Cities Journal

It’s Time You Visited Finger Lakes


Attention, foliage enthusiast: peak season for yellows and reds is approaching. Have your best sweater and prepare for a weekend of extreme coziness and pleasure.

Among leaf scenes, New York’s is maybe the best one. Governor Andrew Cuomo recently said that the Empire State has “one of the most vivid autumns anywhere in the world.” Best spotters from ‘I Love New York’ look for changes, issuing a weekly report in which pigment progress is described in terms of percentages and words like salmon are used to distinguish between hues. And it is very precise.

Politics aside, New York does have an impressive fall array, especially upstate in the glacier-carved region known as the Finger Lakes. This is an excerpt of their report, explaining in detail what you should see.

“While less intrepid leaf-peepers might be content to sit back with a glass of locally produced Riesling (see the “Drink” section below), adventurous gawkers should visit Watkins Glen State Park. There, you can climb some 800 stone steps, meander through tunnels, and explore more than a dozen waterfalls. Follow the gorge trail and you’ll come to Rainbow Falls, which takes on a kaleidoscopic effect come autumn.”

You’ll also get an eyeful along Route 20, which, along with Route 5, has been deemed an “Authentic American Road.” Stop in the small town of Auburn to stretch your legs and check out a few historical hot spots. The Harriet Tubman Home and the Seward House (as in William Seward, President Lincoln’s secretary of state and right-hand man) are both nearby. And since you’re a sucker for colorful spectacles, check out the Willard Memorial Chapel, whose Tiffany-designed interior is sure to stun.”

If you’re itching to get back to the trees, why not head to an orchard? Do some picking, listen to live music, and grab a glass of cider (alcoholic or virgin) at Beak & Skiff Apple Orchards inLaFayette. Depending on your day (Rain?! During prime peeping?!), you may want to sample the hard stuff. No slouches with an apple, Beak and Skiff now distills vodka and gin from the fruit. Try some in their new 1911 Cafe and Tasting Room.”

And here’s one of the scenic tour examples.

Prev1 of 2Next

Stay In Touch

Recommended For You

The Latest