Watkins Glen NY

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Watkins Glen & The Wine Trails

In upstate New York, make for a wonderful weekend getaway

Photos By
Joe Gigli

WATKINS GLEN, N.Y. For those who favor driving anywhere instead of flying, a trip to the Finger Lakes region of upstate New York is a great place to visit. It has a little something for everyone and is close enough for a weekend away.

Watkins Glen
& The Wine Trails

Photos By Joe Gigli

By Jeanne Dikdan Gigli

WATKINS GLEN, N.Y. For those who favor driving anywhere instead of flying, a trip to the Finger Lakes region of upstate New York is a great place to visit. It has a little something for everyone and is close enough for a weekend away.

 What made Watkins Glen famous is the 12 million-year-old gorge that is a hiker's/naturalist's or even a photographer's delight. It's a 1-mile mountain gorge carved out by glacial ice with a hiking trail that you can climb up or

take a shuttle bus up and hike down. Beware, there's the equivalent of three flights of stairs at the very end of the trail called Jacob's Ladder. And to every kid's delight an ice cream and gift shop at the top!

 Also at the gorge

offered nightly is a show called TimeSpell that is a laser light show chronicling the natural history of the earth and its inhabitants. Unfortunately the night my family and I planned on seeing it, Mother Nature sent us rain.

 Not to be missed while visiting Seneca Lake is the winery circuit tour. To do it right, you have to leave yourself an entire day, say beginning after breakfast at 10 or 11 a.m. (yes, the wineries open at 10 a.m.!) and making a stop at each of the wineries along Rt. 14 North from Watkins

Glen up to Geneva and back down the east side of the lake to Valois and Hector. Don't worry, there are plenty of good restaurants to stop at along the way for lunch. Most of the wineries offer free wine tastings and factory tours, if their factories are located on the grounds. Also, if you get the chance, take a leisurely stroll through the vineyards. If you're traveling with children, one of the winery shops even had a little corner of toys to keep them busy while Mom and Dad sipped their wine samples. The motto here is "Uncork New York!"

 If you're an auto

racing fan, there's the famous NASCAR weekend once a year in mid-August that attracts some 150,000 enthusiasts to the Watkins Glen International Raceway. During this time of year, the entire town eats, sleeps and drinks racing, especially all the souvenir shops and local motels!

 All in all, the children fared pretty well for their first camping trip where we had to rough it quite a bit, especially that post-midnight trek to the bathroom with flashlight in hand. And all the clothes that got wet when we learned that our tent leaked during the night rain episode eventually dried when

we hung them out on the clothesline. The children couldn't wait to get back to their beds and I couldn't wait to get back to a modern kitchen.

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