Canandaigua literally means "the chosen spot," and this charming Finger Lakes town, just 24 miles south of Rochester on the northern shores of Canandaigua Lake, is the right choice for an active but relaxing getaway. Unlike many vacation spots, it favors neither summer nor winter, but instead always has a great variety of things to see and do any time of year.
4 pm: Lodging with storybook charm
Choose from over a dozen charming inns and B+B's, like the Inn on the Main or Chalet of Canandaigua. Or opt for a more full-service resort like the Inn on the Lake or Bristol Harbour Lodge & Golf Club. Some accommodations offer special packages that add amenities like chocolate covered strawberries, in-house massages, flowers, dining certificates, and wine tours.
6 pm: Wine & dine with top chefs
There are meals, tastings, shopping, demos, and classes to be enjoyed at the New York Wine & Culinary Center. On a typical Friday night, you might join the Chef's Table to help make a seasonal dish paired with one of New York State's finest wines, or hear live acoustical music served with dinner in the lakefront Upper Bistro restaurant.
9 pm: Waterfront on the Finger Lakes
10 am: Shred the slopes & tackle the treetops
Get an early start to enjoy all the adventures at Bristol Mountain:
In winter, enjoy skiing and snowboarding along with a midmorning snack at the only slope-side waffle house in New York State. For full-service snowshoeing and cross-country skiing, the Nordic Center offers snowmaking and grooming on 1.2 km of gentle rolling hills, along with equipment and lessons. Look for entertainment and special events, like the annual LGBT ski weekend.
The mountain's Aeriel Adventures await year-round. The Zipline Canopy Tour features seven zip lines, four bridges and a final leap of faith, with a special discounted winter rate. In fair weather, the Aerial Adventure Park adds a tightrope walk and rope ladders on seven courses with varying degrees of difficulty, including for kids as young as four years old.
To beat the summer heat, the mountain's Roseland Waterpark is the largest in the Finger Lakes with 56 acres of aquatic adventure. You can also water ski and board at the first full-sized cable wakeboarding park in the northeast.
6:30 pm: Local eats & craft drinks
Grab a dinner back in downtown Canandaigua. Perhaps local tapas at Café Sol; the best wurst in town at Rhineblick German Restaurant; Italian at Casa de Pasta or Il Posto Bistro & Wine Bar; hearty and casual American at Eric's Office Restaurant; or flatbread pizza and in-house craft brew at the Twisted Rail Brewing Company.
In summer, consider a sunset dinner cruise aboard the Canandaigua Lady.
9:30 am: Crêpe heaven
Have a sinfully sweet or savory breakfast made from scratch at Simply Crepes.
11 am: Main Street hidden gems
Get your shopping fix browsing the locally-owned boutiques of Main Street, from the homemade chocolates at Sweet Expressions, to the artisan oils and vinegar on tap at F. Olivers, to over 110 loose leaf teas along with teaware at Good Life Tea.
1 pm: Historic mansions & gardens
From May through October, explore the beautiful 50-acre estate of historic Sonnenberg Mansion & Gardens. Travel back in time with a tour at the nearby Granger Homestead and Carriage Museum, featuring carriage and sleigh rides.
Indulge in a cozy spa afternoon. You may be interested in a wine wrap, a bamboo fusion, or a fire & ice massage with heated and cooled shells at Park West Hair Design & Spa. Or try a Vitamin C facial at Michelle's Salon & Spa at Five Seasons.
By plane: Greater Rochester International Airport, with frequent 1 hour, 30 minute non-stop flights from NYC. Rent a car or catch a cab for the 40-minute drive to Canandaigua.
By train: Take Amtrak to the Rochester Station, then rent a car or catch a cab for the 45-minute drive to Canandaigua.
From Albany: 3 hours
From Binghamton: 2 hours, 30 minutes
From Buffalo: 1 hour, 30 minutes
From Montreal: 5 hours
From NYC: 5 hours
From Scranton: 3 hours
From Syracuse: 1 hour, 30 minutes
From Toronto: 4 hours