Our First Week on the Road – Visiting the New York Finger Lakes

June 14, 2018

You would think that Tim and I had thought out our route more before hitting the road but it was actually only a few days before we left NH that we picked our first stop. We decided to stay in the New England area, so we were close to home if any issues with the trailer arose and to get our barings a bit.  Tim decided on the Finger Lakes in NY. I grew up in NH and the Finger Lakes are about a 6 hour drive away. They were near my dad’s childhood home and my parents had camped there before kids. Surprisingly though, I hadn’t really heard of them or knew much about them.  After spending our first week there I am shocked. I don’t know if it’s just me who wasn’t aware how gorgeous it is here or if it’s been flying under the radar. But oh my goodness- if Ireland & Hawaii had a baby, it would be the Finger Lakes.

So the thing about the Finger Lakes is they are huge and getting from the north to south point of a lake or from one lake to the other is easily an hour car ride if not more. So if you’re stationed in one spot it’s a good idea to pick a central location. We chose Watkin’s Glen and I’m so glad we did. The Gorge was one of my favorites and there were also a lot of great brewery, winery and restaurants nearby.

We stayed at Cool Lea Campground in Odessa, NY. My first choise was Watkin’s Glen State Park but it was booked. Cool Lea turned out to be great, it’s on a smaller lake and we could see the lake from our RV site. There was a playground on the sand and you could rent kayaks or fishing gear. The down side was we didn’t have much cell reception and there was wifi at the office that we could sometimes reach from our RV.

On the first day we explored Watkin’s Glen. We bought an Empire Pass which was $80 but gets us in to all NY State Parks for free for the year (you can also by a lifetime pass if that makes sense for you). It should help us end up saving money since we’re going to be spending so much time in NY. The Gorge hike totally took my breath away, I can’t recommend it enough. (There are A LOT of stairs, bring waterproof sensible shoes, you WILL get wet from waterfalls.)

The next day we visited some family friends at Keuka lake. In my research, several places said this drive (it also is a wine trail) is arguably the most gorgeous drive of all the lakes. We stopped for a wine tasting at Dr. Franks which every place recommended. We didn’t spend too much time wine tasting since we already have done a lot of that in So Cal but if you’re on the East Coast and wine tasting would be a novelty experience I would definitely recommend taking the whole day to enjoy the drive and the wine trail. We grabbed a late lunch in Hammondsport which is a small town at the south point of the lake. In my research it came highly recommended but I thought it was just OK. If you’re deciding between visiting the town or wine tasting my vote would be wine tasting 🙂

On the third day, Evelyn had a fever so we took a down day in the trailer to snuggle up. If she hadn’t been sick, we probably would have hit up some distilleries for Tim.

On our last full day there we went to Taughannock Falls State Park and again, I was totally blown away. Unlike Watkin’s Glen this “hike” to the waterfalls can be done in sandals and is stroller friendly. So with Evelyn still a bit under the weather this was the perfect low key attraction to visit. The walk to the falls is through the woods with a stream to one side then crossing a wood bridge to get to the falls. It was very pretty and a nice family friendly afternoon attraction.

After the falls, we went to Iron Grist Brewing for a flight of beers. We sat outside on the picnic benches with a beautiful view of Seneca Lake. There are board games, corn hole and highchairs for babies. The food was expensive for being on a budget so we just stuck to sharing a flight of beer and enjoying the view.

Our next stop is Letchworth State Park, which was technically on the Finger Lakes itinerary. However, it is a 2 hour drive and doing that there and back in one day just isn’t feasible with Evelyn. We’re thinking about crossing into Canada so this gets us closer to the border at Niagra Falls.

More to come!



P.S. Leaving you with a low key photo shoot by a random waterfall we stumbled upon on the side of the road.