Five Worth the Drive
Thinking about an island getaway? We have two—along with three other refreshing retreats—all within driving distance of home.
When on Smith Island, do as the locals do: enjoy blue crabs in all their forms.
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Grape Escape: Finger Lakes, New York
Five wine trails bordering seven beautiful lakes, scenic sleepy towns and lively cities; there are a multitude of ways to explore New York’s Finger Lakes region. I selected the areas in and around the historic racing capital of Watkins Glen on Seneca Lake, the quiet rural village of Penn Yan on Keuka Lake and the vibrant college town of Ithaca on Cayuga Lake to give you some idea of the wide range of experiences you can enjoy there.
Drive time: Five hours to Watkins Glen.
Stay here: For pure peace, you won’t find a better spot than Penn Yan’s Top O’ the Lake Bed and Breakfast (128 South Ave.; 315-536-8070; topothelake.com), a charming mid-18th-century home with five guestrooms on four-and-a-half wooded acres ($120-$155).
In the cool Ithaca suburb of Trumansburg, Juniper Hill Mansion Bed & Breakfast (16 Elm St., 607-387-3044, atjuniperhill.com), combines the wow factor of museum-quality Impressionist art with warmth and wit. Blueberry lasagna for breakfast! ($199-$275.)
Eat here: Make sure you have a reservation at Hazelnut Kitchen (53 E. Main St., Trumansburg; 607-387-4433; hazelnutkitchen.com), a super-popular itty bitty eatery, with a thoughtful, non-fussy bistro menu. Entrées are $14-$25.
Pair the artisanal cheese plate ($14) at Simply Red Bistro at Sheldrake Point Vineyard (7448 Country Road 153; Ovid, 607-532-9401; sheldrakepoint.com; entrées are $10-$16), with an outstanding Riesling or the divine not-too-sweet Cab Franc ice wine.
Savor breakfast ($9-$13), lunch ($10-$12) or dinner ($19-$34) overlooking Seneca Lake at the new Watkins Glen Harbor Hotel’s Blue Pointe Grille (16 N. Franklin St.; 607-535-6116; watkinsglenharborhotel.com).
To-do list: Follow in the tracks of the racing legends on the daily Thunder Road Tour at Watkins Glen International (2790 County Road, Rt. 16; 607-535-2486; theglen.com; $25. August 5-8 is the world-renowned NASCAR race; September 10-12 the U.S. Vintage Grand Prix.
Watkins Glen-based Seneca Sailing Adventures (607-742-5100, senecasailingadventures.com) will take you on a glorious three-hour cruise on the 36-foot Lee Sea Anne I for $160 per couple.
You’ll spend hours visiting the more than 200 vendors at the Windmill Farm & Craft Market (3900 State Rt. 14A; Penn Yan; 315-536-3032; thewindmill.com).
Check out one of the world’s most complete mastodon skeletons and 4.5 billion years worth of other artifacts in please-touch exhibits at the Museum of the Earth (1259 Trumansburg Road, Ithaca; 607-273-6623, museumoftheearth.org; $8 for adults, $5 for seniors and students, $3 for children).
Visit Seneca Falls, site of the first Women’s Rights Convention in 1948, for some eye-opening insights into the achievements of American women past and present at the Women’s Rights National Historical Park (136 Fall St.; 315-568-2991; nps.gov; free admission) and National Women’s Hall of Fame (76 Fall St.; 315-568-8060, greatwomen.org; $3 for adults, $1.50 for seniors and students).
Thrifty tips: Join the locals for the charbroiled prime rib ($16.99) at Holly’s Red Rooster (12 Maiden Lane; Penn Yan; 315-536-9800).
You don’t have to be a vegetarian to crave the creations (under $10 for lunch, under $20 for dinner) at the legendary Moosewood Restaurant (215 N. Cayuga St., Dewitt Bldg.; Ithaca; 607-273-9610, moosewoodrestaurant.com).
Browse the blocks of boutiques on The Commons in downtown Ithaca (downtownithaca.com).
Frolic in the natural pool at the base of Buttermilk Falls (Rt. 13 South, Ithaca; 607-273-5761) or take a hike in Taughannock Falls State Park (2221 Taughannock Road, Trumansburg; 607-387-6739), where moviedom’s earliest “cliff hangers” were filmed. Contact nysparks.state.ny.us.
For free or, in some cases, a few dollars, you can do a tasting at any of the Finger Lakes wineries. Make one of them Hosmer Winery (6999 Rt. 89, Ovid; 607-869-3393, hosmerwinery.com) and its takes on Rieslings, Pinot Gris and summery native Cayuga.
Page 4: The Vine and Equines: Loudoun County, Virginia