My Neighborhood: Fair Haven, NY

Welcome to our monthly feature “My Neighborhood”. We want to feature neighborhoods from all over the country in an effort to promote understanding and also just to hear about some really cool places! We like humor, be sure to include it. Submit ideas or articles to Thanks!

Remember back in the day when a typical summer vacation consisted of going to a quaint village somewhere on the water? A place where the adults could relax at a lakefront cottage and the kids could play, fish, bike, or swim without hovering parents? A place where you could hop on your bike and go to the local ice cream shop and everyone could enjoy the beauty of the water.  A few places like this still exist on the many lakes in Upstate NY; one in particular is our neighborhood, a hidden jewel on the Seaway Trail between Rochester and Syracuse.

Located on Little Sodus Bay of Lake Ontario is Fair Haven, NY.  This small rural town has a population of approximately 760 year round, but the population probably doubles or triples (couldn’t find exact numbers) when the summer residents open their cottages. One of the most beautiful state parks around, Fair Haven Beach State Park sits at the north-eastern end of Fair Haven and boasts over 260,000 visitors each summer.  It consists of a beautiful sandy beach, a large fishing pond, a channel with diving boards from days gone by, and quaint log cabins to rent. Don’t forget to come back in the winter too, for some kick-ass ice fishing and snowmobile races!


Should the adults want some…adult time…why not laugh, listen to stories, great music by local entertainers, and a beverage of your choice at a local favorite, Little Sodus Inn.  What makes it a truly special place are the people. Hey, even the souvenir t-shirts at LSI display the slogan “He who enters here is a stranger but once!” Seriously, you’ll be hugging other patrons goodbye on your way out like they are a long lost friend.


There are also a few other restaurants and shops on the main drag. You can also find an ice cream shop, bait and tackle shop, and the requisite mom and pop grocery store and gas station. Have lunch at the Hardware Café, and yes many decades ago it was the local hardware store. Enjoy an art exhibit or painting lesson at the Fair Haven Arts Center. Buy your fishing essentials at Screwy Louie’s Sport Shop. However, you can forget about 24 hour convenient, drug, or grocery stores… the closest ones are at the very least a 20 minute drive. Fair Haven decided to “Just Say No” to chains and big box stores.  You are encouraged you to shop local!


The Finger Lakes to the South of Lake Ontario isn’t the only place to find great wineries, Colloca Estate Winery lies on the Western Shores of the bay and after only a few years in business already boasts award winning wines. But the wines aren’t the only attraction… You can either drive or boat to the estate on 900 feet of waterfront and enjoy a full bar, fine food, and great music. And talk about a view! It’s also a real hotspot for weddings. FYI, most attractions in Fair Haven have the option to arrive by boat with their own docks and boat slips.

If you are looking  for a place to celebrate July 4th, or maybe partake in a good Pirate Festival in August, or fish for bass in the bay or charter a boat to snag a thirty-pound Salmon on Lake Ontario, or maybe watch snowmobiles race on the frozen bay in February, you will love Fair Haven.  If you love the water, want to step back in time, enjoy a peaceful day or week, and explore a hidden gem, head to Fair Haven, NY on Little Sodus Bay and Lake Ontario.

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  1. Walter

    Great introduction to such a fun community. It’s the people there that makes it such a great place. There are also a couple other eateries: the iconic Pleasant Beach Hotel with it’s beautiful antique laden rooms and O’Connors Main Street Pub (new owner, new chef). Every place you will find interesting and friendly people from all walks of life.

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