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