Cayuga County, New York: Small Town Charm, Big Time Hospitality

In a region known for the Finger Lakes, wineries and vineyards, Cayuga County stands out as a destination that welcomes visitors with open arms. Home to ten wineries, most are relatively small giving you a chance to get up close and personal with the people that grow the grapes, make the wines and serve visitors.

Boasting a wide variety of pubs and wineries, Cayuga County features such  establishments as Long Point Winery, which specializes in medium to full-bodied vinifera wines. The winery has spectacular views of the lake from the tasting room and gift shop. It has the added bonus of Amelia’s in-house cafe offering homemade and locally sourced salads, soups and specialty sandwiches. Bright Leaf Vineyard, co-owned by Michael and Donna Wilson, is located on the East side of Cayuga Lake. It features estate grown Vinifera grape varieties, specializing in red and white dry to semi- dry varietals, not to mention the incredible vistas.

Ideally located within driving distance to such major cities as New York, Toronto, Cleveland and Buffalo, Cayuga County rolls out the red carpet for visitors who come not only for the wine, but for an opportunity to explore one of the country’s most pristine regions. Visitors can choose from a wide variety of activities while having the opportunity to sample delectable cuisine and flavorful craft beers.

Next Chapter Brewery is known for developing alternative beer options, including lower alcohol content, alcohol free and gluten free options. As an added bonus it’s ideally situated right outside the Auburn Public Theater. Summerhill Brewery is a “garage-to-tasting-room story” and beer’s version of rags to riches. After starting in their garage in 2019 they opened a 3,000 square-foot tasting room and event space.

Small town charm abounds throughout Cayuga County. Nestled in Little Sodus Bay on the Great Lake Ontario, Fair Haven welcomes visitors with the warmth of small-town American hospitality. Offering several art galleries, Sterling Cidery, Colloca Estate Winery, family-owned restaurants, hotels and B&Bs, Fair Haven is the perfect getaway for any season. Enjoy such festive events as Pirate Fest, Porch Fest and Winter Fest at this authentic and welcoming destination.

Whether you are looking for fine dining or a casual meal, you’ll find restaurants to satisfy your taste and budget. Bistros, cafes and waterfront-dining options are all available as well as pancake breakfasts, chicken barbecues and pastas dinners. From signature demonstrations to tasting experiences and skills workshops, each session at Aurora Cooks! Restaurant in Aurora will inspire your creativity while expanding your culinary knowledge. At Mesa Grande Taqueria in Auburn, Burritos are their specialty but they also serve amazing tacos, quesadillas, nachos, salads and more.

Take an hour, or spend the day exploring the City of Auburn, known as “History’s Hometown” for its amazing historic treasures. For adventurous types, an abundance of outdoor recreational activities are ready for you to conquer, including hiking, biking, fishing and even scuba diving. With gorges at its south end, vineyards on its gentle slopes and marshes at its north end, the Cayuga Lake Scenic Byway features diverse landscapes and spectacular views. A tour around its 87 miles will take you through charming historic villages, by scenic waterfalls, parks and farmland. Skydive Central New York in Weedsport is dedicated to teaching sound and safe skydiving skills through advanced instruction and skilled coaching methods, while Silver Waters Sailing on Lake Ontario between Rochester and Syracuse offers basic sailing instruction.

With a never-ending list of activities and attractions, Cayuga County is perfect for a quick weekend getaway or week-long vacation. You’ll be amazed at what you’ll discover.


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