New York: Finger Lakes Wine Country
4 Day Inn Tour
Imagine vistas of sapphire blue lakes between verdant, vineyard-covered hills, quiet roads with smooth, wide shoulders, and village stores selling homemade grape pies. This is New York’s Finger Lakes region. Glacial advances in the Ice Age carved the 11 parallel lakes out of sedimentary rock. Folklore says a giant bear walked among the forests to create the fresh-water fjords. Today the area serves as a backdrop for some wonderful cycling. We consider it the backyard of the WomanTours office, and we’re proud to show you what we think is one of the best-kept cycling secrets in the country.
The tour still has space. Make your travel arrangements.
A mix of rolling hills and flat terrain. Moderate cycling level.
3 nights lodging, 3 breakfasts, 2 picnic lunches, 3 dinners, a cheese tasting, snacks, park entrance fee, detailed cue sheets, van support & trained guides.
Fly into and out of the Rochester, NY airport or take Amtrak to the train station. WomanTours will provide an optional shuttle at 12:00noon to the start of the tour for $40 round-trip. Or drive to our starting hotel and leave your car there for the week.
"This was my first bike tour and I wasn’t sure what to expect but it was fantastic. I was a bit concerned my first day (unprepared for the hills) but the whole group was very supportive and encouraging. I chalk that up to the group being all women. I was prepared for “less nice” so the first night really surprised me – the room was wonderful. "
DAY 1: We meet at our hotel in Geneva at the northern tip of Seneca Lake. Elizabeth Blackwell was the first female doctor in the US and received her medical degree in Geneva in 1849. Today the medical school is gone, but Geneva remains a quaint college town, home to Hobart and William Smith Colleges.
Come dressed and ready to ride for our orientation at 1:00pm. Afterwards, we’ll conduct a rental bike fitting and take our first bike ride along the lake’s edge to Sampson State Park. Deepest of all the Finger Lakes, Seneca Lake is named after the Indian tribe that still inhabits the area. At more than 600’, it’s been used for submarine testing, and the locals joke that whales inhabit it. Once in the park, you can choose to cycle or shuttle back. We’ll enjoy our first dinner together at the hotel. 15 or 30 miles.
DAY 2: After breakfast, our bike ride will take us along the ridge between two of the Finger Lakes. The quiet roads will cut through vineyards, apple orchards and fertile farmland filled with cabbages and corn. You may pass a few horse-drawn carriages, as this area is home to many Amish and Mennonite families.
After a picnic lunch, we’ll end our ride at Watkins Glen State Park. There you can take a spectacular hike through the deep narrow gorge. You’ll want to take pictures. The 200’ cliffs surround the rushing stream that falls two miles through the park. The easy path takes you over and under numerous waterfalls and quiet pools. It’s a welcome cool and shady respite from the day’s ride.
We’ll overnight at the southern tip of Seneca Lake. If the water is too cold for a dip, you can always swim in the heated indoor pool before dinner. 44 miles.
DAY 3: We head to Cayuga Lake on our bicycles today. The longest of the Finger Lakes, its shores are lined with farms, wineries, and microbreweries. The area is famous for award-winning dry Rieslings. You can choose to do a tasting at one of these wineries if you’d like.
We’ll finish our ride in the town of Seneca Falls. It’s home to the Women’s Rights Historical Park where Susan B. Anthony and Elizabeth Cady Stanton began the national crusade for women’s suffrage. Take the time to learn about this fascinating bit of American history at the small museum a block from our hotel. You can also visit the Women’s National Hall of Fame and walk the town’s main street that was the inspiration for Bedford Falls in Frank Capra’s movie, It’s a Wonderful Life. 43 miles.
DAY 4: We’ll finish our tour by cycling back to Geneva. We’ll stop for a cheese tasting along the way at one of the most recognized dairy farms in the country. After our last picnic lunch, we’ll say our good-byes and shuttle you back to Rochester by 1:30pm. 15 miles.