Skaneateles, NY – My Neighborhood
A world class spa, sprawling farms, a Norman Rockwell-esque lake front village filled with charm and yearlong festivities. Welcome to the Eastern Gateway to the Finger Lakes, Skaneateles, NY. Pronounced Skinny-Atlas, Skaneateles is an Iroquois term meaning “long lake.” Both the lake and town are named as such.
NY Route 20 is the main thoroughfare into the village of approximately 2500 people, one of the many highways that existed long before interstates, turnpikes, and thruways. So, escape the interstate travel and cruise from the west, stop at Hilltop Diner for breakfast with fresh NY maple syrup and then stop by Mirbeau Spa for a couples’ Divine Indulgence for Two! After you have relaxed, continue past historical homes that once were art of the Underground Railroad, to the beginning of the beautiful quaint downtown village.
On a beautiful summer day or a winter day with fresh fallen snow, the first glimpse of beautiful Skaneateles Lake can be breath taking. Step back in time at the end of July with the Antique and Wooden Boat show when the power and beauty of Hacker Crafts, Chris-Crafts, and Lymans are on display in and out of the water. This special weekend waxes nostalgic of when these wooden beauties were the family sport and fishing boats dotting the seventeen miles of this “long lake.” Of course if you don’t have your own boat to explore the lake, stop by Midlakes Navigation and get a reservation on either the tour boat Judge Ben Wiles or its sister boat the Barbara Wiles and you’ll be sure to be treated to relaxation and the history of the surrounding area.
You might be surprised by the variety of shopping and dining options available in this small town. But don’t expect to find a chain store or restaurant here, (Well except Subway, but that’s hidden on a side street. Shhh.) What you will find is the famous Doug’s Fish Fry, an area favorite serving an excellent fresh fish fry and then ice cream for dessert! Or try burgers at Johnny Angel’s! But Skaneateles serves more than fried food and burgers, world class dining can be found at Mirbeau Spa and The Krebs, a Skaneateles landmark since 1899, recently renovated and revitalized. But that’s not all, stop by the Lakehouse Pub for a pint and a Beef-on-Weck, but be forewarned the horseradish will flush your nostrils. Woo doggie!
If it is pastries and desserts you prefer, you have your choice between The Patisserie, Rosalie’s and The Bakery, all providing top notch treats to satisfy your sweet tooth. Of course if it is one stop food and accommodations you desire, The Sherwood Inn is a resting and eating place for over 200 years that will certainly please. Wander across the street for a bite and a drink at Bluewater Grill for lakeside dining and prepare for your walk east along Genesee Street and check shops from Emma James for women’s fashions to a beautiful SkanWoods cutting board by local craftsman Ryan Goetzman at Nest 58. Antique stores, art galleries and custom jewelers can provide all your necessary home and personal accessories from Gallery 54, Imagine, Grant Jewelers, and a variety of others, even the kids can find something at Hobby House Toys.
Hey, if you think summer is great, come visit after Thanksgiving and pray for snow because downtown turns into jolly old England with Dickens characters roaming the streets wishing you a “Happy Christmas,” or a “Bah Humbug,” depending on who you stumble upon. And if you are truly a snow hound, you won’t be disappointed with the snow mobile trails, ice skating at the YMCA or on the lake (provided it’s frozen), cross country skiing and alpine skiing all within reach. And you can always count on Winterfest, typically at the end of January where you can join your friends for a breathtaking plunge into the icy lake and become a member of the Polar Bear Club then quickly get dressed and find a hot toddy, taste test various cuisines from a number of vendors and visit the shops once again.
Throughout the years, Skaneateles has become a popular destination for a number of celebrities from President Clinton to Justin Bieber. Don’t expect to see a sleepy little town, but a vibrant, enthusiastic, successful piece of Americana.
You will not be disappointed if you decide to take a whole week or just an afternoon to visit Skaneateles; dine, shop, relax and enjoy the fresh lake breezes. But don’t forget, you are in dairy country, so you may get a waft of freshly spread manure as well! Enjoy!