Whether your idea of summer fun is boating, antiquing, shopping at sidewalk sales, fine dining or music under the stars, you’ll find it all in Skaneateles—a charming lakeside village in the eastern Finger Lakes region, just 40 minutes southwest of Syracuse.
Like to shop? Check out the village’s 40-plus shops lining Genesee,
Jordan and Fennell streets. Here you’ll find men’s and women’s clothing,
home and garden accessories, art and antiques, jewelry, toys and gifts
of all kinds.
The shopping event of the season is the Curbstone Festival, 22 Jordan St., (685-0552; skaneateles.com), which draws visitors from throughout the region. Along with sidewalk sales, the three-day extravaganza, July 19 to 21, features balloon art and magic, live musical entertainment and, new this year, a Duck Dash fund-raiser Saturday on Skaneateles Creek.
All that shopping make you hungry? Pick up a pizza at Joe’s Pasta Garage, 28 Jordan St. (685-6116; joespastagarage.com), or Valentine’s Pizza & Deli, 18 W. Genesee St. (685-8804), a fish dinner at Doug’s Fish Fry, 8 Jordan St. (685-3288; dougsfishfry.com), sushi at the Sweetwater Café, 11 W. Genesee St. (685-6600), or Kabuki,12 Genesee St. (685-7234; kabukiofskaneateles.com). Try an ice cream cone at Doug’s or the Sweetwater, coffee and sweets at Vermont Green Mountain Specialty Co., 50 E. Genesee St. (685-1500), or the Patisserie, 4 Hannum St. (685-2433; thesherwoodinn.com/patisserie), or a sandwich at Skaneateles Bakery, 19 Jordan St. (685-3538; skaneatelesbakery.com), or Creekside Books & Coffee, 35 Fennell St. (685-0379; creeksidecoffeehouse.com). Or check out Sunday brunch at Mirbeau Inn & Spa, 851 W. Genesee St. (685-5006; mirbeau.com).
For a romantic night on the town, catch an early dinner at the Sherwood Inn, 26 W. Genesee St. (685-3405; thesherwoodinn.com), Mirbeau, Rosalie’s Cucina, 841 W. Genesee St. (685-2200; rosaliescucina.com), or Joelle’s French Bistro, 4423 State Street Road (685-3063; joellesfrenchbistro.com), then watch the sun set over the glistening waters of Skaneateles Lake.
If you’d rather cook your own dinner, you won’t want to miss the Skaneateles Farmers Market. It’s open Thursdays, 3:30 to 6:30 p.m., and Saturdays, 10 a.m. to 1 p.m., mid-June through mid-October, at the Austin Park Pavilion upper parking lot, off Jordan Street.
Music is a constant theme throughout the summer, with Friday lakeside concerts by the Skaneateles Community Band at Clift Park on Genesee Street (starting at 7:30 p.m. in July and 7 p.m. in August); live entertainment Sunday afternoons at the Sherwood Inn and Friday and Saturday evenings at Creekside Books & Coffee; the Blues & BBQ Festival and Seafood Jazz Festival at the Sherwood Inn; and the Midsummer Night’s Dream gala and free concerts in the park sponsored by the Skaneateles Area Arts Council.
In August, the Skaneateles Festival presents a month of world-class music by the lake, special events and free community events, including some geared for children. This year’s featured performers include Peter Serkin, the Imani Winds, Ecco and tf3. Weeknight concerts are held in the village, while Saturday evening concerts are presented at Brook Farm, off West Lake Road.
Another recurring theme is art, which is highlighted during First Fridays, from 6 to 9 p.m. Imagine, 38 E. Genesee St. (685-6253; imagineskaneateles.com), Gallery 54, 54 E. Genesee St. (685-5470; gallery54cny.com), Skaneateles Artisans, 3 Fennell St. (685-8580; skaneatelesartisans.com) and Snake Oil Glassworks, 4251 Jordan Road (685-5091; snakeoilglassworks.com) host art openings, where you can meet the featured artists and enjoy refreshments and musical entertainment. Other shops participate, too, and most stay open until 9 p.m.; just look for the First Friday flag outside their establishment. Charles Dickens’ 200th birthday will be celebrated at First Fridays throughout the summer, and raffle drawings are planned, along with other specials.
The biggest tourist draw of the summer is the Antique and Classic Boat Show (685-0552; flc-acbs.org), running July 27 to 29 in Clift Park. Highlights include a boat parade and fly-by, musical entertainment, children’s activities, a photography cruise and raffles. A special attraction will be two newly restored vintage boats from the movie On Golden Pond, making their only appearance in the Northeast this year. Adding to the ambiance, two members of the Finger Lakes Chapter of the Antique and Classic Boat Society will roam the park dressed as Henry Fonda and Katharine Hepburn’s characters.
Cruising options aplenty are offered by Mid-Lakes Navigation (685-8500; midlakesnav.com). You can choose from among sightseeing cruises, mailboat cruises (aboard the Barbara S. Wiles, which will celebrate the 75th anniversary of its launch this year and is one of the few U.S. mailboats still in operation), dinner cruises and special themed cruises, including those that set sail on Pirate Day, Aug. 8.
Other village attractions include the Skaneateles Historical Society Museum at the Creamery, 28 Hannum St. (685-1360; skaneateleshistoricalsociety.org), where the Lightning No. 1 and other wooden boats manufactured by the old Skaneateles boat companies are on display. The facility was recently expanded and remodeled, and has a great little gift shop. Open Fridays and Saturdays, 1 to 4 p.m.; also on Sundays, 1 to 4 p.m., in July and August.
Also, check out the Skaneateles Library, 49 E. Genesee St. (685-5135; skaneateleslibrary.org), built in 1888. Adjoining the library is the John D. Barrow Art Gallery, featuring more than 360 paintings by the famed 19th-century Hudson River School artist. The gallery is open Mondays through Fridays, 1 to 4 p.m.; Saturdays, 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Parking in the village couldn’t be easier, with metered spots along the street or in the municipal lot (accessed through Genesee or State streets), where two-hour parking is free and all-day parking costs $2. Free parking is available at the old firehouse on Fennell Street and on various side streets.
Attractions outside the village include:
Lockwood Lavender Farm, 1682 W. Lake Road (685-5369; lockwoodfarm.blogspot.com), which offers u-pick lavender, lavender products and honey. The Lavender Market is open weekends, 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., and weekdays by appointment.
Anyela’s Vineyards, 2433 W. Lake Road (685-3797; anyelasvineyards.com), Skaneateles’ first commercial winery, offers tastings daily, noon to 5 p.m., as well as tours by appointment.
Charlie Major Nature Trail, running .8 miles along Skaneateles Creek between Old Seneca Turnpike and Crow Hill Road, was developed upon the abandoned railroad bed of the former Skaneateles Short Line Railroad.
For more information on Skaneateles-area activities and attractions, visit skaneateles.com.
Seven miles west of Skaneateles is Auburn, known as “History’s Hometown” and ranked by Forbes as one of the best small American cities to raise a family.
Auburn is abuzz about the Finger Lakes Musical Theatre Festival (255-1785; fingerlakesMTF.com), debuting this year with a series of productions from on, off and beyond Broadway. The shows Kiss Me, Kate, 9 to 5: The Musical, My Fair Lady, Cabaret, The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee and Nunsense are at the Merry-Go-Round Playhouse, Emerson Park, Route 38A (255-1785; mgrplayhouse.com). Altar Boyz, My Mother’s Lesbian Jewish Wiccan Wedding and Fingers & Toes will be performed at Auburn Public Theater, 108 Genesee St. (253-6669; auburnpublictheater.org); and the 10-week run of original plays, under the umbrella title The Pitch, will be performed at Theater Mack at the Cayuga Museum, 203 Genesee St. (253-8051).
Also generating excitement are the Auburn Doubledays (255-2489; auburndoubledays.com), Auburn’s single-A farm team for the Washington Nationals, which last year finished as runner-up in the New York-Penn League. The team plays in Falcon Park, 130 N. Division St.; its home opener is June 19. Check out new specials and old favorites, such as an all-you-can-eat Monday, two-for-Tuesday deals, $1 Thursday, a family four pack, sponsor night giveaways and seven nights of fireworks.
Supporting Auburn’s “History’s Hometown” moniker are:
Cayuga Museum of History & Art and the Case Research Lab Museum, 203 Genesee St. (253-8051; cayuganet.org/cayugamuseum), housed in the Willard-Case Mansion, offers exhibits on the history and art of Auburn and Cayuga County and preserves the legacy of the Case Research Lab, where the first commercially successful system of recording sound on film was invented. The museum is open Tuesdays to Sundays, noon to 5 p.m.; the lab is open Tuesdays to Sundays, noon to 4:30 p.m.
Seward House Museum, 33 South St. (252-1283; sewardhouse.org), was home for more than a half-century to William Henry Seward, who served as governor of New York, U.S. senator and secretary of state to Presidents Abraham Lincoln and Andrew Johnson. Seward is best known for his purchase of Alaska (dubbed “Seward’s Folly”). The exhibits showcase political and travel souvenirs, decorative arts and photos spanning his nearly 40-year career. Open Tuesdays to Saturdays, 11 a.m. to 4 p.m., through June 30; Tuesdays to Saturdays, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., and Sundays, 1 to 4 p.m., July 1 through mid-October.
South Street Historic District, a two-mile stretch south of the Seward House, features magnificent 19th-century homes.
Harriet Tubman Home, 180 South St. (252-2081; harriethouse.org), recalls the abolitionist known as “The Moses of Her People,” Tubman settled in Auburn after the Civil War and operated this home for aged and indigent blacks. Open Tuesdays to Fridays, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.; Saturdays, 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Tubman is buried at Fort Hill Cemetery, 19 Fort St. (253-8132; cayuganet.org/forthill), as is Seward.
Willard Memorial Chapel, 17 Nelson St. (252-0339; willardchapel.org), offers a rare example of the work of Louis Comfort Tiffany and is the only complete and unaltered Tiffany chapel known to exist. Tours are given on the hour, every hour. The chapel hosts the Tiffany Sunday Concert Series and the Tiffany Noontime Concert Series, the latter presented Wednesdays in July and August. Open Tuesdays to Fridays, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.; plus Sundays, 1 to 4 p.m., in July and August.
Ward O’Hara Agricultural Museum, 6880 E. Lake Road, Route 38A (252-7644; cayuganet.org/agmuseum), features exhibits on farm and home implements from the 1800s to the 1940s. Open daily, 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Other attractions include:
Schweinfurth Memorial Art Center, 205 Genesee St. (255-1553; schweinfurthartcenter.org), a multi-arts facility with exhibitions on fine arts, architecture and design. The Schweinfurth also runs Quilting by the Lake (quiltingbythelake.com), a series of workshops and classes July 15 to 27 at Onondaga Community College. Open Tuesdays to Saturdays, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.; Sundays, 1 to 5 p.m.
Farmer’s Coop Market of Cayuga County, on South Street next to the Seward House, is open Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday mornings, June through October.
Hoopes Park, 184 E. Genesee St. (252-9300), offers free summer concerts at the bandstand in July and August.
For more ideas on things to see and do in Auburn and Cayuga County, visit tourcayuga.com.
Skaneateles Calendar of Events
June 15-16. What’s Blooming. 10 a.m.-4 p.m. A tour of seven gardens in and around the village, presented by the Skaneateles Garden Club. $20. 672-3133.
June 17. Father’s Day Pancake Breakfast. 7:30 a.m.-1 p.m. Austin Park Pavilion, 1 E. Austin St., corner of Jordan and Austin streets. Adults, $7; children 6-12, $3. 246-7875; skaneatelesrotary.org.
July 3. Lighting of the Flares. Around Skaneateles Lake. Dusk. Glow can be seen on the shores of the lake in Clift Park, Route 5. 685-0552.
July 6, Aug. 3, Sept. 7. First Friday. 6-9 p.m., Imagine, 38 E. Genesee St. (685-6253); Gallery 54, 54 E. Genesee St. (685-5470); Skaneateles Artisans, 3 Fennell St. (685-8580) and Snake Oil Glassworks, 4251 Jordan Road (685-5091).
Sundays in July and August. Polo Games. 3 p.m. Skaneateles Polo Grounds, Andrews Road, off West Lake Road. Free admission; small parking fee. 685-0552.
July 12-15. Book Sale. Thursday, 6-9 p.m.; Friday, 9 a.m.-9 p.m.; Saturday, 9 a.m.-4 p.m.; Sunday, noon-2 p.m. Skaneateles Library, 49 E. Genesee St. 685-5135.
July 13-14. Antique Show and Sale. 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Austin Park Pavilion, 1 E. Austin St. $6.50/one-day pass; $7/two-day pass. 685-3177.
July 14-5. Finger Lakes Lavender Festival. 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Enjoy culinary delights, works by local artists, workshops and demonstrations. Lockwood Lavender Farm, 1682 W. Lake Road. Free. fingerlakeslavenderfestival.blogspot.com. 685-5369.
July 19-21. Curbstone Festival & Sidewalk Sales. 22 Jordan St. Thursday and Friday, 9 a.m.-8 p.m.; Saturday, 9 a.m.-5 p.m. 685-0552; skaneateles.com.
July 21. Jumble Sale. 8 a.m.-3 p.m. St. James Episcopal Church, 96 E. Genesee St. 685-7600.
July 27-29. Antique and Classic Boat Show. Friday, 3 p.m.-dusk; Saturday, 9 a.m.-dusk; Sunday, 8 a.m.-3 p.m. Boat parade and fly-by, musical entertainment, photography cruise and more. Clift Park. Free. 685-0552; skaneateles.com.
July 28-29. Historical Village Tours. 11 a.m. and 12:30 p.m. Hour-long guided tours leave from the Gazebo in Clift Park. $10. 685-1360.
Aug. 8. Pirate Day. On all Mid-Lakes Navigation cruises. 685-8500; midlakesnav.com.
Sept. 1-2. Race Weekend. Featuring a triathlon, open water swim, cycling time trial and road races. 685-3353. skanraces.com.
Auburn Calendar of Events
June 10. Pavilion Grand Reopening. 2:30-5 p.m. Dedication ceremony, including ribbon-cutting, and community open house to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the pavilion and the completion of its renovation. Emerson Park, Route 38A. 253-9621.
June 17. Father’s Day Car Show. 8 a.m.-4 p.m. Features more than 500 classic and antique cars. Emerson Park, Route 38A. 253-5014; prisoncityramblers.com.
June 24. Flavor of the Finger Lakes. 1-5 p.m. A festival highlighting the region’s restaurants, bakeries, wineries and creameries. Exchange Street. 252-7291; cayugacountychamber.com.
June 30. OwascoMan Triathlon. 7:30 a.m. Emerson Park, Route 38A. 685-3353. skanraces.com
July 1. Summer Garden Tour. 1-4 p.m. Begins at the Hoopes Park Clubhouse, 358 Genesee St. Advance sale tickets, $10; day of the event, $12. 258-8780; beautifulauburn.org.
July 3. Syracuse University Brass Ensemble. 8 p.m. Fireworks: 9:45 p.m. Emerson Park Pavilion, Route 38A. 253-5611.
July 4. Field Days. Chicken barbecue, parade, food, beer and live entertainment. 11 a.m.-6 p.m. 7174 Owasco Road, Owasco. 253-9197.
July 6, Aug. 3, Sept. 7. First Friday. 5-8 p.m. Free
admission, food, entertainment and other specials at the city’s
historical and cultural sites, including Schweinfurth Memorial Art
Center, 205 Genesee St., and Willard Memorial Chapel, 17 Nelson St.
Aug. 11. Founders Day. 11 a.m.-4 p.m. This year’s theme is “Baseball, Hot Dogs, Apple Pie and Chevrolet.” Throughout downtown Auburn. 252-7874 auburndowntown.org
Aug. 12. The Great Race. 9:30 a.m. Team triathlon (run, bike, paddle) relay races and post-race celebration featuring Nik and The Nice Guys. Emerson Park, Route 38A. 252-7139. great-race.com.
Sept. 8-9. CNY TomatoFest. 11 a.m.-6 p.m. Live entertainment, tomato tasting, wine tasting, crafts and amusement rides, to benefit the Cayuga County Food Pantry. Emerson Park, Route 38A. $3/adults, $1/children. 283-2204. cnytomatofest.org.