Finger Lakes Region : New york


What It Is Like to Retire in Finger Lakes Region

The Finger Lakes Region in Upstate New York,  is one of the state's top tourist destinations with its patchwork of rolling hills, beautiful lakes, and hundreds of vineyards. The area is comprised of eleven freshwater lakes that resemble the fingers of a hand, situated between the cities of Syracuse and Rochester.  It is New York State’s top wine producing area which includes Seneca, Cayuga, and Keuka Lakes.  Seneca is the largest and the deepest of the Finger Lakes, and Cayuga is the longest. Over 100 wineries and vineyards are located around these lakes and is a popular area for summer homes.  The region contains evidence of pre-Iroquois habitation and is an important part of the Iroquois history.  Seneca and Cayuga Lakes are named after their tribes, as are Lake Oneida and Onondaga Lake. The Finger Lakes area is made up of several small towns and farmlands including Canandaigua, Geneva, Penn Yan, small and quaint Skaneateles, along with the more well known towns of Watkins Glenn, famous for car racing, and Ithaca, home to Cornell University. Photo of Seneca Lake, from South Main Street in Geneva, New York, courtesy of Wikipedia and RochesterNY (public domain).


Where to Retire in Finger Lakes Region and Home Prices

The Finger Lakes region encompasses a very large area with homes for sale in all price ranges.  Lakefront property is of course more expensive, with some of the Finger Lakes more popular and pricer than the others  for various reasons such as lot size, location, and recreation offered.  Lakefront homes range from the $100's to over $2,000,000. (See link on left for retirement communities.)


What Is Special about Finger Lakes Region

Scenic vistas, State Parks with waterfalls and amazing gorges are found throughout this region which make this area special along with the beautiful lakes, farmlands, and the many wineries.


What Is Not Special about Finger Lakes Region

Living in an area where winters can last from November through March may not appeal to retirees who are not snowbirds.


Who Will Like Retirement in Finger Lakes Region

Those who enjoy the outdoors would like living in the Finger Lakes area which offers many recreational opportunities including sailing, kayaking, swimming, fishing, and hiking. Wine enthusiasts would also like retiring here with over 100 wineries and vineyards to explore.


Local Economy Is Driven by

Wine Making and Tourism


Climate and Physical Environment

As a bioregion, it is believed the Finger Lakes were formed millions of years ago by massive glacial flows that carved deep trenches in the earth, gourging the land and leaving long narrow lakes. This area experiences four distinct seasons with the average January temperature 25 degrees and the average July temperature 70 degrees.  Autumn in the Finger Lakes is a popular tourist destination, as the hillsides display a myriad of colors.  Winter snows start in November and vary greatly throughout the region.  The small villages surrounding the vineyards recieve an average of 45 inches each winter, whereas Ithaca records about 67 inches.   Rochester and Syracuse receive heavier amounts and average over 95 inches of snow annually.


Restaurants & Cultural Scene

The Finger Lakes not only has an abundance of lakes, vineyards and wine tasting tours, but it is steeped in history and is home to several museums including the Corning Museum of Glass, and Cornell University’s Johnson Museum of Art.  The Glenn H.Curtis Museum in Hammondsport is dedicated to the memory of this pioneer aviator and holds a collection of local history and aviation.  Elmira College in Elmira, New York, has an exhibit of photographs and memorabilia from the summers Mark Twain and his family spent there, and where it is said he had written some of his best works. Seneca Falls is the site of The Women’s Rights National Historic Park which includes the home of Elizabeth Cady Stanton where the the first convention on women’s rights was held in 1848.  The Finger Lakes region also offers a mix of shops, art galleries, concerts, and performing arts centers, along with several festivals throughout the summer and autumn months.



The crime rate in the many small towns within the Finger Lakes region is below the national average, as it is in Watkins Glen, Ithaca, and Corning.


Medical Facilities

There are several hospitals and medical centers within the Finger Lakes region.



Visitors to the Finger Lakes can arrive by train or plane to Syracuse and Rochester, or by plane to regional airports in Corning, Elmira, Ithaca.  A car is a necessity to explore this beautiful Upstate New York area that runs 75 miles east to west and 50 miles north to south. 


Valuable Links

The Finger Lakes

Interactive Map of the Finger Lakes

Finger Lakes Wine Country


What people are saying about Finger Lakes Region

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