story and photos by Bill Banaszewski
“I could never in 100 summers get tired of this!”
Author Susan Branch captures my sentiments perfectly.
For as long as I can remember, water has drawn me to it like a magnet. From July through Labor Day people of all ages and from all walks of life feel the same way – there is nothing quite like being on the Finger Lakes in summer time.
Some come to the lakes just to sit on a dock and read a book, or head out onto the water to kayak, sail or go fishing for lake trout. A short interlude from the lake might include a stop at a few wineries and then dinner at one of the many lakeside restaurants here.
My wife Michele and I enjoy all seasons on Keuka Lake, but the real fun occurs from July through August when the lakes come alive with visits from family, friends, and – best of all – kids of all ages.
We feel a great sense of pleasure just watching youngsters enjoy the lake – their wide smiles and constant laughter while catching fish, paddling around, tubing, competing in “king of the raft” and, of course, making new friends.
We became grandparents 12 years ago. From her very first years, our granddaughter Summer Mae would come from Colorado to spend a part of her summer on Keuka Lake. We always hoped that our Colorado Mountain Girl would become a Keuka Lake Girl, sharing our love for every experience the Finger Lakes offers, and collecting endless fond memories of summertime on the water.
Indeed after all her years visiting “Papa’s Lake” – one of her favorite places in the world – she’s now a genuine Lake Girl.
So what is it that makes summertime on the Finger Lakes so special? It’s quite simple, really. Put on your suit and flip-flops and head to the dock.
You can come to the lakes to get away from it all, or to get together with friends and family.
Choose your watercraft. Catch your first fish or brag about the big one you caught or the bigger one that got away.
Take countless photos of your little girl’s first swim or plunge off the dock. Splash!
Adventure, excitement, games and discovery.
Fool around and be king of the raft. Race with dad.
Just watch and listen, everybody’s having a ball, wide smiles and infectious laughter.
Sit on the dock with Dad, watch the wood duck family and the boats drift by.
At the end of the day, relax and enjoy a campfire.
Although we might recall one particularly magical summer in our lives, ultimately it’s the collection of memories from many summers and across the generations that draws us back to the lakes and enriches our lives.