Planning Your Time
The Finger Lakes is one of the largest regions in New York State, and to tour it all would take a good 10 days to two weeks. But it’s also possible to see a substantial amount in three or four days, as traffic throughout the region is light and many of the most interesting sites are grouped together.
Most travelers will probably want to start their tour in Skaneateles, the prettiest of the Finger Lakes, which can easily be explored in an afternoon. Just down the road is Auburn, home to the fascinating house-museums of abolitionists William Seward and Harriet Tubman, and beyond that lies Seneca Falls, a must stop for anyone interested in women’s history.
Outdoor lovers might want to focus on the southern side of the Finger Lakes region. Here, you’ll find Ithaca, a university town surrounded by dramatic gorges and great hiking trails; the Finger Lakes National Forest; and, at the far western edge of the region, Letchworth State Park, home to the “Grand Canyon of the East.”
Wine lovers should focus on Hammondsport and Keuka Lake, which have an especially large number of vineyards, as well as lovely scenic vistas. Culture buffs will want to spend two or three days in Rochester.
If you’re traveling in July, be sure to find out the date of the Hill Cumorah Pageant, the Mormon celebration that commemorates the day when Joseph Smith received the Book of Mormon from the Angel Moroni. The largest, oldest, and most state-of-the-art outdoor drama in the United States, the pageant is well worth traveling out of your way to attend.
© Avalon Travel and Sascha Zuger from Moon New York State, 5th Edition