Ice Cream and Swimming in the Finger Lakes
July 18, 2007 10:11 AM   Subscribe

I am going to be spending a week traveling all around the Finger Lakes -- wineries are a given -- but what I really want to know is, where's the best swimming and the best ice cream?

. . . if there are any other special places you want to share (not ones that I could find by googling 'Finger Lakes'), that would be great too. Thanks.
posted by nnk to Travel & Transportation around Finger Lakes, ID (9 answers total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
There's a great hidden swimming hole at the bottom of a small (about 20' high) water fall here. I'm not sure which of the two map points it's on, but there's an obvious parking lot marking the head of the trail. Park there, follow the trail back about 300', where it merges onto a stream. Follow the stream back about 500', and it will start to turn into a gorge. Follow the stream to where it turns to the right and suddenly opens up into an open "bowl", and the waterfall and swimming hole will be right there. You can then climb up the natural stairs on the right side of the waterfall, follow the stream back another 100', and there will be a huge waterfall, about 100' tall. There's usually a nice deep swimming hole there, but it can change depending on what washed down the stream during the winter. I believe this area is known as Saw Mill Glen.
posted by skwm at 10:22 AM on July 18, 2007 [2 favorites]

I used to work here, and they have pretty good ice cream. Also here.

As far as swimming, try the reservoir (watch out for the park ranger, you're not really supposed to swim here but people do). There are also gorges in and around Cornell University. Just walk around and ask someone. I like to go here.

I'm jealous. I really miss that place.
posted by Gregamell at 10:33 AM on July 18, 2007

I spent my 30th birthday around the Finger Lakes. After a day of wine tasting, we stopped at Cayuga Lake Creamery. It was awesome.
posted by gaspode at 10:46 AM on July 18, 2007

I'm on one of the finger lakes (skaneateles) right now visiting family.

I will ask my grandparents who have lived here for 50-someodd years what they recommend, and get back to you.
posted by The Esteemed Doctor Bunsen Honeydew at 11:50 AM on July 18, 2007

The finger lakes is kind-of a spread out area... but If you'll be in the Canandaigua area, I recommend Kershaw park (at the north end) and Abbott's for ice cream.
Kershaw Park

Kershaw Park features 9 acres of park land on the north shore of Canandaigua Lake. Redeveloped in 1996-1997, the park improvements include sidewalk on both sides of Lakeshore Drive, lakefront walkways, a new beach area, new bathhouse, a new small craft launch area, a new public dock equipped with a boat pump-out station, improved landscaping and shoreline protection. Picnic pavilions and an open air gazebo are available. Park hours are 6:00AM-11:00PM, year round.
If you can, rent a boat and check out Sqaw Island
It is the smallest Fish and Wildlife Management Area in New York State and one of only two islands in the eleven Finger Lakes. The Seneca recall that the island was used to hide the Seneca women and children during the Sullivan Expedition against the Six Nations of the Iroquois in 1779 .

/grew up in Canandaigua
//misses the swimming
posted by Wild_Eep at 11:54 AM on July 18, 2007

If you go to the place Gregamell links under "I like to go here", you will be at the suspension bridge over one of the gorges. On the north end of the bridge is a little parking area; on the south end is a huge staircase going up to the Cornell art museum. (The art museum also has a parking area.) The 5th floor of the art museum has a fantastic view of the campus and the town and lake. Well worth a stop.

Also on the south end of the bridge is a level path which leads to a staircase going down into the gorge. There is a little swimming area at the base of the staircase; if school is in session you'll find lots of university students there. (Also, you can be seen easily from the bridge above, so it's not a secret area at all.) Watch your step here and in any of Ithaca's gorges; the rocks are slippery and it's a hassle to get out if you sprain an ankle or worse, because the only way out is up those huge staircases.

Also not secret but very pretty - Further downstream on the same creek (over a monster rocky waterfall - so don't try to swim down!) is Ithaca Falls (it's across the street, to the east, from the intersection I linked; there is a little gravel parking area). Rocky shores surrounding a big pool at the base of a big waterfall. People do swim here, the water is deeper than at the suspension bridge spot, and it's very picturesque-- but be aware there's lead contamination in the water and soil so don't take kids, or be sure to wash their feet off etc. Also, don't try to climb up the waterfall even though it looks tempting in some seasons.
posted by LobsterMitten at 11:57 AM on July 18, 2007

Other good things in the Finger Lakes:
Minor league baseball! Perfect for a summer evening. I have a special love for the Auburn Doubledays (nice park, relaxed, cheap as hell) but there are also the Elmira Pioneers (a really traditional ollld park), the Syracuse Skychiefs and the Binghamton Mets (who both have more modern generic parks and are on the expensive side). The Rochester Redwings have one of the best parks I've ever seen.

Trumansburg, a smaller town near Ithaca, has the Rongovian Embassy to the USA, a quirky restaurant/bar that's been around for ages. If you like coffee, check out Gimme Coffee which has coffeeshops in T-burg and Ithaca.
posted by LobsterMitten at 12:12 PM on July 18, 2007

Swim under a waterfall at Robert H. Treman State Park off Rt 13 south of Ithaca. The gorge hikes there are pretty spectacular too.
posted by zepheria at 12:13 PM on July 18, 2007

Thanks everybody -- great stuff!
We are going to go all around the lakes so I think we'll be able to check out many of the spots mentioned -- can't wait!
posted by nnk at 2:08 PM on July 18, 2007

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