Growing up in the suburbs of Rochester, it often felt like all your friends had summer houses in the Finger Lakes. “Oh we’re going to my cousin’s place on Keuka this weekend!” or “We’ll be at Seneca all next week!” My family usually took bigger trips each summer, exploring national parks all over the country, so I didn’t get a taste for #lakelife until I was in college and we rented on Keuka.
Now, I am lucky enough (and extremely grateful for) a small cottage my family has on Cayuga. It’s one of my favorite places on earth; escaping to the lake for the weekend is usually the perfect solution to any problem. Tough week of work? Go to the lake. Stressed about your living situation? Go to the lake. People driving you crazy? Go to the lake.
What do you do when you get to the lake? Any number of things! Hop on a paddleboard and float through the cove, checking out the fish you can see through the perfectly clear water (nope, sorry, no Dory in Cayuga). Throw a dog in a kayak or canoe and take them for an adventure. Have a glass of wine on the back deck and stare at the water, watch the children play, and enjoy the sunset, the waves, and the sounds.
I don’t just love the lake itself and the activities you can do there- the surrounding area is pretty historic and interesting, too! We are just down the road from Aurora, where the Mackenzie Childs headquarters is located, as well as Wells College. Fun fact: the creator of the American Girl doll brand is a Wells College alumna and spent tons of time redeveloping historic properties in Aurora.
There’s an amazing sense of community in the Finger Lakes. Every year tiny Aurora puts on a tiny festival that includes swim races, a run, a parade, and even (my favorite) “The Blessing of the Boats,” where a whole bunch of boats appear on the shore of the wee little town to get blessed by a priest at the church back on land. You’ll see all kinds of quirky boats at this event!
Of course, everyone talks about Finger Lakes wineries and wine trails. I love that there are so many conveniently nearby! We can jaunt over to Bet the Farm, Long Point, or any number of other great spots for a quick tasting and good conversation. Bet the Farm is one of our favorites- I’m even a wine club member! #adultingwin
The sense of community is strong even on the little point where our cottage is located. They have meetings and lots of rules about where to dispose of your seaweed, sure, but they also have sailboat races, fishing contests, parades, and potlucks. Everyone knows everyone and is super friendly. What more can you ask for?
Every trip to the lake leaves me feeling grateful. I know I’m lucky to have the lake, and I try to make the most of every trip down there. It’s always worth the hour’s drive.