Where Oh Where is the Finger Lakes Region?


To define the area that is the Finger Lakes Region can be a challenging task. According to New York State’s website on Empire State Development, there are nine counties that make up the region – three of which are to the extreme west of the area. According to the Finger Lakes Tourism Alliance and many other organizations – including this magazine – the region consists of 14 counties. And then there are others who think that the region is only what is immediately adjacent to an actual Finger Lake, without taking into account county lines. Lastly, I’ve even heard theories that the Finger Lakes themselves consist of only five lakes, to mimic the outstretched hand of their creator.

This magazine does follow the belief in the 14 county rule. There are several reasons for this. First, any county that actually touches a Finger Lake counts. Second, any area that’s a watershed of a Finger Lake counts, and third, areas that are heavily influenced and affected by the region count. I’m talking about Tioga, Chemung, Monroe and Wayne Counties. None of these counties are adjacent to a Finger Lake, but they either are part of a watershed or they identify with the Finger Lakes Region.

I’m sure there are some who may have legitimate arguments against these beliefs, but one has to draw the line somewhere. And we choose to stick with county lines.

With that short primer on regional boundaries behind us, I want to point out that this issue is a perfect illustration of stories that originate from far corners of the area and also within the heart of the region as well.

The lighthouse at Sodus Point has amazing waves during the winter and spring. A wonderful distillery is in business in Corning. A farm in Linwood – at the farthest west portion of Livingston County – turns food waste into electricity. An amazing soap shop is doing well in Fayetteville. And then we have stories out of Branchport, Trumansburg, Ithaca, Geneva, Palmyra and other areas.

Crack open this issue because you’re in for another treat. Expand your mind about this region that many of us call home.

by Mark Stash, mark@lifeinthefingerlakes.com


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