Summertime Fun in the Finger Lakes - July 2015

Senator Gillibrand Pushing to make the Finger Lakes a National Heritage Corridor

On June 22, Senator Gillibrand came to Red Jacket Park in Penn Yan, just outside of the Finger Lakes Tourism Alliance offices, to announce her effort to make the Finger Lakes region a National Heritage Corridor. Gillibrand will be introducing legislation that would be the first step in making the Finger Lakes region the 50th National Heritage Area (NHA) in the United States.

If a region becomes an NHA, it signifies the region is a place where natural, cultural and historic resources form a nationally important landscape. The Finger Lakes certainly has all of these qualities in abundance.

If this legislation is passes, the Finger Lakes would undergo a feasibility study that would determine if the Finger Lakes region meets the necessary standards set by congress, to become an NHA. If the Finger Lakes region becomes an NHA it will join the Erie Canalway National Heritage Corridor, the Hudson River Valley National Heritage Area and the Champlain Valley National Heritage Partnership as NHAs in New York. National Heritage Areas include the Great Bason National Heritage Route, the Tennessee Civil War National Heritage Area and the Mississippi Gulf Coast National Heritage Area.

Tourism is a 2.8 Billion dollar business in the Finger Lakes region and employees nearly 60,000 people. Other areas that have become a National Heritage Area have seen incremental but significant increase in tourism in the years following their designation.

In order to become a NHA, the region has to unify, working together to create a community driven approach to conserving the history, natural resources and education that is already found within the region.

The Finger Lakes Tourism Alliance is excited at the prospect of the Finger Lakes becoming a National Heritage Corridor. We hope everyone, those who call the Finger Lakes home and visitors alike, share this excitement. Show your pride for the Finger Lakes by spreading the word and showing your support with you local legislators and support the grassroots movement to make the Finger Lakes region the 50th National Heritage Area!

Book Direct for Accomodation Reservations

Don't forget, you can use the Book Direct widget on FingerLakes.org/places-to-stay to search and book accommodations. Search and sort by a number of criteria to find the perfect place for your next trip to the Finger Lakes. Whether you're looking for a romantic B&B or a budget hotel/motel you can search hundreds of regional accomodations and book with eases.

Festivals and Celebrations in the Finger Lakes

There are a number of festivals and celebrations in the Finger Lakes, each with their own unique theme; one thing is common between them all however, each is a celebration of something great about the Finger Lakes region.

The Finger Lakes Cheese Festival hosted by the Finger Lakes Cheese Trail is July 25 from 10 AM – 5 PM in Odessa. The festival showcases the wonderful cheeses produced in this region of New York. 11 dairy farms and dozens of other farms, artisans and producers will have exhibits, putting on display the best of what they create. The Cheese Festival also features live music, seminars, hayrides and farm tours. For more information, visit www.fingerlakes.org/things-to-do/events/11/6829

Fox Run Vineyards will be holding their 23rd annual Garlic Festival this year on August 1-2. Celebrating the many varieties of garlic cultivated in the Finger Lakes, the Garlic Festival includes cooking demonstrations, garlic tastings and provides visitors with the opportunity to meet the top garlic growers and chefs from the Finger Lakes region. The fun kicks off a day early, July 30, with the Thursday Night Concert at Fox Run. The Town Pants will start playing at 6 PM while food and drink are available at 5 PM. For more information, visit http://www.fingerlakes.org/things-to-do/events/12/6944

A celebration of the excellent grape growers and winemakers of the Finger Lakes region, the Finger Lakes Wine symposium is held in Geneva on August 21-22. As part of the symposium, there will be a Riesling Challenge; anyone producing Riesling wine from grapes grown in the Finger Lakes AVA and comply with Finger Lakes AVA regulations can enter the competition. Entrants will be judged by exclusively Finger Lakes winemakers. These Rieslings will be on display at the first event of the symposium, during the Grand Tasting on August 21. Events continue through August 22, ending with the Winemakers Luncheon. For more information, visit http://www.fingerlakes.org/about-the-region/services/events/wine-symposium-of-the-finger-lakes

There are a number of dynamic and innovative artists in the Finger Lakes region. During the first weekend in October, October 3-4, these artists open their doors allowing the public into their studios for the Naples Open Studio Trail. During the Naples Open Studio Trail, the public can see not only the art and artist but how they create their pieces. Participating artists work in a variety of different mediums including oil, glass, ceramic, metal, wood and many more. During this event, purchases can be made with most artists. For more information, visit http://www.fingerlakes.org/things-to-do/shopping/shopping-retail-businesses-1/naples-open-studio-trail

Also the first weekend in October, the Wineglass Marathon is one of the top destination marathons in the U.S. The Wineglass Marathon includes a full 26.2 mile marathon, a half marathon and a 5k. All races finish in Corning while the full marathon runs from Bath, NY to Corning. The flat and scenic marathon course is expected to host nearly 3,000 runners. The course record was set in 1997 with a time of 2:22:52. For more information, visit http://www.fingerlakes.org/about-the-region/services/events/wineglass-marathon

Cider Week Finger Lakes is a unique festival in that it is not held at one central location but instead, throughout the Finger Lakes region. This event celebrates the top-notch ciders and hard ciders produced in this region. October 2-11, Cider week is celebrated at dozens of locations including Hazlitt 1852 Vineyards, Rogue's Harbor, Three Brothers Winery and many more. The celebration will also include special events at various locations. For more information, visit http://www.fingerlakes.org/things-to-do/wineries-more/breweries-1/cider-week-finger-lakes

The Southern Tier Outdoors Show, located at the Wilkins RV Center in Bath, hosts over 100 indoor and outdoor exhibitors. The show also features a 3D archery range, professional seminars and wildlife and archery shows. The Southern Tier Outdoor Show lasts from October 10-11. For more information, visit http://www.fingerlakes.org/things-to-do/shopping/shopping-retail-businesses-1/southern-tier-outdoor-show

This is just a small sampling of the wonderful festivals held in the Finger Lakes region. For more information on all of the festivals and other events in the Finger Lakes visit the events page on FingerLakes.org.

Get Sporty in the Finger Lakes

There is always the chance to relax and enjoy the sights in the Finger Lakes region but the excitement of sport can be found as well.

For those of you daring enough to take to the sky, then jump out at 10,000 feet, try Finger Lakes Skydivers. Strap into a tandem harness with one of their experienced instructors and get ready for the thrill of a lifetime. Finger Lakes Skydivers also offers a training program for those looking to earn an "A" skydiving license.

Watkins Glen International features some of the most exciting racing action in all of New York State. The internationally recognized track hosts NASCAR, the premier stock car series in the U.S. and the Tudor United SportsCar Championship, the premier sports car series in the U.S. as well as Vintage races, SCCA events and more throughout the season.

If you love racing but spectating just isn't enough, try Pole Position Raceway at Destiny USA in Syracuse. Alongside the high quality shopping and entertainment in Destiny USA, Pole Position puts you in an electric go-kart that can go up to 45-MPH. Race against your family and friends to see who can set the fastest lap on the approximately ¼ mile track. You can also try Keuka Karts in Penn Yan to race for position against your friends in single or two seater karts.

It is great to take in the scenery of the 11 lakes that make up the Finger Lakes but it is just as fun to use them for sport. Canandaigua Sailboarding offers rentals for all sorts of water activities including kayaking, paddle boarding, hydro biking, even equipment for windsurfing and scuba diving. Want to try windsurfing or scuba diving but have no experience? They offer lessons for both; you can even earn your PADI Certificate.

If you're looking for some excitement during your next trip to the Finger Lakes you will certainly be able to find what you're looking for. To find even more sport in the Finger Lakes visit our attractions page.

Adventure and Relaxation Wait For You at Finger Lakes State Parks

The Finger Lakes region is the home to numerous lakes, waterfalls and gorges. All of this natural beauty can be seen in the number of state parks located throughout the Finger Lakes. Whether it's relaxing by the glistening water or exploring waterfalls, the state parks can accommodate anyone's summer vacation plans.

Perhaps the most famous state park is Watkins Glen State Park. Within two miles, the glens stream run down 400 feet. Walk the path of the stream as it goes down 19 waterfalls. The park schedules tours to explore trails overlooking the gorge or the spray of Cavern Cascade.

Watkins Glen State Park is not the only one with mesmerizing waterfalls; Taughannock Falls State Park also is home to one of the most outstanding natural attractions of the Northeast. Taughannock Falls is the tallest free-falling waterfall east of the Mississippi. With a drop of 215 feet, it is 33 feet higher than Niagara Falls. To view this attraction, take a hike down the gorge trail. You can also go visit the waterfall and then go experience a quieter day on the quiet shore line of the North Point area on Cayuga Lake.

Also near Cayuga Lake is Buttermilk Falls State Park. The park gets its name from the foaming cascade formed by Buttermilk Creek. This state park makes for the perfect campground; the upper park holds hiking trails along the gorge and woodlands and the lower park holds the campground, pool, and playing fields.

Fillmore Glen State Park is another great campground. The park has 60 campsites, a stream-fed swimming pool and fishing in the Owasco Lake inlet. The park offers a full service cottage located on the shore of Cayuga Lake at Long Point for those who prefer the luxuries of home. Hike along unique geographical locations which include 5 waterfalls and an oasis of cool dense woods.

Whether you are looking for adventure hiking along a waterfall or a relaxing day spent lounging by the water, the Finger Lakes State Parks hold a unique experience. With so much to do and see, it is the perfect getaway.

Still Time to Enter Winemaker for a Week Drawing

One lucky winner will experience the winemaking industry firsthand, going from vineyard to wine salesperson at all of the Cayuga Lake Wine Trail wineries while spending the night at the Greek Peak Mountain Resort.

To enter, go to winemakerforaweek.com and enter your name, email and phone number at the bottom of the page. On August 10, five entrants will be selected at random; those five will then submit a 150-200 word essay describing why they should be the winemaker for a week. The Winemaker for a Week committee will then select one candidate to become the winemaker for a week.

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