Fall in the Finger Lakes offers a unique energy with wineries busy harvesting grapes, restaurants turning to serving dishes appropriate for the cooler weather, and farmers selling their hard-earned crops at stands around the region.
This means there is certainly plenty to do over the weekends to take advantage of all the region has to offer this time of year. Here are our Top 5 choices for this weekend near the end of October, 2020 that also keep social distancing guidelines in mind.
1. Visit a Farmers Market
You’ll get a locavore paradise if you visit one of our regional farmers market these days. Bins of squashes, root veggies, greens, apples, baked goods, and hot cider are abundant. The Auburn Farmer’s Market might be just the place to stock up on fresh produce for a weekend of comforting cooking! This farmer’s market has been running for about 70 years and you can find it Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Saturdays from 7 a.m. to 2 p.m. at 96 State St., the parking lot across from Curly’s restaurant, in Auburn, NY. For more information visit: http://www.auburnfarmerscoopmarketinc.com.
2. Experience a Finger Lakes Winery During Harvest
Harvest is underway at wineries all over the region, making this a special time to visit. The smell of grapes is thick in the air as you drive around the wine trails and you can get excited about being part of the 2020 season, knowing that the wines you’ll be drinking less than a year from now are in process. It’s a fun time to visit a tasting room and ask about the quality of the fruit coming in, while trying some of the previous vintages. Many wineries now require reservations and some only allow for outdoor visitations, so be sure to check website and social media channels before heading in. Check out the Seneca Lake Wine Trail for starters.
3. Visit a Local Brewery
We’ve lost count of the number of craft brewers in the Finger Lakes. There are so many now and they’re spread all over the region, which means you don’t have to travel far to try local beer and discover some new favorites. If you’re looking for a fun, unusual event, try the Lucky Hare Brewing Company 2nd Annual Hare Roast. Although this year the bonfire on Saturday, Oct. 24 will not be in-person as it was last year, Lucky Hare is streaming a fire at a secret location with various guests appearing at different times. The brewery, located at 6085 Beckhorn Rd in Hector, NY, is also using the event as an opportunity to release their one-year-old Rum Barrel Aged Fall’r N Oats’r. Attendees can reserve their beverage ahead of time in addition to a delicious rabbit stew from The Elf in the Oak. Those who place these orders ahead of time will be entered into a drawing for limited-edition Hare Roast t-shirts. To learn more visit: http://luckyharebrewing.com/2nd-annual-hare-roast.
4. Have some Halloween Fun on a Farm
Iron Kettle Farm in Candor, N.Y. will be open from 10:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. on Saturday, Oct. 24 for family-friendly, Halloween-themed fun including hay rides, a pumpkin sling shot, a corn maze, and a haunted-house “spook barn” according to its website. For more information visit: https://www.ironkettlefarm.com/ikf2019_006.htm. Penny’s Country Farm in Union Springs, NY offers similar festive fun including a haunted woods experience, a Punkin Chunkin Air Cannon, and handicap accessible wagon rides on both Saturday and Sunday from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. according to its website. To learn more visit: https://pennyscountryfarm.com/hours-admission/. For more pumpkin picking locations in the Finger Lakes, click here.
5. Cook something seasonal
The cooler nights make us want to get in the kitchen and get the oven cranking. Fresh produce from local farms is abundant right now, giving everyone a chance to try something new. Maybe this Chicken Pot Pie recipe is for you. Or maybe it’s time you learned to cook autumn squash. This Roasted Delicata will get you going. The Moosewood Restaurant in Ithaca is famous for its vegetarian cuisine and this time of year we love this Russian Cabbage and Beet Borscht recipe. It’s a beautiful red color, matching some of the leaves on the trees.