So Katie (whom you met in my second Denver post) lives about 6 hours away from me in New York state. As I mentioned in that post, we try to plan a girls trip long weekend each year as a chance for us to spend some time together, eat some good food, and get a spa treatment or three. Thanks to COVID, our early 2021 getaway options were somewhat limited. Ultimately, we decided to take a trip to Seneca Lake, which is one of the famous New York Finger Lakes.
As the official travel agent of the friendship, I was tasked with finding us a place to stay, wineries to visit, and places to eat. Lucky for you, I really hit it out of the park with this trip (if I do say so myself), and I’m going to share the highlights with you so that you can enjoy your own Finger Lakes getaway!
As far as lodgings, I stumbled upon what is quite possibly the cutest tiny house village that has ever existed. The Vineyard Villas, located on the east side of Seneca Lake in Hector, are not only adorable, but also functional, comfortable, WiFi equipped, and clean. The views of the lake from our little patio were spectacular, especially in February when the hills were snow-covered. Despite the tiny-ness of the house, it was still plenty of room for the two of us and all our luggage. I probably wouldn’t try to fit more than 3 people, though, for fear of constantly bumping into one another.
If you’re looking for a filling breakfast before a day of wine tasting, Toni’s Diner is super close to the Vineyard Villas. It’s a classic greasy-spoon establishment that serves up traditional breakfast fare at very reasonable prices. The only complaint I had was that it was about 100 degrees in the restaurant, and, though we visited in February, the heat was a bit too much.
There are approximately a bajillion (yes, that is a number) wineries circling Seneca Lake alone, so I’m only going to point out a couple, but you could spend many days sampling all the wine. My personal favorites were Lamoreaux Landing Vineyard and Standing Stone Vineyards. At Lamoreaux, you have to try the cuvees. For me, they have just the right balance of sweetness and dryness, and a slight effervescence makes them feel incredibly luxurious. Standing Stone is in the Hermann J. Weimer Vineyard family, so they have some spectacular Rieslings. A big perk of visiting Standing Stone is that you can create your own tasting flight of 2.5 ounce pours as opposed to just choosing a standard option. One of my friends just got home from a long weekend in the Finger Lakes (per my recommendation), and has some vino from each of these vineyards for me to pick up! The perks of being the designated travel agent.
As far as restaurants go, we had two really great dinners during our stay. On our first night, we went to Kindred Fare. Don’t let the strip mall location fool you — the food here is awesome, and the vibe inside is chic and cozy. I went with the Crispy Fried Chicken, which I highly recommend. On night two we had reservations at Ports Cafe, which was probably my favorite. I had the Delmonico Steak, which was perfectly cooked, and their seasonal creme brulee for dessert. A good creme brulee cannot be beaten, in my humble opinion. Be prepared for a bit of a drive, though. Both restaurants are up at the top of the lake about 30-45 minutes away, but I think they’re well worth the drive.
We rounded out the weekend with a visit to the Mirbeau Spa in Skaneatlas. It’s en route back to Katie’s house, but it’s probably an hour and a half from Seneca Lake. It is definitely a place worth traveling for, though. The relaxation room has an outdoor hot tub and bar, and an indoor relaxation area with loungers and a heated foot pool. Just a heads up, though– if you’re like me and enjoy reading while you await your treatments, make sure you have physical copies of your reading material because electronics of any kind are not allowed in the relaxation area. The locker rooms have both steam rooms and dry saunas if you’re into that sort of thing. Schedule yourself treatments morning and afternoon, and enjoy a lunch at their on-site restaurant, The Bistro, in between pamper sessions. If you want to continue your long-weekend a little bit longer, stay overnight at the accommodations and get one more treatment for the road in the morning.
If you’re looking for a few more activities that don’t involve fermented grapes, a few other places of interest in the area include the Corning Glass Museum (where you can currently make your own blown glass Christmas ornament) and Watkins Glen International Raceway if driving a race car or watching others drive race cars is your vibe. If you have a favorite Finger Lakes winery, or any other suggestions for things to do near Seneca Lake, let me know below!