New York Finger Lakes in March

lowsparkJanuary 26, 2010

We're traveling up to NY in March during Spring Break to visit my son at Columbia and rather than stay in the city this time, we're going to take a short jaunt out to the finger lakes and visit some wineries. We're staying an B&B in Skaneateles for two nights. We will have a rental car and plan to just drive down Cayuga Lake and possibly Seneca Lake as well if we have time, and jump from winery to winery.

Do you have any advice on paricular spots not to miss, restaurants, or other tips?

Thanks! I'm excited about this trip as I've been wanting to do wineries in New York for a long time.

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Well....just don't count on it being "spring" in up state New York in mid March. You very well may be driving in lots of snow.
Linda C

    Bookmark   January 26, 2010 at 12:08PM
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I second lindc DRESS WARM!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    Bookmark   January 26, 2010 at 12:18PM
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Oh boy do I have suggestions! For starters, me! I live in Skaneateles and can give you lots of information. Where are you staying? Here are some not to be missed places:
Rosalies: very popular, reliably good food, mostly Italian. Loud, but friendly. They do not take reservations, but I was told they will hold a table if you buy a gift certificate in their attached bakery. Not sure if they instituted this practice yet. One tip: avoid eye contact with the man playing the ukelele-type instrument. Trust me on this one.

Mirbeau Inn and Spa: very upscale restaurant. Food is pricey and well prepared. Have had some great dishes there and some not so great. They have a new wine bar area that is beautiful and a great place to go for a drink and nibbles. I would start there for a drink and then go up the road a few feet to Rosalies for dinner.

Joelle's: very authentic french bistro out of the way a bit. Pricey for this area, but not out of line with more metro area restaurants. Service is slow, but the idea is to linger and enjoy. Portions are huge. (This is generally true for most restaurants in upstate NY, with the exception of Mirbeau where the portions are model tiny)

Doug's Fish Fry: Great fried fish sandwiches in a friendly atmosphere. Don't go on a Friday during lent or you will wait for an hour. BIggest tourist draw in Skaneateles, imo.

Anyela's winery: A few years old and very well done. Beautiful property. I love their wine "Overlay". Fingerlakes wine has improved dramatically and this one is exceptional.

Sherwood Inn (tavern side): where many locals eat. Old inn style with huge fireplace and horse pictures on the walls. Good pub food. Avoid weekend dinners there, (better for lunch) as there is often a band at night making it hard to hear. There french onion soup is legendary and deservedly so.

In nearby Auburn: I love a new restaurant called Bambinos. It used to be a pizza joint but a family from Queens is now running it and it has a nyc, hip (without being trendy) feel to the menu and waitstaff. Food is wonderful and you bring your own wine or beer. They are reknowned for their homemade ravioli, but to be honest, I thought the one I chose was just so-so.

Spring in upstate NY is our shortest season. It arrives here a month later than NYC, if it arrives at all. Often times, our worst snowstorms come in March and last year we had a few in April. Despite that, upstate NYers remain a fairly positive group.
Ask any questions. I hope I get a chance to meet you when you get here.


    Bookmark   January 26, 2010 at 12:50PM
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Hoo boy, I sure hope it doesn't snow while we're there.

Jo, I would LOVE to meet you. I can't believe you actually live in Skaneateles! We're staying at the Arbor House Inn on Fennell St.

We are driving in from Newark airport on Thursday, March 18 and we leave Saturday March 20. So short and quick but let me know what works for you. We could meet at one of the places you recommend and have dinner.

By the way, Nathan, who replied to your crossword puzzle post, is my son, he's the one we're visiting. So he and his girlfriend will be with us.

    Bookmark   January 26, 2010 at 2:21PM
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Not trying to be a wet blanket, but some of the biggest snowstorms in that region occur in March. Living in a norther climate (Michigan) March and even April are very iffy and unpredictable. But regardless, be safe and enjoy your time away.


    Bookmark   January 27, 2010 at 9:55AM
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Well, we're stuck with those dates because that's when spring break is. So, come snow or high water, we'll be there.

I visited my sister in Denver in April a few years back and they had a blizzard! In April! I didn't have to drive in it, thankfully.

    Bookmark   January 27, 2010 at 9:59AM
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A Denver April blizzard will be very different from a March blizzard in up state New York...since your time is concrete, I would change the destination.
Do you even own a warm winter coat or boots? The possibility of you needing them is very large.
Or you could go whole hog and do the ski vacation...

    Bookmark   January 27, 2010 at 10:46AM
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I appreciate the advice regarding snow and the problems it might present, but honestly, I'm just looking for advice on cool things not to miss while there. Thanks.

    Bookmark   January 27, 2010 at 11:27AM
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Last March we didn't have our driveway plowed once! (April was another story). So don't you dare change your plans--I'm around the corner from your hotel and I'll dig you out. Oh, and for the record, we're such a small town that most people could probably say they are around the corner from your b and b.

    Bookmark   January 27, 2010 at 12:07PM
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Don't worry Jo, I'm a-comin! And I would not want to miss meeting you, that's for sure!! You've got mail. :)

    Bookmark   January 27, 2010 at 1:01PM
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I live in ithaca, at the base of Cayuga lake, and agree with all the others who mention it will still be winter here.

That said, I think by far the best restaurant in this area is Hazelnut Kitchen, in Trumansburg, which is on the west side of Cayuga Lake. They have an innovative, locally-driven menu and just serve consistently amazing quality food... Here's a link...

Here is a link that might be useful: Hazelnut Kitchen

    Bookmark   January 27, 2010 at 3:02PM
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Hazelnut kitchen looks wonderful. I will definitely have to try it sometime. I would also add that The Moosewood Restaurant is located in Ithaca and is only 45 min. from Skaneateles. Even non vegetarians love the place.


    Bookmark   January 27, 2010 at 9:27PM
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I've actually been to Moosewood!! A few years back when we were scouting out schools for Nathan, he was considering Cornell and we visited Ithaca and ate at Moosewood. It was great.

Are you close enough to meet us in Skaneateles?

I emailed you through GW, did you get it? If not, please email me. I'm thinking dinner the first night we are there.

If you can meet us, that would be so cool, please email me as well.

Talked to DH last night, he's from New Jersey so he has experience driving in snow. So should we have that kind of weather, I think we'll be covered.

If my son, who is just like me when it comes to weather (we love Houston weather! Yes, the heat AND the humidity) can live through (so far) 2.5 winters in NYC, I guess I can brave a few days in New York in March.

    Bookmark   January 28, 2010 at 9:21AM
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Fearless - you live in Ithaca? Is Sarah's Dream B&B still there? We stayed there once when DD lived in Ithaca about 17 years ago. Then they moved to Rachaha and now Raleigh, NC. We still have famiy in the Syracuse to Rochester area but don't go up as often as we used to. We always drove up Skaneateles Lake and sometimes would come home (south to NJ) a different way, we enjoyed the area very much!

    Bookmark   January 28, 2010 at 10:01AM
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I got it. Thanks. I am trying to figure out the calendar so that we can meet. If not dinner, then perhaps coffee on Friday am at this fabulous coffeehouse that is two door down from your b&B (Creekside Books) We'll make something happen for sure. You should also see if Becky (Booberry85) is available. She also lives in Skaneateles.


Here is a link that might be useful: coffee, maybe?

    Bookmark   January 28, 2010 at 10:28AM
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Excellent! I emailed Becky.

Morning will be difficult. The b&b will be serving us a full breakfast and then we'll be heading out immediately to the wineries. They mostly open around 9 am and close around 6 pm, so our time is fairly limited. The two evenings will be much more flexible.

    Bookmark   January 28, 2010 at 10:50AM
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Hi folks --

Jojoco -- depending on the date, I sure hope I can come up and meet you and lowspark and whoever else will join!

Woodie -- I've never heard of Sarah's Dream B&B so I'm not sure, but there are a lot of B&B's in this area. Its always nice to have a good memory of a cozy little B&B though!

As for moosewood, I've heard very polarized reactions. I was really not impressed when I ate there, and I know people who feel similarly... But it also has a very loyal clientele, so clearly there is a range of opinions!


    Bookmark   January 28, 2010 at 9:32PM
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Well my trip is just around the corner, about a week away. I'm really looking forward to it. Emily, will you be able to come? Jo and I have not made concrete plans yet but I'm figuring on dinner either Thursday or Friday night.

    Bookmark   March 10, 2010 at 10:02AM
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Hi Lowspark --

I'm not sure whether I'll be in town or not (realized that weekend is the start of Cornell spring break)... But please let me know when you finalize plans and I'll do my best to make it!

You've picked a good time to come, as we've gotten a break from winter and the first little taste of spring!


    Bookmark   March 13, 2010 at 1:40PM
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We are planning on meeting for dinner on Friday night in Skaneateles. Please email me through gardenweb if you can come. We leave tomorrow morning early and won't have access to email during the trip. So if it's too late to email me, email Jo. I sure hope you can come!

    Bookmark   March 15, 2010 at 9:51AM
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