If environmental issues are top of mind, you may worry about the carbon footprint you leave on your vacation. Make the Finger Lakes your travel destination, though, and you'll have plenty of options for good green fun.
It's not easy being green, but these tips will help make sure that your Finger Lakes getaway is.
Places to Stay:
Greek Peak Mountain Resort
Greek Peak recently completed an expansion considered to be among the “greenest” building projects in New York. In addition to the ski resort already in existence, the property now includes LEED-certified Silver Level Hope Lake Lodge, three restaurants, Waterfalls Spa, and Cascades Indoor Waterpark. Sustainable features include energy efficiency, water conservation, local sustainable furniture, and advanced VRV heating/ cooling systems that provide superior indoor air quality.
EcoVillage at Ithaca
EcoVillage at Ithaca is a cooperative community and a non-profit educational organization that includes three co-housing neighborhoods. There is also an organic CSA vegetable farm, an organic CSA/U-Pick berry farm, office spaces for cottage industry, a neighborhood root cellar, community gardens and varied natural areas. Visit to learn more about this way of life or just to enjoy the relaxed atmosphere. The common houses offer rooms for guests and those interested in making the village their home, and two bed and breakfasts are located on the property for a comfortable and eco-friendly stay.
Bristol Harbour Resort
Come and enjoy Bristol Harbour’s hotel, world-class golf course, and brand new spa. This resort was recently selected as one of 43 properties in New York State to take part in the New York State Green Hotel Certification Program. You can relax and fully take pleasure in your stay knowing that your hotel will be saving energy, minimizing waste disposal, and contributing overall conservation.
Finger Lakes National Forest
You can hike one of the many trails of the 16,212-acre Finger Lakes National Forest, located on a ridge between Seneca and Cayuga Lakes. It is unique among public land for its long practice of multiple use management. Resources are managed in a way that will protect the life-sustaining capability of the land for future generations. Other popular activities that give you an upfront view of the beautiful environment include blueberry picking, hunting and fishing, cross-country skiing, snowmobiling, and bicycling.
Catharine Valley Trail
The Catharine Valley Trail is a multi-use trail (hiking, biking and cross-country skiing) that spans 12 miles from Watkins Glen State Park to Mark Twain State Park in New York’s Southern Tier.
Cumming Nature Center
View the scenery and gain a better understanding of how to conserve it at the Cumming Nature Center, a family-friendly 900-acre preserve located in Naples. It is a program of the Rochester Museum and Science Center. The grounds feature trails for hiking in the spring, summer and fall, and snowshoeing and cross-country skiing in the winter. One trail known as the “Conservation Trail” educates hikers on forest conservation and responsible management practices.
Spencer Crest Nature Center
Spencer Crest Nature Center provides environmental, educational, and recreational activities in Corning, NY. The 250-acre property features seven miles of trails with two ponds, a stream, and a museum of natural systems which includes changing displays, an apiary, and environmentally-sensitive design.
Heron Hill Winery
Heron Hill’s owner, John Ingle, is committed to sustainable farming. He was even a featured speaker at NYC’s Green Symposium in April 2008. Enjoy a glass of wine as you take in the beauty of Keuka Lake and stand in the Heron Hill Winery which was voted one of the World’s Most Spectacular Tasting Rooms by Travel + Leisure magazine.
Red Tail Ridge Winery
Red Tail’s wine-making building is entirely green. It was the first New York winery to meet the U.S. Building Council’s LEED standards. The vineyard and tasting room are also environmentally friendly.
Ithaca Farmer’s Market
Taste for yourself the locally grown produce of the region at the Ithaca Farmer’s Market, a cooperative of 150 vendors who are located within 30 miles of Ithaca. The market features locally-grown fruits, vegetables, baked goods, homemade sauces, and crafts. The property has been “zero waste” since spring of 2007. All “garbage” is viewed as a resource that can be re-used.
Rochester Public Market
Rochester’s 103-year-old Public Market features fresh fruit, meat, fish, poultry (live and prepared), eggs, dairy products, baked goods, jewelry, flowers, and much more. Catch one of the bargains to be found in almost every category of goods and stay green while you shop.
The Great New York State Fair
Visitors looking for a natural experience will enjoy the New York State Fair, which features the best of local agriculture. The Fair runs from late August to early September at the New York State Fairgrounds in Syracuse, and is the perfect opportunity to have fun and watch how the region is staying green. (If you visit the fair, also be sure to stop by and visit the Finger Lakes Tourism booth!)
There are many farms in the Finger Lakes that let you pick your own produce. Click the link above to see a list of visitor-friendly farms for the ultimate fresh experience.