For our annual girls getaway this summer, my daughter and I decided to head to Skaneateles, located on the northern shore of Skaneateles Lake, about a 2½-hour drive from Buffalo to the Finger Lakes region.
It’s not an unusual decision; the picturesque village is a place for all seasons and summer is as good a time to play tourist .
After checking into Finger Lakes Lodging, a cozy Adirondack-style motel operated by the more pricey Mirbeau Inn & Spa across the street, we headed into the village for dinner at Doug’s Fish Fry, which has been the place in town to get the freshest seafood since 1982. No visit to Skaneateles would be complete without having a meal at Doug’s.
Grab a table, either indoors in their dining room which has a large mural of the Skaneateles waterfront, or on its outdoor patio, and wait for your name to be called. Then dig in and enjoy.
After dinner, we walked down to Cliff Park on the waterfront, which has a gazebo, a pier good for strolling, and plenty of benches facing the water.
We started the next day with a hearty breakfast at Johnny Angels. Although this restaurant is best known for its their burgers, the tasty breakfast bowl scrambles we had are worth a try.
Then it was on to the shops, located mainly on East Genesee and West Genesee streets. We browsed through kitchen and garden items at Rhubarb and then started our Christmas shopping by purchasing some ornaments at the Chestnut Cottage. Across the street, we enjoyed a great view of Skaneateles Lake at Thayer Park.
We stopped at Aristocats & Dogs Pet Boutique to get a souvenir to bring home to the and then headed to the The Nest to check out its handcrafted items.
Plan to stop as we did for a quick lunch of French onion soup at the Blue Water Grill, which overlooks the lake. From there, we liked 1st National Gifts, “Home of Retail Therapy,” which is located in a historic former bank building. It has jewelry, accessories and gift and home décor items. There is even a winery tasting room for White Birch Vineyards located along West Genesee Street.
We also enjoyed looking at items at the Skaneateles Artisans Gallery, located in the lower level of a stone mill, which has a nice selection of photos, paintings, jewelry, glassware, and other items handcrafted by local artisans.
We didn’t have the opportunity to visit the Skaneateles Historical Society – it is open Friday and Saturday afternoons only – but we did pick up one of their village walking tour brochures that has information about the history of many of the homes and buildings located along West Genesee and East Genesee streets (Route 20).
We stopped at the Lake House Gifts & Décor, about 2 miles west of downtown. The Lake House carries all sorts of Finger Lakes and Skaneateles-themed items, along with cottage style furniture, retro items, lamps, pillows rugs, garden items, and all sorts of items you’d want to buy to decorate your lakeside cottage – if you had one.
We made reservations for the dinner cruise on the 65-foot-long Judge Ben Wiles, operated by Mid-Lakes Navigation; the boat is celebrating 30 years of cruising Skaneateles Lake this year. It’s named after Judge Ben Wiles, who was a Syracuse judge and the father of Mid-Lakes Navigation founder, Peter Wiles.
It was a perfect night for a boat ride, with clear skies and neither too hot nor too cold outside. As we were served dinner in several courses, the captain gave a narration about some of the mansions and other points of interest along the lake shore. We opted for the prime rib, but other dinner choices included chicken, salmon, or ravioli. We even splurged and paid the extra $8 per person to also have shrimp cocktails. Other cruising options include sightseeing cruises, lunch cruises, and even a mail boat cruise (summer only). The cruises run through the first weekend in October.
Upcoming events in Skaneateles include their Fall Festival Oct. 2-4 and its premier winter event, Dickens Christmas, which takes place weekends from Thanksgiving to Christmas.