Escape to the Finger Lakes this Winter

As the winter chill settles over the landscape of your region, you may be tempted to curl up and hibernate until spring arrives! However, if you're looking for adventure and a bit of a winter escape, the Seneca Lake region in upstate New York beckons! No matter what the time of year, the Finger Lakes have so much to offer. Here’s what we love about visiting the FLX in winter. 

winter in Seneca Lake

Strolling Through Winter Wonderlands

Known for its breathtaking landscapes throughout the year, the Seneca Lake region transforms the minute that first blanket of snow arrives. The vineyard-covered hills, cozy towns, and the majestic lake itself all take on this unique charm that makes it the perfect backdrop for gorgeous photos or a scenic drive, not to mention, just sitting and taking in the view! Picture snow-covered vineyards, frosty forests, and winter sunrises in breathtaking pinks and purples. How perfect!

wine tasting in winter in the Finger Lakes

Sip While Snowflakes Fall

Seneca Lake is perhaps best known for its wineries and in winter, there's a unique twist to the usual wine-tasting experience. Instead of outdoor walks and patio seating, winter in the Finger Lakes means cozy tasting rooms alit with holiday lights and warm ambiance. You can expect warm hospitality wherever you visit wineries in winter and some even have fireplaces, like Caywood! Their tasting room overlooks gorgeous vineyards and has a spectacular view of Seneca Lake, plus a redwood and oak bar handcrafted from recycled wine tanks and a 3-story fireplace made from native stone. You can also take a bottle of something back to your Finger Lakes vacation rental and enjoy a cozy night in or an evening outside by one of our fire pits!

Here's another reason we love the Finger Lakes in the winter -- it’s less crowded. The wineries and breweries are bustling during the summer and fall months, but come wintertime, everything slows down. There's a calm, peacefulness about it that is the ultimate in relaxation and slow living that we adore. So when you visit in the winter, you might meet the winemaker in the tasting room or get a more private, more intimate tasting experience. It's a slower pace in the winter and when the ground is covered in snow, it’s quite magical. 

Taughannock Falls in Ithaca

Get Out and Adventure

While relaxation is always on the menu in the FLX, it’s not the only thing you’re able to enjoy! Outdoorsy types and adventurers will love the winter recreation opportunities Seneca Lake has to offer. There are plenty of hiking trails that offer incredible views of the snow-covered landscapes (including Texas Hollow State Forest), not to mention, nearby spots for cross-country skiing (like Catharine Valley Trail), snowshoeing (Finger Lakes National Forest is a great pick), and ice skating (like the ice rink at Clute Park). Love to ski and need a great day trip idea? You'll find Greek Peak and Bristol Mountain about an hour from Watkins Glen. 

food and wine events in the Finger Lakes

Festive Events and Local Flavors

Winter comes alive in the Finger Lakes with festive events and plenty of local flavor! Save the date for events like the Finger Lakes Winter Carnival, the Winter Festival of Lights at Castel Grisch Winery, Chocolate and Wine Weekend, and the Winter Wine Exploration Series at Boundary Breaks. What's the hottest winter event in town? The Fire & Ice Party at the Ice Bar at the Watkins Glen Harbor Hotel. Think martini luges, Insta-worthy ice sculptures and food and beverage sampling from the best wineries, breweries and eateries on the lake. 

Oh! And of course, our very own Tap-to-Table Experience where you'll get a first-hand look at maple sugaring through Grouse Hill Maple Farm. You can also adopt your very own maple tree! Between events, there's also plenty of great food to enjoy at nearby restaurants (we have a huge list of recommendations!) or you can try your hand at a cooking class at New York Kitchen.

If you're looking for a way to escape your winter blues, Seneca Lake in the Finger Lakes is a hidden gem waiting to be discovered. Whether you thirst to get outside and enjoy the season or want to cozy up and relax in a beautiful landscape, there’s something for everyone here. We promise you’ll have an incredible experience that will have you thinking about planning your next visit long after the snow has melted.