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Finger Lakes Wine Country, New York in 2009 Looks Affordable and Family Friendly!December 31, 2008
As I look out my windows and admire the snow, my family and I are starting to discuss the places we want to visit in 2009. With our finances a little tight this year we have a new motto is our house, “let’s do more with less.” Instead of going out to the movies a couple times of month we have cut back to once a month and are spending more time doing old-fashioned family activities: playing board games, doing puzzles, and going on hikes behind our house. My kids (I have three young boys) still want to experience new things and take vacations. So what is a parent to do when it comes to vacations and weekend getaways? This year we are looking for a destination close to our home base in southwestern Connecticut. Nothing more than a five hour drive and a location that offers something for both the kids and my husband. We like to eat out on vacation (come on we are on vacation). We love wine so there must be some wineries to visit. We enjoy the outdoors so hiking is a must. We want some culture (maybe a museum with some hands-on activities), and lastly, some nice places to stay for under $200 a night.
Our vacation destination this summer is again, Finger Lakes Wine Country. (I know that I am president of the region’s tourism marketing association but I took this job because I love the area.) Last summer we took a little over a week and explored Cooperstown (my kids LOVE baseball), Niagara Falls and Niagara-on-the-Lake (everyone has to experience the Maid of the Mist and wineries are a few miles away), Toronto for the Hockey Hall of Fame and a Blue Jays/Red Sox game, and Finger Lakes Wine Country.
Our base in Finger Lakes Wine Country was Corning (where my house is located.) Corning is located in the southern end of the Finger Lakes and is a good location easily accessible to the rest of the region. There are other nice towns to stay as well: Elmira/Horseheads, Penn Yan, Hammondsport, and Watkins Glen. Ideally to experience everything in Finger Lakes Wine Country you need a couple of weeks but being like many families short on time we had four full days to spend in the region. In Corning, everyone must visit The Corning Museum of Glass. Corning, NY is the corporate headquarters to Corning Inc. and the town has become a cultural, dining, and shopping destination. CMOG (what the locals call it) is home to one of the largest glass collections in the world with over 45,000 pieces from the last few thousand years. So you are thinking glass and kids? No worries, CMOG is for kids. They are sensitive to family budgets and offer kids and teens under 19 free admission. Adults are $12.50 and so for less than then the cost of a movie you can enjoy three hours of interactive and hands-on glass experiences. My kids especially loved the Hot Glass Show where a glass bowl was made before our eyes! We literally had to drag our boys out of the museum so you will feel good that you gave your kids a cultural experience that was cleverly disguised as fun.
Across the Chemung River in the heart of the Gaffer District (Corning’s shopping and dining district) is another jewel of a museum, The Rockwell Museum of Western Art, also is family-friendly and offers the same kids and teens under 19 free admission. You can buy a combo ticket and visit both museums for $16.50 per adult. The Rockwell features one of the best collections of Western art in the East and there are several kids’ activities available for no additional charge (my kids love the scavenger hunt backpacks.) After the museums you can stroll through town visiting one of the many shops, grab an ice cream, enjoy a pint of local brew at the Market Street Brewing Co., and have dinner at one of the charming pizza restaurants. This afternoon in Corning can be experienced anytime of the year and the museums have kept their ticket prices the same as 2008 in 2009 .
There are many other affordable things for families to do in Finger Lakes Wine Country. Walk through the Watkins Glen State Park (featuring over 11 waterfalls), hike the Finger Lakes National Forest, take a boat cruise along Keuka or Seneca Lake, visit a cheese farm, take a glider ride, visit the Harris Hill amusement park, play golf, and even stop at a few wineries (many serve local grape juice for the kids.)
If you are planning on coming to Finger Lakes Wine Country around July 4th, you should really take in the IndyCar race at Watkins Glen International. Kids 12 and under are free and the entire family will love the excitement of the cars.
Explore more things to do and choose your perfect place to stay.
Share your Finger Lakes Wine Country family vacation stories on our forum.Finger Lakes Wine Country, New York in 2009 Looks Affordable and Exciting! December 29, 2008
The week between Christmas and New Year’s is a good time to reflect upon the previous year’s trips and experiences and to begin planning for the upcoming year. 2008 was a great year in Finger Lakes Wine Country
. A new luxury property, The Watkins Glen Harbor Hotel
, opened on the southern shore of Seneca Lake in Watkins Glen, several new wineries opened their doors, Watkins Glen International
played host to successful IndyCar and NASCAR races, and the region continued to be recognized by major media outlets as one of America’s greatest wine producing regions.
2009 promises to be even better. IndyCar is returning to “The Glen” on July 4th with a weekend full of racing, fireworks, and a Saturday night concert (no word yet on this year’s performer but Gavin DeGraw played last year). Kids 12 and under are FREE and a general admission ticket gets you access to two full days of auto racing (other tracks charge per day making “The Glen” experience one of the most affordable in racing.) NASCAR also returns August 6 for another exciting weekend of racing. Never been to an IndyCar or NASCAR race? You will be surprised at how exciting the races are and “The Glen” is one of the most iconic and historic tracks in the country.
Click here to learn more about the 2009 racing season at Watkins Glen…
Speaking of Watkins Glen, the Finger Lakes Wine Festival returns July 17-19, 2009 and the exciting news here is that tickets are still amazingly affordable! “Wine Fest” is the largest wine festival in New York state featuring almost 80 New York wineries, wine and culinary classes, and over 10,000 people a day in attendance. There is no other event where you can taste this many Finger Lakes and New York wines in one location.
Click here to read more about the 2009 Finger Lakes Wine Festival…
In response to visitor feedback about the need for a winter wine and food festival in the Finger Lakes, we have created PALATE, A Showcase of Wine, Food, and Art in Finger Lakes Wine Country coming February 16-22, 2009. This inaugural showcase will feature wine education seminars, winemaker dinners, a Friday night wine and beer tasting with over 30 Finger Lakes wineries, a Saturday night jazz and beer crawl to local bars and restaurants, a barrel tasting at Hazlitt 1952 Vineyards
, free admission at The Corning Museum of Glass
and the Rockwell Museum of Western Art
, and special promotions at local shops, restaurants, and wineries. Tickets are only $50 per person (winemaker dinners are not included and are a separate fee) and a special daily room rate of $113 is available at the Radisson Corning.
Click here to learn more about PALATE and to purchase tickets…
Starting planning your 2009 trip to Finger Lakes Wine Country now...