The Finger Lakes Region is not only fortunate to have a vast number of agritourism destinations, but also boasts many different, related trails! Yes, we have many hiking and bicycling trails, but in this context the term “trail” describes a formal collection of similar businesses banded together to help develop, promote, launch larger events than any one facility could muster on its own. Classic trails, like our wine trails, are also based on geography, where the membership resides in a specific area, the appellation, which in wine terms also roughly equates to the term “terroir”. Oftentimes, though not always, these Trails are member-based non-profit organizations that primarily focus on helping their membership sustain and even flourish.
Probably the largest trail in the Finger Lakes Region by most measurements is the Seneca Lake Wine Trail. Founded in the mid-eighties, and in recent times comprised of over 30 members, this popular trail hosts many large, fun, themed wine and food pairing weekend events, like their remarkably popular Deck The Halls Weekend. The adjacent lake to the east is Cayuga, which hosts the nation’s first wine trail, the Cayuga Lake Wine Trail. While this trail doesn’t have quite as many wineries as its sibling on Seneca Lake, it has more than enough terrific, award-winning wineries to safely enjoy across a multi-day visit to the region. And the best part is that Schuyler County and Watkins Glen not only form the southern border of the Seneca Lake Wine Trail, but are also only a 15 minute drive to some of Cayuga Lake Wine Trail’s closest member wineries. In fact some oenophiles opt to zip their way back and forth between both trails, visiting their favorite wineries on the east side of Seneca Lake, and their other favorites on the western side of Cayuga Lake.
For many years virtually the only trails in New York State were wine trails, but recently many other similar food and beverage trails have popped up including the Finger Lakes Beer Trail, Finger Lakes Cheese Alliance, and most recently Finger Lakes Farm Country. There are slight differences between all these various organizations, but their general mission of helping their membership survive and prosper, while leveraging the power resulting from a group of small businesses aligning their goals and marching forward in tandem, are all the same.