A Local’s Favorite Things to Do in Penn Yan, NY

The Finger Lakes region is a vast expanse that stretches over 9,000 miles in Upstate New York. Within this area, there are dozens of towns and villages that overlook each of our beautiful lakes. For first-time visitors, deciding where to stay can seem overwhelming. If you’re planning a getaway to this region, consider staying in Penn Yan! Perched at the northernmost tip of Keuka Lake, this historic village is the perfect destination for a quiet family vacation. Discover some of the many amazing things to do in Penn Yan, NY.

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Enhance your Lakefront Listing with Better Visual Content

With the increased use of visual social media platforms and mobile internet, having quality, professional photos has never been more essential to selling a home. Prospective buyers can access your listing and develop interest in your home – or take it off their list – without ever seeing it in person or contacting a realtor. Here are the numbers:

92% of homebuyers search the internet before contacting an agent.
Listings with more visual content, like virtual tours and videos receive 403% more inquiries.
89% of buyers across all demographics look to the web to narrow down their list of properties to consider.

Source: Matterport Industry Stats

This is why it’s crucial to work with an agent that has photography and staging experience or one that utilizes a professional photographer in order to get buyers through your door.

We’ve put together a few of the basic photography tools that your real estate agent should be using to put your best foot forward online.

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Explore the History of Women’s Suffrage in the Finger Lakes

Come visit the birthplace of the women’s rights movement! The Finger Lakes region was home to the most monumental moments in the fight for women’s suffrage. Tour the site of the Seneca Falls Convention or visit the spot where Susan B. Anthony illegally voted in 1872. By visiting the incredible museums and historic sites around the region, you’ll be able to see the beautiful countryside while learning about fearless women who changed history. Discover the history of women’s suffrage in the Finger Lakes and start planning your stay today!

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Top Family Excursions in the Finger Lakes – From a Local Mom

By Lindsay Bolton, Marketing Manager at Finger Lakes Premier Properties

As a mom of two very energetic boys (ages 3 and 6), we are always out exploring. The Finger Lakes has so much to offer, but can be a bit overwhelming if you’re the one planning out the adventures. Here are just some of my family’s favorite things to do and go-to places to create a memorable vacation in the Finger Lakes.

Enjoy the lakes!

Even before I worked for Finger Lakes Premier Properties, my husband and I rented a cottage on Honeoye Lake. Staying on the lake offers days of entertainment for the whole family, and even allows you some time to pick up that book you’ve been wanting to read. Our son’s favorite thing about staying on the lake was kayaking and fishing. So be sure to pack some fishing poles for your stay along with some sand toys (even though we don’t have sandy beaches, they will still get lots of use). Many of our rentals come with non-motorized watercraft. But if you need to rent some, or want to rent a motorboat for some extra excitement on the lake, check out these vendors.

Take advantage of the provided watercraft at your rental and the most out of staying on the lake!

If you’re staying at one of our off-lake rentals, no fear! There are plenty of public beaches that offer fantastic swimming. Our favorites are Keuka Lake State Park (Keuka Lake), Kershaw Park (Canandaigua Lake) and Cayuga Lake State Park (Cayuga Lake) for their sandy beaches where my kids spend more time in the sand than in the water.

Take a hike!

The word “hike” does not always imply an uphill trek backpacking the kids. While, yes, there are some trails like this, my family steers more towards the locations where the kids are comfortable exploring on their own. Some even come with a bonus waterfall! Some of my family’s favorite trails are:

The first falls at Grimes Glen
  • Grime’s Glen in Naples (South end of Canandaigua Lake) – This starts as an easy trail, but pack your water shoes because if you want to get the full experience, you have to walk up the (very shallow) creek. There are three different waterfalls, the first two are easy to get to. If you want to get to the third there is a bit more climbing involved. Then at the end and last waterfall, there is a natural pool that you can swim in. This trail is perfect for hot summer days as a shaded alternative to staying at the lake and cooling off.
  • Taughannock Falls State Park in Ithaca (Cayuga Lake) – The paved gradual trail is great for kids of any age. This is also a great dog-friendly hike, for any size pup. During the summer months, the water may be only a trickle, which does allow you to walk up the gorge but doesn’t provide the grand view of the majestic falls at the end. Either way, after your trek you can go across the road to enjoy swimming, the playground, or have a picnic by the lake.
  • The Outlet Trail in Penn Yan (between Keuka and Seneca Lakes) – This seven-mile path goes from Keuka to Seneca Lake and is mostly very gradual. It follows the canal and offers views of waterfalls, historic buildings, and is overall a very peaceful trail. If you have older kids, this is a perfect biking trail.
  • Onanda Park (Canandaigua Lake) – This park is not as well known as some of the others but is one of my family’s go-to parks (disclosure: we also live relatively close to it). On the lakeside, there is a great park for swimming, kayaking (bring your own), and playground. Across the road, you have the choice of going up the hill (there is a parking lot up there) where you can hike some up-hill trails, or stay below to walk up along the gorge. We usually choose the later, especially on hot days. Here my boys can explore the gorge, throw rocks into small pools of water, and hunt for salamanders. If you trek up to the end there are waterfalls!
Fall visit to Taughannock Falls!

There are MANY trails to hike in the Finger Lakes, my goal is to explore some more this summer! Some others that are more of an incline and would be great with older kids include Watkins Glen State Park, Buttermilk Falls State Park, and Letchworth State Park. For a great resource on finding trails in the Finger Lakes, visit GoFingerLakes.org.

Museums… for kids!

As much as we don’t want to admit it, there is a chance of a rainy day during your vacation. But don’t fear! There is still plenty to do to keep the kids occupied, even if you didn’t pack that suitcase full of toys! Some of these museums may be a drive (an hour or more) from your rental, but they can easily turn into full-day excursions:

Hands down the Strong Museum of Play is one of the best children’s museums we’ve been to!
  • Strong Museum of Play (Rochester, NY) – My kids love this museum so much we have a season pass! It is exactly what it sounds like, a museum of toys! This destination has everything from a kid-size Wegmans (grocery store for the non-locals), an indoor carousel, train, and any kind of imaginative play you can think of. You can pack a lunch or purchase a meal (or milkshake) in their food court. Just a warning, especially for the little ones there is so much to do, you may not get through it all in just one trip.
  • Rochester Museum of Science (Rochester, NY) – I recently went here with my son’s school and am anxious to go back. This museum has some great exhibits for the future astronaut (get tickets to the planetarium), archeologist, marine biologist, or historian. There are plenty of hands-on activities and a massive climbing AdventureZone for even the most active kids. Even as parents you’re sure to leave with some extra knowledge at the end of the day.
  • Sciencenter in Ithaca (Cayuga Lake) – Ok I’ll be honest, I haven’t even hit up this museum yet. BUT, many of my mom-friends have and they rave about it. They tell me its especially great for younger kids (10 years to the just walking) with all of the hands-on exhibits. It includes marine life, an outdoor playground, and tons of experimental exhibits for your future Isaac Newtons.
  • Corning Museum of Glass (Corning, NY) – So the thought of taking two energetic boys to this location scares me. BUT, their marketing rep assured me there is no “you break it you buy it” policy. Also, it is pretty remarkable for the kids to watch the glass blowing demos or even the glass breaking demos. Plus, kids 17 years and under are free!

Go Pickin’!

One of the most delicious ways to spend the day is picking local seasonal fruit. My kids love it and they always oblige to being my helpers with finding the ripest pickings. In the Finger Lakes, you can find local u-pick farms for strawberries (around July), blueberries (August), cherries (June), grapes (end of August through September), Apples (October), and Pumpkins (October). After you’ve picked your heart out, take advantage of that kitchen in your rental and bake some sweet pies and treats together. Here are a couple of our favorite pickin’ spots:

Picking grapes at Jerome’s in Naples is something my boys look forward to all year!
  • Jerome’s in Naples (South end of Canandaigua) – Naples is one of the epicenters in the Finger Lakes for fresh grapes (thanks to the annual Grape Festival and the delicious Monica’s Famous Grape Pies). You will find all sorts of u-pick farm signs around this quaint town. But our go-to year after year is Jerome’s with its delicious variety and surplus of grapes.
  • Apple Barrel Orchards in Penn Yan (Keuka Lake) – I grew up picking apples at this farm, so it is a bit of a family tradition. Now located up the hill on Wager Hill Rd, the family-owned farm offers one of the best offerings of fresh fruits including apples, grapes, cherries, black raspberries, and peaches. In the fall, they also have a shop full of their own baked goods and treats, those also come highly recommended!
  • Varick Winery (Cayuga Lake) – Not only does this winery have award-winning wines, loads of fresh snacks, and fresh grape juice for the kiddos, but it also offers fresh cherries each summer. However, they tend to save the picking for their annual Cherry Festival (this year on June 29th). This festival also offers vendors, live music, and of course, wine and juice tastings.

Playgrounds and Parks

Kids love playgrounds. They are free, they are fun, and it allows you a few minutes to relax on the sidelines. My boys and I have had a few summer days that we call “playground marathons” where we pack a lunch and hit up all of their favorites. Then there are days where we’re seeking a bit more adventure and head to bigger attractions for a special day together. Here are some of their must-visit jungle gyms:

My oldest at the pirate ship playground on Outhouse Road, Canandaigua.
  • Outhouse Road in Canandaigua (Canandaigua Lake) – This playground has a pirate ship, who wouldn’t love that! It also has a walking path around the grounds, public bathrooms, pavilions, and plenty of space for the kids and pups to run. Also, Canandaigua has a HUGE variety of playgrounds between the schools and four different parks, but this is their go-to in town.
  • Keuka Lake State Park in Penn Yan (Keuka Lake) – Probably one of my favorite playgrounds because of the variety of climbing options, swings, and what we call an obstacle course of monkey bars. This is great for families with kids of all ages with the different options available. Did you see above this park also has a sandy beach and swimming? Pack a lunch and enjoy a day at this park!
  • Geneva Community Lakefront Playground in Geneva (Seneca Lake) – This playground isn’t as large as the other two, but if you’re staying near the top end of Seneca Lake, it’s a great option. Not only is the playground a blast, but there is an ice cream shop right next to it, a pier to walk out to, and the Finger Lakes Welcome Center is just a short walk down the lake with a huge I LOVE NY sign and (gasp) a new playground there too!
  • Roseland Waterpark in Canandaigua (Canandaigua Lake) – Especially for those staying at one of our off-lake homes, Roseland Waterpark is a great place for the whole family to spend a hot summer day together. My kids are still at an age (and height) where they can’t do the larger water rides. But that doesn’t stunt their excitement for this park. Between the wave pool, huge splash park, raft ride, and lazy river, we get more than our share of fun. They even have tables set up right outside the entrance so you can retrieve a packed lunch to enjoy together before returning back in for more waves.
  • Seabreeze Amusement Park in Rochester – We’re a big theme park family and try to find one when we are traveling. Seabreeze is a day trip, but well worth it. This park offers a great variety of rides for kids to adults and also includes a waterpark. It’s not a huge park, but has been providing my family with great memories since I was in a car seat myself!

This list by no means encompasses all of the possible options for your family’s Finger Lakes vacation. But as a mom who loves to travel, I always appreciate a local’s point of view. If you have some of your own recommendations post in the comments below. Perhaps I’ll add them to my bucket list too!

For more information about planning your next vacation call our reservation department at (877) 751-9011 or visit our online interactive map to find attractions across our region.

Responsible Renting

Inexperience among property managers is leading to concerns about private vacation rentals in high tourism areas. Sometimes even causing destinations to enact complete bans on rentals in that area.

Using and renting a home out as a vacation rental has become a trendy topic in the last few years. With the rising popularity of sites like AirBNB or VRBO, it seems that anyone can become a property manager. But while these sites handle the listing and booking features, they don’t cover the actual management of the vacation rental. Few first-time rental managers fully understand the scope and time it takes to manage a property successfully from booking to check-out.

That’s why Finger Lakes Premier Properties (FLPP) is in the business of promoting and advocating for responsible property management in the Finger Lakes Region of New York State. A staple in the industry for over 25 years, they are the leading experts in caring for and curating a vacation experience that benefits owners, guests, neighbors, and the broader communities that they serve.

Homeowner Education

One of the cornerstone values of Finger Lakes Premier Properties is providing an end-to-end approach to vacation rental and property management. From the moment a homeowner signs on with FLPP, they are educated on the rental process, the value their home brings, and the broader vacation rental industry. They learn that there is more to managing a property than taking a booking and turning a profit. With FLPP, homeowners receive education and constant communication around what to expect, from start to finish. 

Day to Day Management

Additionally, homeowners in FLPP’s rental program rely on the company for their high-level of involvement in managing and running a vacation rental. On average, it can take 8-10 hours a week to manage a single property, not including regular maintenance and housekeeping. More than a listing site, Finger Lakes Premier Properties handles marketing the homes in their care, maximizing occupancy, driving visitation, managing the guest experience, and caring for the needs and expectations of the local communities. They handle home maintenance and housekeeping – even providing linens for the duration of a guest’s stay. They offer a 24-hour open line for emergency needs to handle situations that arise from guests, homeowners, and neighbors alike.

Neighbor Concerns and Care

When a guest books a Finger Lakes Premier Properties’ home, they are educated about neighbor relations and responsible restrictions within the area that they have chosen. FLPP takes care to help the guest understand that they are residing next to local neighbors and residential homes during their visit – not other tourists like at a hotel or resort.

As such, FLPP provides signage around parking, trash disposal and removal, property limitations, and sets quiet hours for each property that they manage. Guests are required to sign a license agreement outlining these terms before staying at the home and are educated on the consequences of breaking the agreement in any way.

On the other side, neighbors are also informed that they reside next to a vacation rental property and are educated on what to expect. They are provided a direct line to FLPP and encouraged to call to voice concerns, request assistance, or request enforcement of policies in the case of an unwanted guest situation.

Environmental Impact

Beyond the booking and the buildings, FLPP is focused on caring for and preserving the broader Finger Lakes Region. In high tourist areas, guests can have an impact on the ecosystem and health of the Finger Lakes. FLPP circumvents possible environmental situations by placing regulations on homeowners to keep their property and facilities up to code based on occupancy sizes and the number of guests hosted each year. By promoting environmental awareness among homeowners and guests, FLPP helps to ensure the Finger Lakes Vacation Region is around for future communities and visitors to enjoy.

Tourism Impact

Vacation rentals positively impact the tourism industry by offering more accommodation options within a single community and boosting the local economy – with more visitors branching out to area attractions, eating in local restaurants, and shopping in local stores. These properties are often able to accommodate larger groups and families than a traditional hotel unit – and offer a different type experience for those wishing to “live like a local” or plan an authentic Finger Lakes vacation.

If you have questions about responsible renting in the Finger Lakes Region, please reach out to Finger Lakes Premier Properties directly at 877-776-5532 to start the conversation.

Finger Lakes Premier Properties is a member of the national Vacation Rental Management Association (VRMA) and an active participant in the local community. They remain a resource and give expert insight on responsible property management practices, including continued education around the broader vacation rental industry.

Get the Inside Scoop on the Best Things to Do in Geneva, NY

Perched at the northernmost tip of Seneca Lake is a historic farming town that’s on the cutting edge of the culinary world. Geneva is a modern farming community that’s home to some of the region’s best theaters, restaurants, wineries, and hiking trails. Discover the many amazing things to do in Geneva, NY, as well as where you can find the best rental properties in the Finger Lakes area!

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Tips for lake-friendly spring cleaning

The Finger Lakes are an abundant and vital resource to our region, providing us with recreation, tourism, agriculture, and clean drinking water. It is the responsibility of lake-centric businesses, lakefront homeowners, and responsible renters to keep our Finger Lakes clean and safe for generations to come. What we do in the spring can not only increase bookings and improve home aesthetics, but also reduce pollution, algae blooms, and other harmful outbreaks that can affect the lakes during peak season.

Here are some tips from the local watershed associations to help you protect the lakes during your spring cleanup efforts.

Avoid using fertilizers

Lawn care blends contain excess nutrients that enter the lakes through rainwater and runoff this time of the year. According to the Canandaigua Lake Watershed Association, this results in “harmful algae blooms, increased aquatic plant growth, and the degradation of our water quality.” If your lawn or garden can’t go without, switch to a phosphorus-free fertilizer instead. The best practice for a lake friendly lawn? Replace your grass with native plants, bushes, and trees.

Change up your household chemicals

Avoid using toxic or flammable household cleaners, poisons, herbicides, and pesticides. Not only can these be picked up by runoff into the lakes, but according to the Seneca Lake Pure Waters Association, many chemical products are not completely removed by the biological treatment in septic systems, so they still end up in groundwater and nearby water sources. Buy and use only what you need, switch to environmentally friendly alternatives, and dispose of chemicals at designated drop-off sites. As always, make sure household chemicals are stored carefully and away from where guests can access them.

Clean up pet waste

Not only will it improve the look of your yard, but cleaning up after your pets is lake-friendly practice. Dispose of pet waste in the trash or flush it down the toilet. We encourage all guests to clean up after pets, but if you have a pet-friendly rental, we recommend stashing some baggies near any exits to the yard.

Control soil erosion

Keep the dirt where it belongs – in your yard! You can minimize storm water runoff by planting a raingarden, adding shrubs, trees, and ground covers to your landscaping, and allowing vegetation to grow along any nearby streams. These plants can help trap sediment and pollutants on their way to the water.

Join a lakeshore monitoring program!

If you reside in the Finger Lakes year round, you can volunteer to monitor shoreline with any of the local watershed associations. Keeping your eyes on the lake can help these organizations monitor algae blooms and cyanobacteria build ups that tend to proliferate during the late summer months.

Doing your part to keep the lakes clean this spring and monitoring shorelines for harmful plant and bacteria growths can have a huge impact on the health of the Finger Lakes. Best of all, improved water quality during peak season translates to higher guest satisfaction and increased reservations for your vacation rental! For more lake-friendly spring clean-up tips, visit www.flrwa.org.

Need help getting your lakefront home ready for peak season reservations? Our owner services and housekeeping teams can assist with your lake-friendly cleanup efforts. Call 844-404-1059 today!

Mother’s Day Shopping Guide

Mother’s Day is fast approaching! Whether you’re looking for a way to spend the day with mom or just looking for gift ideas, we have your back with the ultimate guide to Finger Lakes shopping.

Best FLX Shopping Destinations

  1. The Windmill: The first and friendliest farm and craft market in Upstate NY! You’ll have to stop in on Saturday to shop nearly 200 local producers and craftsmen. Treat mom to lunch in their mini pine tree forest! Plan your visit…
  2. The Ithaca Commons: This four-block, pedestrian-only district in Downtown Ithaca offers a unique and multi-cultural shopping experience. Home to popular festivals, annual events, street art, award-winning restaurants, and shops that are far from mainstream, you’ll love spending the day in the eclectic heart of the city! Plan your visit…
  3. Downtown Canandaigua: Unique treasures await you in Canandaigua’s antique and collectible stores, some of the best in the region. You’ll also love popping in and out of the many gift stores, clothing boutiques, and home good shops lining the walkable streets of downtown. Plan your visit…
  4. Mackenzie-Childs: Even if you’ve been been to Aurora, NY, you’ve probably seen their signature courtly check! MacKenzie-Childs crafts world-renowned home furnishings and ceramics on a tranquil farm overlooking Cayuga Lake. Schedule a tour of the grounds and shop their colorful, handmade goods – a day here is sure to spark joy for mom! Plan your visit…
  5. Downtown Geneva: This lakeside city offers a “uniquely urban” shopping experience. The streets are lined with quirky college cafes, bookstores, gift shops, and dining options. Be sure to stop into the new Finger Lakes Welcome Center for area information and to take a photo with the I <3 NY sign! Plan your visit…

Best Wineries for Shopping

These tastings rooms sell far more than wine! Sip while you shop for hidden treasures and wine related gifts. We recommend:

Closest Shopping Malls

Staying at one of our vacation rentals for Mother’s Day weekend? Here are the closest malls for a more traditional shopping experience:

Best FLX Gift Shops:

Is mom the ultimate Finger Lakes fan? Shop for handmade goods and FLX swag that you can’t find anywhere else at these local businesses:

Looking to gift an experience instead?

We suggest a stay in one our luxury, lakeside vacation rentals and treating mom to one or all of these amazing Finger Lakes experiences during your stay:

Make the weekend memorable for mom! Our local vacation planners can provide you with tips on where stay while you shop at any of these Finger Lakes destinations. Call 866-344-7787 today!

Guests of Finger Lakes Premier Properties
Guests of Finger Lakes Premier Properties