Archive for the ‘Outdoor Recreation’ Category

Spring’s Wild Water Derby

April 28, 2011

It’s true.

Wild Water Derby pirates

It’s happening.

Spring is coming to the Finger Lakes. The buds are popping, the grass is now really, really green and growing and we have had our fair share of April Showers*.  Looking for one more sure sign of spring? That would have to be the Shortsville/Manchester Wild Water Derby – one of the largest paddling events in the northeast.

The Wild Water Derby is a local tradition in the spring. It all takes place along the Canandaigua Outlet  which flows north from the outlet of Canandaigua Lake all of the way to the Erie Canal. [get directions to the event]

The Wild Water Derby includes two days of (cold) water, racing, food, music, paddling, kayaks, rafts, some pirates and having a ton of fun. Teams can put in hours planning and constructing their rafts, because many ‘water vehicles’ at this race are home-made.  The homemade raft portion of the weekend is where the teams get “extra” points for creativity and humor, and it is a spectator favorite. Although it is considered a “racing” event, the number one priority is having a good time.

* SPECIAL NOTE: The Wild Water Derby is RESCHEDULED for MAY 21 & 22, 2011 – in the interest of participant and spectator safety.

Click here to see a short video created two years ago at the Wild Water Derby. “AJ checks out Manchester and interviews some of the teams before and some after ‘the Run’.”

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Canadice – a Pristine Little Lake

April 5, 2011

We just got the Spring Issue of  Life in the Finger Lakes at the office. It is always a good read and we really love looking through it and learning that little extra tidbit about something familiar and sometimes something new.

This quarter, the magazine is celebrating their 10th year and the ‘A Look Back’ section highlights a page from their premier issue in the Summer of 2001. The article is titled “Finger Lakes Facts” and includes a map and some stats on each of the eleven Finger Lakes. See page 14. As an example, did you know that the elevation of Canadice Lake is the highest of all the Finger Lakes (1099 feet) or that the volume is 11 billion gallons?

These stats actually left me just a little high and dry. I felt like the stat should have read 11 billion gallons of pristine, crystal blue water…

Canadice Lake in the Finger Lakes

Canadice Lake looking to the north

The history of the Finger Lakes Region is equally appealing.  According to Native American legend, the lakes are the divine handprints of the Great Spirit. In blessing the land, the spirits outstretched hands were placed over the region leaving each finger-shaped impression. The hollows that were left quickly filled with crystal-clear water – thus the Finger Lakes were formed. And then there is also the glacial effect to be considered in the formation of these truly unique lakes. Click here to read more about the Lakes.

Perhaps named with a bit of humor, the Native American translation for Canadice is “Long Lake” and while the lake is quite tiny, it has some of the most natural beauty of all the Finger Lakes. As one of the water supply sources for area residents, this lake is restricted to car top boats only and limited to 10 hp motors. It is easy to imagine Canadice Lake in its original, natural state while gliding the lake in a kayak or canoe and just listening to the dip of your paddle into the water. This is my idea of ahhh…

Submitted by Meg Colombo

2011 Checklist: Night Skiing

January 7, 2011

Last winter, my friends and I, with all the snow, decided to go cross-country skiing on the new groomed trails at Bristol Mountain. A couple of them had been before, but I had never been so it was my first experience. It was so easy and so comfortable and so much fun that definitely, with this year’s new snowfall, it’s on my top 2 things to do in the upcoming weekends.

Nordic Center at the Summit, Bristol Mountain

To access the top-of-the-mountain Nordic Trails, you don’t go to the Route 64 main entrance as you normally would. You actually drive up South Hill, which is the back of the mountain. It’s a real quick walk to the lodge, where you can rent the equipment that you need to cross-country ski or you can bring your own. They give you a trail map and there are all kinds of trails there. Because it is on the mountain, many people may think it’s too downhill, but it is really flat at the top with some small inclines. You can go through the woods and weave your way back and end up at the lodge for some hot chocolate.  We actually did go at night and the trails are lighted trails.

It was just a great time and I am definitely going to head back there this season. They also have an event called Full Moon Nordic Ski. Just imagine the shadows, the snow falling lightly, the mix of colors, and giggling in the dark. I’d love to go when it is a full moon… Now that would be a lot of fun!  Upcoming dates are January 19th and February 18th. Call 585-374-6000 for more information or to sign up.

Submitted by Valerie Knoblauch

Finger Lakes FOUND!

July 19, 2010

Sailing on Canandaigua Lake

On Friday morning, July 16th, 3.7 million readers opened their USA Today morning papers to find a full-page spread on New York’s Finger Lakes!  Extolling the virtues of the Finger Lakes Region, the article talks about its 11 eleven lakes spread like the fingers on two hands, great waterfronts, great wine and great second home market! 

Sunrise over the vineyards in the Finger Lakes

For those of us who have lived here all our lives, it’s tough not to scream, “I told you so”.  With that said, it’s a tribute to the 11 regional tourism promotion agencies who have continued to  work together tirelessly to promote the Finger Lakes as a premiere year-round destination.

Enjoying great food, wine and friends. What fun!

Area journalist, Katharine Dyson, says, “It’s a place that has a firm grasp on what’s important, like fresh air, farmers markets, little traffic, outdoor concerts, and lake water so clear you can see right to the bottom.”  And, according to many, it’s about the people who live here that make the Finger Lakes so welcoming to visitors.

It's a short hike to the waterfalls in Grimes Glen, Naples.

Great Finger Lakes Finds  mentioned in the article included: regional wineries, Watkins Glen Raceway, Finger Lakes Gaming and Racetrack, the New York Wine and Culinary Center, more than 1,000 waterfalls, boating, fishing, golf , ski resorts, and parks.  Others to explore include:

Letchworth State Park is known as “The Grand Canyon of the East”
For thoroughbred racing and casino gaming, visit Tioga Downs
Boating, Great Lakes fishing, and the Erie Canal
Cayuga Lake, the longest Finger Lake, is home to the Cayuga Wine Trail
Visit Mark Twain Country!
Ithaca is overflowing with lively culture, unique shopping waterfalls
Syracuse is home to fantastic sports teams like the NCAA basketball Syracuse Orangemen
A multitude of family-friendly museums and attractions in Rochester
NASCAR fans head to Watkins Glen International
Four seasons of family fun on Keuka Lake
Experience New York’s bounty at The New York Wine & Culinary Center

Start planning your next vacation get away!  Less than a day’s drive, New York’s Finger Lakes are here for you.

Incredible Views ~ In Between

November 11, 2009
GFLF Dunton Rd Naples View
Scenic Views Between the Lakes

The Finger Lakes are well known for spectacular scenery and  beautiful lakes. You can travel the popular routes that run north and south along the lakes and be sure to enjoy scenic vistas. However, if you drive “between” the lakes from east to west, there’s a treasure of hidden beauty in the valleys and hills that surround the lakes as well. 

IMG_1951

Scenic Over Look County Rd. 12

Two of the larger Finger Lakes, Seneca Lake and Canandaigua Lake, provide many of the most popular views.

This favorite view in the Finger Lakes is from the scenic overlook on County Rd. 12 near Naples looking north on Canandaigua Lake with South Hill and Bare Hill on the right.

 

GFLF Seneca Lake

Seneca Lake from HWS campus

 

Likewise, at the north end of Seneca Lake there is a spectacular view from Route 14 on the campus of Hobart & William Smith Colleges. 

 

But, in between these two magnificent lakes is also an area of panoramic pleasures.  You will travel rolling hills and farmland along scenic country roads, visit small towns filled with hometown charm. And, for the adventurous, there are valleys, waterfalls and gorges just waiting to be explored.

 Whether you travel by car, bike or on foot, the views are astounding.  Just look at this video and see Incredible Views ~ In Between.  Another Great Finger Lakes Find is here waiting for you…in between the Lakes.  Don’t forget your camera.

Stay posted, as the next Great Finger Lakes Finds blog will share the wonders of the “Little Lakes” of the Finger Lakes.

Let’s Go Hiking & Biking in the Finger Lakes

August 22, 2009
Hiking and Biking in the Finger Lakes

Hiking and Biking in the Finger Lakes

Lace up your boots, clip in your shoes and get going!  Experience, explore and enjoy four seasons of adventure in New York’s Finger Lakes.  Eleven crystal clear lakes along with the Erie Canal and Lake Ontario are resources for family fun, water activities and spectacular views and vistas.  The new Finger Lakes Hiking and Biking Trail Kit includes great hiking and biking ideas, maps and directions and even suggestions for places to eat and visit nearby. You can call this numberl (toll-free) 877-386-4669 or email us here to get your Ontario County starter kit.  In the meantime, here are some of the most popular trails in Ontario County:

Hiking with Friends

Hiking with Friends

Hiking – Harriet Hollister Spencer Memorial Recreation Area, Honeoye  High in the hills between Canadice and Honeoye Lakes, you will enjoy spectacular views of Honeoye and the Rochester skyline

Hiking – Ontario Pathways in Phelps and Canandaigua Once an abandoned railroad line, this volunteer maintained countryside trail now has a canopy of trees and is an ideal location for birdwatchers and snowshoeing. 

Bike around the Lakes in Ontario CountyBiking – Stid Hill, Bristol   As the name implies, Stid Hill sits on the side of a hill. For those adventurous mountain bikers this is a must-do! printable biking cues for this trail  

Biking – The Bristol Hills, Canandaigua  These steep-sided valleys, wooded hilltops and sprawling vineyards provide a backdrop for some of the most stunning scenery in the Finger Lakes! printable biking cues for this trail 

Here’s another Great Finger Lakes Find for you–check out the Footprint Press for a series of trail books on hiking trails, water trails, biking trails, cross country ski trails and even waterfall trails that are located in the Finger Lakes Region of New York State. Order a book here or read their outstanding blog here.

As always, for a complete listing for all the fun things there are to see and do in Ontario County, Finger Lakes go to VisitFingerLakes.com.

Routes 5 & 20–Best of the Best to See and Do

August 7, 2009
Enjoy the fun and see the best!

Enjoy the fun and see the best!

Pack up the family, get in the car and get ready to experience a lot of fun things to see and do along Routes 5 & 20 in New York’s Finger Lakes and more specifically in Ontario County.  We have the Best of the Best for you!  The Finger Lakes Visitors Connection (official tourism bureau of Ontario County) along with four other tourism partners surveyed the locals and found out for you what they recommend is the best of the best to see and do along the Authentic American Road, Routes 5 & 20. 

Alpaca Farms

Alpaca Farms

From A toZ, there’s Alpacas, antiquing, apples, bistros, concerts, drive-ins, eats, fish, a gigglin’ pig, hiking, ice cream, JELL-O, lakes, museums, nature, orchards, pottery, scenery, theme parks, wineries and ZZZZZ.  What’s the “Z” — that’s the great sleep you’ll get in one of our local hotels or B & Bs, after a full day of fun along this historic route. 

Routes 5 & 20 Mini Map

Routes 5 & 20 Mini Map

The locals always know the BEST places to go.  So whether you’re driving, biking, or even hiking you’ll find the top picks along this fun and fascinating trail.  How about the best locally made gift, the best rainy day activity, the best picnic spot or the best scenic spot?  There’s  a  map showing the complete listing of  these and more along this 135 mile road trip–The Best of Routes 5 & 20!  Call today to get your FREE map~877-FUN-IN-NY or 585-394-3915.

Here’s more Great Finger Lakes Finds for upcoming events this month.

August 5-8th  Pageant of Steam in Canandaigua

August 8th – 25th Annual Cheshire Union Antique Show in Cheshire

August 15-16th Riesling Festival Canandaigua Lake

August 15-17th Billsboro Winery Plein Air Festival, Seneca Lake

Bird Watching in the Finger Lakes!

May 1, 2009
The Baltimore Oriole

The Baltimore Oriole

Spring in the Finger Lakes is a fun season of the year as we watch the earth come back to life with brightening skies, beautiful flowers in bloom, leaves and early spring buds on the trees. But it also means the  the migrating birds return.  I love to see the first colors in the trees (before the leaves actually come out). You’ll see the finches change from brown to a vibrant yellow, orange of the oriole, the blue birds are bright blue, the red of the cardinals, and perhaps most anticipated is the return of the hummingbirds as a sure sign that spring is here.

There are many natural parks and trails, bird watching can be done anywhere in the Finger Lakes, but here are a few great locations to view our feathered friends:

The Blue Bird is the official NYS bird.

The Blue Bird is the official NYS bird.

In Victor, you’ll find two favorite bird watching places. The Maryfrances Bluebird Haven has a trail of approximately one mile which circles the property traveling through open fields and through woods allowing visitors to see bluebirds in their natural habit.  Also the Ganondagan Native American Historic Site  provides several nature trails where you will see not only the birds, but many varieties of wildlife, plants and historic memorabilia about the Native Americans who lived there.

Can you tell?  Coopers Hawk or Sharp-Shinned Juvenile?

Can you tell? Coopers Hawk or Sharp-Shinned Juvenile?

On Canandaigua Lake,  you’ll find Kershaw and  Lagoon Park located at the north end of the lake and Cumming Nature Center  at the south end of the lake.  A variety of Hawks as well as the Bald Eagle have been sighted many times on Canandaigua Lake.

 

The Rose-Breasted Grosbeak returned in mid-April

The Rose-Breasted Grosbeak returned in mid-April

Upcoming bird watching events  in May include: All About Bluebirds at Cumming Nature Center; Eagles at Hemlock (annual watch for the returning Eagles) or Tails and Trails narrated walk at Ganondagan. Get your binoculars out and your cameras ready to go and enjoy the spring colors of the birds.

Golf in the Finger Lakes–Great Links

April 23, 2009

Bristol Harbour Golf

Golfers, are you ready for some serious GOLF?  The snow is gone and spring is in the air.  Don’t wait! Get your clubs and shoes out and head to the Finger Lakes Golf Trail.  Four great courses here in the Finger Lakes are just waiting for you and your golfing buddies to start the season.  

Ravenwood Golf Course

Ravenwood Golf Course

Bring your friends to explore the world famous Finger Lakes Region, and enjoy four of the most challenging golf courses available to the public. Bristol Harbour, Greystone, Ravenwood and Mill Creek—each course delivers a truly unique, memorable experience. Play them all for the immersion of a lifetime.  Golfing doesn’t get much better than this.

The Lodge at Bristol Harbour

The Lodge at Bristol Harbour

Overnight stays are available at these trail lodging properties: The WoodCliff in Victor, Bristol Harbour Resort, Holiday Inn Express or the Radisson Rochester.  

What are the most popular packages?  You can choose from the Standard Package which includes, three 18-hole rounds of golf at the courses of your choice, carts, range, and two-night accomodations or the Fabulous Finger Lakes Foursome and you get to play one round of golf at all four courses with cart and range balls included!  Get on the phone now and call 1-866-969-3548.  The Links are waiting.

Battle of the Paddle this Weekend~Finger Lakes

April 22, 2009

Rafters Race--Who will stay afloat? April showers bring May flowers in the Finger Lakes, but even more important April showers bring lots of water for the Annual Wild Water Derby on April 25 & 26.  Bring your canoe, kayak and raft or even build your own for a weekend of family fun and competitions on the Canandaigua Lake Outlet.  The spring waters are flowing off the hills and the “wild water” provides some challenging races for all–from beginners to the experienced–test your skills. 

There are races for all ages and perhaps the most popular is the battle for the “Most Entertaining” Raft award, all are handmade by racing teams and they come in all themes, sizes and shapes. 

The event takes places in Shortsville on the Canandaigua Outlet.  Bring the whole family out for the weekend for one of the first Finger Lakes Festivals of the year. Proceeds from the event benefit area non-profit organizations.  2008 Race Photo Gallery