Escape to the Finger Lakes: Skaneateles

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The end of last week saw my annual Finger Lakes vacation with my aunts and mother. This year, we went to another new lake: Skaneateles. For perspective, Skaneateles is one of the furthest-east Finger Lakes; only Otisco (much smaller) is farther east. It’s about 15 minutes from Syracuse and was about a two-hour drive from Buffalo.

We left early Thursday morning, with our first stop just in Lancaster for breakfast at Cracker Barrel. Once we were fueled up, we hit the road, taking the 90 part of the way and then the back roads the rest.

First stop: Belhurst Castle in Geneva, located right on Seneca Lake. We went through the wine & gift shop. I ended up buying a relaxation bath bomb (I’ve never used one of those before, so it should be interesting) and chocolate chip cookie crisps which are basically just really thin crunchy cookies.

Our plan had been to get back on the road and stop for lunch at McDonald’s, but we elected to stay and have lunch at the Castle instead. So we sat outside, with this gorgeous view of Seneca Lake, and had lunch. I had poutine, which was okay, but not the best I’ve ever had. The view was just unbeatable and it was nice to stretch our legs and rest for a bit before getting back on the road.

We got back on the road and stopped at the top of Seneca Lake at a pier, just to walk out on it. It was too beautiful NOT to stop for at least a minute or two, we simply had to…. Then back on the roads to our final destination, Skaneateles!

When we got there, the town had a sidewalk sale going on. So we parked the car at the inn and walked around town, went in the shops and checked out the sales and such. Then we sat by the water for a bit before checking in. I shared a room with my aunt, which I don’t mind. We stayed at the Sherwood Inn, which is right across the street from the lake and wow, it was amazing.

At 4 pm, my aunt and I did a 1-hour boat tour on the lake through Mid-Lakes Navigation. It was great, so relaxing and they narrated it with some history of the lake and surrounding area. Just so pretty and nice to be out there. The only thing I didn’t like is that much of the boat was inside. We sat outside, but there really wasn’t that much room outside, and most people chose to stay in. If I’m out on the lake, I want the full experience; the wind in my hair, a light spray of water from the waves once in a while, the smells and sights of the lake surrounding me.

After the boat tour, we sat by the lake and all four of us went to dinner. We ended up doing dinner at the restaurant at the inn, and it was delicious. I had chicken, potatoes and asparagus and then brownie cheesecake for dessert. It was delicious, just the right amount of food. We took a long walk around the town (yay hills), we found the library (!!!) and a park and it was nice. Yes, I’m the nerd who always likes to find the local library. What can I say…

After some more walking, sitting by the lake/pier and then refreshing at the restaurant in the Inn, we went to bed. I woke up early Friday and went out and just sat by the lake to enjoy the fresh air. If I’m in a place like that, I want to be out there, not sitting in my room. After all, if I wanted to sit around indoors, I could just as easily do that at home. That’s kind of my general philosophy for vacations… I don’t get away from home to just sit around, so I try to stay active.

We had breakfast at the Sherwood Inn and it was delicious. I typically don’t eat much of a breakfast, though I’m trying to get better at that. The Inn had a great spread of food, pretty much anything you could want; from eggs and potatoes to freshly baked bread and croissants from the bakery next door, fresh fruit and so much more.

Another walk around town led me to buy a few things at some of the shops, including a neat t-shirt that says Skaneateles and has the coordinates of the place on it and a few decorations for my bedroom. We sat by the pier, walked by the lake, hung out at a park and checked out the dogs.

Eventually we packed up the car and checked out of the Inn. Before we left the area, we stopped into Patisserie, a bakery next to the Inn. I bought a scone and a brownie and then we got in the car and drove to Auburn.

Our lone stop in Auburn was the William Seward House Historical Museum. We did a tour and it was pretty incredible to see all that stuff, especially the Civil War room. I totally geeked out and ended up buying a $7 pencil sharpener shaped like a Civil War cannon. IT’S SO COOL THOUGH and I’m just going to use it for decoration because it looks super neat.

(For those who don’t recall their history, William Seward was a crucial figure in the Alaskan Purchase. He was also a prominent political figure and was once governor of New York State. He also held many other titles during his life.)

The only thing that bothered me at the Seward House was that so many people joined the tour while it was in progress. It’s disruptive, quite frankly, to other guests who are trying to enjoy the tour to have people constantly joining in. It’d be fine if they just joined without any interruption, but the tour guide constantly stopped to ask if they were joining the tour – with a disgruntled look on her face – and at times she tried to catch them up on the rooms we’d already seen, repeating herself. I think they need to work on that; cut people off. If the tour starts and you’re not there, oh well, you have to wait for the next tour. I mean, I was still able to enjoy the tour, it’s just a little pet peeve.

We took the back roads most of the way home, stopped in Canandaigua for lunch at Eddie O’Brien’s. It seems to be a yearly theme that we stop there for lunch on our way home. We also stopped at Tom Wahl’s in Avon for ice cream and got home around 6:30. Such a nice trip and I’m so thankful everything worked out the way it did.

Now I can safely say I’ve visited five of the eleven Finger Lakes, which I think is pretty decent, especially considering a few short years ago I’d seen exactly none. My aunt was certainly right when she said that trips like this change you; you come back home and you’re not the same person you were when you left. You’ve seen these new places and had these new experiences and they’ve changed your perspective on life, and it’s a wonderful thing.

Next year…. the Adirondacks?!

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