At the end of summer 2018 we wanted to get one last family camping vacation in with Dale. So we were looking for something that wasn’t too far of a drive where we could spend more time together, enjoying the area we are visiting instead of driving. A friend of ours owns a big piece of land in the Finger Lakes region in Seneca Castle and invited us to boondock there. He has an organic farmer rent land from him there so we parked at the unused side of the property. The farmer invited us to come pick as much of their fresh organic corn as we wanted and we pretty much ate our body weight in corn on the cob during our stay there. Jennie was super excited about getting to pick her own food and it was a great experience for her.
Our campsite was right in between Canandaigua Lake and Seneca Lake and traveling to all the places we wanted to see what a breeze. The drives themselves were very pleasant because the views were always very nice.
One day we spent hiking in Grimes Glen Park, making our way down to one of the waterfalls there where Jennie and the dogs got to splash in the water. Perfect for the temperatures we had that day!
After a few hours of hiking we found a great place where we stopped for a late lunch. The Redwood Restaurant was a spontaneous stop as we were staving and Google Maps had suggested it to us being a nearby food option. We were not disappointed!! Our server was incredibly friendly and attentive, the other patrons were very nice people and the food was great! That’s also where Jennie had her first milkshake. We had heard a lot about a place we had to get dessert, so since we weren’t completely stuffed yet, lunch was soon followed with a stop at Monica’s Pies in Naples NY. Her pies were SO good! I highly recommend both of those places.
Since we were already at the south of Canandaigua Lake we decided to also make a trip to The Olde Country Store in North Cohocton. We had been there a few times before and became friends with the owners. It is one of my very favorite places to stop when in the area because it is owned by a German-American family and they always have a bunch of German groceries, chocolates and candies in stock. They also have seasonal items from Germany and going there around Christmas time has been my favorite yet. We stocked up on German Christmas treats and ornaments. But it isn’t all German there. They also have a wide variety of items handmade by local artisans as well as their own line of Finger Lakes themed items. The Wells family pours their heart and soul into this store and it shows.
It is cozy in there, you feel right at home and they are happy to get to know each customer that comes in. I can’t wait to be back there again soon, it always makes me a little less home sick when we visit. Check out their website here, they also ship to your home! https://ocs1849.com
The day after this we made a trip to Sonnenberg Gardens & Mansion State Historic Park in Canandaigua NY. It was absolutely beautiful and peaceful there, with plenty of things to see on our paid (and self guided) tour of the gardens and mansion. A great peace of local history and an educational way to spend a few hours. Dale and I especially enjoyed wandering through the differently themed gardens with Jennie, and my photographer’s heart was overjoyed.
One of our last days in the Finger Lakes region was quite rainy so we decided to drive up to Rochester and visit the Strong Museum of Play. We had heard a lot about it but never had time to make it there, even though it is only 90 minutes from our home. Jennie got to run her little heart out and we all had a great time watching her have a blast. There was plenty to see and enjoy for grownups as well. They have a huge selection of different exhibits that are always there as well as changing exhibits. From Sesame Street to air and space, game hall of fame, arcade games to a children’s sized Wegmans grocery store we spent a good three hours inside, ending our trip with a visit to their butterfly garden. Check out their websites fro hours and admission fees.
Dale and I made sure to also get some wine tasting in at some of the many great wineries along the lakes. We also visited a huge outdoor flea and artisan market while there. They had lots of local handmade goods, from quilts, clothes and art to wines and Amish/Mennonite foods. There was something for everyone and we found a few bottles of good wine to go with some cheeses and meats we had bought from a Mennonite stand.
We would go back there in a heart beat, the region offers such a huge variety of attractions and activities that there will be something for everyone. Out of the 10 days we spent there we only had one day that we didn’t do anything outside of our camp site. And other than the middle of winter I would say it is always a good time to visit!