What could be better than wine and waterfalls? Add in rural scenes and automobile racing and you have Watkins Glen NY, at the tip of Lake Seneca. One of the Finger Lakes. Recently, we made an off season visit to this region exploring nearly a dozen waterfalls and wineries.
We stayed at the wonderful Glenora Inn, which is 8 miles north of Watkins Glen, on the west short of Lake Seneca. The rooms overlook the vineyard and lake and offer a nice winery experience. Drive behind the Inn towards the lake and you encounter Glenora Falls. Amazingly it is located in the backyard of a private residence. What a view each morning, and the sounds of the falls at night must be amazing.
Enjoy a visit to nearby Miles Wine Cellars, tasting their wines (quite good) while learning of the tragic tale of a newlywed couple that died shortly after buying the home. And how they have not left this world, haunting the home and winery. Apparently they are friendly. Buy a bottle of their Ghost wine (see our YouTube video of this special - Miles Wine Cellar - Ghostly wine bottle).
Back to the waterfalls; visit the Watkins Glen Gorge for a beautiful hike along the river (which was closed when we arrived due to the dangerous ice). Drive down Main Street in Montour Falls, where you cannot miss the magnificent falls right in town.
Drive up to the top and cross the falls above for a fantastic view of the area.
We highly recommend a side trip the inspiring Taughannock Falls, near Lake Cuyoga. Visit the Thirsty Owl Winery and drive past the very small Black Diamond Diner, made from the cab of a train. Lunch at the Little Venice Ristorante in Trumansburg was a nice surprise.
Lastly, explore the rural side roads to Keaku Lake and (highly recommended) visit to Bully Hill Winery and the Pleasant Valley Winery. Stay for lunch at the Bully Hill restaurant, excellent!
During racing seasons, a visit to the storied Watkins Glen racetrack is a must. We have spent many a summer day and night at this track, camping in the infield. If you love racing, this track offers many unique photographic experiences.
Consider adding the New York Finger Lakes region as one of your photography (and wine) destinations.