Small Business Saturday – be part of something amazing!

We’ve all heard of Black Friday – but not enough of us know about Small Business ShopSmall_SocialPost_TownSaturday. As an official Small Business Saturday Community Champion, we feel it is more important than ever to spread the word about the exciting things that are happening on Small Business Saturday.

According to the American Independent Business Alliance, 48% of each purchase at a local independent business was recirculated locally. Through the multiplier effect, the impact of shopping locally snowballs. Maybe this means a business owner can…

  • Put a child through dance or martial arts class (at another local business)
  • Hire more people (creating jobs and infusing more money into the local economy)
  • Provide health insurance to employees (providing better quality of life and improving the local community)

If you don’t think your purchases make that big of a difference, CLICK HERE to read our “Behind the Business” stories. It’s truly incredible to realize the power we have to  change our communities!

Feeling inspired? Good! Here’s how you can join the movement. We boiled it down and made a list of how you can make a difference in 3 easy ways:

1. Take the pledge to #ShopSmall this holiday season

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Take the pledge!

Small Business Saturday is awesome and we love it, but that’s just one day. So that’s why we are urging our friends and family to Shop Small and patronize locally owned and operated shops and businesses all season long. Will you join us by taking the pledge to #ShopSmall this holiday season?

CLICK HERE to take the pledge!

2. Get out there and shop on Small Business Saturday – November 25

SHOP SMALL, SHOP LOCAL: We’ve pulled together over 30 of our local businesses and on Small Business Saturday, shoppers will enjoy special sales, discounts, and promotions at those participating businesses.

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Sue and Joe Silhan, Selah Yoga & Music

CLICK HERE to download the list of promotions being offered that day! You can either print this on your own OR pick one up at any of the participating shops listed. Happy shopping!

FREE GIFT WRAPPING: There will also be free gift wrapping stations set up in Watkins Glen, Montour Falls, and Hector throughout the day. Locations include Finger Lakes Distilling, the Schuyler County Historical Society Brick Tavern Museum, and the Watkins Glen Area Chamber of Commerce!

SOCIAL MEDIA CONTEST: Post a photo or status using the hashtag #shopsmallwgacc on any social media platform on November 25 to show us how you are shopping small and be entered to win a basket of goodies from local businesses. The more businesses you shop at, the more chances you have to win!

CLICK HERE for complete details of the social media contest.

3. Keep shopping throughout the season!

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Margie Hoy, Millport Landing

12 DAYS OF SHOPPING SMALL: The benefits don’t end at closing time on November 25th! The following 12 days, shoppers can pick up a 12 Days of Shopping Small Passport at any participating business. Then, simply make a purchase at one of those businesses and receive a stamp on your passport. At the end of the 12 days, bring your passport to the Visitor Center to be entered to win a basket of goodies from local businesses. The more purchases you make, the more chances you have to win!

No matter how you get involved, getting involved is what counts! Every dollar spent locally has an incredible impact and like ripples on a pond, those effects continue, business by business, village by village, community by community. Join the movement and shop small this holiday season. We’ll see you out there!



5 places to enjoy fall foliage in Schuyler County

Fall in the Finger Lakes is nothing short of incredible. The air is scented with ripening grapes. The trees awash in orange, gold,  and crimson. Crisp, cool nights are perfect for enjoying the stars and moon (which in our humble opinion, are at their most beautiful this time of year). Bright sunny days call for family hikes, scenic drives, and exploring.

Feeling inspired? Us too! So, we compiled a list; a few of our favorite places to enjoy this magical time of year. No matter what you do or where you go, we hope at least part of your autumn is spent making memories and experiencing the beauty of Schuyler County and the Finger Lakes.

Finger Lakes National ForestPond in Finger Lakes National Forest.jpg

Finger Lakes National Forest is a wonderful regional gem, hiding in plain sight! We say that because it’s over 16,000 acres, yet many aren’t familiar with just how wonderful it is. The diversity of hiking experiences available is fantastic. Trails skirt gorges and creeks, through dense woodland and open pastures, affording many unique opportunities to put down your phone, unplug, and truly immerse yourself in nature. Begin your visit at the Hector Ranger Station (5218 Route 414, Hector, NY 14841) where you can get expert advice, pick up some maps, and even a souvenir or two!

Sugar Hill State Forestsugar-hill-fire-tower.jpg

Sugar Hill State Forest is located west of the village of Watkins Glen. The scenic drive will take you over rolling hills and give you a chance to spot some beautiful sights from the comfort of your car. As you pass over quaint back roads, you’ll be taken into the midst of the forest, a mixture of evergreens and hardwoods. Notice the trail heads along the way – denoted by small dirt parking areas and  signs. Each is just as beautiful as the next. Home to the Sugar Hill Recreation Area, referred to by locals as simply, “Sugar Hill” you’ll find over 9,000 acres to explore. Sugar Hill boasts the Six Nation Trail System, the Finger Lakes Trail, and 5 lean-tos (perfect for a comfortable overnight). If you don’t mind heights, climb the flights of steps to the landing of the fire tower (one of only a handful still in existence in New York State). Get your camera ready, you’ll definitely want to capture the view!

You can find trail maps and additional information on the DEC website – CLICK HERE.

Watkins Glen State ParkWatkins Glen State Park October 2017

Of course, we’d be remiss if we didn’t mention Watkins Glen State Park. In fact, it was just voted one of the Best NY Attractions in a USA Today 10Best Contest, beating out world-famous tourist attractions such as the Statue of Liberty, the Empire State Building, and even Niagara Falls! The Gorge Trail remains open as of the writing of this blog (10/17/17) but at this time of year, things can change quickly and the Gorge Trail typically closes for the season when the weather begins cooling. In the meantime, the changing leaves, rushing water, and incredible rock formations make for quite a sight. Get here while you can!

Catharine Valley Trail

This year round recreation trail winds through the glacier-carved valley south of Seneca Lake. Its compact stone trail offers easy passage for walking and biking. It also accommodates cross-country skiing and snowshoeing once the snow starts to fall. But for now, it’s a truly beautiful place to take in the sights of the changing season. You can pick up the trail in several locations throughout the villages of Watkins Glen and Montour Falls. Want to download a map? CLICK HERE

Seneca Lake Wine TrailGrapes at CLR 2 in September.jpg

The Seneca Lake Wine Trail is home to award-winning wineries and amazing experiences – that’s no surprise. But the drive around the wine trail is amazing, too! You’ll drive past roadside waterfalls (Hector Falls on the east side of Seneca, for example) and stunning vineyard vistas (such as those available on the southwest and southeast shores). You can picnic at Seneca Harbor Park in Watkins Glen or any one of a number of the wineries. Many have inviting picnic table and decks, perfect for impromptu (or planned!) picnics.

Hint: have someone else drive you so that you can keep your eyes on the scenery. There are a number of reliable, friendly transportation experts in our area.

Ready to plan your trip?

We are always eager to help with expert advice and suggestions. Give us a call at 800-607-4552 or visit our helpful website: and start planning your fall getaway today!

PS: You can also browse our other fall blog post, for more fall experiences to enjoy!

Get your Thrills and Chills in the southern Finger Lakes this fall!

thrills and chills logo

Thrills and Chills is ten weeks of awesome! It features a gathering of the best fall foliage, harvest, Halloween events, and other activities happening in the Southern Finger Lakes. So you can spend less time searching and more time having fun!

Apples abound at Reisinger’s Apple Country


With four categories of events from family-friendly to more ghostly adventures and everything fall-themed in between, there is an experience for everyone to enjoy! These categories include Scream Worthy, FLX Foliage Fanatics, FLX Harvest, and Family Fun and Entertainment.

Just a few of the events and experiences you’ll find amidst Thrills and Chills includes:

Want more to love about the fall? Try these fall experiences and these things to do in cooler weather.

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Underwater pumpkin carving

Look for the Thrills and Chills rack card throughout the region and specifically at the Chemung County Chamber of Commerce Visitor Center or the Watkins Glen Area Chamber of Commerce Visitor Center (214 N. Franklin Street, Watkins Glen). You can also view the complete collection of events and experiences online at

Thrills and Chills is offered by the Chemung County Chamber of Commerce, Corning and the Southern Finger Lakes, and the Watkins Glen Area Chamber of Commerce.


5 Fresh Ideas from the Finger Lakes

It’s hard to believe, but August is here! We are seeing the back to school commercials on TV and keep wondering, what’s the rush?! There is plenty of summer left to enjoy! So, for our August blog post, we thought we’d give you some travel inspiration by listing 5 experiences that you can enjoy in the coming month or so.

Have you waited to book your getaway and are worried that things are booked up already? It’s never too late! Lots of our lodging partners still have accommodations available for the month of August.WGACC Logo.jpg

CLICK HERE to browse accommodations (hover over the “Stay” menu on our homepage) and let us know if we can help. We’re only a phone call away: 800-607-4552.

You can also find things to do, where to eat, an events calendar, a digital version of our travel guide, and much more on our website. Now, onto the good stuff!

#1. Make your own gin at Finger Lakes Distilling’s OriGINal Gin Workshop

This workshop is designed specifically for groups of 1-8 people to create their own blend of gin, distill it, and receive 40 bottles (375 mL) of their own masterful creation! This program is great for friends or families, corporate retreats, bachelor/bachelorette parties, or even a solo venture. Whether you’re a gin connoisseur or a botanical novice, the OriGINal Gin Workshop is fun, educational, and rewarding for everyone.Finger Lakes Distilling

Finger Lakes Distilling welcomes you to create a unique gin blend that’s just perfect for your taste. You will have a hand in every single step of the process, from botanical selection all the way down to applying the labels to the bottles yourself.

Click here to learn more.

#2. Take a hot air balloon over Seneca Lake

Whether you take off from Clute Park, right in the heart of Watkins Glen, or a location outside of town, your views will be unmatched when you soar above the trees.

Liberty Balloon getting ready to lift off at a local winery.

A hot air balloon ride is a bucket list for many enthusiastic travelers and there is truly no better way to take in the sights of the Finger Lakes!

Liberty Balloon Company and Southern Tier Ballon Tours both offer hot air balloon flights in our area. Ballons take off in the early morning (just after sunrise) or late evening (a couple of hours before sunset) to take advantage of light wind and fair weather. Contact either of our friendly partners to learn more today!

Click here to visit Liberty Balloon Company.

Click here to visit Southern Tier Ballon Tours.

#3. Go kayaking on Seneca Lake and her surrounding waterways

There is nothing quite like gliding through the water in a kayak. These boats are light, easy to paddle, and stable! Summit to Stream adventures right here on the waterfront in Watkins Glen offers kayak rentals, guided fishing excursions, and much more.

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Image: Summit to Stream

Their Facebook page is full of beautiful photos and provides a great overview of the many things you’ll see from the comfort of your kayak.

Owner Mark Moskal is an experienced guide and he can give you some lessons and tips on how to make the most of your paddle!

Click here to learn more.

#4. Hop aboard The Remedy for an eco-history tour

Take a cruise on this custom built Oldport 26 Launch, REMEDY.  They offer Eco Tours, History Tours, Custom Winery, Brewery, Distillery Tours and Sightseeing Cruises.

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Image: Schooner Excursions

The Finger Lakes Region is filled with an abundance of wildlife and local history.  M/V REMEDY is a great new platform to see some of the beautiful indigenous species of wildlife in the area as well as hear about our local history.  Cruise down the old Chemung Canal, which cuts right through the Catharine Marsh. You may see wild birds such as eagles, herons, and much more!

Click here to learn more.

#5. Speed into September

Fall comes alive in Watkins Glen with INDYCAR, the Vintage Grand Prix, and the Grand Prix Festival!Grand Prix Festival with cars Credit Angela Lisuzzo.jpg

INDYCAR rolls into town August 31 through September 3, where the top teams from the Indy Car Series will look to take the checkered flag at the headline event on Sunday, September 3 at famed Watkins Glen International.

Click here to learn more!

Watkins Glen is called the Home of American Road Racing because our village streets played host to the first Post-World War II Road Race in the world!_MG_1350-2-2

Held in September each year, the Grand Prix Festival is a downtown street festival (marking its 24th year in 2017) that celebrates this incredible history. Vintage cars arrive from across the country and in fact, across the world, to participate in the slate of events – the crowning jewel of which is the historic re-enactment of the road race. The festival isn’t just for race fans though, it features vendors of all kinds, delicious food, and plenty of entertainment for guest of all ages and interests. This event takes place Friday, September 8, 2017. Come and check it out!

Click here for more information

As always, thanks for reading! We hope you found some new and exciting things to do to start your trip planning. Or, maybe you were reminded of a classic favorite or two. Either way, let us know how we can help. Give us a call: 800-607-4552, visit our website, and be sure to stop by (214 N. Franklin Street, Watkins Glen) when you arrive. We have a great Visitor Center chockful of brochures, maps, and area information, with travel experts standing by to assist. Hope to see you soon!

Looking for more travel inspiration? Follow us on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter!

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5 travel hacks for visiting Watkins Glen & Schuyler County

Are you wondering how to make the most of your visit to Watkins Glen and Schuyler County? Whether you’re looking to avoid crowds, save money, or find out of the way locations, these 5 travel hacks will help you make the most of your next visit.

  1. Visit attractions on days other than Saturday and Sunday

This might sound like it’s easier said than done, but trust us, it’s worth it! Many tourism attractions experience peak visitation on weekends. If you’re looking to beat the crowds, visiting on a weekday can often be a solution in and of itself. But beyond that, consider visiting outdoor locations in the early morning or late afternoon on a weekday.Watkins Glen State Park Cavern Cascade

Watkins Glen State Park, for example, is open from sunrise to sunset. You can hit the Gorge Trail in the early morning and swing by a local diner after for a delicious, hearty breakfast. You will avoid the busier times of day (and beat the heat, too!).

As for wineries and breweries, try Mondays or Tuesdays. You’ll be guaranteed more personalized attention with fewer people coming in and out of the tasting rooms.

  1. Check Trip Advisor

Wondering about that accommodation before you book it? Curious to know where the best places are to eat? Learn from those who have been there before and check out the listings on Trip Advisor for the top-rated places to stay, play, eat, drink… and experience all that the Finger Lakes has to offer!

Did you know… that Watkins Glen State Park was named on the Top Trending Trip Advisor Attractions in 2016? It’s a popular, world-renowned place!

  1. Follow social media

Many attractions (including hotels) will post features, last minute deals, and special announcements to their social media channels long before (or if) those items ever hit their websites. Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter can be a great source for deals and experiences that you might not have found otherwise.

  1. Make your first stop a local Visitor Center

Local Visitor Centers offer area information, expert travel advice, and insider tips – all in one spot. Instead of having to spend hours poring over websites, make a quick stop at a Visitor Center and you can have all of your questions answered, gather helpful brochures and maps, and learn about the latest happenings, from a local expert.SONY DSC

Here in Watkins Glen, the Official Schuyler County Visitor Center can be found at 214 N. Franklin Street. We are staffed by local residents who are in the know on all there is to see and do in Schuyler County – and beyond. Want to chat with our experts before you arrive? Give us a call: 800-607-4552.

  1. Add local/municipal parks to your list of stops

Local parks are often beautiful (and very budget-friendly) places to visit. Here are just a couple of ideas…Swimming at Clute Park

Clute Park in Watkins Glen offers seasonal swimming, picnicking, playgrounds, and ballfields, all at a beautiful, lakefront setting. The only fee is $5 for parking. How can you beat that?!

Smith Park in the town of Hector offers camping and picnicking facilities, a boat launch, swimming beach, pavilions, and showers.  Over 2300 feet of lake frontage provides an expansive lakeside beach! Swimming is available from late June through Labor Day each year. Parking is free! There is a mere $5 fee to launch your boat and camping fees are additional.

Havana Glen Park is located at the southern end of the village of Montour Falls. Enjoy ball fields, playgrounds, camping, and a beautiful sEagle Cliff Fallshort hike to the incredible Eagle Cliff Falls. The park also provides birding, with over 100 species having been documented here. There is just a $2 fee for parking. Camping is additional.

For more ideas, visit the Parks, Swimming, and Boat Launch pages of our website.

This is truly only the tip of the iceberg, and travel, like all things, is an ever-changing experience.

For additional trip planning and activity ideas including where to stay, play, drink, dine, and explore, visit our website: Or, we’re just a phone call away: 800-607-4552.

Jammin’ in June – so much to do!

June brings lots of energy and happiness – school is out (or nearly out) for summer, the weather is warm and sunny, and everyone is excited to get out and enjoy the many activities, attractions, and wonderful opportunities that abound in the Finger Lakes! Here in Schuyler County, there is no shortage of things to do. Any night of the week you can find great restaurants, special events, unique shopping, and live music to enjoy. Weekends bring extra buzz with festivals, fairs, and more! We thought we’d highlight just a handful of things to do, including a few that could be considered hidden gems. We’re all about shining a light on all that our area has to offer!

Experience the Arts

Art can be intimidating, but Kathy and Joe Matus at Quintus Gallery are dedicated to dispelling that myth and bringing art to the masses! By bringing in multiple senses – sight, smell, taste, and sound – you’ll find a new way to approach and appreciate art in their new event series titled Art Pair™.


Enjoy a strolling tour of the gallery as you learn  about 4 paintings and design principles, each paired with a delicious, thoughtfully prepared hors d’oeuvres, a wine from Dr. Konstantin Frank Winery, and a musical selection. Offered on Thursday/Friday/Saturday at 4pm, this event does require advance reservations. Take advantage of their early summer rate (good for June only) of just $15/person (normally $35/person)! If you’re interested but can’t make those days/times, just contact Kathy at the gallery and she’ll gladly work with you! Learn more and make your reservation here. (Quintus Gallery, 65 Salt Point Road, Watkins Glen, NY 14891)

Step Back in Time in Montour Falls

Shequaga Falls in Montour Falls

The village of Montour Falls is truly a gem in the Finger Lakes. With a wonderful mix of historic homes and buildings, a wonderful historic museum, the Glorious T District, quaint cafes and shops, and of course, Shequaga Falls, you’ll feel like you stepped back in time when you visit.

Morningstar Carriages offers private horse-drawn carriage rides through this bucolic village. The clip-clop of the horses, the sound of Shequaga Falls in the background, and the chance to slow down, this is the perfect opportunity to look around, and truly enjoy the sights that surround you. Adults $15, couples $25, children over 2 $6, children under 2 are free. Available Memorial Day Weekend through Labor Day Weekend every Friday 6-8pm and Saturday 3-5pm, weather pending. For more information call Brian at 607-302-0533 or click here to visit their website.

Family Friendly Things to Do

Family time is a precious commodity these days and lucky for us, we have an awesome event in our community aimed at creating more family time. If you haven’t yet, stop by Clute Park on Wednesdays in July and August to enjoy Movies on the Lake and the Clute Park Market!

Movies on the lake
Photo Courtesy Clute Park Market

Imagine a beautiful lakefront setting where you can unfurl your blanket, pop up your camp chairs, and enjoy a movie with your friends and family… well, we’ve got it! From 5:30-8:30pm Clute Park Market will feature local food, crafts, produce, wine, and beer. You can stock up on items to enjoy during the movie, which begins at dark. These events are free to attend and open to the public. (Clute Park, 155 S. Clute Park Drive, Watkins Glen, NY 14891)

IMSA 2016 Credit Watkins Glen International
Photo Courtesy Watkins Glen International

Attend a race at famed Watkins Glen International! Race season gets under way in June with SCCA Majors, Sahlen’s Six Hours of The Glen, and then August brings NASCAR, and INDYCAR late in the month into September, then there’s the Vintage Grand Prix! Oh, you can also “Drive the Glen” at 12pm and 5pm on certain dates – how cool is that?! Learn more about Drive the Glen here. With renowned hospitality, great vantage points, and camping onsite, you are sure to find an awesome new family tradition at The Glen! (Watkins Glen International, 2790 County Route 16, Watkins Glen, NY 14891)


The Waterfront Festival and Cardboard Boat Regatta: this two-day festival held June 16 and 17 on the waterfront in Watkins Glen is a fantastic and FREE family experience. Kicking off Friday night with Harbor Lights (a beautiful light show in the Seneca Harbor Marina), plus a food court and live musical entertainment, the party really gets going on Saturday with the famed Cardboard Boat Regatta at 2pm. Click here to learn more!

Rainy Day Activities

No matter how much we wish it would, the sun doesn’t always shine. So, what is there to keep you occupied on those rainy days in the Finger Lakes? Well, how about learning more about local and regional history and culture? Or maybe you want to explore your artistic side with a fun class or activity at a local gallery.

The Brick Tavern Museum

Brick Tavern Museum: The Schuyler County Historical Society was organized in 1960 to preserve, interpret, and share the history of Schuyler County New York. The Brick Tavern Museum, built in 1828, is the oldest brick structure in Schuyler County. Today it houses artifacts from Schuyler’s past and a research library for genealogical and historical research. With rotating exhibits and a great gift shop, you’ll want to put this on your list of indoor stops for those extra hot days when you need a little extra AC or those stormy days when outdoor activities aren’t possible. You won’t be disappointed! (The Brick Tavern Museum, 108 N. Catherine Street, Montour Falls, NY 14865)

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International Motor Racing Research Center

International Motor Racing Research Center: The International Motor Racing Research Center provides 5,000 square feet of racing history to explore. This includes a reading room, film room, exhibits, and worldwide racing archives. Famous race drivers periodically give talks and a vintage race car that changes every few months is on display in the atrium lobby. They offer a fun and informative 20-minute video that we strongly recommend to all visitors to the area.

Did you know that the quaint village of Watkins Glen hit the world stage when we hosted the first post-World War II road race? You can even drive the historic race circuit yourself with a self-guided map! This is a great experience for young and old alike.

Watkins Glen Grand Prix Course
Original Grand Prix Course

Racing runs in our blood and you can feel the energy alive in our streets! In fact, be sure to check out our sidewalks for the Drivers Walk of Fame – plaques to recognize drivers and their accomplishments. The race history is amazing here and it’s a serious source of pride for our community. Catch the race fever! (The International Motor Racing Research Center, 610 S. Decatur Street, Watkins Glen, NY 14891)

Franklin Street Art Gallery: no visit to the Franklin Street Art Gallery is ever the same. With constantly refreshed pieces and an ever-rotating variety of beautiful work from photography to watercolor to fused glass to jewelry and seemingly, everything in between! (209 N. Franklin Street, Watkins Glen, NY 14891)

Local Is Better – Farmers Markets Return for the Season

With so much natural beauty around us, it’s easy to forget the incredible ground below us. That ground (and the incredibly rich, glacially-deposited soils that compose it) produce fantastic, fresh fruits and vegetables, feed many farm animals, and nurture decades’ old fruit trees, vines and more. Farmers markets offer the perfect opportunity to buy fresh, local food – directly from the source. Too often we think that local food is more expensive and that simply isn’t the case. Swing by one of our local farmers markets to dispel this myth for yourself!

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A convenient walk from all destinations in downtown Watkins Glen, the Watkins Glen Farmers Market takes place at Lafayette Park on 4th Street, every Friday from 3-7pm. From Memorial Day Weekend until the last Friday in October you’ll find fresh vegetables, chicken, beef, eggs and flowers from local farmers You’ll also find baked goods, cheese, maple syrup, honey, soap, wine and unique crafts; all produced locally.

Side note: Lafayette Park is also home to a great playground and benches so that you can relax and enjoy the fresh air. On Tuesdays from June 27 – August 22 from 7-9pm, enjoy a mix of great live music. Bring your lawn chair! (Lafayette Park, Corner of 4th and Decatur Streets, Watkins Glen, NY 14891)

The Montour Falls Farmers Market is held on West Main Street from 4-7pm on Thursdays from May through October. Local farmers offer vegetables, fruits, meats and cheeses. Food trucks provide hot meals and treats. Entertainment includes live music and story time for the children.

Click here to learn more about the many other experiences you can enjoy regarding local food, farms, and more from u-pick orchards to horseback riding, and more!

Get Outside

Everyone knows Watkins Glen State Park. After you’ve taken in the 19 waterfalls and stunning sights of the Gorge Trail, you can find much more to explore outside of the park. Click here to learn more about the many Outdoor Recreation opportunities in our area!

Catharine Valley Trail

The Catharine Valley Trail: this year-round recreational trail offers a great opportunity to walk or bike an easy, paved path. Running from Watkins Glen to Horseheads, the trail follows abandoned railroad and canal tow path corridors.


Havana Glen Park: along a short, easy walk, you’ll skirt a cascading stream, go up a few steps and be struck by the way the rock walls of the gorge seem to open before you as you round the bend and find Eagle Cliff Falls. You can even walk right into the water and under the waterfall here. (Havana Glen Park, 135 Havana Glen Road, Montour Falls, NY 14865)

Eagle Cliff Falls
Havana Glen Park – Photo Courtesy Stu Gallagher Photography

Sugar Hill State Forest: located west of Watkins Glen and covers approximately 9,085 acres. Among its many attractions is the Six Nations Trail System, approximately 35 miles long. 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. (Sugar Hill State Forest, 3361 Tower Hill Road, Watkins Glen, NY 14891)

Geocache along the Points of Inspiration Trail: Points of Inspiration is a three-county driving trail of scenic view and architecture. Based around these driving trails, the Geocache Adventure offers a treasure hunt experience with caches located at each of the 32 driving trail sites. Click here to learn more.

We hope you are feeling inspired! If you have any questions or need additional advice, feel free to give us a call, our area experts are happy to help: 800-607-4552. Our website also offers a wealth of information, visit You can also find fun and interesting things to do along with announcements, events, and more on our Facebook pages here and here. Also, follow us on Instagram for more Finger Lakes inspiration! Now… what are you waiting for?! Get out there and enjoy!

Craft Beer Week – The Story Behind the Suds

New York State is home to 269 craft breweries, placing the state 4th in the nation in terms of the number of craft breweries. The estimated economic impact of the industry is over $2.9 million annually. (Craft Brewers Association)

The Brewers Association has been celebrating American Craft Beer Week for 12 years now, and it’s happening this week (May 15 – 21)! This weeklong tribute celebrates small and independent craft brewers throughout the United States. Here in Schuyler County, we are home to a number of unique, creative, and passionate craft breweries. From lagers to ambers to stouts to seasonal specialties, talented brewers are whipping up some fantastic suds – and we all get to enjoy the fruits of their labor!

To learn more about what makes these mad scientists tick, we asked them all the same 3 questions:

  1. What makes your brewery unique?
  2. What is the most unique/special beer that you brew and why?
  3. Do you have any exciting/interesting plans for the future?

Let’s dive right in and learn more about our awesome craft beer producers!

Grist Iron Brewing CompanyGrist Iron

4880 State Route 414, Burdett • Click here to visit their website

Guest Relations Manager Kate Fuller provided us with the story behind the suds at Grist Iron Brewing.

What makes your brewery unique?

KF: Grist Iron Brewing Company is unique in many aspects, but on the beer front it’s unique simply for the volume of styles that we brew. Our brewing can be best classified as traditional American style with some English and other European techniques thrown in. While we stick closely to the prescribed beer style guidelines, we also like to add our own unique twist to each of our beers that makes them just a tad different than the rest. We have a passion for craft beer that we want to share with everyone and our wide range of styles and flavors can satisfy any drinker, from the novice trying a craft ale for the first time to the seasoned hop heads looking for the bitter punch of an IPA.

What is the most unique/special beer that you brew and why?

KF: The most unique beer we brew is probably our Chapter 28 Table Beer. While its technical classification fits the characteristics of an English Mild, which is traditionally low in hop bitterness and high in roasted malt/caramel flavor, our Chapter 28 doesn’t completely classify into a specific style. Though it’s an extremely low ABV (alcohol by volume) beer at just below 3%, it’s as deep and dark as a stout, but manages to drink like light beer while maintaining a unique flavor profile of dark roasted malt and coffee.

Do you have any exciting/interesting plans for the future?

KF: As far as anything exciting in the future on the beer front, we just started our Taproom Series, which will be made up of an exclusive selection of small-batch beers that will only be available to enjoy at the brewery. Our current Taproom Series beer is our Aristides Ale, a session IPA named after the champion of the inaugural Kentucky Derby. We brewed this ale with a combination of Cascade and Columbia hops, mint leaves, and oak chips soaked in local Bourbon from Finger Lakes Distilling to create a citrus “mint julep” with a low ABV. We’ll also be introducing a brand new beer in July as our next Benevolence Series brew to benefit Live Like Liz, Inc., as well as expanding our barrel-aging program.

Any upcoming events that you’d like us to promote?

KF: Grist Iron will be hosting a Kick-Off to Summer Party on the Patio during Memorial Day Weekend. We’ve got a great line up of bands Friday through Monday, including our headliner, Devon Franks, a local country music recording artist who will be taking the stage on Saturday, May 27 at 7 p.m. We’ll also be featuring food specials and giveaways to help kick-off the summer season. Our Facebook page is a great place to keep on the latest in terms of our live music and special events.

Heavily Brewing CompanyHeavily Brewing Company - B

2471 Hayes Road, Montour Falls • Click here to visit their website

Co-owner Laura Lynch (wife of brewer Wayne Lynch) provided us with the story behind the suds at Heavily Brewing Company.

What makes your brewery unique?

LL: Heavily Brewing is a small batch nano brewery that specializes in featuring first class libations of the Finger Lakes.  15 beers on tap that include our own award winning brews, as well as other brews from around the Finger Lakes and NYS.  We also feature NYS produced Wines, Ciders and now distilled spirits!

We are housed in a converted/renovated dairy barn on the east hill in Montour Falls – with great Catharine Valley views and an impressive view of Shequaga Falls.

We are also becoming known for our great entertainment space on both floors and making available, with no cover charge, live music every weekend.

What is the most unique/special beer that you brew and why?

LL: Heavily is a small batch producer and we are able to fine tune brews that are made in house.  Our “Winter Seasonal” and “No Doubt Oatmeal Stout” both recently won Gold and Bronze, respectively, in a recent Finger Lakes brew competition.

Do you have any exciting/interesting plans for the future?

LL: Heavily is constantly trying to find ways to improve our offerings to keep our customers happy!  Improving our space, indoors and out, creating a selection of seasonal brews, and continuing to be an important partner in our community to spread the word about how beautiful the Finger Lakes Region truly is.

Any upcoming events that you’d like to share with our readers?

LL: Heavily has live music every weekend and starting in June, every Fri & Saturday night through Labor Day.  We will also be hosting a couple of special events through the summer and into Fall… details will be coming out shortly! Of course, our Facebook page and website are always kept up to date!)

Lucky Hare BrewingLucky Hare Brewing Company

6085 Beckhorn Road, Hector • Click here to visit their website

Owner and head brewer Ian Conboy provided us with the story behind the suds at Lucky Hare Brewing Company.

What makes your brewery unique?

IC: What makes us standout is our diverse array of beer styles that we make on a regular basis. We feel that we can cater to all palates of beer drinkers. We also focus on lower alcohol beverages being on the wine trail. It is important to us that our patrons can have more than one if they would like or to be able to try all of our beers on our ‘Everything Flight’.

What is the most unique/special beer that you brew and why?

IC: Our most special and unique beer is our TwoCan Slam Wheat Pale Ale. The grain bill is almost 20% white wheat and we heavily dry hop the wheat pale ale with over 3 pounds per barrel during post fermentation. We feel it has been one of the best beers we have ever made and are going to add it to our regular tap rotation.

Do you have any exciting/interesting plans for the future?

IC: We do! It looks like by next summer we will be expanding our brewery in beautiful Watkins Glen! We will have two brewhouses under one roof with the hopes to install a canning line.

Any upcoming events that you’d like to share with our readers?

IC: On May 20th we will be celebrating our 1 Year Anniversary at Lucky Hare’s Taproom and Property in Hector. There will be live music, food from our brand new kitchen and 10 beers on tap including our Anniversary beer named Ray Gun Set to Stun. The beer is a dry hopped sour with Ekuanot and Mosaic. It is super delicious and can’t wait to see what folks think! Follow us on Facebook for event announcements, details, and more!

Rooster Fish BrewingRooster Fish FB 2

111 North Franklin Street, Watkins Glen • Click here to visit their website

Brewer Trevor Davis provided us with the story behind the suds at Rooster Fish Brewing.

What makes your brewery unique?

TD: We are the first farm brewery in New York State. We get hop and grain from NY farms only and we use 100% Seneca Lake water to brew our beers.

What is the most unique/special beer you brew and why?

TD: It’s hard to pick just one beer as being unique or special. We have such a wide range of year-round beers, we generally keep around 11 or 12. With our seasonal beers and our experiments with cask conditioning beers we can be anywhere from 15-18 beers on tap.

Do you have any exciting/interesting plans for the future?

TD: We have some exciting changes coming for our tasting room and beer garden. New food menu in our tasting room, some new seasonal beers, and some fun cask conditioned beers.

Any upcoming events that you’d like to share with our readers?

TD: Summer events are coming soon! Keep an eye on our Facebook page and website for those event announcements!

Seneca Lake Brewing CompanySeneca Lake Brewing Company

5481 State Route 14, Dundee • Click here to visit their website

Seneca Lake Brewing Company is technically just outside of Schuyler County. But hey, it’s only 8 minutes north of Watkins Glen and they’re members of our Chamber of Commerce. So let’s just say we’ve adopted them into Schuyler County. Owner Bradley Gillett provided us with the story behind the suds at Seneca Lake Brewing Company.

What makes your brewery unique?

BG: Seneca Lake Brewing Company is New York State’s Oldest and Only dedicated cask ale brewery producing high-quality cask ales. Each batch is carefully crafted by Head Brewer George Pusins on our 8 Barrel Open fermentation brewing system (the only one of its kind in the region). Currently offering several British Style Real Ales and offering an experience like no other brewery in the region. All of our ales are served true to tradition at temperatures between 52 to 57 degrees and are also naturally carbonated.

What is the most unique/special beer that you brew and why?

BG: Our Merri Man – English IPA is a top favorite among beer enthusiasts, in today’s world of ultra hoppy, high ABV IPA’s visitors are becoming increasingly surprised that the traditional English IPA offers more of a marriage of the malt, hops, earthy tones and citrus flavors at a lower ABV level. This beer is also great to be able to provide visitors with information about how IPA’s originated.

Do you have any exciting/interesting plans for the future?

BG: Plans for the Beerocracy Pub at our main location are still proceeding, despite a few setback in terms of construction we are still gung ho about getting the Beerocracy open this summer. The Beerocracy Pub will offer a turn back in time and a traditional British Pub environment where people (and families) can come and gather, socialize enjoy some great food, beverages, soft drinks and more…Future plans for the Beerocracy Pub location include a pavilion and accommodations. Additionally, we are very excited to be bottling our ales now, our bottled ales are bottle conditioned, which means that there is a small amount of yeast and sediment in the bottle which creates the natural carbonation directly in the bottle.

Any upcoming events that you’d like to share with our readers?

  • May 15th – May 21st during Craft Beer Week, 50 cents of every pint sold will go to the Dundee Central School District.
  • May 20th – Clear a Cask for a Cause – help us clear a cask of our specially-tapped cask of Golden Ale. Proceeds will benefit the Dundee Central School District.
  • June 10th – Belmont Stakes BBQ & Garden Party (ticketed event)  – Part of the Triple Crown Event Series hosted by Seneca Lake Brewing Company, Hazlitt 1852 Vineyards, Finger Lakes Distilling, Hollenbeck Film & Experiences Company.
  • Monthly dart tournament – Middle of each month, check us out on Facebook for complete details.
  • Picks & Pints every Saturday from 7-9pm, features live local music. Beginning in June, we’ll be hosting Picks and Pints on the patio on Sunday afternoons from 4-7pm as well.

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 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!