Watkins Glen, NY

Just an hour and ten-minute drive from Aurora, Watkins Glen claims the southern tip of Seneca Lake and is a perfect day trip during your stay in Aurora. With a depth of 617 feet, this fresh-water, 40-mile "finger" is one of the deepest lakes in the country and well below sea level.

After a heavy-eyed winter, Watkins Glen comes to life as wonder creeps through the cameras of the tourists traveling from all over the world. While cardboard boat races, Nascar, and waterfront festivals breathe life into this 2,000 person town, the true metamorphosis of summer all starts at the gorge.

Open from mid-May through early November, the gorge evolves each visit, differing in color, speed, and depth. One and a half miles of sediment and serrated stone guides you along 19 waterfalls and up 400 feet of elevation. With a variety of trails running alongside the gorge, great hiking routes are available for any intensity level. You can even get to the top by car, unpack your picnic basket, and enjoy the sounds of the falls.

Carved by glaciers during the Ice Age, the gorge long outlives the town, which was settled in 1800. A state park since 1906, the gully today retains the beauty of nature's work with a human touch of bridges, paths, and stairs. The views will leave you breathless, inspired, and sometimes wet — a small price to pay.

Head out from Aurora mid-morning, stop in Ithaca for brunch or an early lunch, and spend the afternoon taking in the natural beauty of Watkins Glen. After a short hike, stop by for a tasting at one of the microbreweries or wineries on the way home — it's the perfect way to spend a day exploring the Finger Lakes.

Come experience all that the Finger Lakes has to offer.