Finger Lakes Foodie

The New York Wine & Culinary Center in Canadaigua.

Julia Child once said, “Life itself is the proper binge.” In the tourism field, there’s so much depth to exploring Julia’s logic. The Finger Lakes sets the scene for the perfect lifestyle binge, with a diversity of attractions, shops, parks and places to rest your head at the end of the night.

A long day of exploring museums, state parks or being out on the lake, and you’re ready for that perfect bite to put the cherry on top of your amazing day. Fuel is required for long hours of exploring, and luckily, the region offers diverse and indulgent epicurean experiences.

Want to get gussied up, or would you rather stay in shorts and flip flops for dinner? In the Finger Lakes region, you can find award-winning restaurants or hole-in-the-wall eateries, both with menu items out of this world.

Here are some of the indulgent culinary delights available in the region to make your Finger Lakes visit one exquisite binge.

Bobbing for a good meal

Looking for something a little more unconventional? In the land of lakes a plenty, there’s nothing better than savoring a culinary delight on a water-bound vessel, the gentle roll of the boat to help you digest. Several locations in the Finger Lakes offer lunch and dinner cruises.

On the southern shore of Seneca Lake, Captain Bill’s in Watkins Glen offers lunch, dinner, cocktail and entertainment cruises “executed with style and charm.” Casual attire is welcome here. Visit senecaharborstation.com for prices and take-off times.

A 19th-century replica of a double-decker paddle wheel boat on Canandaigua Lake creates an atmosphere of old-school elegance. The Canandaigua Lady hosts both lunch and dinner cruises, as well as a beer and wine tasting cruise on Wednesdays.

Mid-Lakes Navigation explores the locks of the Erie Canal, and features a tasty selection to kick off any famine or fatigue that might be nipping at your heels. Past menus have featured foods like prime rib, stuffed chicken, baked salmon and vegetarian lasagna. For more information, visit midlakesnav.com.

Be your own personal chef

There are culinary experiences here in the Finger Lakes Region that will not only serve you, but allow you to have your cake, bake it and eat it, too – quite literally.

The hands-on kitchen at the New York Wine and Culinary Center in Canandaigua lets visitors select a culinary topic they’re looking to explore, like making the perfect pesto, the culinary delights of a Mediterranean location, breads of the world and so much more. Select a class, get your hands dirty and binge on the creations of your labor. Visit nywcc.com to view the list of available classes.

The Inns of Aurora also offers a variety of cooking classes in what could be anyone’s dream kitchen. “Past class topics have included: sushi and sake, pizza making, food and wine pairing, the fundamentals of soup, cocktails and hors d’oeuvres, and more,” reads its website (innsofaurora.com).

Play in the dirt

The last destination on your culinary binge in the Finger Lakes is exploring where the ingredients come from. Explore a variety of u-pick locations to taste local blueberries, raspberries and apples to create delectable pies like your grandmother used to make.

Finger Lakes Culinary Bounty “helps educate consumers about locally produced foods and beverages while fostering relationships within the marketplace.” This resource features harvest charts, as well as events for eating local. Visit flcb.org for more information.

From plate to glass

Nothing pairs better with your newfound culinary decadence than a glass of local beer or wine. Lucky for you, new wineries and breweries are added to the Finger Lakes each year – Toro Run Winery on Cayuga Lake and Birdland Brewing Company in Horseheads are just two examples that have opened in the last year. Cheers to a Finger Lakes experiential binge!

The culinary businesses mentioned in this article are just a few of many. Visit FingerLakes.org for an extensive listing of businesses.


by Jessica Robideau, Finger Lakes Tourism Alliance