Travel Hot Spot: A Few Days in the Finger Lakes

Now that it seems fall has finally settled in for good, we suggest you do the opposite. We know it’s easy to hunker down, pop in every episode of Breaking Bad or Friday Night Lights, and wake up when it’s spring – but we’ve got a better idea.

A four-hour drive (from Toronto; five hours from Montreal) is the right amount of time to feel like you’re on vacation. Four hours is split perfectly in half for a coffee break, supplies the right amount of time for at least two separate playlists (everybody gets a chance to be DJ!), and is less than a tank of gas in just about anything outside of a Hummer or a Lear Jet. A four-hour drive will also get you to the Finger Lakes Region in Upper New York State for what could possibly be the best fall getaway you’ve ever had.

The Finger Lakes Region, as the name suggests, is made up of a collection of 11 separate lakes that stretch north to south across Upper New York State and, when captured by satellite imagery, appear as fingers might – spread out beneath the belly of Lake Ontario. The region is home to over a 100 wineries and features three distinct wine trails – the better to plan a weekend around, my dear. Each trail allows for easy to book B&Bs and transportation as well as offering breathtaking views of placid lakes, flowing rivers, and spectacular foliage throughout winding valleys. Sounds rough, huh? Imagine settling in on a Friday night next to a cozy fire, the smell of wood smoke tucking you in as the sound of waves lap gently outside your door, your only responsibility to wake up on Saturday and drink award-winning wine all day. We know, it sounds like a regular weekend to us too, but at least this time you’ll be in New York!

Besides just having the grapes to keep you company, this booming artistic area also manages to consistently offer unique opportunities no matter what time of year you go. Whether you want to get serious at a Harriet Tubman Symposium, hit up the Ithaca Farmers’ Market (#9 on list of 101 Best Farmers’ Markets in America), partake in a local cooking class, or hike through stunning gorges alongside waterfalls, the variety and abundance of activities is nearly overwhelming. And did we mention Duty Free?

There’ll likely be plenty of time this winter when you can’t leave your house (let’s just hope we don’t have to call in the army to dig us out again) but for the times you can, why not make it special? This fall we just gotta say, ‘Murica – heck ya!

Top photo courtesy Finger Lakes Tourism Alliance