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Go to the Finger Lakes this winter for the museums, spas and wineries

Weary of winter’s grey doldrums? Ready for an escape to wineries, intimate hideaways and pampering without needing a plane ticket or passport? New York’s Finger Lakes region promises just that.

In this pristinely beautiful part of New York State, B&Bs and country inns dot the landscape. Colonial farmhouses, rustic lodges and lovingly restored Victorian mansions compete in offering scenic views, romantic ambiance and lavish amenities.

The region’s spas offer the perfect place to rejuvenate from the season’s excesses. There are the usual array of massages, facials, and manicures, but the real fun comes from trying each spa’s unique treatments. Fancy a seaweed body wrap? How about a pecan pie exfoliation scrub?

With over 100 wineries, the Finger Lakes is New York’s largest wine-producing region. The wines are well-respected, but because most of the wineries are small, they generally have only local distribution. Three self-guided wine trails lead you to nearly 60 wineries (and one cidery), while a separate trail covers micro-brews and distilleries. Visit www.fingerlakeswinecountry.com for details.

Corning is the area’s arts and shopping hub. The restored Victorian buildings on Market Street house over 100 locally-owned antique emporiums, music stores, art galleries, and specialty shops. Corning’s economy was built on glassblowing, and The Corning Museum (www.cmog.org) is a testament to the 3500-year history of glass.

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The Rockwell Museum (www.rockwellmuseum.org) explores the American experience through artists from Frederic Remington to Andy Warhol. For performing arts, check the schedule of performances, concerts, and film at the Smith Opera House in Geneva (www.thesmith.org).

Tiny Hammondsport is home to the Glenn H. Curtiss Aviation Museum. Curtiss is considered the Father of Naval Aviation and the museum is filled with aircraft and a collection of antique motorcycles.
Outdoors, Watkins Glen State Park boasts 19 waterfalls, some of which can be seen from the rim trail around the park’s gorge. You can also take a moonlight horseback ride through the snowy landscape at Painted Bar Stables.

Diners fret over where to go for meals here, because there are so many options – from bistro to barbecue, Irish to Indian, farm-to-table to fusion, tapas at a winery, or entrées at a restored train station. There are dozens of packages available that combine accommodations, meals, admissions, and tickets for attractions or events. The Corning/Finger Lakes website (www.corningfingerlakes.com) has a comprehensive list, as well as all sorts of other travel advice.

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Don’t miss

• Market Street, Corning
Head to the Victorian heart of town, with five blocks of shops, galleries, and restaurants.

• Corning Museum of Glass
Sign up for 40-minute make-your-own pendant or ornament class.

• Rockwell Museum
Check out the "American xperience" as interpreted through the eyes of historic and contemporary artists.

• Wineries
Self-guided wine trails visit over 50 of the area’s 100 wineries.

• Tiffany and Treasures Trail
A self-drive tour of artists’ studios, with an emphasis on glasswork and pottery. See www.corningfingerlakes.com for details.

 
 
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