Holiday Happenings in the Finger Lakes for 2011

Holiday Happenings in the Finger Lakes

No matter what holiday you observe, the Finger Lakes is a great place to celebrate! We have put together a comprehensive list of great events, shopping, community activities, and more. You can check it all out in the! The Finger Lakes is a great central location for all of your Christmas, holiday, and New Year’s festivities! You can check out all these different things at



Unique Holiday Shopping in the Finger Lakes

The Finger Lakes is home to many specialty shops that provide distinctive gifts as well as exceptional shopping experiences. With the holiday season just around the corner, there is no better time for visitors to check out the region’s unique retail offerings. Be sure to check out our COUPON PAGE for even more savings and deals.

Shopping Experiences & Retail Destinations

  • The Cayuga Lake Wine Trail ‘Holiday Shopping Spree’- Experience the warmth of the holidays by joining the Cayuga Lake Wine Trail for the 18th Annual Holiday Shopping Spree on December 2-4th. Receive a souvenir wine glass, grapevine wreath, a unique winery ornament at each of the sixteen wineries. Wine and food pairings will take place. You will receive holiday recipes from each of the wineries that are a part of the Cayuga Lake Wine Trail. Visit this website for more information.
  • The Christmas House- The Christmas House in Elmira features local and specialty gifts, collectibles, and of course anything Christmas. On top of its immense collection, the Queen Anne-style Christmas House is also one of the most photographed buildings in the region.
  • Seneca Lake Wine Trail “Bargain Bash” This non ticketed event is a year end clearance sale! Many wineries provide discounts on a variety of retail items including wine. If you thought Black Friday was the time to get out and about for shopping, check out the Seneca Lake Wine Trail for great winter discounts.
  • Corning Museum of Glass Holiday Shop- The GlassMarket of the Corning Museum of Glass has a dazzling selection of seasonal favorites. Colorful glass designs of pumpkins, shiny apples, ornaments, and holiday décor sparkle!
  • Mackenzie-Childs - In the picturesque village of Aurora sits Mackenzie-Childs, housed in a 65-acre former dairy farm. Mackenzie-Childs is widely known for their whimsical hand-painted furniture and accessories. In addition to being a great place to pick up a gift, visitors can get a peek into production with studio and farm house tours offered daily.
  • Waterloo Premium Outlets- Who doesn’t love one stop shopping? When it comes to getting a variety of retail items at great prices, the Waterloo Premium Outlets has got a great market right in Seneca County. Closely located off of Route I-90 or fondly referred to by residents as a the Thruway, you’ll find all of your shopping needs at this unique regional shopping center.



Ring in a Regional New Year

It all started with a region dedicated to agriculture. Then came the wine trails. Next, the beer and cheese trails. The Finger Lakes certainly earns its reputation as an up-and-coming culinary hotspot. So, it should come as no surprise that there are now also a multitude of options for visitors looking to get out of their old 2011 hot spot locations and jump into the new year with new friends or gather up the ‘old gang’ for an outing. Check out these not to be missed locations for New Years Even plans!

Celebrate the New Year in the Finger Lakes

Epicurean Events at the Inns of Aurora – Celebrate New Years Eve with the folks at the Inns of Aurora. Enjoy open seating from 5pm-10pm and if you just can’t get enough of Finger Lakes wine, opt to enjoy an additional food and wine pairing. For more information click here

New Years Eve Double Feature at the George Eastman House – Spend New Year’s Eve with two swells guaranteed to never end the night on a sober note. Enjoy Rochester and bring in the new year at the iconic George Eastman House. Tour the film and photography legend’s home and ring in the new year after watching a great film within the walls that started it all.  

Glenora Wine Cellars Hosts NYE 2011- Join the Glenora Wine Cellars and Veraisons Restaurant team for an intimate evening of dinner and dancing. Stay in one of their elegant rooms overlooking Seneca Lake and the Vineyards. Enjoy a champagne reception in our harvest lounge from 3-5pm. Enjoy tastings in the tasting room and an amazing dinner at Veraisons Restaurant. Party the night away and join the breakfast buffet from 8-11am on Sunday morning and a late checkout of noon. For more details click here

New Years Eve Package at the Holiday Inn Elmira Riverview- Join us in the Brand New Ballroom as we ring in the New Year! Our New Year's celebration includes overnight accomodations, buffet dinner, open bar from 9pm to 1am, champagne toast at midnight, dancing to the music of the Sam Pallet Band until 1:30am. Priced at $200.00 per couple including tax and gratuities. You can't be the value of our New Year's Eve Party! For reservations please call 607-734-0402. 

With a variety of events to pick from, you’ll have a hard time deciding where you want to ring in 2012!



Fine Dining, Blocks of Ice and Chainsaws!

Experience culinary delights at the first Ithaca Restaurant Week and then join in the fun at a world class ice carving competition. Over 20 Ithaca restaurants will showcase their nationally recognized culinary excellence. Restaurants will feature prix fixe menus for lunch and dinner throughout the week and many will include local wine pairings with their select menus. Additional workshops and events will take place at the Finger Lakes Wine Center. The Ithaca Ice Wars Carving Competition will take place Friday and Saturday, December 9-10. Sixteen carvers will compete in multiple events ultimately producing dozens of sculptures installed throughout the Ithaca Commons. Visit Ithaca.


Hunt Like a Local

Each year, outdoorsmen from around the Northeast travel to New York’s Finger Lakes region to enjoy the rural atmosphere and abundant public hunting lands. However, the area’s natives could teach these visitors a thing or two about hunting in the Finger Lakes. Here are a few insider tips to help even the most unfamiliar tourist hunt like a local.

What to Look For

The Finger Lakes is home to many public hunting lands and a variety of game. Whitetail deer is the most popular game, with a higher density than any other region in the state- more than six to 10 deer per square mile. Although they can be found in all parts of the Finger Lakes, Steuben County ranks first for most deer harvested. Wild turkeys are also plentiful throughout the region. A spring season for toms occurs in May, and the fall season during part of October and November allows for both genders. The numerous wetlands around the 11 Finger Lakes and Lake Ontario are a great place to find waterfowl. For those seeking larger game, Steuben, Chemung, and part of Schuyler counties have an open season for black bear. Other small game such as pheasant, cottontail rabbit, squirrel, ruffled grouse, and foxes, can be found throughout the region.

Altogether, there are ¼ million acres of public hunting lands across the 9,000 square mile Finger Lakes region. To receive the comprehensive Finger Lakes Hunting and Fishing Guide, which includes a map with all 118 public hunting lands listed, please call the Finger Lakes Tourism Alliance at 800-530-7488.

Where to Stay

There are many comfortable and unique places to stay in the Finger Lakes, and some lodging properties offer specific hunting-related deals. The Pine Lodge in Candor is one particularly hunter-friendly place to stay. The log cabin is set on 300 acres of forest, with deer, turkey, pheasant, and many other types of wildlife all around. The Pine Lodge offers 2-3 day hunting passes, with prices varying depending on time of year. Summit to Stream Adventures offers fully guided deer and turkey hunt packages, which include lodging, breakfast and dinner, stand or ground blind and guide service. Summit to Stream also features a “Blast and Cast Combo,” with turkey hunting in the morning and fly fishing in local streams in the afternoon.

Where to Eat

After a productive hunt, there are countless places for outdoor aficionados to kick back their feet. In Cortland County, a diner like Frank & Mary’s is perfect for a late breakfast following an early morning. The food is traditional diner fare taken a step further, including a “garbage omelet,” a twist on nearby Rochester’s famous garbage plates. In the central part of the region, Abagail’s Restaurant is a family-owned favorite located between the villages of Waterloo and Seneca Falls. Those looking for a hearty lunch can look forward to the all-you-can-eat deli bar buffet each day from 11-2, and Abagail’s hometown hospitality is second to none.

Where to Shop

Visitors may also want to check out a local hunting-centered hotspot like Dave’s Archery & Sports Center, located in Homer. Dave’s Archery aids in every step of the process, from selling bows and guns, to the mounting and processing of game. As one of the largest outdoor stores in New York State, Bass Pro Shops in Auburn is another great addition to any trip. 

Visit our Outdoor Recreation page for more outdoor fun.



Historic Mansions and Famous Finger Lakes Residents

The Finger Lakes has been home to so many great Americans- leaders in government, industry, and the civil rights movement. Visiting historic homes and mansions allows visitors to immerse themselves in that history, learn about who lived there, and experience a bygone way of life.

  • George Eastman House and International Museum of Photography & Film: George Eastman, the founder of Eastman Kodak, lived in the western part of the region in Rochester. Today, his mansion is restored to its early 1900s appearance and serves as a museum dedicated to this history of photography and film, as well as the life of Eastman. In addition to changing exhibitions and one of the world’s most extensive motion picture collections, the museum also hosts film screenings and a variety of events throughout the year. 

The holidays are very special at the Eastman House. In addition to weekly pancake breakfasts with Santa and impressive decorations, there are over 70 locally-created gingerbread houses on display throughout the mansion. From October 30-January 30, there will also be an exhibit of some of the world’s best rock ‘n’ roll photos, as selected by Graham Nash of Crosby, Stills, and Nash.  

  • Seward House Museum: William H. Seward was a New York State Governor, U.S. Senator, and Secretary of State under Presidents Abraham Lincoln and Andrew Johnson. He was also instrumental in the purchase of Alaska, which at the time was known as “Seward’s folly” because of Alaska’s barren terrain. His restored home is now the Seward House Museum, located in Auburn. Travelers will enjoy guided tours, the beautiful gardens, and special exhibitions throughout the historic house.
  • Sonnenberg Gardens & Mansion State Historic Site: Built from 1885-87 by NYC financier Ferris Thompson and his wife Mary Clark Thompson (the governor’s daughter!), this sprawling Queen-Anne style mansion now invites in visitors to take in its grand interior and elaborate gardens. The influence of Ms. Thompson can still be seen in the nine formal gardens. Sonnenberg is also home to the Finger Lakes Wine Center, which features products from over 40 different Finger Lakes wineries and farms and hosts events throughout the year.

For more on history in the Finger Lakes, visit our History/Museums page.



Let It Snow! Let It Snow! Let It Snow!

Looking for the perfect slope, hill, or cross country excursion? While there has only been one snow accumulation to date, the Finger Lakes will have snow a plenty in the coming months. Stop in at these winter favorite locations to get your fill of the frosty stuff.

Greak Peak Mountain Resort: Now enjoy great mountain living year round. Greak Peak Mountain Resort has a wide variety of activities from ski slopes to an indoor waterpark and outdoor adventure center. Don’t forget about a variety of vacation rental properties on sale as well.


Bristol Harbour Resort: Year round five season resort overlooking Canandaigua Lake offering comfortable, cozy rooms that will be perfect to snuggle up when the weather outside is frightful. New comfortable and sophisticated 2-4 bedroom cottages and LifePath Spa will warm you up to relax those tired muscles.



Schuyler (Sky-ler) County, the Southern Gateawy to the Finger Lakes region… SO?!

SO, what is different for guests and visitors to Schuyler County Lodging and Tourism Association’s lodging properties? Well, there’s a myriad of lodging CHOICES all on one web site, a community of informed property owners to recommend surrounding Seneca Lake area’s natural attractions, restaurants, wineries, and businesses and a spirit of cooperation in REFERING GUESTS to one another if fully booked. If that’s not enough, the community at large in this beautiful county of rolling hills surrounding the southern areas of Seneca Lake; the largest and deepest of the Finger Lakes; offers visitors and guests even more choices in great HOSPITALITY, and a rural, serene, STRESSFREE, change of pace. However, most importantly, these properties are owner operated and all have a clear objective in embracing tourism and of welcoming guests. Worthy of being a DESTINATION VACATION, the popularity of the Finger Lakes area is reflected year after year in REPEAT VISTORS AND GUESTS! Apart from many national and international visitors, many guests are only a ‘tank full of gas’ away!


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