While traveling throughout the United States and Canada searching for pet-friendly locations and activities, our thoughts often turn back to the Finger Lakes region of New York as being a top destination for pet-friendly fun. While locals have crowned the area “New York’s Wine Country”, the Finger Lakes region is that and so much more. It is an ideal family vacation destination with quaint downtowns, top museums and plenty of pet friendly options for you and your pets. For those looking for a perfect vacation destination, here are our top tips for pet friendly fun in the Finger Lakes region.
Of course, no trip to the Finger Lakes area can end without taking a tour of the world-class wineries in the area. Here are a few dog friendly wineries you’ll want to be sure not to miss:
Bully Hill Vineyards in Hammondsport (8843 GHT Mem. Dr.,
Hammondsport, NY): When the weather cooperates, dining in the lovely outdoor restaurant is a must. The views of Keuka Lake and the surrounding vineyards are extraordinary and well worth the visit. The vineyards is also home to The Greyton H. Taylor Wine Museum but be aware the museum operates using seasonal hours with openings from mid-May through October.
Keuka Lake Vineyards in Hammondsport (8882 County Route 76, Hammondsport, NY): Just up the road on Route 76 is another dog friendly winery that prides themselves on their European-style, dry wines. Don’t let the size of the operation fool you – in 2009 they entered eight wines in the 2009 Governor’s Cup and walked away with seven awards!
Chateau Renaissance Wine Cellars (7494 Hatchery Rd, Hammondsport, NY): With two hounds roaming the property, you’re likely to be greeted before you even get out of the car. The vineyard boasts a massive selection of sparkling wines but you’ll also find a decent selection of white and red wines. Their fruit wines were a hit, with the peach and raspberry leading the pack.
Seneca Lake Wine Trail: It is the mecca of New York wine vineyard trails. The largest and most active of the all the Finger Lakes wine trails, the Seneca Lake Wine Trail boosts 35 wineries, two breweries and even a distillery. The good news for pet lovers is that the trail features at least 13 wineries that are dog friendly and that list is growing. Some of the pet friendly vineyards include:
- Fox Run Vineyards (670 State Route 14,
Penn Yan, NY)
- Red Tail Ridge Winery (846 State Route 14, Penn Yan, NY)
- Seneca Shore Medieval Wines of Finger Lakes (929 Davy Road, Penn Yan NY)
- Penguin Bay Winery (6075 Route 414
, Hector, NY)
- Prejean Winery (2634 Route 14, Penn Yan, NY)
- War Horse Brewing Company (623 Lerch Road, Geneva, NY)
Pet Friendly Outdoor Fun
According to their website, Watkins Glen State Park is the most famous of the Finger Lakes State Parks, and there is reason to believe that claim. The state park features miles of breathtaking views, over 19 waterfalls, and some of the best walking trails in the state. Sadly, those who looking to enjoy the day with their four-legged friends might be limited as the Gorge Trail is not pet friendly. The trail is just too narrow for pets to safely navigate.
The Indian and South Rim Trails, both overlooking the gorge, are two pet friendly options that still provide great views (although not as scenic as the Gorge Trail) and a decent workout for both you and your dogs. Keep in mind that the park requires dogs to be leashed at all times. Also, proof of rabies vaccination in the form of a veterinarian’s certificate is required. Unfortunately, a collar tag is not an accepted form of proof.
W.W. Clute Memorial Park and Campground (155 S. Clute Park Drive
Watkins Glen, NY): For those looking for pet friendly camping options, Clute Park Campground is a fantastic location. Directly across from Seneca Lake, this campground offers full hook-up sites with electric (20,30, and 50 amp) water line, sewer line, and cable connections. Dogs are welcome with proof of their rabies vaccinations. Pets must be leashed and, of course, cleaned up after.
Sampson State Park (6096 Route 96A, Romulus, NY): This fantastic state park encompasses more than 2,000 acres on the eastern shore of Seneca Lake. The park has a total of 309 campsites, over 100 boat slips, and miles of trails. Other facilities include courts for tennis, horseshoes, basketball and volleyball, a swimming beach, playground, low impact fitness circuit and nature watching. Dogs are welcome with proof of their rabies vaccinations. Pets must be leashed and, of course, cleaned up after.
Pet Friendly Hotels
While there are several options for pet and dog-friendly hotels in the Corning area, we are fans of the Staybridge Suites (201 Townley Ave Corning, NY) for a few reasons. First is its location – the hotel is in walking distance to The Corning Museum of Glass (not pet friendly…it is a museum after all) and the downtown area. Second, if you book ahead, you can arrange their pet sitting and dog walking services. Other pet friendly hotel options in the area include:
- Radisson Hotel Corning (125 Denison Pkwy E, Corning, NY)
- Ramada Painted Post (304 S Hamilton St, Painted Post, NY)
As with all of the pet-friendly options listed, we would recommend contacting each location directly or visiting GoPetFriendly.com before your visit as pet policies and restrictions can and often do change.
Article contributed by guest blogger: Amy Burkert. Amy runs the award-winning pet travel website,GoPetFriendly.com, which makes it easy to plan a trip with your entire family. Her blog, Take Paws, is an encyclopedia of pet travel tips, pet friendly destination advice, and stories of the adventures she and her husband share as they travel full-time in their Winnebago with their dogs, Ty and Buster.
Grill 1-2-5 is situated in the Radisson Hotel in downtown Corning. It is a newly renovated, local favorite known for its creative dishes and elegant surroundings. The Steuben Bar, located inside Grill 1-2-5, is a popular spot to grab a drink or enjoy an appetizer.
Kenneth Knowles is the Executive Chef and Food & Beverage Director at the Radisson Hotel and has been with the company for the past 10 years. He has is a graduate of the Culinary Institute of America with plenty of experience in the culinary world. Ken enjoys all aspects of cooking whether it be creating a unique dinner for 300 or preparing a picnic lunch for his family on Seneca Lake.
Ken has spent most of his life living and working in the Finger Lakes region. He relishes in the challenge of creating fun, innovative and delicious food each day and especially during Finger Lakes Restaurant Week. He regularly keeps in touch with local farmers for specialty items he desires in creating distinct menu items.
For Restaurant Week, his dinner menu is sure to be a creative display of delicious seasonal ingredients.
Grill 1-2-5 | Call 607-962-5000 ext. 127 for reservations
Located in the West End Historical District of Elmira,
is a place to enjoy fine dining in a relaxing, casual atmosphere. Beautiful wood floors, patterned wallpaper and old-fashioned décor combined with excellent service and interesting spins on American classics make makes guests to Charlie's feel right at home.
The restaurant offers many areas for dining; a cozy bar area with booths, a formal dining room and small private dining rooms. It is a great place for special occasions of any party size.
Charlie’s is owned by Peter and Vicki Appelt. Peter, an Elmira native, is the mastermind behind the menus. He attended the Culinary Institute of America and went on to work as Head Chef and Owner of a restaurant in Florida before eventually coming back to his roots as Owner and Executive Chef of Charlie’s in 2008.
Participating in Finger Lakes Restaurant Week is a no-brainer for Peter and Vicki; they use local ingredients in their menus regularly and enjoy coming up with new menu items using what’s available each season. Charlie’s has offered lunch and dinner during each Restaurant Week that has taken place.
This year, their lunch and dinner menus are filled with fall goodies from eleven local farms. For lunch, options include a rich Acorn Squash soup and mouth-watering Maple Crème Brulee.
For dinner, Charlie's will serve homemade Herb Ricotta cheese, served warm over local greens with ciabatta toast for the first course, followed by Smoked Pork Chops with a light maple brown butter sauce and acorn squash for the main. Grape Pie ala Mode graces the menu for dessert. This grape pie isn’t any old grape pie – it is served with a scoop of homemade mint ice cream.
While Charlie’s consistently serves up good food, Restaurant Week offers diners an opportunity to sample the kitchen’s newest culinary innovations.
Menu | Call 607-733-0440 for reservations
is owned and operated by husband and wife team, Suzanne and Bob Stack, who moved to the Finger Lakes in 2002 by way of New Jersey. Before coming to the region, Suzanne already had many years in the culinary world under her belt.
From her studies and experience assisting celebrity chefs with cooking demonstrations at Macy’s in New York to leading demonstrations herself, working in a critically acclaimed restaurant and successfully running her own cooking school and catering business “Cooking with Suzanne;” she is certainly well-versed in food.
While visiting the region in 2002, Suzanne and Bob stumbled upon the landmark 1903 Townsend home in Lodi, which now houses Suzanne Fine Regional Cuisine. Over ten years ago, they followed their dream, purchased the property and lovingly transformed it into the beautiful setting the restaurant offers today. The beautiful 100-acre farm boasts a gazebo alongside a pond, a winding stream through the property, three barns, and extensive backyard garden; all located around the grounds of an old peach orchard.
Fresh and homemade are words that resonate at Suzanne Fine Regional Cuisine. Whether ingredients come from Bob’s backyard herb and vegetable garden or a farm down the road, the produce, dairy and meat are the finest and freshest and the sauces and soups are made from scratch.
For Restaurant Week, Suzanne has transformed fresh seasonal ingredients into pure and simple, yet elegant dishes. The first course is an Heirloom Beet Salad served with blood oranges, wild arugula, chevre and candied walnuts; dressed with a blood orange vinaigrette. The second course is Pork Tenderloin, marinated in herbs and accompanied by French lentil ragout, savoy cabbage, apples, double-smoked bacon and a red wine sauce.
To end the meal, Butternut Squash Cheesecake garnished with maple poached cranberries and a sunflower seed praline offers just the right amount of sweet.
Dining at Suzanne Fine Regional Cuisine is always a treat, but during Finger Lakes Restaurant Week, it will certainly be an experience.
Menu | Call 607-582-7545 for reservations
is located at Wagner Vineyards on Seneca Lake. Wagner Vineyards is an ideal spot for diners along the Seneca Lake Wine Trail for the well-rounded experience it offers. The property offers visitors the option to taste wines and beers made on-site, enjoy a relaxing lunch in the Café, or marvel at the view of vineyards and Seneca Lake.
The Ginny Lee Café opened in 1983 under the idea that the addition of a restaurant would introduce guests to the affinity of wines and food. The Café offers a variety of fresh menu items that complement and enhance the award-winning estate wines of Wagner Vineyards and craft-brewed beers of Wagner Valley Brewing Company. The restaurant is also a popular place for weddings, receptions, and tour groups each year.
Heading the kitchen at the Ginny Lee is Chef Vachel Mitchell, known as “Chef Mitch” by many. He has been the Executive Chef since 2004 and has an extensive background in the culinary industry. Chef Mitch learned to cook from his father and followed in his footsteps by becoming a chef. He graduated from the Culinary Institute of America at Hyde Park and has worked as Executive Chef at seven different restaurants.
Chef Mitch and his team have participated in Finger Lakes Restaurant Week since its inception and have expressed excitement in the fact that the variety of produce available has steadily increased over the years, making Restaurant Week menu building more exciting.
Since the Café only serves lunch, Chef Mitch likes to create his menus in a style that allows visitors to relax and enjoy a leisure lunch of many fresh options. For Restaurant Week, his menu features daily specials featuring 100% Finger Lakes ingredients. The specials change depending upon the demand and availability of ingredients.
A few options that can be expected this fall are French Tomato Soup made from local tomatoes with a rich herb broth, croutons and a local cheese or a Mixed Finger Lakes Green Salad topped with local pulled chicken and Wagner Vineyards red wine vinaigrette. More than likely, an American Wagyu Burger will appear on the menu. High quality, Kobe style Wagyu ground beef is cooked to order and served on a locally baked roll with mixed greens as a garnish.
The Ginny Lee is the perfect place to stop and enjoy a fresh midday lunch while out cruising the Seneca Lake Wine Trail, especially during Restaurant Week.
Menu | Call 607-582-6450 for reservations
is close to completing its 15th year of operation under Executive Chef and Owner, Scott Signori. The main goal of the Stonecat since its inception in 1999 has been“to wake people up to life with dynamic, fun food and libation.” Scott and his talented team of chefs, hosts, bartenders and servers do exactly that year after year.
The culinary team focuses on using local and organic produce and meats while drawing inspiration from global culinary influences. The cuisine is constantly changing depending on what’s fresh and available and the chefs are always coming up with new dishes. Their commitment to the region’s farmers and the community resound throughout the establishment.
The Stonecat is a very hip and lively, yet relaxed place to grab a glass of Finger Lakes wine or an innovative cocktail and enjoy a fresh and sophisticated meal accompanied by impeccable and friendly service. It’s not uncommon to catch live music while dining, whether it’s during their famous Jazz Brunch on Sundays or during Pub Night on Wednesday evenings. They also host a monthly concert featuring local bands.
The building where the restaurant is housed was formerly a roadside farm market. It is very unique to the eye on the outside with its plum and gold hues and is equally appealing in the interior which has just the right touch of shabby chic. The restaurant boasts a deck which overlooks vineyards, the lush countryside and Stonecat’s own herb and vegetable garden. It’s the perfect place to catch a Seneca Lake sunset.
Creating a three-course dinner menu for Finger Lakes Restaurant Week was easy for Chef Scott as his menus are always local focused. The appetizer on the menu is Savory Harvest Pie. It is an organic leek and butternut squash pie with greens and pumpkin seeds, finished with a sunflower-pear vinaigrette – sounds like a little slice of fall-flavored heaven.
For an entrée, the Pasture Raised Chicken Cutlet sounds to die for. It is herb-crusted and pan-friend, served with freekah-walnut pilaf, sautéed greens, and finished with a Cayuga Blue cheese cream sauce.
A fragrant Honey and Quince Cheesecake is for dessert.
Any meal at the Stonecat Café is an outstanding one and from the sounds of it, dining during Finger Lakes Restaurant Week will be no different.
Menu | Call 607-546-5000 for reservations
is a one-of-a-kind dining establishment in Finger Lakes Wine Country. It combines the traditional Viennese Winery Restaurant concept with the region’s acclaimed wines, agricultural bounty and the delectable Viennese-inspired cooking of Executive Chef Dano Hutnik and Pastry Chef Karen Gilman.
Heurigers are an integral part of life in Austria; it is a place for friends to gather to enjoy new wines and hearty foods served family style in a casual atmosphere. Dano’s on Seneca recreates this atmosphere in a beautifullly designed building on the east side of Seneca Lake.
Dano, born in the Ukraine, was a ballet dancer in Vienna for fifteen years before he pursued a culinary career. After studying the culinary arts in Paris and San Francisco and working in various dining establishments in New York and San Francisco, he settled in Ithaca in 1990 with his wife, Karen, to open Dano’s. Since then, Dano’s has been received many awards and much acclaim in various publications.
Karen worked in fine dining while pursuing her art career before opening the restaurant. She wears many hats at the establishment including business manager, front of house operations, and pastry chef. Her art even graces the walls. Both Dano and Karen have been featured chefs at the James Beard Foundation on four occasions.
The rotating menu of Dano’s features Viennese spreads and artisanal breads, salads, roasted and smoked meats, vegetable dishes, homemade sausages and cheeses, fresh seafood, homemade pickles and preserves as well as Viennese pastries.
For Restaurant Week, Dano’s is serving both lunch and dinner with ingredients sourced from over ten farms. Choose from house made chicken sausage with root vegetables, pickled pumpkin and house made mustard or sample a plate of Dano’s house made cheeses, made from locally sourced milk. The cheeses are accompanied by green tomato chutney, a roasted grape relish and bread from Wide Awake Bakery. Finish lunch with Buffalo Milk Yogurt Panna Cotta with a grape gelee and live oat tuille.
For dinner, start with a cup of Borscht followed by New Life Farm Duck Two Ways with Dano’s house made apricot and orange brandy sauce, red potato gratin, and fall vegetables or Honey Nut Squash Gnocchi a la Romano. The gnocchi is served with braised fall greens and sage butter, garnished with Dano’s Sheeps Milk Blue Cheese and spiced walnuts.
Lastly, enjoy a cheese board or Buck Wheat Honey Gugelhupf with Dano’s Quince Compote and Buckwheat ice cream for dessert. Gugelhupf is similar to a bundt cake; perfect to enjoy after a meal with coffee or tea.
A meal at Dano’s, whether it be for Restaurant Week or regular service, is sure to be memorable and delicious.
Menu | Call 607-582-7555 for reservations
is a unique farm to table destination restaurant in the quaint village of Trumansburg, NY that wouldn't be where it is today without the sustaining community and local enthusiasm of the Finger Lakes region. Hazelnut Kitchen stays true to the words "Farm to Table Fresh."
Trumansburg serves as an ideal location for Hazelnut Kitchen to highlight the best of what each season has to offer in the Finger Lakes all the while creating casually elegant dining experiences. Their menus change almost weekly depending on what the nearby farmers have available. Owners, Justin Paterson and Lisa Johnckheere, are continuing the legacy of the Hazelnut Kitchen as previous owners Jonah and Christine McKeough handed over the reins in 2012.
To Justin and Lisa, fresh ingredients and friendly, knowledgeable service are the cornerstones of their establishment. The husband and wife team have a history of over 10 years in the hospitality industry. For Justin, his time was spent in the culinary realm; Lisa, on the other hand, spent her time on the management side of things. Together, they have combined the best of both worlds to make the Hazelnut Kitchen what it is today.
Chef Justin has created a menu that features some fall weather favorites with a sophisticated twist, sourcing from eight Finger Lakes farms. Start with the Hazelnut Kitchen version of “Chicken Noodle Soup” consisting of hearty orecchiette pasta, house-made chicken sausage, carrots, and celery. What could be better on a crisp fall evening?
Next up is the entrée selection: Braised Ham with local fingerling potatoes, Chinese broccoli, and apples. This menu just screams fall. A Pear Strudel rounds out the evening, complete with a pear cider reduction and cinnamon ice cream. Need I say more?
Menu | Call 607-387-4433 for reservations
is an upscale dining establishment located within the Watkins Glen Harbor Hotel, on the southern tip of Seneca Lake. The restaurant itself is warm and welcoming and the surroundings are picturesque. Peering out of the windows at the restaurant, visitors can marvel at the beautiful sailboats and boats traveling in and out of the harbor.
The Grille includes the chic Coldwater Bar; a perfect place to meet friends and unwind with a glass of Finger Lakes wine, and The Patio, an expansive outdoor area equipped with tables and chairs and shaded areas. It is located within walking distance of the shops in Watkins Glen and also offers easy access to the wineries on Seneca Lake.
Executive Chef, Chris Hascall, has been with the Harbor Hotel for almost 7 years and in the industry for 24 years. He definitely knows a thing or two about the culinary scene. At the Blue Pointe Grille, he creates diverse menus with unique flavor combinations that are beautifully presented on the plate.
October’s Restaurant Week marks his third time participating in the promotion and he has crafted yet another delicious fall menu using local ingredients. This time around, he is serving lunch.
As an appetizer, Chris is serving delicious Brie and Roasted Cauliflower Bisque. There is nothing better than a creamy bisque to satisfy the soul on a crisp fall day. The natural creaminess of cauliflower makes a perfect base and roasting it adds a great nuttiness to the composition.
Sweet Potato Gnocchi is the main course – another comforting, cool weather favorite. The gnocchi is served in a cider cream sauce, adding a subtle sweetness to the dish, and finished with arugula and zesty lemon-herb goat cheese.
Indulging in this decadent lunch alongside the region’s finest wines will surely be a treat!
Menu | Call 607-535-6116 for reservations
is a quaint, yet retro dining establishment located at Americana Vineyards in Interlaken along the Cayuga Wine Trail. A popular stop for locavores, the Café is a from-scratch kind of kitchen where everything from homemade sausage and fresh bread is made on premise. Fruits and vegetables that appear in recipes are grown out back in their gardens.
Executive Chef Lindsay Freeman has been with the Café for the past six years and strives to create the best versions of familiar dishes from scratch featuring the finest seasonal and local ingredients, if not from out back, then from one of the many nearby farms. Specials are created daily featuring the freshest ingredients that day. Lunch and dinner are available year-round in the dining room and during the summer months, dining on the porch, breezeway, or Pavilion add to the restaurants charm.
Chef Lindsay’s dinner menu for Finger Lakes Restaurant Week features the comforting flavors we all crave when it starts to get cool. From creamy soups and hearty salads to pumpkin, squash, and root veggies, even to favorite fall desserts; the menu incorporates them all.
Choose from Potato and Cheddar Soup made with beer from a local brewery in Dryden called Bacchus Brewing Company or a pickled watermelon radish and kale salad served with Lively Run feta cheese offering a perfect salty kick. The salad is finished with pumpkin seeds and a tangy mustard-cider vinaigrette.
The first option for the main course is meatless; Savory Bread Pudding gussied up with Swiss chard, butternut squash, caramelized onions, and silky goat cheese from Lively Run. A simple arugula salad completes the dish. The second option is a Whiskey Braised Pork Shoulder using whiskey from nearby Myer Farm Distillers, served with roasted root vegetables and garlic mashed potatoes.
The last course, and some may argue the best course, features Maple Apple Crisp finished with a cornmeal crumble and a scoop of vanilla ice cream from Cayuga Lake Creamery. One of each please!
Menu | Call 607-387-6804 for reservations