Seneca Lake, Watkins Glen, NY & Harvest Hosts

This is the third article in a series about The Roadster’s travels to New York’s Finger Lakes Region.  

After an incredible visit to The Gorge and enjoying all that Watkins Glen State Park has to offer, the third day our Finger Lakes journey was spent enjoying Seneca Lake and the town of Watkins Glen.  Our evening ended with being wowed by the lakefront views at a winery in Hector, NY.

A Small Village With Big Attractions

The Village of Watkins Glen has a population of about 1,860 people.  As small as this town is, it’s quite famous for several things.  In addition to The Gorge, the town also has a  NASCAR racetrack, called Watkins Glen International.  The town is steeped in racing history, including the famous street race, Watkins Glen Grand Prix, which takes place on the hilly roads of the State Park and in the town of Watkins Glen.

Enjoying The Waterfront

20140722_121254 DCIM999GOPROWatkins Glen has a nice waterfront area, with a few restaurants and a dock overlooking a beautiful marina. We parked Bessie the RV at Seneca Marina and took a stroll along the waterfront and down the dock.  We were delighted to come across the beautiful boat, True Love, an 84-plus-year-old schooner that has been featured in several Hollywood movies, including High Society (1956) and The Philadelphia Story (1940).  Although we wanted to take a ride on it, the timing didn’t work out.   We ended up taking a wonderful boat ride with Captain Bill around the lake and learned much about the region from the boat captain and his 1st mate.

Afterwards, we visited Clute Memorial Park, the only sandy beach in Watkins Glen. The boys tried out the skate park (do they lose “cool points” if they were actually using a scooter in the skate park?).  Afterwards, we had a wonderful Italian feast at Jerlando’s in downtown Watkins Glen.


Harvest Hosts Destination:  Chateau Lafayette Reneau Winery (CLR)

As the day was coming to an end, we decided to motor to our next resting space at Chateau Lafayette Reneau Winery in Hector, NY (7 miles north of Watkins Glen).  As Harvest Hosts members, we are able to camp overnight for free in the parking lots of participating wineries and farms (when certain rules are followed).  If you aren’t yet acquainted with Harvest Hosts, boy do I have a treat for you!  Take a look at my article on Harvest Hosts.

Breathtaking Beauty At CLR

20140722_202731_LLSOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThe hilly road to Hector followed along Seneca Lake and provided us with absolutely gorgeous views.  I was eager to get to the winery to capture images of the sun setting over the lake.  We were astonished by our good fortune as we turned into the driveway of Chateau LaFayette Reneau winery.  The grounds and view of the lake were absolutely breathtaking.  We parked and piled out of Bessie the RV, awestruck by the beauty and reveling in the moment. There was a strong, cool wind coming across the lake.  The setting sun twinkled on the lake and cast purple and pink hues in the evening sky.  The winery sat midway down a large, sloping hill.  Below it, there were acres of lush, green grape vines leading down to the water.  In a word, it was stunning.

Manic Picture Lady

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA   OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAAs I ran around the property trying to take as many pictures as possible before the sun set, I came across a gorgeous garden with the largest, most perfect lilies that I have ever seen.  I began taking pictures in earnest until I realized that the flowers and the garden belonged to the property next door to the winery.  Oops!  The neighbors were sitting outside watching me in my manic photography frenzy.  When I introduced myself, they told me that their property is not attached to the winery.  They were very nice about my misunderstanding.  It must happen a lot.  The pictures of the flowers turned out gorgeous!

Roaring For Some Roaring Red

10552586_10202640312909989_1496523556020563352_nCLR’s wine store was very nice.  We were warmly greeted by helpful staff the moment we stepped through the door.  We tasted several scrumptious wines and decided on a couple of bottles of Roaring Red.  It was a great memento from a wonderful stop along our journey.  Thanks Harvest Hosts and Chateau LaFayette Reneau Winery!

Have you visited Watkins Glen or the Finger Lake Region?  Tell us about your experiences.

More On The Finger Lakes Series

Finger Lakes Journey Part 1:  Falling for Niagara Falls

Finger Lakes Journey Part 2:  The GORGE-ous Gorge & Watkins Glen State Park, NY

Finger Lakes Journey Part 4:  Taughannock Falls and Robert E. Treman State Park


The opinions expressed in this article are based on our personal experiences.  We’ll CU On The Road!

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  • Reply The GORGE-OUS Gorge & Watkins Glen State Park, NY – CU On The Road March 10, 2015 at 11:49 pm

    […] Finger Lakes Journey Part 3:  Seneca Lake, Watkins Glen CLR Winery & Harvest Hosts  […]

  • Reply Falling For Niagara Falls, NY – CU On The Road March 11, 2015 at 11:07 pm

    […] Finger Lakes Journey Part 3:  Seneca Lake, Watkins Glen, CLR Winery & Harvest Hosts […]

  • Reply Christine March 18, 2015 at 12:49 pm

    We’re glad you enjoyed your stay on Seneca Lake and our Roaring Red wine. Thank you for the lovely pictures and YouTube video. Harvest Host is such a unique way to travel and have enjoyed everyone who has stayed on our property. Thanks for spreading the good word about the unique wineries, eateries and parks in the Finger Lakes. Come back and visit anytime.

    • Reply Chris Hughes March 20, 2015 at 2:52 pm

      Hi Christine! I am absolutely tickled that you enjoyed the video and the article. We loved the wine, the surroundings, your staff’s kindness, and CLR’s hospitatily. We highly recommend this Harvest Hosts destination!

  • Reply Taughannock-ing on Heaven’s Door – CU On The Road March 26, 2015 at 11:09 pm

    […] at Seneca Lake’s waterfront.  The fourth day of our Finger Lakes Journey found us departing from Chateau LaFayette Reneau Winery, our gorgeous Harvest Host destination, and headed over rolling country roads toward Cayuga Lake, […]

  • Reply Finger Lakes Region Extravaganza – CU On The Road March 29, 2015 at 9:20 am

    […] Finger Lakes Journey Part 3:  Seneca Lake, Watkins Glen, CLR Winery & Harvest Hosts […]

  • Reply History Meets Wine: Fantastic Overnight RV Parking In Gettysburg – CU On The Road April 29, 2015 at 10:39 pm

    […] For more details, click to read my Harvest Hosts articles “Free Winery and Farm Overnight Parking” and “Seneca Lake, Watkins Glen, NY & Harvest Hosts” […]

  • Reply Harvest Hosts Giveaway & Fox Hollow Farms – CU On The Road August 1, 2015 at 10:05 pm

    […] think it’s safe to say that I’m a Harvest Hosts Superfan. From Gettysburg, PA to the Finger Lakes in NY, some of my favorite RV travel experiences have included stops at Harvest Hosts […]

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