horseback riding, hunting, snowmobiling, snow shoeing, and cross country skiing.

Just driving through the Finger Lakes National Forest can be a storybook-like experience. Trees arching over dirt roads, provide a lush green canopy under which to travel. Trillium blankets the forest floor and you can find blooms around seemingly every corner. Country Road- kari lusk

Because of its size, it is not uncommon to visit the Forest to hike, picnic, or play… and not even see another person. It is a wonderful way to escape the rigors and noise of the world.

If you need assistance in planning a trip to the Finger Lakes National Forest, please contact the Hector Ranger Station located at 5218 State Route 414 in Hector, New York, phone number: 607-546-4470. You can also call the Watkins Glen Area Chamber of Commerce at 607-535-4300 for expert travel advice!

Be sure to follow us on Facebook for the latest updates and events in Watkins Glen and Schuyler County.



Spring Break Staycation

According to Wikipedia, staycation (a noun) is defined as “a period in which an individual

use for back cover
Beautiful downtown Montour Falls with Shequaga Falls in the background

or family stays home and participates in leisure activities within driving distance, sleeping in their own beds at night.” With Spring Break right around the corner, many of us are dreaming of white sand and warm sun. But why go somewhere else when we have a little slice of paradise right here? We have dozens of attractions offering great activities, all within short driving distance of Watkins Glen and Schuyler County!

So whether you’re a local enjoying these attractions as part of your staycation, or a visitor to our area looking for great ideas and deals (yes, they’re in there – keep scrolling!) – we have just the list for you:

In Elmira/Corning

Corning Museum of Glass – Spring Break Activities
1 Museum Way, Corning

make your own glass
Make your own glass!

For Kids: Encourage creativity and imagination to blossom over spring break. Visit the Museum for lots of family-friendly activities that will keep both you and the kids busy and happy. Admission for kids and teens is always free, and local residents (living in ZIP codes beginning with 148, 149, or 169) can visit for just $9, making the full line-up of events and activities an affordable option for families of all sizes. Activities include You Design It, We Make It!, Make Your Own Glass, Glassmaking Demos, and a Garden Gallery Hunt. Activities available March 19 – April 2. For details, visit:

For Adults: Make this is a Saint Patrick’s Day to remember at 2300°! Get your green on and celebrate the day that everyone gets to be Irish at the Museum. These events are always a great time with live glassmaking, live music, sales in the museum shops, plus complimentary hors d’oeuvres and soft drinks. Heartier fare is available for purchase. For details, visit:


Easter Sunday Brunch at Anthony’s Restaurantsoring iris
Holiday Inn Elmira Riverview
760 E. Water Street, Elmira
Brunch Available: Sunday, March 27, 2016: 10am to 3pm

Everything you could possibly want for Easter brunch including made-to-order omelets and waffles, with all of the sides you can think of, plus carved roast beef au jus, pineapple glazed ham, seafood thermidor, marinated grilled chicken, ratatouille, rice pilaf, fresh fruit, assorted salads, and so much more…. and of course, delicious desserts! For additional information, visit: Call 607-734-0402 for reservations. Cost is $19.95 for adults, $9.95 for children ages 5-12, $3.95 for children 2-4, children under 2 – no charge.



The Rockwell Museum
111 Cedar Street, Corning
Hours: 9am to 5pm daily

Family Exploration Studio 1
Kids activities abound!

Take advantage of great kid’s activities all week long, Monday – Thursday from 10a – 1 p (kids free, local adults $5). They are also offering a FREE self-guided “Art of the Parks” in celebration of the National Parks Service centennial. The launching point to this tour is a small gallery of Historic Photographs of Watkins Glen State Park! For details, click here.





In the Watkins Glen/Seneca Lake Area

Easter Buffet at Veraisons Restaurant
Veraisons Restaurant • 5435 State Route 14, Dundee
Sunday, March 27: 11am to 4pm

Featuring a carving station, decadent buffet selections, a “Create Your Own Pasta” station and a homemade dessert bar. Advanced reservations are required by calling 800.243.5513 or reserving a table online at

$32.95 for Adults
$13.95 for Children (12 and under)
*Veraisons will be closed for dinner following the buffet


Grand Brunch Buffet at the Watkins Glen Harbor Hotel
Harbor Hotel • 16 North Franklin Street, Watkins Glen
Sunday, March 27: 11am to 1pm

This grand buffet never disappoints! With everything from salads to soups and main dishes including pineapple ginger glazed ham, roasted pork loin provencal, her and horseradish crusted prime rib, spicy breaded cod, penne pasta with chicken and andouille sausage, tasty sides, and an assorted dessert display.

$30.96 per adult
$13.95 children ages 5-12
Children 4 and under eat free

Reservations required: please call 607-535-6116.


Lodging Deal – Stay 2 Nights, Get the 3rd Night FREE!
The Savannah House Inn and Cottages on Seneca Lake
3927 State Route 14, Himrod

Take advantage of the “Cherry Blossom Special”:

• Stay 2 nights during mid-week – get 3rd night free!
• No weekend or holiday dates
• Applies March 1 thru June 30, 2016
• Rooms at the Inn included
• Lake front cottages included – pets accepted
• Includes Complimentary Wine Travel Card

Call 540-454-1933 to reserve or visit for more information on this charming property. Pat and Brenda look forward to hosting you in one of the rooms at the inn or a lakefront cottage.

Sweet deals for a sweet escape…

With Valentine’s Day right around the corner, there is no better way to show your love than with a visit to the beautiful Finger Lakes!

Did you know that the Finger Lakes was just named one of the Top 5 Romantic Destinations, alongside hot spots like Vail, Colorado?! Read the article here, then browse our local offerings below and book your experience today.

There are deals and discounts that include romantic add-ons to a room package, family getaway deals, special extras for chocolate lovers, and more… keep reading! Need help or have questions about what to do and where to stay? Give us a call at 607-535-4300!

The 1922 Starkey House Bed & Breakfast

For the same price as a standard room rate, you’ll receive these romantic add-ons: fresh flowers and chocolates in your room plus wine tasting passes to two Seneca Lake wineries.

An upscale breakfast each morning as well as coffee, tea, and desserts waiting in the dining room each evening. Regular room rates and cancellation policy apply. NY State taxes will be added. Subject room availability.

To learn more about the Starkey House, contact Innkeeper Cathy Moskal at 607-243-7770 or visit:

The Estate at Glenora Falls – Valentine’s Special!

The Estate at Glenora Falls is offering a Valentine’s Day special promotion for the entire month of February… offering the property at a discounted rate of $1,000 per night.  It is the perfect location for a couple or a group to plan a wine weekend/Valentine’s getaway. Included in the promotion is a $100 gift certificate to a local Seneca Lake winery of your choice! For information on the property, click here to visit their website or call Jeff at 607-339-9285.

This truly special property is located on scenic Seneca Lake, just 8 miles from Watkins Glen and 20 miles from Geneva. The house has a spacious great room, with a soothing view of the Falls. There is an ample kitchen and a comfortable parlor on the first floor, just off the spacious first floor master bedroom. The second floor includes 3 bedrooms and a full bathroom. Fall asleep and wake up to the gentle and relaxing sounds of the waterfall from your exclusive 2nd floor bedroom overlooking the entire property.

The Farmhouse at Fulkerson Winery

For the week of Valentine’s Day (Feb. 7th-15th) enjoy a special deal to stay at The Farmhouse at Fulkerson Winery, two nights for the price of one at $500, plus your choice of a bottle of Fulkerson wine up to $15 in value. For details, visit their website or call 607-243-7883.

The Farmhouse is one of the oldest houses in the region, which has served as a gathering place, inn, and home for the Fulkerson family for over 150 years. In its current state, this beautiful vacation rental has been completely updated, but with its historic architectural details (such as stained glass) and antiques throughout, it retains its vintage charm and warm feel.

A Sweet Escape: Valentine’s Day Weekend at the Inn at Glenora Wine Cellars
February 12th-14th
See how sweet love can be this Valentine’s Day with an overnight stay at the Inn at Glenora Wine Cellars! Room packages include a bottle of Glenora NV Brut, six chocolate covered strawberries, a half dozen red roses, a $100 Gift Card to Veraisons Restaurant and a Preliminaires Chocolat & Wine Experience in the Retail Shop. Rates start at $379. Reservations must be made by calling 800.243.5513.

Package Add-on: Boudoir Session with Nicole Long Photography
Make this Valentine’s Day extra special by booking a 60 minute Boudoir photo session with Nicole Long Photography at our Vineyard Cottage on Saturday, February 13th! Package includes 15 edited images on USB and print release for $130. Booking sessions on February 13th only, starting at 10am. To book, contact Emily at To view Nicole’s work, visit


Valentine’s Day Weekend Dining at Veraisons Restaurant
February 12th-14th
Visit Veraisons Restaurant Valentine’s Day Weekend and enjoy a Couples Lunch; pick two entrees, one bottle of wine and one dessert for $40 per couple (limited menu selections)!  For dinner,  try our Love is Blind five-course Chef’s Tasting menu and enjoy a unique dining experience with heightened senses as you sample each course blindfolded. Five courses for $60 per person or $75 with wine pairings. Reservations strongly suggested by calling 800.243.5513 or reserve online at Daily Lunch & Dinner Menus Available. Lunch: Daily 11am-4pm, Dinner: Fri-Sat 5pm-9pm, Sun 5pm-8:30pm

Jacuzzi Suite at The Savannah House on Seneca – just $159/night!

The Savannah House offers the perfect place to tuck away for a wonderful romantic weekend. For details, call 607-243-7787! Visit The Jacuzzi Suite offers the following:

  • large bedroom with Queen bed, Jacuzzi tub, large screen TV, and private wine deck facing lake
  • large living room with large screen TV, electric fireplace, and sofa bed
  • large kitchen are with table and chairs, double sink, refrigerator, microwave, toaster, and coffee maker
  • private bathroom
  • terrific views of the lake and surrounding vistas

Cabin Fever Package at the Hampton Inn Elmira/Horseheads

“Get out of the cold and come stay with us!” For $99.00, this family themed winter package includes an overnight stay in a room with 2 queen beds at the Hampton, Large 1 topping Pizza, 2 liter of Soda, full hot breakfast buffet, plenty of board games, or just relax in our indoor pool and Whirlpool.  Available Fridays, Saturdays and Sunday now thru March 31, 2016. For more information, call The Hampton Inn Elmira/Horseheads at 607-767-8034 or visit:


Winter Bucket List

sunrise 1_6_16

Ask anyone who lives in the Finger Lakes and they can rattle off things to do in the area… boating, swimming, fishing, hiking, sailing, paddling, waterfall hopping, all make the short list. But what about winter activities?

From outdoors to indoors, we’ve compiled a Winter Bucket List. How many activities can you check off?

PS: As you’re checking off your bucket list, get social and tag us on Instagram (@visitwatkinsglen), Twitter (@tourwatkinsglen), and Facebook (@VisitWatkinsGlenandSchuylerCounty)…

Winter Bucket List:

Celebrate the holidays & New Year’s Eve in style!

Celebrate the season at the Corning Museum of Glass

The Corning Museum of Glass is a truly breathtaking experience – any time of year. But in the winter, it really sparkles. The museum’s glass Christmas tree, made of 2,000 handmade glass ornaments was recently highlighted by the Smithsonian Magazine. Read all about it here. But we highly suggest you come and check it our for yourself. Now through January 3, you can celebrate the sparkle of the season with an abundance of holiday-related activities and offerings.

New Year’s Eve Celebrations

One thing we know how to do in the Finger Lakes is HAVE FUN and celebrate in style! Looking to celebrate New Year’s Eve? Here are a few options:

Tioga Downs Casino

will have live entertainment by Virgil Cain, your chance to win $100 worth of “frosty cash” scratch-off tickets and $100 cash every 30 minutes from 6-10pm, PLUS a $2,016 cash drawing. For details, click here or call 1-888-946-8464.

Glenora Wine Cellars is planning a slew of celebratory activities including champagne at check-in, light  appetizers and cocktails, dinner and light jazz, open bar, a live DJ, and a champagne toast and ball drop at midnight, plus a breakfast buffet on New Year’s Day. For details, click here or call 1-800-243-5513.

The Watkins Glen Harbor Hotel
is hosting a Mardi Gras themed event complete with a cocktail reception, exquisite dinner stations, open bar, live music and dancing, a champagne toast at midnight, and a New Year’s Day breakfast buffet. For details, click here or call 1-607-535-6116.

 Other Things To Do This Winter in the Finger Lakes
 ICE BAR at the Watkins Glen Harbor Hotel
After the holidays are over and the new year starts, many of us fall into a cabin fever mindset. By February, we’re itching to get out and about! The ICE BAR (taking place February 4-6) has quickly become one of the most popular wintertime events in our region! Saturday night tickets sold out within 12 hours of being released. Friday night tickets sold out shortly thereafter… but there are still tickets left for Thursday, February 4! The event runs from 5-9pm with wine and craft beer samples, fantastic finger foods, and of course, carved ice sculptures, martini luges, great music, and so much more!
Friday on Franklin Events in downtown Watkins Glen
This monthly event series takes place on (mostly) the first Friday of every month. We say mostly because the first two events of 2016 will take place on the second Friday: January 8 and February 12. Every other event will be the first Friday of the month. Enjoy wine and craft beer/spirits tastings, as well as sampling local foods from 5-8pm. Purchase a tasting glass for $10 and head out sampling, savoring, and shopping. For details, click here.
Seneca Lake Wine Trail Pasta & Wine – January 15, 16, and 17

Enjoy a self-guided tour around beautiful Seneca Lake, sampling delicious pasta themed dishes paired with wine at 33 participating wineries. Pick up your gift item at your chosen starting winery then start sampling pasta dishes paired with delicious award-winning wines. Regular tickets purchased in advance are $40 per person.  For details, click here.

A Feast for the Senses in Schuyler County

As fall winds down, too often people think we, as a region, close for the season. But I assure you, that is simply not the case! In fact, we have some exciting new things happening here in Schuyler County. Let me tell you about them!

GRAFT wine + cider bar – an epicurean delight in downtown Watkins Glen!

GRAFT wine + cider bar opened in October to much excitement! Located at 204 North Franklin Street in Watkins Glen, this great new spot is the area’s ONLY wine and cider bar and market exclusively serving and selling a variety of New York State handcrafted wines and hard ciders. Premium Finger Lakes producers are highlighted on a rotating, seasonally focused bar and kitchen menu.

Creative, simple, seasonal small bites, snacks, salads, sandwiches, and desserts are thoughtfully prepared in-house and designed to share and pair, by popular regional chef Christina McKeough. Christina and her husband Jonah are best known for founding the popular Hazelnut Kitchen in Trumansburg. She is a graduate of the Culinary Institute of America and a chef dedicated to sourcing local products whenever possible. If her pedigree doesn’t convince you – her food will!

You can find GRAFT in all of their glory on Facebook, Instagram, and of course, in real life too – which is our favorite, obviously.

Note Fragrances 1
NOTE Fragrances – make a scent, make a memory!

NOTE Fragrances, a boutique perfumery and custom perfume studio recently opened in Hector in early October. Similar to a tasting bar, their sniffing bar guides you through their collection of fragrances in a unique dipping process. You can also create your own signature scent in the Custom Perfume Studio. Their Scent Designers guide you through the fun and creative process where you go home with your own unique hand-blended fragrance during regular business hours or after hours as a private party. NOTE also makes their own line of natural candles, bar soaps, lip balms, and body cremes. Learn more by clicking here!

A feast for your belly…. a feast for your nose… how about a feast for your ears? The Corning Civic Music Association, while certainly not new, offers incredible musical acts to enjoy. On November 20, 2015 the Pablo Ziegler Quartet will perform. Ziegler has been nominated multiple times for Latin Grammys and he won in 2005 for Best Tango Album. Later in the winter, on January 30, 2016, Mavis Staples will perform. Staples is a Rock and Roll Hall of Famer and a Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award winner. For more information or to purchase tickets, visit their website or call the Corning Information Center at 866.463.6264.

With all of this excitement about all we have to offer locally, we would be remiss if we didn’t mentsmall_business_saturdayion Small Business Saturday – which gives us all a chance to shop where our hearts are – LOCALLY! On Saturday, November 28 – small businesses across the country will celebrate the season by opening their doors and offering deals, discounts, and much more to encourage holiday shoppers to shop small. In Schuyler County we’re saying this is your chance to SHOP SMALL and SAVE BIG – but we certainly hope you’ll shop locally more often than once a year. After all, $45 of every $100 spent locally, stays in the local economy!

As the holiday season approaches and every one gets busy, I hope you’ll take the time to get out and enjoy all that there is to do in Schuyler County and beyond, and most importantly, take time to just BE. So often we are in such a rush to get to the next destination that we forget about the journey. When you stop and look around, you can be surprised and often stunned by how much beauty surrounds you that you never even saw. Touch it, taste it, experience it, relish it. This is life and it’s a one shot deal. Make. It. Count.

“Life is only traveled once. Today’s moment becomes tomorrow’s memory. Enjoy every moment because the gift of life is LIFE ITSELF.” – Unknown

30 years making wine, 160+ years growing grapes, and counting… a history of Hazlitt 1852 Vineyards

hazlitt old sign
The original Hazlitt sign

2015 marks a major milestone for a local winery. Hazlitt 1852 Vineyards has dubbed 2015 the “Wine-A-Versary” Year, marking 30 years of great wines and great times. Founded in 1985 by Jerry and Elaine Hazlitt, the Hazlitt 1852 Vineyards facility on Seneca Lake has evolved into one of the most popular destinations in the region. In 2008 Hazlitt Winery was rated one of America’s Top 25 Tasting Rooms by Wine Enthusiast magazine.

hazlitt barn
The tasting room under construction…

The business has evolved from relatively humble beginnings into a multi-faceted organization and the largest privately-owned wine producer in the Finger Lakes region. In 1985, the Hazlitt family opened the doors of a small wooden pole barn on the Hector estate, inviting the public to taste and purchase locally grown wines. At the time, in addition to a small tasting and sales area, the building also housed the farm’s wood working shop, a manual bottling line, all wine production equipment, and even a couple of horses. Red Cat was created in these first years and this original sweet red wine has become their flagship product.

Bottling the Old Way
The original bottling line.

In 2010 Hazlitt acquired the historic Widmer wine facility in Naples, New York, from Constellation Brands. After purchasing the complex, Hazlitt invested over $1.5 million to modernize and reinvigorate the property now known as Hazlitt’s Red Cat Cellars. In addition to creating a state of the art press deck and production facility for Hazlitt wine brands, as well as a revitalized tasting room and tourist destination, Hazlitt also established East Coast Crush & CoPack offering “soil to shelf” capabilities in wine making, bottling, packaging, warehousing, and shipping for emerging U.S. and international brands.

Hazlitt’s Red Cat Cellars in Naples, NY

In 2014 Hazlitt 1852 Vineyard entered the hard cider arena with Hazlitt Cider Tree, offering an American pure sparkling cider made entirely from New York state apples.

While the business is a little bigger than the day the doors opened in 1985, the spirit of genuine hospitality has remainedjerryELAINE_Bottles_800x520 the same. “This is still a warm and friendly place to enjoy award-winning wines including some of the best Rieslings in the world,” says Leigh Hazlitt-Triner, one of the sixth-generation Hazlitt family members now operating the winery. “My Dad always loved telling great stories about the Finger Lakes and teaching visitors about wine. He’d be so happy that Hazlitts is still a place where you can enjoy a casual atmosphere and no snobbery or intimidation with the wines.”

The 2015 Wine-A-Versary has been a year filled with feature wine specials, collector’s edition glassware and throwback wine labels and logo wear. Additionally some very special offers will be extended to consumers throughout the year, both online and in the tasting rooms. Be sure to visit them to see for yourself! For more information, please visit: or

September means one thing in Watkins Glen… VINTAGE!

Each year, when September rolls around on the calendar, the village of Watkins Glen is abuzz with excitement about the Grand Prix Festival. Since 1993, the festival has celebrated the heritage of motor racing in our area. Last year, an estimated 25,000 attendees enjoyed the sights and sounds of this unique event. This year’s festival takes place on Friday, September 11 and continues through the weekend._MG_1350-2-2

There is something from everyone at the Grand Prix Festival. Over 600 classic sports cars of all ages, makes, and models for your enjoyment and admiration. There is also live music, wine tasting, great food, family activities, a variety of vendors of racing items and related merchandise… and to literally set it off with a bang, there are fireworks at dusk.

Drivers can register to participate in a number of activities as part of the Stone Bridge Drivers events, plus a number of other options from a waterfall tour to autocross at Watkins Glen International. A great activity to observe is the Tech Inspection Reenactment at Smalley’s Garage. You can even meet special guests on Friday, September 11 at 9:30am – Otto Linton and Denver Cornett III, racing legends! There will be race-themed movies shown at the historic Glen Theater, too. Including: “Greased Lightning” with Richard Pryor (7pm on Friday); “Winning” with Paul Newman (7pm on Saturday); and “Le Mans” with Steven McQueen (5pm on Sunday).grand prix flag

For more information on the festival, visit their website or call 607-535-3003.