Say Hello To Sara Paduano, The Voice Behind @VisitFingerLake

This post may contain affiliate links. Please read my disclosure for more info.

Every Thursday, Say Hello To America will be Sara Paduano showcasing the voices behind official Twitter accounts of destinations all across the United States and the city they represent. This week, say hello to Sara Paduano from @VisitFingerLake.

1. What time of the year is best to travel to the Finger Lakes?

Because the Finger Lakes area is truly a four-season destination, the best time of year to be here depends entirely on your choice of activity. Personally, I’m an outdoor lover, and appreciate each season for something different. In winter, I’m on the slopes at Bristol Mountain snowboarding; in the spring, I’m out hiking on the trails at Ganondagan Native American State Historic Site or through the waterfalls at Grimes Glen; in summer I’m picnicking on the lake (definitely with a Finger Lakes wine – the cabernet is my favorite!), and in the fall, I love driving along the lakes to catch the gorgeous foliage with my camera.

2. How would you describe the people of the Finger Lakes?

The people are what make this place so great to live, work, and play. Everyone realizes how lucky we are to be surrounded by such amazing scenery, lakes, and wine and culinary hotspots. One of our local business owners just told me how she still feels “spoiled” to live here every time she makes a delivery, despite being here nearly her whole life.

3. What is your favorite and least favorite thing about the Finger Lakes? Ganondagan Trail

My least favorite thing about the Finger Lakes is that some of our visitors come once, stay on one lake, and think they’ve seen it all. We’re a repeat destination – 11 lakes, 14 counties – and larger than the state of New Jersey! So, I suppose my favorite thing about the Finger Lakes is that even as a resident, I’ll never stop exploring, because it’s impossible to run out of things to do (and amazing, delicious food to eat!).

4. What is the Finger Lakes’ most famous landmark or attraction?

Our name says it all – our lakes and scenery are our greatest attraction. They set the mood for the lifestyle and enjoyment that visitors can experience here. Now, if we’re talking manmade attractions, we’re best known for our wineries – New York is the third largest wine producing state in the nation, and it seems that each winery is as unique and inviting as the next. New and still upcoming is the New York Wine and Culinary Center, which celebrates the best of the state’s vintners, food purveyors, and more, under one, awesome roof.

5. Name one “secret” location that a traveler must visit.

My favorite “secret” (although the more people I tell, the less of a secret it becomes): Grimes Glen in Naples, NY. If you like hiking, and you like waterfalls, it’s heaven on Earth. You can walk through the shallow stream or take the trails, and there’s a swimming hole at the second waterfall. Pack a picnic!

6. What is the best/easiest mode of transportation to get around the Finger Lakes?

We’re certainly a driving destination, and you’ll want to have your car so you can take some scenic jaunts. Our country roads will take you to the most beautiful places, such as the County Road 12 Scenic Overlook in South Bristol – easily the best view of Canandaigua Lake. But, if you’re here for the wines, the public wine tour trolley out of Geneva would be my suggested mode!


7. Is there any festival or event in the Finger Lakes that a traveler should specifically plan a trip around?

The Naples Grape Festival has been running since 1961, and is our best festival for trying one of our most unique culinary delights – grape pie. Piemakers line the streets – it’s simply amazing. And, taking place at the end of September each year, it’s a great time to see the leaves turning in the beautiful village of Naples.

8. What are the best family-friendly attractions that the Finger Lakes has to offer? Bristol Mountain

In the winter, the whole family can find entertainment at Bristol Mountain if snow is in the itinerary, but in the summer, they can hit the slides and rivers at Roseland Waterpark. Hiking and biking are also great family activities, but if they’re looking to get indoors, I would definitely recommend the family cooking classes at the New York Wine & Culinary Center – so much fun, and a great learning experience (for all ages)! As if that isn’t enough just in our area, we are also a 45-minute drive to Strong Museum of Play, where even adults could lose themselves for a day (I sure have!), and just over an hour to Corning Museum of Glass and Niagara Falls.

9. What is the Finger Lakes’ signature food that every visitor has to try?

Naples, at the southern tip of Canandaigua Lake, is the “Grape Pie Capital of the World”. Don’t knock it until you try it – it’s addicting! If wine is more your thing, the Finger Lakes area is renowned for our world class Rieslings – ranging from dry to sweet. Certainly refreshing!

10. If I only had one day to explore the Finger Lakes, what MUST I see or do? Leaf Kitchen

Water, wine, and food: spend the morning on the lake – sitting lakeside at a park with a book or paddling through with a kayak, then grab lunch or dinner at one of our smaller, locally-sourced cafes – I love Red Dove Tavern and Leaf Kitchen in Geneva – and it’s easy to visit some wineries in between. Always ask if the vintner is around – they love chatting with visitors! And, be sure to leave with a piece of locally made art or pottery – we have so many great galleries, jewelry makers, and potters – for an amazing selection, I love sending people to Wizard of Clay Pottery in Bristol. Pick a lake, and you’ll be amazed by what you can do in a day!


Finger Lakes Visitors Connection
25 Gorham Street | Canandaigua, NY 14424
Hours: Open Weekdays | 8:30am to 4:30pm

Connect with Finger Lakes Visitor Connection
Website: Visit Finger Lakes
Twitter: @VisitFingerLake
Facebook: Visit Finger Lakes