Even with some rainy weather I had an excellent three days in the Finger Lakes region of New York. It was a five hour drive from Connecticut to my friend’s house where we stayed in Auburn. The drive was beautiful though so I didn’t mind the length, and I imagine in autumn it’s spectacular. Easy countryside driving, easy for me alone with my three kids (husband was working), easy even though it was a holiday weekend (Labor Day).
Having a friend in the area was awesome because she gave us the insider tour of the area. I had wanted to go to Watkins Glen State Park, a place you see all over Pinterest when looking up the area, and she was all, no way lady. It’s pretty there but there are many other better parks and waterfalls without the crowds. Watkins Glen was out!
Day one, after driving that morning from Connecticut, we hung around Owasco, the area of Auburn my friend lives. Kayaking on Owasco Lake and walking the pier at Emerson Park was a great way to see the lake. The water was a thousand times clearer and nicer than I was anticipating. We hadn’t even packed swimsuits and that was a big mistake. My friend had one for my youngest daughter to borrow and good thing because the swimming was perfect.
Day two was the rainy day but it wasn’t stopping us from exploring! My friend drove us around for the day, finding all the best waterfalls, wineries and hiking spots. We drove completely around Cayuga Lake, the lake my friend says is the best one. We started at Long Point State Park and got a parking pass for the day since we knew we’d be hitting up a bunch of state parks. In NY you pay to park at one and get in all the rest for the day.
From there we stopped at Cornell to check out the art museum (it’s free) and see the lake view from the top floor. We also went on the large suspension bridge over the falls there. The rain picked up a bit so we didn’t spend long in the area, plus we were hungry for lunch!
We grabbed sandwiches and bagels at Collegetown Bagels, so good! From there we went to Buttermilk Falls State Park. It was busier there but the best hike of our day. I didn’t track how long the hike was but we went up almost to the top and came back down. Lots of stairs! Worked off those bagels 🙂 If it’s a hot day definitely bring your swimsuit to Buttermilk!
From there we drove to Robert Treman State Park, specifically the Enfield Glen area. The lifeguard was on duty there and people were crazy enough to swim! Wasn’t warm enough in my book but I was jealous of the swimmers none the less 🙂
The last waterfall we hiked at was the 215 foot high Taughannock Falls, my favorite of the day! The hike was completely flat and about 3/4 of a mile to the falls. We went there and back in 40 minutes, walking at a fast pace on the way back because it started raining.
We ended by swinging by two of my friend’s favorite wineries in the area. Mind you there are what felt like hundreds of wineries in the Finger Lakes region, we went to Lucas Vineyards and The Thirsty Owl Vineyards. Being that we had a carload of kids we didn’t stay long. I grabbed a wine slushee from Lucas Vineyard for the road and it was yummy.
I crashed after that day! Day three we only had the morning and I wanted to visit Harriet Tubman’s house and gravesite. I think history on any trip is good for the kids. We also visited William Seward’s home and gardens.
I absolutely plan on returning to the Finger Lakes! For one my husband would enjoy exploring the region and for two I would love to stay longer and explore Seneca Lake, one I didn’t see at all this trip. A day trip from the area would be a drive to Niagara Falls. Cannot wait to go back!