Food and drink is a big part of life here. The area has evolved into the USA’s premier craft cider-making region in recent years, while the villages scattering the lakes have long since embraced viticulture. Wine tours are an exhilarating way to both explore the region and taste some of the bounty it offers.
A great place to kick off a first-time visit, outside of the major cities, is Ithaca, known for its waterfalls, downtown walkability and its lively food and brewery scene. Stay at the Argos Inn, a boutique hotel with a nostalgic in-house bar that is also just a few steps from downtown.
South-west of Ithaca, the town of Corning is also easy to navigate on foot, and it has a main street with lots of food and drink options, as well as an abundance of interesting museums to peruse. Alternatively, pay a visit to the small village of Aurora, which makes for a serene lakeside escape with plenty of historic homes to nose around. During the summer you can swim at Long Point State Park, fill up on treats at the farmers’ market or enjoy scenic drives along the Cayuga Wine Trail. Make your base at the Aurora Inn, which has a nearby spa overlooking the lake.
Lastly, when deciding where to stay, especially in the more rural wine country, it’s important to remember that most major towns outside of the bigger cities are located at either the top or bottom of the lakes. Depending on your length of visit, it is best to navigate from one of these and stick to just a single area. It is important to keep in mind that seeing the entire region would take multiple visits, so don’t be worried if you can’t squeeze everything in. There’s always next time.