My family recently returned from a week-long stay on Keuka Lake in New York’s Finger Lakes. Our waterfront cottage was located only a block or two south of Penn Yan, which was convenient for short trips into town for shopping or picking up groceries and takeout. Penn Yan is also a fairly short drive to towns like Hammondsport and Watkins Glen for day trips. We had a fun week of visiting local farms, shopping, and splashing and paddling in the lake.
Beautiful Keuka Lake
I love Keuka Lake. When I was a kid, my grandparents lived in Penn Yan a few blocks from the lake, and we used to stay a week with them every summer in a rented cottage on the lake. During that week, we used to also attend a family reunion in Penn Yan’s Red Jacket Park, which was a short walk from the cottage that my husband, kids and I rented in July. I loved vacationing on the lake when I was young . So I wanted my kids to also get to know Keuka Lake and the beautiful surrounding towns and farmland.
The cottage that my husband and I rented this summer was perfect for enjoying New York’s Finger Lakes. During our week, we spent a few days just enjoying the lake, and other days, we took some day trips to see the sights. The views from the cottage’s dock and from the balcony were spectacular!
Our cottage came with a paddleboat and two kayaks, so my kids and I enjoyed some kayaking. I took my pup on one of my kayaking jaunts on the lake, but he preferred to stay on shore, and didn’t much enjoy swimming in the lake or riding in the kayak. One day my daughter and I enjoyed a short trip in the kayaks to see some of the beautiful homes on the lake.
When we weren’t boating, my kids and I enjoyed swimming in the lake and using our goggles to watch the fish swim below the surface. We also picked up a plastic set of paddle-ball paddles and a ball at the local CVS and played some paddle ball in the water, which was warmer than we expected it to be!
At night, we watched beautiful sunsets on the lake and looked up at the stars at night. We spotted the Big Dipper constellation and saw several shooting stars!
Touring the Finger Lakes
There is so much to do in the Finger Lakes area. The first trip my family and I took was to Hammondsport, a cute town on Keuka Lake. We spent the day browsing its cute shops and found some souvenirs. Later in the day we drove to Watkins Glen State Park to see its many waterfalls. We had our pup with us, who isn’t allowed on the Gorge Trail, so my kids hiked first to see the falls. My husband and I went next, but we only hiked to the first main falls, since my ankle is still weak since breaking it a few months ago, and the Gorge Trail has 800 stairs! But my kids say that the falls we did see were the largest ones on the trail.
On the way home from Watkins Glen, we picked up dinner at The BBQ Shack in Penn Yan. They make fantastic pulled pork and brisket. We enjoyed their food so much that we returned there later in the week for lunch too!
For our next day trip we drove to Seneca Falls to see the National Women’s Hall of Fame and the Women’s Rights National Historical Park, which portray the town’s historic role in the fight for women’s right to vote, and It’s a Wonderful Life Museum.
On the way to Seneca Falls, we stopped at the Muranda Cheese Company for a cheese tasting.
I loved sampling the cheeses! Before we left the cheese company, my husband got me a super cute cheese knife (like the one in the photo above), and we picked out some cheeses to bring home with us. On the way home after touring the museums in Seneca Falls, we stopped at the Elephant restaurant for some Thai-food takeout, and ate dinner at the cottage. The Thai food was excellent!
We spent one day thrift shopping and antiquing in Penn Yan. My daughters and I all found some cute clothing items while thrifting, and we enjoyed looking at all the interesting antiques at the Route 54 Antiques store, located just outside of the main part of town in the beautiful countryside.
Our last full day at the lake we spent the whole day at the cottage, making sure to do as much swimming and paddling as possible. On Saturday, just before hitting the road for home, we visited the Windmill, a big outdoor farm and craft market that’s open on Saturdays. I picked up a cute handmade gnome welcome sign, which now sits just outside my front door. (I love gnomes—I am not sure why!) In all, my family and I really enjoyed our Keuka Lake vacation!