Nestled between steep, verdant hills and Keuka Lake, Hammondsport is a fetching Victorian village with a lively tourist trade. At its center lies the Village Square, anchored by a big, white Presbyterian Church. Shops and restaurants line Shether Street, the main drag.
Along the lakeshore are a sleepy park and two public beaches; the beach at the foot of Shether Street is said to be the best. The Keuka Maid Dinner Boat (607/569-2628), a 500-passenger vessel, offers lunch, brunch, and dinner tours May–October. The boat docks in the village off Route 54A; reservations are recommended.
However, local viticulture draws the most visitors. Tumbling down the surrounding hillsides are vineyard after vineyard, all supplying grapes for the area’s nine wineries.
Glenn Hammond Curtiss, the pioneer aviator, was born in Hammondsport in 1878. Though not as well known as the Wright brothers, Curtiss made the world’s first pre-announced flight on July 4, 1908, when he piloted his “June Bug” airplane over 5,090 feet just outside Hammondsport.
Curtiss developed the U.S. Navy’s first amphibian airplane, opened the first flying school in America, and established the Curtiss Aeroplane Company—all in Hammondsport. During World War I, the Curtiss company manufactured the popular Curtiss Jenny airplane, which later became a favorite of barnstormers.
© Avalon Travel and Sascha Zuger from Moon New York State, 5th Edition