Keuka Lake, almost 20 miles long and shaped like a Y, is among the smallest of New York’s Finger Lakes. At the top sits the town of Penn Yan, and at the bottom, Hammondsport. In between is clean fresh water, perfect for swimming and boating, and all around are wineries and breweries, great hiking and bike riding and tiny museums.
Grapes have been planted in the area since the 1800’s, and 18 wineries can now be found around the lake, many of which hold tastings.
Start in the charming small town of Hammondsport. Make sure to walk Shether Street which has a number of bars, restaurants and antique stores.
Park Inn: This is a casual restaurant and bar at 37 Shether St. downtown with a menu of salads, sandwiches and burgers. They have five beautifully decorated hotel rooms above the bar and restaurant. They also have a separate, restored farmhouse, the Glen Scott Manor, that sleeps nine guests.
Crooked Lake Ice Cream Company: 35 Shether St. Stop in for coffee or ice cream. It was September so I had to try the pumpkin!
Cider Creek Hard Cider: Stop in at 49 Shether St. to try one of their hard ciders. The Black Eyed Peach made with peaches rather than apples was very unique and tasty.
Krooked Tusker Distillery: This is a Hammondsport distillery, that make a number of gins, vodkas and corn whiskeys. The Restacked Whiskey, aged in used oak barrels, was very good. 10303 County Rd. 76.
Glenn H. Curtiss Aviation Museum: This is a small museum in Hammondsport featuring vintage planes, motorcycles, cars and boats. It is considered to be a little-known American treasure.
Beer lovers should visit the Keuka Brewing Co. at 8572 Briglen Rd. in Hammondsport. Established in 2008, they make lagers, stouts, ales, IPAs, a wheat beer and several seasonal options. Tastings are available in their tasting room. Check out the website for seasonal hours.
Make sure to check out some of the local wineries as well.
Heron Hill has a wonderful location on a hill overlooking the lake. Since 1977 they have been producing award winning wines. They are in a beautiful setting overlooking the lake and rolling hills. They produce 7 styles of Riesling as well as a Chardonnay and a Cabernet Franc. In the summer and fall you can enjoy their Blue Heron Cafe and terrace. They feature a number of music and food events throughout the year.
Keuka Lake Vineyards: This is Hammondsport winery with vineyards on the eastern and western slopes above the southern end of Keuka Lake. They produce a number of white and red wines from new and young plantings of Gewurtztraminer, Cabernet Franc, and Vignoles to 18 year-old Riesling and 65 year-old Leon Millot and Delaware vines. 8882 Co Rd 76, Hammondsport, NY.
Dr. Konstantin Frank Winery: Nearby is this highly regarded winery from 1962 at 9749 Middle Rd. in Hammondsport. They feature a number of whites, sparkling white and red wines. Check out their website for tours and tastings plus wine and cheese pairings and wine and food pairings in their 1886 Reserve Tasting Room. There have been four generations of Franks involved in making their wines!
I was able to attend a local tasting and enjoyed the wines from Point of the Bluff Vineyards, overlooking Keuka Lake (10489 County Rd. 76 Hammondsport), Vineyard View Winery in Keuka Park and McGregor Vineyards in Dundee, NY. McGregor’s pinot noir was particularly good; very smooth and nice.
South of Hammondsport is the town of Bath. Make sure to visit the famous Betty Kay Bake Shop which is known for its English cut doughnuts. 49 Liberty St. Also in town is the First Presbyterian Church of Bath which has a rare Tiffany designed sanctuary which includes Tiffany mosaics and stained glass.