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The Finger Lakes Beer Company opened in 2010 at the base of Keuka Lake in Hammondsport, which Budget Travel magazine named America’s coolest town in 2012, for the hamlet’s laid-back atmosphere and artsy shops. The Finger Lakes Beer Company is one of many craft breweries in the area, but is worth a stop for a pint of the Ring of Fire, a medium-bodied ale brewed with malts from four different countries.

For a less alcoholic adventure, spend a morning hiking one of the region’s many trails, most of which remain open from late spring through late autumn. The two-mile gorge trail in Watkins Glen State Park is one of the Finger Lakes’ most popular, featuring 200ft cliffs and more than 15 waterfalls. As an alternative, visit Buttermilk State Falls in Ithaca. There are fewer waterfalls to see than in Watkins Glen, but the park has five different trails, a large natural swimming hole at the base and often opens earlier in the season than many of the surrounding parks.

Where to stay
The Watkins Glen Harbor Hotel, opened in July 2008, sits at the base of Seneca Lake, making it a central location for touring wineries on either side of the lake, and an easy drive from the Keuka Lake Wine Trail to the west, or the Cayuga Lake Wine Trail to the east. Half of the hotel’s 104 rooms look out onto Seneca Lake, the largest and deepest of the Finger Lakes.

Hotel Clarence, at the top of Cayuga Lake, is a historic hotel that was restored in 2009. The 48 rooms are styled after the movie It’s a Wonderful Life, since the hotel’s town of Seneca Falls claims to be the inspiration for Bedford Falls, the setting of the movie. Clarence is the name of the main character’s guardian angel.

 

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