Watkins Glen State Park – under construction… so what does that mean for visitors?

The Watkins Glen State Park Gorge Trail is slated to open on May 20, 2017. As you might know, there are big things happening at the park!

As we speak, the park is undergoing a $6.5 million facelift to “transform the main entrance to Watkins Glen State Park. The project will relocate the parking area away from the gorge, creating a less congested and more welcoming approach to this leading Finger Lakes tourism destination. The main entrance parking lot will be returned to green space, creating new park amenities and enhanced interpretation of Watkin Glen’s unique natural and cultural history.” (Source: Governor’s Press Room – Click here to visit the site and read more)

So what does all this mean for visitors? Well, as construction proceeds throughout 2017 and into 2018, there will be obvious construction taking place at the Main Entrance, BUT, you will still have access to the Gorge Trail, restrooms, and gift shop. Here are some additional details and if you have more specific questions, you can always contact the State Park directly at 607-535-4511.

  • Construction is proceeding as expected and will not affect accessibility to the Gorge Trail, restrooms, or gift shop throughout the summer and fall season.

    WG aerial (002)
    An artist rendering of what the area along the creek will look like after construction. What used to be a parking lot (somewhat diagonal across the middle of the photo), will be green, park space with grass, trees, and benches in the future.
  • The Gorge Trail is expected to open for the season on May 20.
  • There will still be guided walks offered along the Gorge Trail twice per day in-season in 2017.
  • The portion of the Indian Trail near the Main Entrance is being stabilized. Restoration of that trail will take place with a future project.
  • By May 20, visitors can also expect to see the traffic light at the current Main Entrance to the park, removed and a new light installed at the intersection of Route 14/North Franklin Street and 10th
  • New crosswalks will be installed with signals to facilitate pedestrians and park visitors crossing the street at Route 14/North Franklin and 10th Visitors and locals alike are reminded to use caution and stay aware as this new traffic/pedestrian pattern emerges.
  • The majority of parking for the Main Entrance to the Gorge Trail (as well as to the Visitor Center, restrooms, and gift shop) will be in the 10th Street Parking lot. This lot will be “pay and display” and available no later than May 20. Visitors are encouraged to begin using it as soon as it opens.

    WG gathering area
    The renovated entrance shows plenty of grass and green space to enjoy. You can see the current gift shop and restrooms (red roofed building) which will remain open throughout construction.
  • A relatively small number of parking spaces will remain on the park-side of Route 14/North Franklin Street but the entrance to this lot will be off of Pine Street, with the exit for this lot onto Route 14/North Franklin Street at the light aligned with 10th
  • Renovations to the restrooms will also be completed and ready for the May 20 opening date.
  • A new Park Visitor Center will open in 2018.
  • Later this fall, finish work will take place including trim, networking cables, sidewalks, and more.
  • The majority of renovation work is expected to be finished the end of this year with finishing touches (such as landscaping) to come in 2018.
  • Project costs associated with renovations are being funded by Governor Cuomo’s Parks 2020 initiative.

    WG street view FINAL
    The new entrance will be much more park-like and reflect the shining image of one of New York State’s flagship parks and top attractions!

So, in short, do not allow a little construction to keep you away! You will still have access to the beautiful experience and amazing waterfalls that are associated with the Gorge Trail. Are you excited to plan your trip? Start by visiting our website or browsing our 2017 Travel Guide.

As always, our travel experts are here to help you with any questions you might have! Give us a call toll-free at 1-800-607-4552. You can also follow along on social media via our Facebook pages here and here, as well as on Instagram here.


6 Things To Do This Spring!

Seneca Lake Pier House with boat in the backgroundIt’s hard to believe that we are already several months into what seemed to be a “new year” just yesterday! But, here we are. Who else is ready to start planning out their spring and summer? Our 2017 Travel Guide will be here later this week! Click here to request your copy and be among the first to receive it!

Speaking of new developments… we are excited to pass along the latest and greatest information about the area. Read on to stay in the know!

Attend the first wine festival of the season this May! Seneca Lake Wine and Food tickets are on sale now…Woman Swirling Wine

Join us for the first wine festival of the season in the region on Saturday, May 20 at Clute Park in Watkins Glen. Over 200 wines to taste, delicious food, great live music, and a beautiful waterfront location. How much better can it get? For event information and ticket sales, click here.

Are you a fan of Fixer Upper? How about antiques in general? Looking for that perfect vintage piece to complete your décor? Are you a Pinterest addict? If you answered yes to any of those questions, then you won’t want to miss this Antique Show and Sale on Sunday, March 19

The Watkins-Montour Rotary Antique Show is a must see! Plenty of vendors and interesting items to browse. You never know what you’ll find! Entry fees support scholarships and community projects in Schuyler County. Entry fee: $3 per person. For more information, click here!

A new café has opened on the east side of Seneca Lake!16387871_1905953809628284_6241397720668673016_n

The Elf in the Oak Café (4221 State Route 414 in Burdett) offers specialty breakfast and lunch sandwiches also homemade soups, salads, and pastries. They are ideally located on the east side of Seneca Lake, just a few minutes north of Watkins Glen. It is the perfect place for a delicious breakfast, lunch, or snack while you are wine tasting! For more information, click here to visit their website or click here to find them on Facebook!

Are you a marathon maven? Running Rambo? Fitness fanatic? Okay, we’re out of alliteration ideas! Anyway, if you’re looking to do something fun and completely unique, you should check out the Grand Prix Run at Watkins Glen International on Saturday, April 8!GRAND PRIX RUN.png

This is your chance to run where they race! The Arc Grand Prix run is a charity race for The Arc of Schuyler hosted at Watkins Glen International. It includes a 3.4 mile course for runners and walkers; 1 mile course for walkers. Medals are awarded to top male and female finishers and there are prizes for pledge raisers. Receive a free race shirt with registration, plus there are Packet Pick Up and After Race parties! Visit their website for event details and registration. You can also find the event on Facebook!

Wine + cheese = the perfect pairing to celebrate the arrival of spring! If you love wine and you love cheese, you definitely don’t want to miss Spring Wine and Cheese Weekend on the Seneca Lake Wine Trail – tickets on sale now!slwt

Held the weekend of April 21 through April 23, this is an incredibly popular event, combining the classic tastes of wine and cheese into one delectable weekend. It is a self-guided tour around beautiful Seneca Lake visiting 33 unique, participating wineries. Just check in and pick up your gift item at your chosen starting winery then start sampling cheese-themed dishes paired with delicious award-winning wines.  For more information, click here.

Visiting on a weekend? We have a lively and fun downtown event for you! Check out our First Friday events in downtown Watkins Glen!fof

If you happen to be visiting on the first Friday of any month, be sure to spend some time taking part in this fun (and delicious) tasting event! Enjoy tastings from local wineries, breweries, distilleries, cafes, creameries, and more – all inside of downtown shops! The participating businesses change every month but may include wine, beer, spirits, cheese, locally-roasted coffee, gourmet popcorn, and/or local eateries. The cost is just $10 and includes a souvenir wine glass! For more information, click here.

Looking for even more to do? Check out our Public Events Calendar for all of the latest and greatest events in the area! You can also follow us on Facebook to stay up on the latest developments and additions in the area. In the meantime, get ready, because the fun is just beginning!

16 Ways to Celebrate Valentine’s Day

Valentine’s Day is that time of year when we think about making the one(s) we love feel special! Whether it’s our friends, family, significant other, co-workers, neighbors, or beyond… it’s a great excuse to share the love. Here are 16 ways that you can do that right here in our slice of paradise.

Looking for other ideas? It’s not too late to plan a romantic getaway! Visit our website to plan your trip! There are also some great packages being offered by hotels in the region… keep reading for those details!

In the meantime, if you need some expert advice, feel free to give us a call at 800-607-4552. Our friendly and knowledgeable staff is here to help!

Antique Revival

  • Sweetheart Sale going on now of 20% off storewide and with a purchase of $25, receive a free box of chocolates! Click here to visit their website.

Finger Lakes Distilling

  • Sweetheart Shot Set ($25) – Satisfy your sweet tooth this Valentine’s Day with our Sweetheart Shot package featuring one 375 mL bottle of our Cherry Liqueur and one bottle of Fee Brothers Aztec Chocolate Bitters. Add 2 dashes of bitters to a 1 oz pour of liqueur for a sweet, chocolatey twist on an FLD favorite.
  • BOGO 25% off 6 oz flasks – Share the love with mix and match flasks for you and your valentine. Choose from brushed stainless steel or sparkling pink to make the perfect set for gifting to your spirit-loving sweetheart.
  • These packages are available through February 17.

Finger Lakes Wine Rack Tours

  • WINTER WINE TOUR SPECIAL PRICING! Beat the winter blues with a guided 4-hour wine tour on Seneca, Cayuga, or Keuka lakes. Enjoy a custom 4-hour tour for 2 people for only $300.00 (includes tour, sales tax and driver gratuity). Special pricing good on tours during February and March. Call 585-733-6025 or click here for more information.

Hazlitt 1852 Vineyards

  • February 14: Complimentary Wine Tasting with Treat! Enjoy complimentary tastings all day along with a special treat! Included in your tasting experience today: Bramble Berry Chocolate brownies…made with our Bramble Berry wine!
  • Now through Feb. 14, 2017 Wine for Your Valentine! Wine is the perfect gift for Valentine’s Day. Red, white, dry or sweet…they all make the perfect Valentine treat! Buy one or more cases* of wine now through February 14th and receive one $10 Hazlitt Gift Card. For more information, click here.

Holiday Inn Elmira Riverview

  • Valentine Escape Package: available ANY NIGHT in February! Overnight Accommodations, $40 towards Dinner at Anthony’s Restaurant and $20 towards breakfast at Anthony’s Restaurant all for $129! Call 607-734-4211 for more information or to book.

Glenora Wine Cellars & The Inn at Glenora

  • Treat your sweetheart to a romantic getaway! Three Valentine’s Day package to choose from – Silver, Gold, and Platinum – for a memorable getaway weekend. All packages include an overnight stay, chocolate covered strawberries, a $100 gift card to Veraisons Restaurant, and a Chocolate & Wine Experience at the winery. Upgrade and enjoy even more Valentine’s Day perks! Reservations are required by calling 800-243-5513. Click here to learn more.

Lakewood Vineyards

  • Happy Valvintines Day Chocolate & Wine Pairing: February 11 – 10am-5pm, and Feb . 12 noon – 5pm (while supplies last). Enjoy a pairing of award winning Valvin Muscat with a locally made orange cream truffle. $2/person with proceeds going to the Monty Stamp Grape & Wine Education Fund. Call 607-535-9252 for details!

Main Street Drivers

  • Wouldn’t you “Love” a designated driver? Main Street Drivers is offering a discount of 20% off of our designated drivers for the entire weekend (4-hour minimum). Call 917-484-0513 to book or click here to learn more.

MuraBella’s Italian Steakhouse

  • Valentine’s Dinner: Dinner and drink specials available this Friday, Saturday, Sunday, and Tuesday! Something new and different every night! Tables are filling quickly, be sure to make your reservation: 607-210-4020.

Namaste Event, Spa, and Wellness Center

  • His & Hers Package $150 ($30 savings): 60-minute couples massage, private relaxation room and 25-minute sauna session. This package is good all month long!
  • Chocolate Kiss or Sugar Kiss facials, body scrubs, manis, and pedis!
  • Gift Card Sale: Buy $100 get $20 FREE with a chance in drawing to win a FREE his and her package valued at $180.
  • Call 607-333-4778 to book your service or click here for more information!

Odessa Wines & Spirits

  • 10% off your wine purchase on February 14, 2017.

Painted Bar Stables

  • Moonlight Glow Stick Trail Rides are the perfect Valentine’s Day Date! Romantic and fun for couples of all riding levels. Times: Saturday 2/11 @ 8:30p; Monday 2/13 @ 8:30pm; and Tuesday 2/14 @ 9:30pm. Additional rides may be available as ride times fill. Cost is $60 per person. For more information or to book your spot, contact Painted Bar Stables at 607-217-8141.

Simply Your Best

  • Relaxation and Rejuvenation: 1 hour massage, therapeutic pedicure, and mini facial – $100.
  • 1 Hour Couples Massage – $100.
  • Available to purchase until February 14, 2017. Valid for 1 year after purchase, cannot be combined with any other discounts. Call 607-594-2811 or stop by!

Special Event Network

  • Finger Lakes Platinum Bridal Expo at the Radisson Hotel Corning – Sunday, February 19, 2017. Engaged couples have an opportunity to plan their wedding with over 40 local and regional wedding professionals, specialty businesses and venues with fantastic products & services.  Attending brides and grooms and their guests also can enjoy delicious cake, candy, and cookie tastings, passed hors d’oeuvres, wine tasting, have their photos taken in a photo booth, listen to beautiful music, sit in a limo, receive a bridal bag, and more.  Brides who pre-register on www.senbridalshows.com between Feb 14 and Feb 18 will receive 2 chances to win gifts in additional special drawings.

Village Bakery

  • Give ‘Em Your Heart: 9″ Milk Chocolate Mousse Cake & a bag of Coffee Crush are the perfect way to show your love!
  • Cinnamon Rolls, Cookies, Coffee, Brownies, & Milk Chocolate Mousse are all dressed up to treat your sweetheart (or yourself, or your office…)
  • For details, click here or place your order today: 607-535-3533

Watkins Glen Harbor Hotel

  • Valentine’s Romance Package starting at $199. Available Sunday, February 12 – Thursday, February 16. Click here to learn more! Call 607-535-4116 to book your stay!


“Off Season” – what’s that?!

We see the majority of our visitors during the warmer months – May through October. The other six months of the year (November through April) are sometimes referred to as the “off-season”. But that seasonal decrease in visitation is becoming less and less with each passing year.

Visitors are realizing that coming during the cooler months affords many benefits – lower rates, personalized service and attention, a more relaxing atmosphere, and special events – all of which is drawing more to the area. There are plenty of things to do. Not to mention, winter is truly beautiful here!


You can keep up on the latest winter event announcements, deals, and more by following us on Facebook and Instagram. Plus, our website provides a wealth of information, a public events calendar, hot deals, and more to plan your trip. Or you can always give us a call at 800-607-4552 for immediate (and expert!) travel advice.

In the meantime, here are just a few ideas to consider between now and Valentine’s Day… check out all that there is to see and do, then book your trip today!

skiing behind NF



Winemaker Wednesdays at Hector Wine Company

Looking for a wine tasting experience that goes above and beyond the average? Check out Hector Wine Company’s Winemaker Tastings. Enjoy your own private tasting with the winemaker including barrel samples, tank samples, and food pairings. Yeah, you won’t find this opportunity in the peak of summer! Give them a call for pricing and availability: 607-387-1045.


Wednesday Night Acoustic Open Jam at Barry Family Cellars

Set in a beautiful historic building in the village of Burdett, you definitely want to check out one of the newest wineries to open on Seneca Lake. What better reason to swing by than to check out their acoustic open jams each Wednesday? The Barry Family will provide a warm welcome and plenty of awesome libations. Get all of the details on their Facebook page by clicking here.


Saint Practice Day at Grist Iron Brewing


If this title didn’t make you chuckle a little, read it again. We love this idea that the talented and creative team at Grist Iron came up with! Practice for St. Paddy’s Day in true Irish tradition, with good tunes by Celtic rock group Kilrush, delicious food, and bountiful pours of their brand new limited release whiskey barrel-aged Irish Red! As they say at Grist Iron, “This event will turn everyone Irish by the time our shenanigans are through!” For more information, click here.

Chocolate and Wine with your Valentine at Lamoreaux Landing Wine Cellars


Wine and chocolate – a match made in heaven!



Sunday, February 12 ♥ 1-3pm ♥ Learn to craft your own delicious artisan chocolate truffles and pair them with wines! All chocolate-making ingredients will be provided, as well as aprons for each guest – feel free to dress your best! Additional wines will also be available and can be purchased by the glass and bottle. Click here to learn more. $40 per person | $32 Case Club members and their guests. Space is limited for this event, and registration must be reserved in advance, please call 607.582.6011 by February 1, 2017.

Moonlight Trail Rides with Painted Bar Stables



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Moonlight glow stick trail rides are the perfect Valentine’s Day Date! Romantic and fun for couples of all riding levels. Cost is $60 per person. For more information or to book your spot, contact Painted Bar Stables at 607-217-8141. Or visit them on Facebook to learn more about this awesome riding community.

Valentine’s Getaway Packages at the Inn at Glenora Wine Cellars


Available February 10-14, 2017 – Treat your sweetheart to a romantic getaway! The Inn features three room types, each with a private balcony or patio overlooking beautiful Seneca Lake, and three Valentine’s Day package to choose from – Silver, Gold, and Platinum – for a memorable getaway weekend. All packages include an overnight stay, chocolate covered strawberries, a $100 gift card to Veraisons Restaurant, and a Chocolate & Wine Experience at the winery. Upgrade and enjoy even more Valentine’s Day perks! Reservations are required by calling 800.243.5513. All stays include a glass of sparkling wine at check-in, wine tasting at the winery, and a bottle of Glenora Cayuga White in each room. For more information on this offer, including the upgrades available, click here.

ICE BAR at the Watkins Glen Harbor Hotel



February 2, 2017 – Although Friday and Saturday night sold out in record time, there are still tickets available to Thursday night (February 2). The event kicks off at 5pm. Bundle up and step into a winter wonderland of over 25,000 pounds of ice meticulously carved into breathtaking ice sculptures, martini ice luges, and the coolest bars in town! After enjoying the chilling experience on the patio, the Harbor Ballroom is a great place to warm up and enjoy complimentary local wine, beer, restaurant tastings, music, and dancing. For more information, click here.


Celebrate the season… 5 ways in the Finger Lakes!

The Finger Lakes is known for its beautiful scenery, lush hillsides of rolling vineyards, and picturesque waterfalls. But… somehow, it seems some think we close for business in the winter. We’re here to tell you that is definitely not the case! There are lots of fun things to do this time of year! Don’t let a little chill and some snow scare you, get out and make the most of every moment this winter… here are 5 ideas to get you started!

  1. Sample some holiday-themed beverages! We suggest starting with the Peppermint Stout at Grist Iron Brewing. As our pals from GIB share, “Brewed witgrist-iron-pepperminth an abundance of peppermint tea and chocolate, we liken this beer to having a piece of peppermint bark infused with alcohol! Every brew crafted at GIB has a story and the descriptions are just snippets of what goes on in the mind of our brewer when he’s thinking up a new beer. For the full story, make sure you stop in and grab a pint. You can even pull Patrick aside for a story or two. Cheers!” Visit them at 4880 State Route 414 in Burdett (just outside of Watkins Glen).
  2. Ring the New Year in with style! Voted the Best Waterfront Hotel in the Nation by a USA Today 10Best Readers’ Choice Poll this year, The Watkins Glen Harbor Hotel is the place to party in the Finger Lakes as we ring in 2017! This year’s party features a Pirates of the Caribbean theme, so buckle your swash and break out the rum! Their event package includes a cocktail reception, exquisite dinner stations, four additional hours of peppermint-scrubopen bar, live music and dancing, a champagne toast at midnight, and even a New Year’s Day Breakfast Buffet! For more information, click here.
  3. Unwind with a Peppermint Body Scrub at Namaste Spa. This 60-minute treatment starts with dry exfoliating gloves and then a candy cane peppermint scrub. Once water is added to the scrub it turns into a nourishing oil. Oil is then wiped off with hot towels and then massage. Oh, did we mention there is a Gingerbread option too? Hurry, only through the end of December! Book your appointment today. Give them a call at 607-333-4778 or click here to visit their website.
  4. Winterfest at Rooster Fish Brewing. After the holiday craziness settles down, you’ll be ready for a party. Right?! Mark your calendar for January 21 to attend this awesome event with live music, local food samples and vendors, heated tent and fire pits, plus plenty of entertainment, revelry, and fun! Tickets are just $10 each. This is the second annual event and sure to be a great time! For more details, click here.drinks-pouring-at-ice-bar
  5. ICE Bar at the Watkins Glen Harbor Hotel. From February 2nd through the 4th, The Patio will be transformed into an ice-filled wonderland. Over 25,000 pounds of ice will be carved into beautiful sculptures, martini luges, bars, and even a throne or two! Plus Finger Lakes wine, beer, and restaurant tastings, a great DJ and dancing, and fireworks on Friday and Saturday nights. Tickets are $30 each. Tickets for Friday and Saturday are sold out and going fast for Thursday. Get yours today before they’re gone! For complete details, click here.




Shop Small, have a big impact!

Did you know that 48% of each purchase at a local, independent business is recirculated locally? Small Business Saturday is dedicated to supporting small businesses across the country. Founded by American Express in 2010, this day is celebrated every year on the Saturday after Thanksgiving.finger-lakes-distilling

On Saturday, November 26, nearly 40 local businesses will participate in the Watkins Glen Area Chamber of Commerce’s Small Business Saturday promotion. Each business is offering unique incentives for shopping small including discounts, unique experiences, free gifts, bonus offers, complimentary gift wrapping, and more! Supporting local businesses, keeping more money in your local economy, getting great deals; how could the day get any better?! Well, it can!namaste-spa

Our Christmas Wish List describes the unique incentive that each participating business will offer. But there’s more! While you are shopping, be sure to take the Christmas Wish List with you, have it stamped as you make purchases, and enter to win one of several gift baskets full of local goodies! It’s easy. Here’s how:

  • Visit watkinsglenchamber.com/smallbusinesssaturday and print the Christmas Wish List.
  • Purchase at least one of the items on the list (or any item) from a participating business and receive a stamp.
  • After you are done shopping, complete the entry form on the back page, leave it at your last stop, and you will be entered to win one of five gift baskets. The more stamps you have, the more chances you have to win!

village-bakerySome of our Chamber members participated in a social media campaign, sharing their stories about the impact of shopping small. Those are images featured throughout this post. Isn’t it amazing the difference you can make, just by shopping with local businesses?!

While you’re shopping be sure to share your adventures on social media using #shopsmall and #shopsmallwgacc. Follow the Watkins Glen Area Chamber of Commerce on Facebook and on Twitter @WGAreaChamber.

The Watkins Glen Area Chamber of Commerce office located at 214 North Franklin Street will be open on Small Business Saturday from 10:00am to 4:00pm. If you have any questions about the event, be sure to stop by and see us!

For more information visit www.watkinsglenchamber.com/smallbusinesssaturday or contact Meredith Williams at meredith@watkinsglenchamber.com or call (607) 535-4300.

5 Things To Do In Cooler Weather

  1. Watch the sunrise over Seneca Lake. Now, one would think the sunrise would be sunrise-over-seneca-lakebeautiful no matter the temperature, and that is correct. But, when the cooler weather arrives in the fall, a dense fog bank forms over Seneca Lake. The water maintains its warmth relative to the air and as a result, fog begins to rise, creating an incredible, ethereal scene. Best places to watch? From the pier house in Watkins Glen or from any picturesque spot on the west side of Seneca Lake.
  2. Warm up with some craft beer tasting. Cooler weather brings out sweaters, scarves, and… suds! With so many craft breweries popping up in the Finger Lakes, it only makes sense that there is now an official Finger Lakes Beer Festival. Held October 21 and 22 at Watkins Glen International, this festival featuresbeer over 30 New York State craft breweries and distilleries. Enjoy live music, delicious food, and fun with friends. To learn more or to purchase tickets, click here!
  3. Waterfalls, waterfalls, waterfalls! With the summer heat over, fall is perhaps the best time to get out and explore the 44 waterfalls of Schuyler County. We’ve also had some rainfall as of late, so the waterfalls are recuperating from the summer drought. To view images and directions to all of the waterfalls, visit: http://nyfalls.com/waterfalls/. For a “can’t miss” list from an outside perspective, check out this list of 10 New York Waterfalls You Should See by famed photography Stu Gallagher.
  4. Get your tickets to the wine event of the season – Deck the Halls! This popular event on the Seneca Lake Wine Trail takes place November 18-20 and December 2-4. It tends to sell out, so you should definitely get your tickets sooner rather than later. In keeping with the holiday theme, you’ll receive a grapevine wreath at your starting winery, as well as a custom ornament from each stop. Plus, you’ll enjoy a delicious food sample with a wine pairing at each participating winery. Now there’s a way to get in the holiday spirit! For ticket and event info, visit: www.senecalakewine.com.
  5. Take in the foliage. Yes, it’s technically late fall, but don’t worry – there are still OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAplenty of leaves on the trees. The picture to the right is of postcard-perfect downtown Montour Falls. Things are just starting to peak here in the southern Finger Lakes, so plan your visit today to take it all in before it’s gone!

For trip planning assistance, visit our website: www.watkinsglenchamber.com or give us a call at 607-535-4300 to talk with a travel expert.

Top 5 Fall Experiences

Fall is one of our favorite seasons here in Watkins Glen and Schuyler County. The air is cooler, the sun seems to shine brighter, the scent of ripening grapes wafts from the vineyards, family activities abound from apple and pumpkin picking to hiking your favorite trails. There is no shortage of things to do, but here are our “Top 5” to give you some ideas. Read all about it here then go out and find your favorite fall activity! There is something special around every turn…

Apple picking at Reisinger’s Apple Countryreisingers

A family owned and operated u-pick farm with nearly 50 acres of orchards, fields, and meadows… and over 10,000 apple trees! Nearly 20 varieties are available for u-pick throughout the season including favorites such as Honey Crisp and Jona Macs, as well as the more rare Northern Spy variety and a slew of others.

The smell of fresh cider donuts wafting from the farm store is sure to pull you in where you’ll find apple butters, jams, jellies, apple cider, maple syrup, popcorn, and more great products – all made on site. They are open 7 days a week 9am to 6pm from August through early November (these dates vary by season). For details, visit their website or give them a call at 607-535-7493.

Picking grapes at Fulkerson Wineryimg_1393

If fall can only mean one thing in the Finger Lakes, it would be grapes. The scent perfumes the air and it is irresistible to all who live, work, and play here. Picking grapes is something that many locals have done (either for work or fun) and something that visitors always want to do.

Fulkerson Winery on the west side of Seneca Lake offers just that opportunity… but far beyond just the standard Niagara and Concord grapes, they also have more unique varieties such as Himrod and others. Perhaps you’d like to take the next step and try your hand at wine making. You can actually purchase fresh grape juice, get all of your supplies, and (free) expert advice, right there. For details on grape juice and grape picking, visit their website or give them a call at 607-243-7883.

Sailboat ride aboard the Schooner True Love1224967506_eswz8-o

There is arguably no better view of the surrounding hillsides than from a seat aboard the Schooner True Love. Built in 1926, True Love firs gained fame in the 1940 romantic comedy The Philadelphia Story, then in 1956 in the musical-film High Society. After her time on the silver screen, True Love retired to St. Thomas until her restoration in 2003 and now graces the waters of Seneca Lake. True Love sails morning, midday, and sunset sails. Prices vary and sails are available Memorial Day through Columbus Weekend.

Attending the Falls Harvest Festival in Montour Fallspicture-014

Check out this awesome (free!) community event in Montour Falls. Featuring entertainment, demonstrations, a scarecrow contest, an inflatable jumpy castle for children, a pumpkin carving contest, and more, all concluding with fireworks over Shequaga Falls at 7pm!

Take in the view from the Sugar Hill Fire Towersugar-hill-fire-tower

This 9,000+ acre outdoor paradise offers endless opportunities to enjoy the outdoors. From hiking and backpacking to camping in lean-tos or bringing your own tent, there is no limit to your options! But, if there is one thing not to miss during you visit, it would be the 75-foot climb to the top of the fire tower (one of only a handful remaining in the state) to the top to enjoy a 15 mile vista in all directions!

For more information, visit our website: www.watkinsglenchamber.com or give us a call for expert assistance in planning your trip: 607-535-4300.

Top 7 Places to Take A Stunning Photo

With the growing capability of cell phone cameras combined with social media, it seems everyone has taken to chronicling their experiences with photography. These images are shared on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Pinterest. It’s no secret that here in the Finger Lakes (and specifically, Schuyler County) we have no shortage of incredible scenery and sites to capture photographic gold. Here, we share our Top 7 Places to Take A Stunning Photo in Schuyler County.

How many of these sites have you visited? Feel free to share your images from Schuyler County and the Watkins Glen area in the comments!

7. Sugar Hill State Forest sugar-hill-fire-tower

3361 Tower Hill Road, Watkins Glen, NY 14891

Sugar Hill State Forest is located west of Watkins Glen and covers approximately 9,085 acres.  It is open for hiking, cross country skiing, horse use in the summer months, and snowmobile use when there is sufficient snow cover. 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. There are also waterfalls near trails throughout the forest.

6. Finger Lakes National ForestPainted Bar Stables Trail Ride2

Hector Ranger Station: 5218 State Route 414, Hector, NY 14841

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.

5. On Seneca Lake aboard one of our fantastic cruises or sails

There is nothing like the wide open waters of Seneca Lake to put things in perspective for you. On sunny days the water is a brilliant sapphire. On cloudy days the water often becomes so placid you could mistake it for glass. Either way, it’s an amazing photo op that you don’t want to miss!


True Love by Schooner Excursions

Enjoy a lovely sail courtesy of Schooner Excursions through the crystal waters of Seneca Lake. Your experience takes place 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.

Captain Bill’s

A visit to Seneca Lake is not complete without stopping at Captain Bill’s. The Seneca Legacy allows you take in views over a delicious Seneca Legacymeal. 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.

4. The Pier House at Seneca Harbor Park


If you prefer to keep your feet on dry land, you can still capture incredible images of the iconic Pier House at Seneca Harbor Park. This is a major landmark for everyone who knows Watkins Glen. Don’t let the cold keep you away, either. Winter photos with sparkling ice and snow can be stunningly beautiful.


3. Eagle Cliff Falls at Havana Glen Park

This waterfall is 41 feet high with a 16 foot wide plunge in a beautiful amphitheater of rock. There are also numerous small cascades which you will encounter along the way, including a staircase-like waterfall that parallels the trail. The Glen Trail is very short and only Suits Eagle Cliff Falls  Havana Glen  MFallsclimbs 5 modest flights of stairs. It starts from the parking area, proceeds up the left side of the creek, past numerous small falls and ends at the entrance to the Eagle Cliff amphitheater. Once there, you can creek walk closer to the falls. Once there, feel free to walk behind the falls and in the shallow pool below it. Because you access the waterfall relatively safely, you can get some awesome images of your family and friends under and around it. Pretty cool! Click here for more info.

2. A sunset from the east side of Seneca LakeSunset at CLR

East siders often boast that they have the best view in the region because of the amazing sunsets… and it’s hard to argue with them! As the sun glides to the horizon, pull up a chair at one of the wineries or breweries and pull out your camera. A couple of options include Grist Iron Brewing/The Inn at Grist Iron and Atwater Estate Vineyards.

1.Watkins Glen State Park

We’re sure you’re not surprised to see this stunning gem at #1. Voted the #3 State Park in the Country by USA Today readers in 2015, this incredible park has delighted visitors for Watkins Glen State Park- Triple Cascades for CMoreNYgenerations. Watkins Glen State Park 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. Some of the most photographed spots include Rainbow Falls, Cavern Cascade, and Triple Cascade.


Do you want more information on all there is to see and do in Watkins Glen and Schuyler County? Click here to visit our website or give us a call for expert advice and assistance: 607-535-4300. Toll free: 800-607-4552.


Top 5 Places to Enjoy a Frozen Treat

Everyone knows we have a beautiful lake and stunning waterfalls, award winning wineries/breweries/craft spirits, awesome restaurants, amazing scenic and natural beauty, great shopping and antiquing, one of the top state parks in the nation, America’s best road course, and so much more. But we also have something else that might surprise you. An incredible assortment of ice cream parlors and sweet treat spots to enjoy. In fact, we have so many, that we decided to compile a list of the Top 5 Places to Enjoy a Frozen Treat in Watkins Glen and Schuyler County. So, without further adieu, in no particular order… here are our

Top 5 Places to Enjoy Ice Cream (and Frozen Yogurt)
Ben & Jerry’sBen and Jerry's
418 North Franklin Street, Watkins Glen
Hours: Monday through Sunday: 11am to 10pm
Click here to find them on Facebook or visit their website.
This iconic Vermont-based ice cream parlor is known for its creative, cleverly named flavors. If you’ve ever visited their shop in Watkins Glen, you’ll also remember the iconic car parked outside. Oh, and if you happen to be a hosting a party and are looking for the perfect sweet ending… they cater, too! Aside from the plethora of hard ice cream flavors, sundaes, and milkshakes, they also serve up awesome ice cream cakes. But in our humble opinion, a truly “can’t-miss” treat is their Chunky Monkey Milkshake… heaven in a cup!
Colonial CreameryColonial Creamery 2
701 North Franklin Street, Watkins Glen
Hours: Monday through Wednesday: 12pm to 9pm; Thursday through Sunday: 12pm to 10pm
Click here to find them on Facebook or visit their website.
This family-run spot features homemade, small batch ice cream in over a dozen flavors! Among our favorites? Their Biscoff. Yes, you read right, Biscoff, as in, inspired by the deliciousness that is Europe’s best gourmet cookie… translated in ice cream. Can you say delicious?! Oh, and they even offer up vegan, gluten-free, and non-dairy flavors. But you’d also be crazy not to try one of their more fun ice creams chockful of goodness such as their Chocolate Peanut Butter Madness. That would be chocolate ice cream, peanut butter swirl, peanut butter cups, & peanut butter Oreos! As owner Paul Marcellus says, “Completely loaded, delicious madness!” We won’t take your word for it Paul, we’re going need to come try some!
Finger Lakes Frozen YogurtFinger Lakes Frozen Yogurt
215 North Franklin Street, Watkins Glen
Hours: Sunday through Thursday 1pm-9pm; Friday and Saturday 1pm-10pm
Click here to find them on Facebook or visit their website.
Owner Butch Monroe came to the frozen treat industry by way of a bed and breakfast. Mr. Monroe owned the famous Elmira’s Painted Lady Bed & Breakfast (which has since been sold into private ownership). He has welcomed guests from all over the world and now, has entered the world of frozen yogurt. Flavors range from classic such as Tahitian Vanilla and Cookies and Cream to more unique (and rare) such as Banana-Rama and Valencia Orange. While Butch has his flavor favorites, you never know what new ones you might come across. He offers 8 fresh-made rotating flavors, including a custard and a sorbet! Add in this huge topping station (they rotate more than 70 toppings), and your options are endless! The cherry on top is that you can have as much or as little as you want, because it’s self-serve and you pay by the ounce. Butch, you had us at Tahitian Vanilla!
Glen Dairy BarGlen Dairy Bar
433 South Franklin Street, Watkins Glen
Hours: Monday through Thursday: 11am to 9pm; Friday and Saturday: 11am to 10pm; Sunday: 11am to 9pm
Click here to find them on Facebook.
The Glen Dairy Bar opened in 1948 and was remodeled in 1999. They offer over 50 flavors of world-famous Giffords hard ice cream, 16 flavors of soft serve, and their newly added indoor seating means you can have ice cream – no matter the weather! But beyond ice cream, they also boast a sub shop featuring Boar’s Head Meats. So why not have a sandwich first and then a little dessert.
Great Escape & Everything Ice CreamGreat Escape
221 South Franklin Street, Watkins Glen
Hours: 7 days a week 11am to 10pm
Hours change after Labor Day
Click here to find them on Facebook or visit their website.
A family owned and operated business for over 30 years, the Great Escape is practically a Watkins Glen institution. They serve up homemade ice creams, treats and novelties, cakes, and Italian gelato. They also have vegan and non-dairy menu. The Honsberger family has been at the helm since the beginning and the vintage vibe inside takes you back in time. They also bake up delicious seasonal homemade pies and they recently began hosting “decorate your own” ice cream cake sessions for Mother’s Day and Father’s Day (which were a hit). And if you’ve ever woken up and really been craving ice cream, there is nothing like their Ice Cream Breakfast Sandwich – vanilla ice cream sandwiched between two homemade oatmeal raisin cookies. We’re setting our alarm. Don’t get between us and the ice cream!