The small village of Hammondsport offers an outsized experience compared to its small size. Nestled at the southern tip of Keuka Lake in the Finger Lakes Region of New York, the tiny hamlet is home to about 500 residents but many great shops, art galleries, wineries, and charming restaurants. For outdoor enthusiasts, Keuka Lake offers public beaches and lakeside festivities that accentuate Hammondsport’s idyllic location on the shores of one of the most beautiful Finger Lakes.
Hammondsport is known for the quality of its wine, and because of its history is considered the “Heart of the New York Wine Country.” Hammondsport’s wine roots date back to 1829 when the Reverend William Bostwick planted Catawba and Isabella grape vines behind his rectory in the hopes of producing communion wine. As warm air rose from Keuka Lake and settled in the valley of the surrounding slopes, the Reverend’s grapes flourished in the natural microclimate, inspiring the cultivation of more than 200 acres of grapevines by 1860. That same year, Charles Champlin founded Pleasant Valley Wine Company, the first federally licensed winery in the United States, which still offers tours and tastes of their historic wines. By 1900, over 20,000 acres were devoted to vines that served forty wineries in the area. Today, the hills surrounding Hammondsport are dappled with award-winning wineries and vineyards offering tastes of their world-renowned wines, including the famous Dr. Konstantin Frank’s Vinifera Wine Cellars. Visit the Greyton H. Taylor Wine Museum to browse local memorabilia, wine-making equipment, and prohibition artifacts from the region’s past.
In addition to its reputation for wine, Hammondsport is considered the “Cradle of Aviation” and home to the Glenn H. Curtiss Museum, which features vintage aircraft, antique motorcycles and educational exhibits in honor of its namesake, whose contributions led to the development of the motorcycle and seaplane. Learn more about the museum and the hands-on opportunities available for the whole family to invent, experiment, and carry the legacy of Hammondsport’s local hero Glenn H. Curtiss.
Whether you are passing through for a bite to eat or plan to spend the night in one of America’s coolest small towns, you will not be short of options in Hammondsport. Choose from ice cream parlors, bistros, barbecues, taverns, or an artisan bakery, or settle in for dinner on the waterfront. A variety of cozy bed & breakfasts, quaint inns,hotels, motels, resorts, house rentals, and campgrounds are at your service, both on and off the water.
FingerLakes.com is your complete guide to the entire Finger Lakes region of New York State--from wine trails to hiking trails and fishing to skiing.
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