Fall food fests in the Finger Lakes
Combine autumn leaf-peeping with tastes of the region’s farm-to-table restaurants, wineries and brews, with a Punkin’ Chunkin’ and harvest festival to round it off.
The Finger Lakes fall culinary weekend is Oct. 24–25. It’s a full menu of tastings, noshing, sipping, touring and dining, interspersed with concerts and seasonal events.
Finger Lakes Beer Festival
This festival is a beer lover’s dream, with over 35 New York State breweries, cideries and distilleries gathered at Watkins Glen International Raceway, plus regional cuisine and a 32-team corn hole tournament. There’s bonfire inside Turn 1 on Saturday night and live music by Iron Horse Bluegrass.
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Farm-to-Table Cooking Adventure
This all-day tour starts with a farm visit to harvest ingredients for the lunchtime cooking/demo class. A vineyard tour and wine tasting and pairing with regional cheese and fruit follows.It’s $145 per person, reservations required.
Taste of the Finger Lakes
Chefs from area restaurants present samples of their specialties, paired with local wines. This is a good way to find restaurants to enjoy a full meal later in the weekend. Attendees must be 21.
Harvest Festival at Buttonwood Grove
Come here for more noshes and wine, by the glass or in slushies. The music is from local favorite Phil Dumond, who’s opened for the likes of Willie Nelson and Buffalo Springfield. If you overimbibe, no problem: Buttonwood Grove has onsite accommodations.
Punkin’ Chunkin’ at Varick Winery and Vineyard
With a view of Cayuga Lake, it’s easy to linger here, either at the tasting room, the country store (selling Varick’s sauces, fruit butters, mustards “with an attitude” and local honey) or the comfortable, cozy inn. The Punkin’ Chunkin’ invites contestants to try to hit targets — no statistics on whether aim gets better or worse after the wine tastings.
Oct. 25 (and Nov. 1)
Through the Tasting Glass: The Wondrous Wines of Keuka Lake
Groups of five to 13 can tour the Keuka Lake wine region for private visits to some less-accessible wineries. The trip includes one of the few wineries that can call its wine “champagne.” A wine-paring lunch is included.
The Best of Seneca West Wine Tour
This one is for dedicated wine and beer connoisseurs. It starts with a visit to the boutique Kemmeter Winery, followed by lunch is at FLX Winery with sausages, burgers and homemade sides paired with an international selection of craft beers. Next up is a tour of Wiemer Vineyards, one of the Top 100 American wineries in 2014. The last stop is Red Tail Ridge Winery, which is producing varietals not found elsewhere in the Finger Lakes Region. It’s $145 per person.
If you prefer independent touring, download three self-guided trail maps to Finger Lakes Wineries at Fingerlakewinecoutry.com. And for more information on the Finger Lakes, visit Visitfingerlakes.com.
For more travel advice, go to Insightguides.com.