Nestled among the hills just south of Canandaigua Lake is a picturesque town that is home to roughly 1,000 residents. Naples is known for its beautiful setting as well as its wineries, grape pies, grape festival, artist studios, a professional theater and restaurants.
If you’re planning to start your day with a hike, head down Main Street and then turn onto Vine street until it quickly ends. A “Grimes Glen” sign and a Finger Lakes Land Trust information sign will bring you to a grassy parking area. From there you can enjoy an easy but potentially slippery walk along Grimes Creek, which culminates in three waterfalls. Two are 60-foot falls, and the third, an isolated 3-foot waterfall, can only be accessed by a 40-foot climb.
For a more challenging hike, visit Hi Tor Wildlife Management Area, located just off Route 245, barely two miles outside of Naples off Route 21. The trail loop can take the whole day, if one wishes, and features a waterfall, ponds, and a chasm that is approximately 400 feet deep.
If it’s wineries you want to see, you can choose from the old and the new. John Jacob Widmer came to Naples from Switzerland in 1882 to start his vineyard. Today, Widmer’s Wine Cellars offer both tastings and tours. Across the street, you’ll find a purple building that houses the Imagine Moore Winery. The owners, Tim and Diane Moore say theirs was the first winery to be established in Naples in 100 years.
When you get hungry, take your nourishment at the Brown Hound, located a few miles north of Naples at 6459 State Route 64. Inside the small 100-year-old house, chef Trish Asher prepares bistro-style cuisine that she describes as “creative American food served with lots of local wines.” Asher relies on local vendors for many of her ingredients and tries to make her dishes using 50 percent locally grown products. Maple syrup from nearby hills, produce from Joseph’s Wayside Market in Naples, fresh eggs from Adam’s Henhouse, organic goodies from the Happy Goat Farm, and cheeses from Lively Run Goat Dairy.
After dinner, take in a play at the Bristol Valley Theater, where you’ll find professional entertainment May through October. Performers come from New York City and around the country, and the program fare includes comedies, mysteries, musicals, concerts and children’s theater.
To get a bigger taste of Naples, plan your visit around an event in the town. The Spring Ahead Artisan Showcase draws numerous artists and craftspeople together in one location. If you’d prefer to see artists in their own environment, then combine your leaf-peeping with Naples Open Studio Trail in October. You’ll catch artists at work in their own studios, as they paint, sculpt, blow glass or create folk art.
The biggest event of all is Naples Grape Festival, held the last full weekend of September. It’s a fun way to celebrate the grape harvest, and you’ll have plenty of opportunities to take home a delicious grape pie. Whether it’s culture, nature, food or fun you’re after, you’ll find it in Naples.
by Eric Smith and D.J. Smith