Location and Travel:
The Finger Lakes Region of New York State is nestled just south of Rochester and Syracuse. The region is made up of eleven narrow lakes that run North-South. Cayuga and Seneca lakes are the two largest and among the deepest lakes in the United States. The Finger Lakes Region is the largest wine producing region in NY and is home to some outstanding wineries. This region is also home to many distilleries and craft breweries. If you are a wine connoisseur, we recommend visiting during the Finger Lakes Wine Festival in July or during the summer and fall so you can enjoy the Seneca Lake Wine Trail. If you are planning a bachelor party, nearby Watkins Glen International Speedway hosts a variety of races throughout the year and fun festivals including a beer fest in the fall. Another unique attraction in the area is the Corning Museum of Glass where you can create your own glass artwork.
If you are flying into the area, Greater Rochester International Airport is about 1 hour drive from Seneca Lake/Watkins Glen area. Other area airports include Syracuse Hancock International Airport, Elmira/Corning Regional Airport, and Ithaca/Tompkins County Airport. Plan on renting a car because of the remote location ride hail services like Uber and Lyft were not available.
Where They Stayed:
This group wanted the lakehouse experience while visiting the Finger Lakes, and they found a large lakefront home on Seneca Lake. Perfect for a group of 6-8 people! The house has two queen beds, two single loungers and a reclining couch along with two full baths. The house was very private, down a winding driveway off the main road and no visible neighbors! This was great for this bachelorette party as they were able to turn up the music and had a dance party. The large deck was wonderful for family style meals and the downstairs patio boasts a firepit and plenty of chairs for the evenings. There was also a large dock perfect for a lake day in the sun.
“I gave the destination to my MOH and she did the rest! It was fun to be surprised by all the activities” -Lauren, Bride to be
Arrive in NY and drive to rental house
Lunch and Ice Cream at Elf in the Oak– tasty wraps, sandwiches and salads with a beautiful view of the lake! Grab a seat on the deck and enjoy. On the way out stop but the little ice cream stack in the front.
Glass Blowing Class at Corning Museum of Glass– This semi-hands on class is a great group activity plus you get to create a keepsake to bring home! We made Christmas ornaments, you get to select the shape, texture and colors for the ornament and you blow the glass yourself [insert dirty jokes here].
Wagner Vineyards & Wagner Valley Brewing Company– best of both worlds! We went on “pub night,” they have picnic dinners available for purchase, pizza food truck, and live music!
Two Goats Brewing– great late night option, most restaurants and wineries close early but Two Goats was rocking till 12 midnight on the weekend. The live music was awesome and the drinks were cold!
Brunch at Stonecat Cafe– The Weeping Willow Tree in the parking lot is insta-worthy. The brunch menu was amazing and our server was super knowledgeable! We sampled the cornbread & honey butter and the savory vegetable strudel, both so tasty. All the brunch entrees were filling, some of the faves were the Sausage and Eggs, French Toast and Eggs Cordova! Stonecat uses local ingredients and all their partners are listed on the menu. On Sundays the Stonecat hosts a live Jazz Brunch!
Finger Lakes Wine Festival at Watkins Glen International Speedway- This three day event jammed packed with wine themed events, seminars, and parties! We attended the festival on Saturday with over 90 wineries, local cideries and area distilleries were pouring samples. Shops, boutiques and food trucks were also available. Come prepared, it was mainly under tents on the black asphalt paddocks and the outside space were not shaded, pack sunscreen and hats!
Family Dinner at Home- The bride’s favorite food is pasta! We made a Baked Pasta with Bechamel sauce and Prosciutto, Caesar salad and toasted Italian bread! This is a great family style meal, affordable and easy to prepare, we cooked off all the pasta in the morning when we were getting ready for the day and assembled the casserole then tossed in the fridge. When we got home from our busy day, we added the bechamel sauce and popped in the oven! And bonus, any leftover Italian bread (along with eggs and milk) we used to make french toast the next morning!
Firepit and S’mores- lake house staple!
“My favorite part was that so many people were able to make it, and that friends from different parts of my life were able to meet and bond with each other before the big day!” -Lauren, bride to be
Family Breakfast at Home
Chasing Waterfalls in Watkins Glen State Park and Taughannock Falls State Park. These hikes were easy/moderate. Taughannock Falls was a dirt and gravel trail along the gorge, we followed it down and into the riverbed to the waterfall. It was all shaded and not too crowded. Watkins Glen State Park has 19 waterfalls and over 800 steps to the top! The steps were gradual but be careful as they are wet and slippery in some areas. It was very crowded the day we visited, because the staircases can became narrow.
Fancy dinner at Veraisons at Glenora Winery– beautiful views on the open air covered patio and amazing food!
Ice Cream at Great Escape Ice Cream Parlor– Small towns and ice cream go hand in hand! We love ice cream and the sign out front reading “24 soft serve flavors” sold us! Beyond sof serve, they offer traditional ice cream, non-dairy sorbet, vegan, and gelato.
Breakfast and clean up
Head to the airport
Pro Bachelorette Tip: We 10/10 recommend using service such as Walmart Grocery Pickup/Delivery, InstaCart or Ship’d to pre order your food, snack, supplies for the home base! Easily pick up and have delivered when you arrived instead of wasting time wandering around the grocery store! Also, Watkins Glen is a small town so we opted to pick up our liquor closer to Rochester and then visited the Walmart in Watkins Glen for supplies to cook a homemade dinner and homemade breakfast, along with some snacks for the weekend.
Flower Crowns: worn to the wine festival to pull our cohesive look together!
Matching Wine Themed Tank Tops: These tanks are incredibly soft, available in so many different colors and have 19 different wine slogans to pick from!
Bachelorette Swag & Decorations: Our bride rocked a larger flower crown, bride sash, and veil over the weekend!
Welcome Bags: Packed with all the essentials for the weekend including face masks, ring pop, nail polish, crazy straws, nail file!
Chambongs strike again! Easily the best way to consume champagne!
Based on 1 Bride and 7 party goers:
Lodging: $1219.40 (3 nights)
Air Travel: varies, we were flying from both Orlando, FL and Richmond, VA
Rental Car and Gas: $400 (8 passenger SUV)
Wine Festival Tickets: $40/per person (early bird pricing)
Floral Crowns: $3/per person
Matching Wine Tanks: $12/per person
Welcome Bags: $100 for all supplies
Glass Blowing Class: $32/per person
Total: $ 366/per person (plus airfare and individual food and beverage)