‘Twas the Sights Before Christmas

Bristol Mountain Ski Resort

Visions of sugarplums, reindeer and sleds are all wonderful iconic winter images, but what would your Finger Lakes version of the holiday classic “’Twas the Night Before Christmas” poem look like?

When you’re looking to explore all that local tourism has to offer here in the Finger Lakes Region, visions of relaxing spas, warm beds and fireplaces at area accommodations, and a glass of local wine or beer at the end of a frosty day on the ski slopes come to mind.

Museums galore to fill your time, with reasonable prices that cost just a dime
The Finger Lakes Museum in Branchport hosts educational seminars on local wines and foods, as well as historical and geological information about the long, finger-shaped lakes. With new exhibits constantly showing up at keystone museums – like The Corning Museum of Glass, the Museum of Science and Technology (Syracuse), the Rockwell Museum of Art (Corning) and the Rochester Memorial Art Gallery – there’s a new exploration at every turn.

Nestle yourself in a hotel bed, as visions of relaxation dance in your head
Wouldn’t it be nice to get away for a day? There are over 130 hotels and motels, 112 bed and breakfasts, 51 vacation rentals, and 35 campgrounds that offer accommodations for tourists to book their next Finger Lakes stay, and for locals to explore their backyard. Make a point to have a day-cation, or mental health day, and explore all those locations right around the corner that you keep meaning to visit.

Area accommodations offer extremely competitive rates during the week in the winter months, and also offer reduced seasonal pricing for weekend stays. If you’re looking for accommodations for a specific busy holiday weekend, the Finger Lakes Tourism Alliance offers a way to search for regional availability throughout the Finger Lakes with the “Book a Room Now” feature on its website, fingerlakes.org.

Go outside to play in the snow, and the cold winter won’t seem so darn slow
The Finger Lakes boasts several ski resorts, as well as snow tubing locations where you can blow up that old tractor tire and careen through slopes with built-in bumps made for laughter and fun in the snow. Also, many state parks are closed for the season, leaving snowmobile trails open to be explored.

The winter months aren’t short of events, either. Make sure to check your favorite business’ website for a calendar of events to see what’s happening. On any given weekend in the Finger Lakes, there are hundreds of events to attend. Do some research, sign up for a newsletter – and check out Life in the Finger Lakes’ “Happenings” section (page 8 ) – to discover the wide breadth of opportunities you can take advantage of.

Don’t hesitate to try some wine and some beer; it will warm your soul as well as your ears
There are over 65 wineries, breweries and distilleries in the area, all offering world-class refreshments for your enjoyment. Red, white or hoppy, you will experience quality one-on-one time with owners, managers and staff at local establishments in the less busy winter months. Many times, industry professionals will also offer exclusive cellar or production facility tours as an added benefit of visiting their business in the less hectic time of year.

Some Finger Lakes businesses, like Belhurst Castle, have spa and winery locations all on site, so you can relax with a massage and a glass of wine in hand. After a long day out on the ski slopes of Bristol Mountain, for example, Woodcliff Hotel and Spa has a location where you can melt away the aches and tight muscles of the day, and retire to beautiful accommodations to rest your head.

The holiday season is a time to shop, for scarves and sweaters and more till you drop
The Waterloo Premium Outlets has huge sales during the holiday shopping season. And with Destiny USA’s three floors to explore in Syracuse, you’ll be shining your new shoes within the first 30 minutes. Visit the downtown Ithaca Commons, bursting at the seams with shops and restaurants, and check out the upcoming events hosted there – both Winter Festival 2013 and Restaurant Week begin November 30.


by Jessica Robideau