My father grew up in Skaneateles during the depression. East Lake Road was a little remote in 1930, but winter meant he could skate to town to watch the double-feature for 25 cents.
Skanealteles is still warm and welcoming during the winter. Each year (usually the weekend between the playoffs and the Super Bowl) the Skaneateles Sunrise Rotary hosts Winterfest. They say “Freezin’ for a Reason,” as proceeds help support the Skaneateles Fire Department, SAVES, and the Skaneateles Education Foundation.
Visit the Creamery to find out about the history of Skaneateles in winter as they share the Story of Ice Cutting on Skaneateles Lake. (10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday)
What happens at Winterfest?
Friday night: Lighting of the Ice Chimney, at Clift Park
Saturday: - Polar Bear Plunge The annual Skaneateles Polar Bear Plunge visit, www.skanpolarbear.com . The Skaneateles Fire Department cuts a hole through the thick ice and provides a lifesaving crew.
Taste of Skaneateles, restaurants and retail shops will feature tastes. Tickets are available that day in the Sherwood Inn Lobby or at one of our outside locations.
Scavenger Hunt: Pick up your game sheet from any ticket location or the Sherwood Inn lobby. Visit local shops to find letters to spell out a phrase then drop it off at a participating store to be entered into a drawing for fantastic prizes.
Sunday, January 25
SKANEATELES YMCA and Community Center host run, swim, skate, and snow shoe! 315-685-2266 or register online at www.auburnymca.org
For further information and details as the date draws near, visit “Skaneateles WinterFest” on Facebook, or contact a Sunrise Rotarian, Candy Searing (685-0552 or firstname.lastname@example.org ) or Tom Seeley (685-3416 or email@example.com ).
Hunting for the perfect Christmas Tree is a great way to spend time enjoying the Finger Lakes. There are great cut your own Tree Farms across Upstate New York.
Remember that cutting your own tree can involve a long outdoor exposure in snow and mud. Everyone has an opinion on which kind of tree is best: strong boughs hold the ornaments best but sharp needles are tough on the hands. Choosing the right height and shape is also a matter of opinion, often leaving sap on the ceiling when you realize its too tall.
We usually buy our tree at Wilberts — where its simple — hike out with a saw and wheel it back on a tree cart. However, if you have small children you might want to try Skokie Tree Farm which has tractors with wagons that can drop you off and pick you and your tree up after you cut it. They also have lots of fun activities and snacks for kids.
A sweet little 20 mile ride around Otisco Lake is not long enough to make my seat sore — but the vertical on the west side of the lake will destroy any quads you thought you had.
Park on the east side of the lake at the Lakeside Park (free but only about 6 spots!) and head clockwise so you can enjoy the winding, picturesque Otisco Valley Road that goes right up next to the water and rides pretty flat from North to South.
Make the turn at the southern end of the lake and enjoy rolling fields of grass. Ride along the lakeside (113) up to the point of the causeway and take a break and walk out onto the causeway and enjoy the view.
Once you hop back on your bike you have an enormous climb up Stanton Rd (246) straight up the side of what feels like a mountain. You continue to climb up all the way to Route 41. Once on 41, you get beautiful glimpse of Skaneateles Lake as you race downhill towards Borodino.
It was a very windy day. This was the first time I worried that the combination of gusts and downhill speed would blow me off my bike. I think I was traveling about 40+ mph and felt myself veering into the ditch.
There is a wonderful quick video of a bike race that goes around Otisco. It gives you a quick look challenging and charming this ride is.
Its nice to find a kayaking spot where you run out of energy (or daylight) before you run out of discoveries. The Honeoye Inlet Wildlife Management Area is a big paddle.
Paddle south and you can enter the inlet and enjoy!
There is no better way to share how much fun it is to kayak in the Finger lakes region than to share what you get to see when right on the water.
On a gray summer Sunday I followed the walking tour through town. Mount Morris is the birthplace of Francis Bellamy, the author of the “Pledge of Allegiance to the Flag.”
Most known for its proximity to Letchworth State Park, the sleepy town has a colorful variety of architectural styles, and a LOT of antique stores.
Seneca Lake’s North end is the town of Geneva, containing Hobart Williams Smith College, Belhurst Castle, plus some of my favorite post-cycling pit stops like The Red Dove.
This time I am riding with my high-mileage bike-riding girl-friend who is training for a four hundred mile Finger Lakes bike tour. We started the loop in the Lakeshore Park and headed counter-clock-wise around the lake, weaving through the sides streets that surround the college. Students had just gone home for the summer and this gorgeous campus seemed way too quiet.
We took Rt 6 (Pre Emption) with a short jog on Earls Hill to Rt 9 (Ridge Rd), to Rt 7 to Rt 1 (Himrod) all the way down the west side of the lake to avoid the traffic, not picking up busy RT 14 until we came to The Glenora Winery. Rt 14 however goes right along the lake edge and might be lovely in a quieter riding season.
Highlight was an Amish horse and buggy making great time on the road. I pursued and finally was able to overtake it as we crested the hill.
Another highlight was a little Inn in the town of Himrod that I would like to stop at some time. I think Himrod was probably a much bigger deal when the railroad was the only way to go north south and before Rt 14 eclipsed Rt1.
If you plan on spending more time in the area, stop at the Starkey House B&B – a genuine Mission-Revival-style home, built in 1922. It is close to several wineries (18 along this side of the lake!), plus close to both Hammondsport and Watkins Glen. The owner of the Starkey House, Cathy Moskal, is a gracious hostess and a great cook.
Once we were on 14 we had a nice wide shoulder, but steady 55 MPH traffic at our backs as we rode almost continuously downhill to Watkins Glen. We lunched at the Glen Mountain Market, sharing a great sandwich and some coffee to warm us up. This bakery/deli has combines baked goods bread and creative sandwich inventions, which when combined make for a mouth-watering smell – even if you have not ridden 44 mile to enjoy them.
Ride through downtown Watkins Glen before heading north again. Enjoy the great turn-of-the-century architectural relics. The village originally known as Salubria was officially named Watkins Glen in 1926. The original race course used to wind through the streets of the downtown area.
The other famous attraction right in the center of town is the Glen itself. Watkins Glen is the most famous of the Finger Lakes State Parks. It is one of the most amazing geological sights in the area.
Despite all this information it is still a very quick ride across town. Once we make the turn north we hit the incline. This upward climb will continue for about two miles of sheer agony followed by several more ups that feel more like a mountain climb than a simple lake circuit.
We chose roads away from the busy main route, passing through the Finger Lakes National Forest, Danos Heuriger, a traditional Viennese winery restaurant. This section of the ride is long and perhaps better enjoyed with a winery stop or two.
As we came to the last 20 miles we rode by the now empty Seneca Army Depot. Today it is a protected sanctuary for white deer. Several dozen wild white-tailed deer were probably caught within the fence that was built to surround the Seneca Army Depot in 1941. Isolated from predators and hunters, the deer population grew quickly.
It was still a long trek back into Geneva. Bikes in-car, we hiked to my favorite watering hole for our reward.