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The Five-Point Weekend Escape Plan

Graze on Artisanal Cheeses in the Finger Lakes

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5. Oddball Day


The region's lakes, rivers, and canals are easy to explore by kayak or canoe; Bee Attitudes Honey is home to three acres of lavender fields.   

Make the most of the crisp fall weather by exploring the Finger Lakes on the water. Fuel up for the day with fair-trade lattes at Ithaca Coffee Company in downtown Ithaca before picking up boxed lunches ($12.95 each) from Red Newt Cellars on the southeast side of Seneca Lake. Drive north along the lake to the mouth of the Seneca River, where you can have a canoe dropped off by Fuzzy Guppies ($75 for a full day). Hit the water and explore the Cayuga-Seneca Canal, created in the 1820s to provide locals with a navigable water route from Seneca and Cayuga Lakes to the then-new Erie Canal. Stop to admire landmarks along the way like the postcard-ready Trinity Church near Seneca Falls, the canal’s many historic locks, and the section near the town of Montezuma that cuts through the Montezuma National Wildlife Refuge, a former swamp that’s now an important breeding ground and refuge for migratory birds. When you’re ready, stop for a picnic lunch in a scenic spot like the bucolic town of Tyre, which has a boat launch at Barge Canal. When you’re ready to paddle again, make your way to Seneca Lake and admire the yachts in the harbor and the surrounding vine-etched hillsides before dropping off the canoe at the dock. Back on dry land, try local produce of a different stripe at Bee Attitudes Honey, near Skaneateles Lake, where you can pick up honey biscotti and raw honey packaged in cute apothecary-style jars. As cocktail hour approaches, head to the heated rooftop Owego Beer Garden at Tioga Trails Café for pints of hoppy Cazacazilla draft beer from Ithaca ($3.50). Finally, celebrate the neighborly spirit of the Lakes at the James Beard award-winning Moosewood Restaurant, started in 1973 by a collective that pioneered the local natural and organic food movement, for dishes like autumn vegetable stew served with polenta triangles and pecorino ($15).


Published on Sep 21, 2012 as a web exclusive.

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