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Finger Lakes of New York

One Tank Trip from Ontario

Where in New York can you find more waterfalls than stop signs? What about more wineries than Walmarts?

It's the Finger Lakes area, of course, and GoGirlfriend has all the deets for you. We explored a smorgasbord of wineries, ale-houses, state parks and glorious bed and breakfasts. And the whole trip began as a last minute diversion to stay local (or at least within a few hundred miles). A little bit of researching to areas within our perimeter that we haven't travelled and thanks to the Finger Lakes Regional Tourism info, our question transformed overnight into an epic "One Tank Trip."

We had planned to visit Vegas this summer, but we all know Vegas in August isn't for the faint of heart. And Vegas will always be there, right? We set our sights on a road trip instead. Thankfully, the Finger Lakes area was calling and we had our trip mapped out within days.

The painted ladies of New York

Ellwagner EstateWe began our trip with a stop at the Ellwanger Estate in Rochester, where we met innkeeper, Rosemary Janofsky. The original home was built in 1839 and Rosemary, her watchful guardian, shared the history, her hopes for the future and the beautiful Serene Retreat with us.

From Rochester to Canandaigua, the mysteries of Sonnenberg Mansion awaited us. While the majesty of the mansion stopped me short at every corner, the real beauty of this story lies with Mary Clark Thompson who shaped the history of an entire community. Not to mention the Lady of Abundance, a breathtaking heritage stain glass window in the basement of the wine tasting room.

Finger lakes diningWanting to experience as much as possible of the area, we divided our nights between the Painted Lady in Elmira, Inn on the Main in Canandaigua and Ellwanger Estate in Rochester. They are bound by their colorful heritage but the similarities of these luxury bed and breakfasts end there. Each one is as unique as a liquorish from your grandmother's antique candy jar. I dare you to find two alike.

GoGirlfriend is all about exploring the touristy to the gems you can't find in the tour guides. From a tiny Mexican restaurant in Canandaigua to a paddle boat to a sunset cruise on a refurbished barge, we even made our meals an adventure. A dinner at the Watkins Glen Harbor Hotel began as any other but turned into a gastronomical adventure - we wanted to move in here forever. Oh, who are we kidding? We just love to eat.

What's your pleasure - shopping, hiking or maybe a winery?

Watkins Glen State ParkI would never have been allowed to return to Canada without a stop at the Waterloo Premium Outlets. My Canadian galpals can rest assured, I marched every square inch of this amazing retail space on their behalf and a full-blown shopping trip is in the works. Who wants to join me?

To balance out our retail extravaganza, we spent an afternoon exploring Watkins Glen State Park and all 817 steps and 3 miles of the Gorge - both up and down. Be forewarned, the last 200 steps of that gorge are clumped together and an ice cream shop at the top is the only thing strong enough to push you to that particular edge of glory.

Missing the wineries? Relax, girlfriend, we've got you covered. We sampled a healthy number of wineries en route and enjoyed more than our fair share of tastings. Thank goodness, my Guy Friday offered to be the DD (Designated Driver) so we could throw caution to the wind and taste to our heart's content. Read our wine route post from him on the Finger Lakes Wineries - he was the only one sober enough to remember which was which.

Corning Museuem of GlassOur last morning in the Finger Lakes found us outside of the Corning Museum of Glass. We weren't entirely convinced of this portion of the trip until we stepped inside. Seeing the history of civilization through glass spellbound us and the hand's on workshop was beyond cool. Seriously, shaping molten-hot glass feels a lot like a belly dance - it's harder than it looks.

We're still organizing all our pictures and notes and reliving our adventures of the Finger Lakes Region of New York - this "one tank" trip is going to take up quite a few posts. Rest assured, you can begin your own research starting with:

Have you explored the Finger Lakes in New York? Got a hidden gem you're just dying to share with your GG pals? Follow us on Twitter or like us on Facebook and let's start talking!


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Rural notheast is some of the most amazing beauty in this country... I hope to get up there into the peaceful world again soon.

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