As a region that is no stranger to snowy weather, a blanket of white over the historical towns that comprise the Finger Lakes often make for a picture perfect setting during the holidays. But even without snow, that cozy holiday feeling is imbued in the many activities and events going on this time of year. So if you’re heading to the Finger Lakes during this festive season, here are some ways you can immerse yourself in all the joy December brings.
Deck the Wine Trail
Wine lovers have their pick of vineyards with our more than 120 wineries across the region to explore. Of course, wine tasting is an activity that can be enjoyed all year long, but during the holidays, what can be better than looking out on a winter world while sipping on some of our region’s award-winning wines? There’s also no shortage of seasonal events as many wineries host special occasions throughout the month, like Candlelight Night at Deer Run Winery. You won’t want to miss Seneca Lake Wine Trail’s 28th annual Deck the Halls Weekend, where you can collect a new ornament, and of course taste some wine, at any of the 27 participating wineries. Other events include Holiday Happy Hour at Buttonwood Grove and Holiday Barrel Tasting at Keuka Springs Vineyards. Depending on what lake views you crave as you sip and savor, check winery websites to see what other holiday happenings may be going on this season.
‘Tis the season for Santa, delicious baked goods, sparkling lights that cast a warm glow, and so much more. There are a variety of seasonal events to look forward to, most of them kid friendly and perfect for the entire family. Make your own glass ornament or sculpture, join in a feast, or snap a selfie in front of the 14-foot Glittering Holiday Tree at the Corning Museum of Glass this holiday. Watch the Parade of Lights and see city center in Corning Sparkle throughout Corning’s Gaffer District for the holidays. Travel back in time at the Genesee Country Museum and take part in Yuletide, breakfast with Santa, and more. Every year Skaneateles is host to a literary treat when Charles Dickens and characters put on acts in town and interact with people as they shop, eat, and walk down the streets during the town’s Dickens Christmas. Starting in December and heading into the New Year is the Annual Gingerbread Gallery at the Erie Canal Museum, or head to Oswego for the sparkling annual Lights on the River festival. Other holiday-theme events include Sonnenberg Garden’s Holiday Home Tour and the Hammondsport Cookie Walk.
Check out the December calendar for more festive events.
Shop Till You Drop
Shopping during the busiest shopping season of the year doesn’t have to be an exhausting task. The Finger Lakes’ many quaint shops and events make finding a unique gift an experience all on its own. The Christmas House, for instance, features more than 15 decorated trees, providing visual eye candy while perusing potential gifts in this gift-shop transformed Queen Anne mansion in Elmira. Or take in a tasting at Fox Run Vineyards Sparkling Holiday Market and shop handcrafted goods, chocolate, jewelry, and of course, wine. Did somebody say shopping spree? Another event hosted by wineries, the Annual Shopping Spree is a unique wine tour where you sip and buy. The Main Street Trading Company, located in a stately house in Macedon, is a quaint spot to visit to find gifts and décor perfect for the season, while downtown Ithaca offers a variety of shops. If you just know where to look, the perfect gift is out there waiting in the Finger Lakes. The region offers a number of hot retail spots ideal for poring over gifts and taking in a bit of the area’s unique flavor.
New Years Eve
Kick off the New Year in the Finger Lakes, where cozy bed and breakfasts and both affordable and elegant hotels are available for you to rest your head when the party comes to an end. From the Ramada Geneva Lakefront New Years Eve Party, to the bash at the Holiday Inn Emira-Horesheads, there’s a party for everyone. Take a breath of mountain air and head to Bristol Mountain for the resort’s New Years Eve Torchlight Parade & Fireworks, or take a gamble that the New Year is going to be a lucky one and head to Finger Lakes Gaming and Racetrack. For more ideas on where to kick off a fresh year, check out events or things to do in the Finger Lakes.
No matter what time of year, the Finger Lakes region has much to offer, and the holiday season is no exception. Here, we jump into the season with joy and invite everyone to celebrate where lake and hill meet and an array of activities and festivities await.