Learn About 14 of the Wineries on the Cayuga Lake Wine Trail

Explore the first organized and longest-running wine trail in the United States! Established in 1983, the Cayuga Lake Wine Trail features a total of 16 member wineries, all of which are dog-friendly! This list includes cideries, a meadery, four distilleries, and a taproom, so there’s truly something for everyone to enjoy. Add to that the incredible views of Cayuga Lake and you’ll have a wonderful vacation! Get a preview of the wineries on the trail below. If you’re interested in learning about more wineries in the area, download our free Vacation Guide!

Explore the Cayuga Lake Wine Trail

Americana Vineyards

Can you think of a better combination than fudge and wine? Americana Vineyards can’t! Visit to enjoy their award-winning wines, homemade fudge, and even local beers in their onsite taproom and beer garden. While you’re there, dine at the Cyrstal Lake Cafe, which is serving up expertly prepared meals that use local and seasonal ingredients.

Buttonwood Grove Winery

Speaking of award-winning wines, visit the winner of the 2017 Governor’s Cup! Buttonwood Grove Winery has some of the best views in the region, which you can enjoy from their multi-level deck.

Cayuga Ridge Estate Winery

There’s no better place for a picnic than Cayuga Ridge Estate Winery! Sip their delicious wines and visit their gift shop, which offers local and handmade products. Enjoy artisan cheeses and picnic snacks, including wood-fired pizzas from The Copper Oen.

Goose Watch Winery

Goose Watch Winery has been making unique and specialty wines for over 20 years. The winemakers of Goose Watch Winery were awarded “Winemakers of the Year” in 2017 at the San Francisco International Wine Competition, which is the largest contest held in California.

Hosmer Winery

Home to some of the oldest vineyards along Cayuga Lake, Hosmer Winery is focused on making wines in a sustainable way with little impact on the environment.

Knapp Winery

Knapp Winery and Vineyard Restaurant has been around for 35 years, making robust wines and unique varietals. The onsite restaurant complements the wines perfectly, serving an equally eclectic menu.

Long Point Winery

A family-owned establishment, Long Point Winery is serving friendly smiles, delicious wines, and gorgeous views of the lake.

Lucas Vineyards

Lucas Vineyards, owned by the Lucas family, features one of the first female winemakers of the Finger Lakes! They are known for their Tug Boat Sangria and Raspberry Blue Splash, both refreshing drinks on a hot day!

Montezuma Winery

With fruit, grape, and honey wines, you’ll find more than enough to enjoy at Montezuma Winery. The attached onsite distillery offers spirits which were crafted from locally grown products. Their gift shop is another must.

Six Mile Creek Vineyard

If you’re planning on touring downtown Ithaca, stop by Six Mile Creek Vineyard. This is another great spot for a picnic or special event. They also carry a line of specialty spirits that have also been distilled from local grapes.

Swedish Hill Winery

Three-time winners of the Governor Cup, Swedish Hill Winery is one of the most prestigious establishments with one of the widest selections of drinks in the region. Be sure to visit their famous miniature donkey and their miniature horse!

Thirsty Owl Wine Company

One of the best lunchtime spots in Cayuga Lake, Thirsty Owl Wine Company is a fantastic business to visit by land or by boat!

Toro Run Winery

Located on a glacier-carved hillside, Toro Run Winery boasts the best view in the region! Explore their scenic hiking trail and sample the award-winning varieties.

Varick Winery & Vineyard

Varick Winery & Vineyard has the feel of an old country store. You’ll be able to shop among jellies, preserves, mustards, and so much more at their gift shop. Sit for a while in one of the rocking chairs facing the lake or pick cherries from their orchard in June or July.

Stay with Finger Lakes Premier Properties

booking ctaAre you ready to explore the Cayuga Lake Wine Trail? Then book a rental home with Finger Lakes Premier Properties! You won’t be able to find such an incredible selection of vacation houses anywhere else in the region. Enjoy top-notch accommodations surrounding by gorgeous vistas.

Check out our full selection of properties and book today! We look forward to having you.

Explore the Best of the Finger Lakes Cheese Trail

The Finger Lakes region is quickly becoming known as one of the most popular agri-tourism spots in the country! For those unfamiliar with the term, “agri-tourism” describes the new trend of visiting farms, dairies, and ranches, in order to get a behind-the-scenes look at how they operate. There is a wide variety of agri-tourism trails in this region, including the relatively new Finger Lakes Cheese Trail! Created by Finger Lake Trails, this route includes working, family farms that produce a wide variety of cheese. Find out about the seven amazing destination farms on the trail below! If you’re interested in more options, download our free Vacation Guide!

Explore the Finger Lakes Cheese Trail

Engelbert Farms

Engelbert Farms is dedicated to raising their animals in a safe, ethical, and chemical-free environment. They have been certified organic since 1984 and has been family owned since this located opened in the early 1900s. Visitors can browse their selection of cheeses at their store, which is adjacent to the farm itself. There, you’ll find a variety of organic cheddars, colby, gouda, swiss, jacks, and mozzarella. It’s open on Friday and Saturday from 10:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m., or by reservation.

Jerry Dell Farm & Farm Store

Another great family-owned farm in the Finger Lakes, this certified organic farm and the adjacent store are one of the best producers of raw milk cheddars in the area. Their store often carries produce from Ithaca Organics, another local farm.

Muranda Cheese Company

For a wide variety of cheeses, visit the Muranda Cheese Company! All of the cheeses here utilize Muranda Registered Holsteins, which have been raised by the Murray family for generations. One of the cows in this herd even had the world record for milk production and held it for 13 years! They offer a range of cheeses, from traditional raw milk cheddars to unique varieties that you’ll only find at Muranda Cheese Company, like the Checkerboard Cheddar. Visit their tasting room, which is open seven days a week, during your next trip to the Finger Lakes.

Shtayburne Farm

The Hostetler family has owned Shtayburne Farm for over four generations before opening a creamery and farm store in 2010. They offer small-batch cheeses that are made with locally-grown crops and milk. Visit their tasting room and sample some of their unique combinations! There are over 15 blends of cheddar and Monterey Jack available!

Side Hill Acres Goat Dairy Farm

Side Hill Acres Goat Dairy Farm is an awesome family-friendly farm that offers free tours to all visitors! Their tours begin with a tasting of their goat cheeses as well as their fudge. Then, you’ll head to the cheese plant, the milk house, the parlor, and the goat barn. If you’re looking for an educational experience, this is the best option on the trail! They are open on Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays, and Saturdays from 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.

Lively Run Goat Dairy

This Finger Lake institution is one of the longest-operating commercial goat dairies in the United States! Visits can stop by Lively Run Goat Dairy during their open season (from May until October) for a $5 cheese tasting, which is available from Monday through Saturday from 10:00 a.m. until 5:00 p.m. and on Sundays from noon until 5:00 p.m. Lively Run also offers a daily tour from Monday to Saturday at 2:00 p.m.

Sunset View Creamery

Sunset View Creamery has been in operation since 1905 and has been a family-owned farm ever since. At the moment, they are operating with the fourth and fifth generation of family members. Visitors can either take a self-guided tour of the farm to get a feel of how the animals live and the farm operates. If you want an even closer look, book a guided tour before your visit for just $2 a person. Sunset View Creamery is open during the summer season, seven days a week, from 10:00 a.m to 5:00 p.m.

Attend the Finger Lakes Cheese Festival

If you’re interested in getting an easy overview of the best cheese-makers in the Finger Lakes, attend the Finger Lakes Cheese Festival! Members of the Finger Lakes Cheese Alliance and various other vendors come together each year to show off their amazing products. The festival includes kid-friendly games, hayrides, and more.

Stay with Finger Lakes Premier Properties

Book your home with Finger Lakes Premier PropertiesAre you ready to explore the Finger Lakes Cheese Trail? The adventure starts after you book a vacation rental with Finger Lakes Premier Properties. No other management agency in town has such a fantastic selection of luxury houses. Don’t forget to browse through our selection of pet-friendly rentals, perfect for families traveling during their annual vacations or groups of friends on a weekend getaway.

Take a look at our full selection of homes and book today! We look forward to having you.

Want to learn about more agri-tourism trails in the region? Check out our blog! We’ve written features on the Seneca Lake Wine Trail and the Finger Lakes Beer Trail.

Get the Best Tips on Decorating a Vacation Rental

Whether you’re turning your existing vacation home into a rental property or you’re purchasing an investment house, you’re going to have to consider how to decorate it thoughtfully for the wide range of visitors. While management companies can help you with many of the steps involved in this process, decorating a vacation rental is something that you’ll have to handle personally. Before you get started, however, check out some of our favorite tips and tricks in order to set yourself up for success!

Our Favorite Tips for Decorating a Vacation Rental

Know When to Hold Them, Know When to Fold Them

One of the biggest challenges you’ll face when decorating your vacation rental is figuring out what to upgrade and what to keep the same. While lush carpeting might feel great and give the home a luxurious feel, it can be difficult to maintain. Even with the expert housekeepers employed by Finger Lake Premier Properties, carpet tends to be more trouble than its worth. Plus, carpet can be challenging for guests who use walkers, canes, or wheelchairs. Hardwood, tile, or vinyl are great replacement options. Another good item to upgrade is bedding. You want to invest in a quality mattress or (at the very least) a comfortable mattress pad. Something so small can make a huge difference in your guest’s experience.

You definitely won’t have to upgrade everything in the home. If your kitchen has been updated in the past decade, it will suit your guest just fine. If your furniture is comfortable and clean, your guest will be happy relaxing in it. Just remember to remove all sentimental items from the home. There are some things that money cannot replace, and while most of our guests are incredibly considerate and careful, accidents do happen. Luckily, if you rent your home through Finger Lakes Premier Property, you won’t have to worry about recouping your losses directly with the guests. Our protection policy program covers many accidental damages, and any major repairs are charged to the guest.

Don’t Forget the Little Things

Even if you don’t have the budget for a massive overhaul of your investment property, there are plenty of small improvements that you can do that will make a huge difference. A fresh coat of paint or a proper power washing can spruce up a home. Another great tip is to check consignment shops and second-hand stores for paintings, used books, or any other decorative pieces that you can add to the home to brighten it up. Extra throw pillows and blankets are always appreciated! Finally, make sure the house has good lighting. Lamps are a great way to add color to a room while still being functional.

Team up with Finger Lakes Premier Properties

woman painting a homeWe may not be able to help you in decorating a vacation rental, but we will be able to make sure that your property stays just the way you want it. Finger Lakes Premier Properties is dedicated to making sure that all of our owners feel confident that their homes are cared for. That’s why we employ our own housekeeping and maintenance staff and keep all our owners up-to-date on any work that needs to be done to their property.

Discover what Finger Lakes Premier Properties can do for you when you contact us today!

Increase Bookings With Four Easy Upgrades

Comfortable Outdoor Atmosphere

When you vacation in the Smokey Mountains of Tennessee or the white sandy beaches of Pensacola, what do you do? Do you lounge around inside or enjoy the view outdoors? If you are like the people vacationing in the Finger Lakes, you probably chose your vacation spot for the outdoor spaces to savor the scenery. If you want to increase bookings, create an enjoyable outdoor atmosphere for your guests.

One way you can do this is to provide furniture. However, throwing a few wooden chairs out in a yard that receives direct sunlight probably isn’t going to do the trick. Instead, you may want to invest in plush furniture that is both comfortable and decorative, but durable enough to withstand the elements. Perhaps some comfy cushions or a recliner would be appropriate so that guests can unwind and relax.

Another way to create an enjoyable outdoor atmosphere that will really make your vacation rental stand out is outdoor décor and shaded spaces. With some art, statues, and area rugs, you can increase the ambience of your outdoor living area. Potted plants that don’t require much watering would also add a nice touch. Above all, make sure your vacation rental’s outdoor space provides enough shade. Not everyone likes to be in direct sunlight all day.

Central Air and Ceiling Fans

Although vacation rentals are on the cool waters of the lakes, summers can get hot and humid. Nothing feels better than walking into a cool, air-conditioned house to recuperate from the day’s activity. It also happens to be one of the main complaints our guest services department handles during peak months.

If your vacation rental home does not have central air and/or ceiling fans, you will want to install these as soon as possible. Doing so will boost your home’s search results, improve your guest’s experience dramatically, and ultimately lead to return bookings.

Technological Home Improvements

While many people vacation in the Finger Lakes to get a break from reality and enjoy the outdoor scenery, they still appreciate the convenience technology offers. This is especially true of the millennial generation who are beginning to enter into the vacation rental industry as consumers.

Installing a reliable Wi-Fi network will definitely please your guests. If guests have complained in the past about limited Wi-Fi, you may consider upgrading to accommodate a greater number of devices.

Guests also appreciate smart TVs with cable or a movie streaming service to relax at night, such as Roku. Besides entertainment, a TV contributes to the overall atmosphere and helps your guests feel more at home. If you already have one TV in the living room, you may consider placing additional TVs in each bedroom.

Another technological improvement that is becoming popular in the vacation rental industry is virtual home assistants such as Amazon’s Echo products. Like Siri, a virtual home assistant will talk back and act on voice command. Guests can ask for information, the weather forecast, music playback, and more. This can be especially useful for guests who want to look up things to do or places to eat in the area.

Amenities

When it comes to amenities, do not skimp. Amenities are all those extra things that put the cherry on top. Even the smallest things can make or break a guest’s experience which can affect reviews and repeat visits.

FLPP includes the traditional amenities such as towels, toiletries, cleaning supplies, and maps of the area. You may wish to throw in additional amenities such as a universal charger and adapter to assuage the fears of travelers who forgot their own.

However, remember that guests are vacationing in the Finger Lakes. If you want to increase bookings, consider adding lake-specific amenities such as paddleboats or kayaks as part of the vacation rental. Another amenity guests look for is a hot tub, especially our year-round renters. In addition to the extra draw, you will be able to increase rates as well.

Benefits of Home Renovations – A Case Study

At Finger Lakes Premier Properties, we strive to meet both guest and owner expectations. Guests expect an enjoyable experience while owners expect to receive a return on investment. One way we help our owners maximize their revenue is by suggesting home renovations that cater to guests. Through our reservation software, website analytics, and guest reviews, we are able to determine what amenities guests desire and drive revenue.

New Renovations

One of our owners decided to act on our renovation recommendations to a newly purchased home that had been in our vacation rental program. Before the rental season began this year, they made some improvements to Seneca Shores. They started simple by adding new bedding and paint throughout the house. In the kitchen, they installed new wood floors, marble countertops, and white cabinets which have given it a nice modern flair. The largest project was turning the basement into a furnished game room so guests have something to do at night or during rainy days. Outside there was more emphasis on the guest experience by adding a lake view fire pit area and additional lounge chairs on the deck. After the renovations were completed, here’s what one guest had to say:

“This was our 2nd time staying at Seneca Shores and everything was magnificent. We really enjoyed the new updates & bedding along with the game room and hot tub. Excellent job. We hope to stay again in the future.”  – Kimberly S. from Pittston, NY, 04/25/2018

BeforeKitchen Before RenovationAfterKitchen After Renovation

Renovations Results

After we examined the numbers, we found these renovations improved bookings and revenue significantly. The following table illustrates the increase in 2018 bookings compared to 2017 year to date.

Year Nights Reservations
2017 92 21
2018 113 29

With the improvements to the home, we found that guests booked more nights and we charged a higher rate. To see the average rate per night, check out the figure below.

Not only did these renovations meet owner expectations with increased revenue, they met guest expectations as well.

In addition to Seneca Shores, we performed case studies on two other rentals that were renovated late this spring. However, these rentals opened their calendars late in the summer. This makes it difficult to compare year-over-year data. However, based on their booking patterns so far this summer, the potential for increased revenue is high for 2019.

Get Recommendations to Renovate Your Rental Home

Investing money to renovate your rental home can be risky. Let us help you make an informed decision. If you would like recommendations for renovating your rental home, contact Owner Services. With over twelve years of experience, our Owner Services Department knows what guests want and how owners can meet those expectations. We always include recommendations for our owners in their post-season inspection. If you would like more information about joining our property management program, contact Owner Services today.

Q2 market data indicates the time to sell is Now!

With a substantial increase in average sale prices across the Finger Lakes, the real estate market continues to thrive as we approach peak season.

Keuka Lake topped the charts with a whopping 44% increase in average sale price YOY. Honeoye (16%), Canandaigua (5%) and Cayuga (4%) experienced noticeable increases as well.

One likely cause for the increase on the smaller markets like Honeoye Lake could involve the actions of local government. Those familiar with the area understand the issues Honeoye has had with its waterfront – yup, the dreaded blue algae. To combat the issue, local governments have funded efforts to construct man-made vernal pools around the lake, absorbing the excess of nutrients before the sediment reaches Honeoye. These actions provide hope to prospective homeowners looking for the lake lifestyle at a smaller price tag than the larger lakes in the region.

 

                                     2018 Finger Lakes Market Report, Quarter Two (April-June)

 

Sale prices up, DOM down… but this ideal sales window may be fleeting.

As an on-the-fence seller, you may be thinking, “Why should I sell now?” As average sale prices continue to rise and the average days on market continues to fall, it’s tempting to wait and see how ‘hot’ the market can get.

However, with mortgage rates expected to rise significantly at the end of Q3 (October), the current volume of interested buyers may shrink.

Seasonality also plays an important role. Like most markets, buyer interest in the Finger Lakes takes off in the spring, peaks late summer/early fall and drops off in the winter. As a region renowned for its favorably mild summers, aesthetic fall seasons, and then leaping into such severe winters, it makes sense that our market responds in a correlative manner.

Bottom line: if you are not prepared to sell, hold on to your asset. Finish those home repairs/updates to maximize your property value. The value of your lakefront home will not depreciate. But if you have contemplated selling, it is important that you recognize the advantages of listing now.

 

 

A Word from our Lakefront Specialists:

“The market continues to be strong for anyone selling between the prices of $200 – $600K. The upper end buyers are just entering the market now and we are beginning to see activity on those homes as well. Very strong market overall for anyone even considering selling their lakefront home.”

Cynthia Emerling                                                             Listing Specialist / Broker Associate                                  Finger Lakes Premier Properties

 

“The buyer’s market is strong with many interested buyers from out of state, most notably from Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and California. The Finger Lakes Region is exploding with tourism. The growing wine and beer industry is bringing the region to the pinnacle of personal and investment opportunities.”

David Lucchesi                                                                Buyer’s Specialist                                                                  Finger Lakes Premier Properties

 

Finger Lakes Premier Properties is positioned with Lakefront Listing Specialists who know and understand the differences in each lake’s market. Whether your home is on Canandaigua or all the way over on Owasco, our Listing Specialists know your market, towns, and watersheds, and will help you understand when the best time to list your home will be.

When you are ready to list your home, or purchase a new one, give us a call at 888-847-9331 or email Sales@FLPPlake.com.