My Favorite Place I’ve Been: Canandaigua Lake

A lot of people ask me my favorite place I’ve ever been and I never hesitate before telling them, “Canandaigua Lake.”

Canandaigua Lake is part of the Finger Lakes in central New York. There are 11 lakes in all that run north to south and I was lucky enough to grow up on Canandaigua!

From Manhattan, I get to Canandaigua Lake by flying to Rochester, NY. It’s about an hour drive from the airport to the lake. The flight is 45 minutes and if you book early enough (and not on a holiday weekend) you can get roundtrip tickets for around $100. Gotta love JetBlue! You can also get to Rochester from NYC via train, bus or car which will take about 6 to 7 hours.

I’ve been going to Canandaigua Lake every summer for my 27 years of life. Days on the lake are spent boating, swimming, waterskiing, tubing, cocktail cruising and jet skiing.




Sunset cocktail cruises


The Finger Lakes region is actually most known for its vineyards. Although there aren’t too many around Canandaigua specifically, there are a couple that make for an afternoon activity. I have only visited two vineyards at the south end of the lake. In the town of Naples, just 5 miles south of Canandaigua Lake, you will find Inspire Moore Winery and Hazlitt Vineyard. At both vineyards you can do a wine tasting of 6 wines for $5. Hazlitt’s also has free popcorn! And if you have a car, there are more wineries in the area to explore, especially on Seneca Lake in Geneva, N.Y. The wine isn’t quite as great as what you’ll find in Napa but it makes for a fun afternoon!


Wine(ding) down the weekend at Inspire Moore Winery

There’s also hiking trails in the area as well as Bristol Mountain, a ski hill that we often hike during the summer months. It’s funny how the ski run that seems painfully flat in January is a serious butt work out in July!

As far as accommodation, Airbnb is popular on the lake. There’s also the Bristol Harbor hotel which has rooms and houses for rent. High up in the hills around the lake, the hotel restaurant has beautiful views of the lake. It’s a popular wedding venue so you may even find yourself celebrating love there one day!

The view from one of Bristol Harbor’s homes
With my sister at Bristol Harbor’s restaurant
The view from Bristol Harbor’s pool

If you’re looking to get out of the city this summer, the Finger Lakes region should definitely be high on your list. It will forever be my favorite place I’ve ever been.

Oh! And before you head back to the airport from Canandaigua, make sure to grab one of the famous Garbage Plates. Originating from Nick Tahou’s restaurant, a Garbage Plate is two cheeseburgers, home fries, macaroni salad, ketchup, mustard and a meaty hot sauce all in a styrofoam container. Cut it all up, shake and eat! You’ll have a serious food coma, but it will be worth it.



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