Posts filed under ‘Otisco Lake’

Otisco Lake Cycle — WOW!


View looking forth from the Causeway on the west side

View looking forth from the Causeway on the west side

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.

Where else where you see a lunar lander but the East Lake Rd of Otisco!

Where else where you see a lunar lander but Otisco!

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.

Beautiful barn at sunrise

Beautiful barn at sunrise


View at the southern end of the lake as you cross the flats to the western side.

View at the southern end of the lake as you cross the flats to the western side.

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.

Otisco2Once you hit Borodino you turn right and head back to Otisco on Rt 174. You’ll pass by some very pretty barns and farm land as you head back towards the north end of the lake.

The view as you return to the northern end and ride  down the very long hill.

The view as you return to the northern end and ride down the very long hill.


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.

September 28, 2014 at 10:54 pm Leave a comment

Finger Lakes Antiques: Amazing Treasures to be Found

My Finger Lakes Treasure from the Teller House: a painting of their summer home.

The Finger Lakes area is loaded with antique stores and antiquing events. Should you vacation here, you may find yourself sucked in to a nearby town to hunt for a military trunk that can double as a coffee table, as I was recently, with my niece from Brooklyn. She said the prices were much lower than anything she had seen in the New York City area. We did not find a winner, but I think I might have about 6 different options for her in my attic.

I have six different military trunks in my attic

All were purchased by my Dad after WW2, and sent us all off to camp and college

I confess, I am NOT an “Antiquer.” I grew up in a house and cottage FILLED with antiques that I assumed were hand-me-downs from our many Finger Lakes relations. It did not occur to me that these were valuable or collectable.

My Grandpa had inherited the contents of 2 large estates in Auburn, New York in the early 1950s and most of us grand kids have furnished our homes with the furniture that came out of the summer and winter homes of Judge Teller and his spinster sister.

My oldest brother is the only one who can remember the process of having to empty the contents of the two homes. There was a horse drawn sleigh in the barn, civil war uniforms in trunks, and fruit preserves, in the basement, over 50 years old! Much of the furniture from these homes has made its way into the homes of my 4 siblings and me.

I remember the antiques in my Grandma’s house on East Lake Road in Skaneateles. Her house was where I spent my youthful Sundays with my big brother, both of us bored to death while the grown-ups were visiting, so we would explore, discovering the 50-year old Life Magazines in her attic, or climbing the long-since productive fruit trees in the orchard leading from her house to the lake.

This was one of the trucks we played with

My brother and I found metal toy trucks big enough for us to ride down her pitched driveway. He remembered this coca-cola truck.

Sunday afternoons at Grandmas House included these tiny classics

We also found “Big Little Books”upstairs in her guest bedroom that we devoured.

Here is a partial listing of some of the Finger Lakes antique stores:

Bloomfield Antique Mile — You’ll find plenty of antique shops representing more than 175 dealers! Beautiful Bloomfield, NY, is flourishing as an antique mecca: we’re home to a generous country mile of quality shops dotting the old Seneca Trail (now known as Routes 5 & 20)

The Carriage Factory Antiques contains 3 floors of old “stuff”  Located o between Canandaigua and Geneva, on 2348 State Route 5 and 20 in Stanley, NY 14561-9540, (585) 526-6076, Open Daily 10am-5pm

Country Reflections Antiques and Gifts — Located on 83 Cayuga St. in Seneca Falls at the Northern end of Cayuga Lake.

FOUND in Ithaca is a multi-dealer antique and vintage marketplace.  Located in the Cherry Street Industrial park just two blocks from Wegmans. FOUND’s 7000 square foot space has room for over 40 dealers. The website shows images of many items. 227 Cherry St, Ithaca, NY 14850, Open 10-6 every day, EXCEPT TUESDAY, Phone: 607.319.5078.

The Ithaca Antique Center – This “mall” is a lot more than a shop, but it has a more than 75 dealers  under one roof. Located at 1607 Trumansburg Road, Ithaca NY 14850. Hours Mon-Sat 11-6 and Sun 12-5. P:  607-272-3611.

Ontario Mall Antiques — Largest antique mall in upstate New York. Located on Rt 332 in Farmington (North of Canandaigua).

The Paris Flea — Located in downtown Skaneateles, on 23 Jordan St.

The Skaneateles Antique Center — 2 East Genesee Street, In the Village of Skaneateles, NY 13152, 315-685-0752. Hours:  Monday-Saturday 10 to 5:00, Sundays 11 to 5:00

Some good links:

Finger Lakes Antiques

I Love the Finger Lakes

Finger Lakes Marketplace

Also a listing of antique shows

If you like antique wooden boats, there is an Antique and Classic Boat Show every July in Clift Park, downtown Skaneateles. This year’s show is July 29, 30,  & 31, 2011.

July 18, 2011 at 2:47 am 2 comments

Fingerlakes Fish Story

I am not a fisherman. But I know that a lot of people come to the Finger Lakes to fish, so I asked my Uncle Harold if he would write about his experiences. He has lived on Skaneateles Lake for his entire 80 years and knows the best fishing spots on the lake (which I am SURE he will never reveal).

“My best memory has to be The ” Monster” Trout that didn’t get away.

Continue Reading March 11, 2011 at 6:30 am Leave a comment

Otisco: Mysterious Lake

view north Otisco

Otisco view north from the Causeway

On a cold sunny day I took off to explore the eastern-most Finger Lake, Otisco, which I have always found to be unique and mysterious.

The first mystery for me was it’s origin.

“Otisco” is Iroquois for “Waters Dried Away,” Originally it was small, marshy area. A dam was constructed on the northern end at Nine Mile Creek in 1869, which raised the water level by 9 feet, for use by the Erie Canal. Once more in 1908 it was damned, raising it another 4 feet for use by the City of Syracuse for water supply. (see “A” mark on the map). At it’s deepest point the lake is 60 feet deep, 6 miles long and 1 mile wide.

Willows in the park

Otisco Lake Park

Otisco Lake Park

Cool Willows in Otisco Lake Park

I went looking for the locations where a non-resident could gain access to the lake. Otisco Lake Park was my first stop. The park has 600 ft of shoreline and some of the most stunning willows I have ever seen. There are restrooms and hand launch boating. The park is located at 2525 Otisco Valley Road in the town of Marietta (“C” on the map).

As I traveled further south on the County Rd 124/Otisco Valley Road, I enjoyed spectacular lake views — first from above and further south — right at lakeside.

I was headed for the next point of interest and my second mystery, The Otisco Lake Causeway (see “B”). This is a man-made barrier of rocks that spans the entire lake at its southern end. It was originally built for use by wagons to traverse the lake rather than circumvent. The mystery to me is why it still remains now that it is not a road for transport. It seems to serve no purpose other than a great fishing and photo spot. It seems very odd to have this unusual landmark remain without improving it for fisherman and hikers.

View from the Causeway

View of both sides of the lake from the Causeway

Accessing the causeway from the east side was a bit rough, as it was blocked by a large fallen tree. The pathway cross was not much of a path, but a very rocky and uneven surface, not friendly to hikers. Perhaps I should have tried accessing the Causeway from the west side of the lake. The view afforded by being out in the middle of the lake is wonderful. It was hard to capture on film the wonder of seeing both the north and south end of the lake in one view, separated by just a thin spit of land. (If you click on an image, it will open up full-size in a new window)

"The Shallows"

Otisco view of the south end of the lake -"The Shallows"

The lake below the causeway is quieter and calmer, referred to as “The Shallows.” (see “E”). A gap in the causeway close to the west bank allows for boats to travel through, and for the continuous passage of water into the southern which would otherwise be a marsh.. The result is a mixing of the silt of the marshland once there and the lake’s waters, gives the water south of the causeway a higher turbidity and a contrasting color (E on the map).

Otico Lake View

View north from the east side of the lake, halfway down

The pictures show how pretty this lake is, but it is not as accessible to visitors as the other Finger Lakes. There are few retail establishments — another mystery. I stopped at a gas station/general store on the eastern side, in the town of Amber. The lake, despite lots of camps and its obvious beauty,  has not seen the heavy commercial development of lakes like Skaneateles or Canandaigua or even Conesus — which is similar to it in size.

If you want great fishing, privacy and quiet, this might be your lake. Walleye, tiger muskellunge, sunfish, perch, rock bass, crappie, both large and small mouth bass, white bass, bullhead, and brown trout are found in it’s waters. Plus, on the first day of bass season, usually around the end of the second week in June, the lake fills with boats for the annual fishing derby. There is no state boat launch and access for powerboats has to take place at the Marina

Bonus:  If you travel the East Lake Road between Skaneateles and Otisco, you can catch a great view of both lakes.


November 28, 2010 at 7:44 pm 2 comments

Finger Lakes Summer “Good-bye” to the Summer of 2010

With sadness I say goodbye to: the summer of 2010, to my first 49 years of childhood, and to my son Alex who just left for college. Goodbye to days spent in a damp bathing suit because it’s too hot to get dressed. Goodbye day lilies, black raspberries, fresh corn, dinners where we cook everything on the grill, sunset boat rides and swimming by fire light and s’mores.

Continue Reading September 13, 2010 at 1:53 am 1 comment

Finger Lakes Summer 4th of July

Fireworks on the Lake

Front seat for fireworks

There is no better way to watch fireworks than in a motorboat— preferably with squishy seats. The Skaneateles Country Club hosted a great show. There was a flotilla of boats parked around the point where they launched them out over the water.  The finale burst right over our heads and boat horns honked madly once the show was silent.

Lake view fireworks

Front row view

What makes fireworks on the lake so special is that you don’t see one show, you see ALL the fireworks on the lake. While we sat under off shore of the country club, I could see colored lights exploding in every direction, the lake providing a big sky canvas with visual access to every cottage’s light show.

The other thing that is great is that you don’t wait in line with hundreds of other cars to exit the parking lot via it’s one road. Everyone quietly turns their boat around and motors home, kids cheering, wearing glow sticks like crowns and my teenage son with his girlfriend snuggled in the bow.


July 6, 2010 at 9:52 am 1 comment

Finger Lakes Summer Swimming

I grew up on the Finger lakes and thought the best day to test the lake was Memorial Day. The water temperature would be hovering around 58-60 degrees F. That was enough to make you gasp and wonder if you were jeopardizing your chance to have children, but as soon as you got out, you felt great. So how warm does the lake have to be to enjoy great swimming?

My favorite time is around the 4th of July. The lake is just hitting 70 degrees and it is getting really hot outside. When you jump in it is a shock and then you get used it. You hoist yourself up on the raft and the heat of the metal is delicious against your icy skin. You toast a few minutes and jump back in.

Finger Lakes swimming holes

The water can be clear up to 15′ deep.

My next door neighbors are just starting to enjoy the lake in August when it gets almost up to 80, but that feels like bath water to me. I’ll wear swim flippers and see how far I can swim along the shore line until my husband thinks I am dead and he brings the motorboat to look for me.

Springer Spaniel jumping after a bouy

Walter jumps after his buoy

At this point a pair of flippers and goggles are perfect for seeing the lake bottom as deep as 15′ feet. I’ll dive down and pick up golf balls that are a couple hundred yards off shore.

If you don’t own lake front, you might want to know where to go to be able to enjoy swimming. Here are a few of the nicer points of access, in no particular order:

Red Jacket Park, Keuka Lake

The beach is nice and clean.  This Penn Yan pebbly beach is extremely clean and the water tends to be very calm. There are also public boat launch capabilities and The Outlet Trail is right nearby.  You are protected from major winds by the Bluff, the land mass that seperates the East & West Fingers. Located in Penn Yan at the Northeastern tip of Keuka Lake.

Champlin Beach, Keuka Lake

Near Hammondsport, on the southern tip of Keuka Lake,  two great swimming holes. Champlin Beach (607-569-3700) is a delightful sandy beach.

Keuka Lake State Park, Keuka Lake

A gorgeous swimming beach. The park, a picturesque spot in the heart of wine country, is at 3370 Pepper Road in Bluff Point (315-536-3666).

Depot Park

Water Street, Hammondsport, NY 14840

Indian Pines Park

Old Pines Trail Road, Penn Yan, NY 14527

Penn Yan Boat Launch & Park

Water Street, Penn Yan, NY 14840

Kershaw Park, Canandaigua Lake

9 acres of park land on the north shore of Canandaigua Lake. Park hours are 6:00AM-11:00PM, year round. Walking paths, picnic shelters, gazebo, beach area & small marine craft launch area, snack bar. ($3.00 per adult and $2.00 per child ages 6-18).

From the New York State Thruway I 90 exit 44 the Canandaigua exit, follow route 332 straight until you reach Canandaigua Lake approximately 8 miles keep going straight and follow the signs. Route 332 will run right into and become Lakeshore Drive, which runs right next to Kershaw Park. There is ample parking opposite the park.

Onanda Park, Canandaigua Lake

One of the most popular places for families. Large lawn, hiking trails and more. $5.00 per car on weekdays and $7.00 per car on weekends. Lifeguards provide supervision.

4965 West Lake Road, Canandaigua, NY, tel: (585) 396-2752,

Frontenac Park, Cayuga Lake

The village of Union Springs hosts this small park on the east coast of the lake. You can easily see Frontenac Island from this location. The park also boasts a public beach. Lifeguards are on duty July through August, 7 days a week.
North East side of the lake. Chapel St off of Rt 90, Google Directions.
Union Springs Parks: (315) 889-7265

Harris Park, Cayuga Lake. 

Located on the South East side of the lake, on Railroad St. off of Genesee St in the village of Cayuga, this sliver of a park offers swimming, a small boat launch and floating dock.Contact: 315-252-1707

Stewart Park, Cayuga Lake.

An excellent waterfront family destination complete with playing fields, swimming and picnic areas. Located at the south end of the lake, in the City of Ithaca. Off of Rt 34. Free admission. Contact: 607-273-8364.

Myers Park at Lansing, Cayuga Lake 

This small peninsula was formed by Salmon Creek sediment deposits as it emptied into the lake. The Myers Point sand bar is an excellent bird watching location. This park spans 31 acres and includes a marina and swimming area. Located on the North West side of the lake. Off of Myers Rd. One mile from Rt. 34B. Admission free for residents, $2 per car on weekends and holidaysContact: 607-533-7388

Long Point State Park, Cayuga Lake

Long Point State Park is situated on the east side of Cayuga Lake on a V-shaped spit of land extending out into the water.  Principally a day-use park in a residential area, Long Point offers a stoney beach, a supervised swimming area, a bathhouse, a playground, a boat launch and temporary docking area with two concrete ramps, a gazebo, and a picnic area with tables and grilles. Mowed grass provides space for ball game and other activities.

Lake Rd., Off Rt. 90, Aurora, 315-497-0130,

Cayuga Lake State Park.

Offering the best view of Cayuga Lake, this state park offers all the accommodations expected of a first-class state recreation area. The flat beach offers swimmers and anglers great access to the lake .

Emerson Park, Owasco Lake

Emerson Park is the only public beach on Owasco Lake, and can be located at the northern end of the lake in Auburn. Parking is $2.00.

Sampson State Park, Seneca Lake

Once a naval training station, then an Air Force base, before becoming a state park. Picnic areas, playground and playing fields that include tennis, basketball and volleyball courts, a swimming beach, a recreation building, and organized activities including tours, hikes, and wildlife watches.

6096 Rt. 96A, Romulus, NY 14541

Clift Park, Skaneateles Lake

Anyone may use the parks though to swim at Clift Park people who do not live in Skaneateles must pay a fee. In addition, access in limited in other ways. Metered parking lines the streets and there is a large lot a few blocks away, but all of these spaces quickly fill in the heat of summer.

Otisco Lake has no pubic swimming access.

Hemlock and Canadice do not allow swimming.

Please feel free to share your favorite Finger Lakes swimming holes with me.


June 21, 2010 at 10:24 pm 7 comments

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