Waterfalls, Wildlife & Wineries in New York’s Finger Lakes

August 2015 – The Finger Lakes region in New York really surprised us with its serenity and beauty. Not only did we find a really fun town in Seneca Falls where boaters pull in and tie up on the along the river, but we were enchanted by the pretty scenery along Seneca and Cayuga Lakes themselves.

Seneca Lake New York at Sunset

Beautiful view of Seneca Lake

At one time the Finger Lakes were a rural escape for downstate New Yorkers that wanted to get out into the countryside upstate. There are some lovely old mansions along the edge of Seneca Lake and our friends took us on some wonderful back roads to see them.

Finger Lakes New York summer mansion

There are many beautiful old mansions near the lakes

Finger Lakes NY mansion of yesteryear_

Not a bad place to get away from the city!

As we were admiring the mansions, we suddenly noticed some deer in a field. Looking closer, we realized they were two spotted fawns and a red fox, walking slowly, all together! What total luck!!

Mark and I jumped into action hoping they wouldn’t bolt. We were absolutely amazed when they calmly stopped (the fox even sat down!) and turned to look right at us for a minute or two, all three of them! Then they moseyed on their way across the field and into the woods, still together.

Fawns and fox Finger Lakes New York

We were astonished as this trio stopped to look at us and then slowly walked on — together!

We moseyed on our way too. Just a few minutes later we glanced over at a meadow and saw a doe and her pure white fawn staring at us.

White deer fawn and its mother Finger Lakes New York

Our jaws still hanging open from seeing the fawns and the fox, we spotted a mama deer with her pure white baby.

These Seneca White Deer are not albinos, and they are unique to this area. We could not believe our eyes and our good luck at seeing one up close! Somehow, the calmness of this region seems to apply to the wildlife too, and the white fawn looked right at us for a long time. Then it turned and, together with mama, bounded off into the woods.

White deer of the Finger Lakes New York

A Seneca White Deer!

What a place!

Sunset and sailboat Finger Lakes New York

We were captivated by the peacefulness of this area.

This is a very rural area, and small farms owned by both Amish and Mennonite familes dot the landscape. I just loved the wide sweeping fields with the little barns and silos and farm houses tucked into the corners between them.

Amish farm Finger Lakes New York

There are small Amish and Mennonite farms everywhere.

Farm homestead FInger Lakes New York

Driving the countryside gave us a flavor of what rural America was like once up on a time.

Cows and Amish farm Finger Lakes New York


These small farms raise livestock and corn and soy, but a new crop that is quicly sweeping through the region is grapes. There is a rapidly growing wine industry in the Finger Lakes, and there is a beautiful winery every half mile or so on just about every road. For wine enthusiasts, you could spend an entire season out here getting to know all the different growers and their products.

We visited the Wagner Vineyards Estate Winery. It is unique because there is a Winery side of the business and a Brewery side. So, whether you want to sample fine wines or microbrews, it’s just a matter of going in the right door!

Wagner Winery and Brewery Seneca Lake New York

Wagner Vineyards Estate Winery AND Wagner Valley Brewery — two for one!

Out back there is a wonderful grassy lawn filled with picnic benches as well as a huge shaded deck overlooking the lawn and Seneca Lake. We kicked back with a tasty brew and savored the late afternoon.

Grape vines Wagner Winery Seneca Lake New York

There is a fantastic shaded deck behind the winery/brewery overlooking picnic tables and Seneca Lake

We discovered that this is a very popular area for Bachelorette parties. Not for Bachelor parties — those guys seem to have something different in mind when they want to get wild, so they go to other kinds of establishments — but local bachelorettes just love to rent a stretch limousine and take a tour of the Finger Lakes vineyards.

How fun it was to look over and see a crew of beautiful young women lined up for a photo. It turned out this was the second stop on their tour — we had seen the limo driver napping in the limo in the parking lot when we came in — and these young beauties were really living it up.

They were wearing matching tank tops, with the bride in white (there was no mistaking her — her shirt said “Bride” right on it). The bridesmaids wore navy blue, each with her role in the wedding printed on the front too.

Bride and bridesmaids Bachelorette party Finger Lakes New York

These gals were having way too much fun!

I sighed watching them, wishing I had been there, and done that, and had the shirt!!

We carried on, with images of beautiful weddings floating around in my brain, and we found there are cute towns all around the Finger Lakes regions.

Waterloo New York Main Street


Waterloo and Ovid both have pretty main streets.

Ovid New York Main Street

Ovid (pronounced “Oh Vid” not “Ah Vid”)

And in Ovid’s town square there are three brick buildings in a row that each have four white columns out front. These historic government buildings are fondly called the Three Bears by the locals!

Three bears Ovid New York

The Three Bears

The Finger Lakes are also known for their beautiful waterfalls, and there is quite a selection to see. The Taughannock Falls are very tall.

Taughannock Falls with people Ithaca New York

Taughannock Falls – Wow!

Right across from the falls is a viewing area where you can get a good closeup look.

Taughannock Falls Finger Lakes New York

A closer view…

Over in Ithaca, home of Cornell University, there is a beautiful waterfall in the Ithaca Natural Area. We got lost on our way there, driving the tiny roads between all the fraternities and going up and down some steep roads. But it was worth all the wrong turns once we got there.

Unfortunately, we had run out of steam by the time we finished playing there, and we never got to the more famous Triphammer waterfall that is right in the middle of the Cornell campus, apparently at the intersection of University and East avenues. Oh well, next time!!

Ithaca Falls Natural Area New York Finger Lakes

Ithaca Falls Natural Area – a great spot to clear your head after finals at Cornell!

The Finger Lakes are a charming place for an RV roadtrip, offering not only waterfalls and wineries but a glimpse of America’s quiet and rural past that is very hard to find.

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6 thoughts on “Waterfalls, Wildlife & Wineries in New York’s Finger Lakes

  1. Hello!
    My family just recently stumbled upon this post. I am the maid of honor in the picture at Wagner! My sisters wedding was that following Saturday at the Ithaca Farmers Market. I’m so glad you enjoyed our home and we left a good impression!

    • OMG!!! That is incredible!! How awesome that your family came across this post. We LOVED the finger lakes! You live in a beautiful part of the country. And what a bonus it was for us to walk out on the deck of that elegant winery and see you and your friends having an absolute ball at your sister’s bachelorette party. Thanks for letting us know!!


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