New York: Finger Lakes Wine Country
4-Day Inn Tour
While the Finger Lakes region of Upstate New York is perhaps best known these days for its world-renowned wineries, it’s also the birthplace of the women’s suffrage movement. The first women’s rights convention took place here in 1848, and 72 later, in 1920, American women finally gained the constitutional right to vote through the passage of the 19th Amendment. As America continues to celebrate this Women’s Suffrage Centennial a year after the fact, our popular Finger Lakes Wine Country tour takes on extra significance as we explore the towns and homes where suffrage pioneers and friends Susan B. Anthony and Elizabeth Cady Stanton lived and worked.
The tour is filled, but call us. We may be able to squeeze you in.
A mix of rolling hills and flat terrain. Moderate cycling level. Leisurely level with an e-bike.
3 nights lodging, 3 breakfasts, 3 picnic lunches, 3 dinners, snacks, park and museum entrance fees, detailed cue sheets, maps and GPS files, van support, airport shuttles, & trained guides.
$195 for Specialized hybrid or road bicycle designed specifically for women. $295 for an electric-assist ebike.
Fly into and out of the Rochester, NY airport (ROC) or take Amtrak to the train station. WomanTours will provide an optional shuttle at 11:00am from the airport and train station to the tour. If you've driven, park at the WomanTours office and we'll shuttle you at 11:30am to the tour. At the end of the tour, we'll shuttle you back to the airport, train station or your car by 3:30pm.
"I think (bicycling) has done more to emancipate women than anything else in the world. It gives women a feeling of freedom and self-reliance. I stand and rejoice every time I see a woman ride by on a wheel...the picture of free, untrammeled womanhood."
"The bicycle will inspire women with more courage, self-respect and self-reliance, and make the next generation more vigorous of mind and body; for feeble mothers do not produce great statesmen, scientists and scholars."
DAY 1: We begin our tour in Geneva at the northern tip of Seneca Lake. Elizabeth Blackwell was the first female doctor in the U.S. 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 and rental bike fitting at 11:30am. Then we’ll shuttle from Rochester to our starting hotel in Geneva and take our first bike ride along the eastern shores of Seneca Lake to Sampson State Park.
Deepest of all the Finger Lakes, Seneca Lake is named after the Seneca Nation that was part of the Iroquois Confederacy. During World War II, the lake was used for submarine testing, and the locals joke that whales inhabit it. Once in Sampson State Park, you can choose to cycle or shuttle back. We’ll enjoy our first dinner together this evening. 13 or 26 miles. (26-mile ride elevation: +579'/-578')
DAY 2: After breakfast, our bike ride will take us along the ridge between Seneca Lake and Keuka Lake. 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 and a one-room schoolhouse, as this area is home to many Amish and Mennonite families. It won't be hard to imagine what the region looked like 100 years ago.
After a picnic lunch, we’ll end our ride in Watkins Glen. There you can choose to take a spectacular hike through the deep and other-worldly shale and sandstone gorge at the world-famous Watkins Glen State Park. There are 200-foot cliffs surrounding the rushing stream that runs two miles through the park. The stepped walking path takes you over and under numerous waterfalls and quiet pools. It’s a welcome cool and shady respite from the day’s ride. 45 miles/elevation +2196’).
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. We'll have a picnic lunch at one of these wineries.
We’ll finish our ride in the town of Seneca Falls. It’s home to the Women’s Rights National Historical Park where Elizabeth Cady Stanton began the national crusade for women’s suffrage. Explore the Park's Visitor Center a block from our hotel. The Park also offers self-guided walking tours through the Wesleyan Chapel where the first women's rights convention took place and to Elizabeth Cady Stanton's home.
Seneca Falls is also home to the National Women’s Hall of Fame, celebrating the achievements of American women. We encourage you to explore this newly expanded museum too. 49 miles/elevation +1732’.
DAY 4: After breakfast in Seneca Falls, we’ll shuttle to Rochester and start our cycling on a bike path along the Erie Canalway Trail which once helped spread the ideas of the suffragists.
We’ll continue the ride, stopping in Mount Hope Cemetery where Susan B. Anthony and her friend, abolitionist Frederick Douglass, are buried. Mount Hope is the oldest continuously running cemetery in the country, and we are lucky enough to have a guided tour about the cemetery’s deep roots in suffrage and women’s equality. Then we will ride back to the WomanTours office for a picnic lunch, saying our good-byes before shuttling you to the Rochester airport or train station by 3:30pm. Approx. 13 miles/elevation +438’.