#SeeTheWorldAtHome: Exploring the Finger Lakes in the Fall | Canandaigua, NY

This time of year is absolute magic in New York. No matter where you go, you will see a plethora of fall foliage. Whether it's the trees in Central Park,  at the wineries of East End Long Island, or my personal favorite -- nestled between the mountains in Upstate NY. One day completely on a whim - Mike and I were feeling burned out and needed a change of pace. I know, we're in our 20's. What do WE have to feel burned out about? Meh. That's for a rant post. We'll stick with a change of pace. I knew we were itching to travel. In Fall of 2016, we made the trek up to Lake George with his fam and I instantly fell in love with it. Especially the feeling of being in a small cozy town at their wind-down of the busy season. There's a crispness in the air and a charm to the people celebrating Autumn. Now that I've caught you up on what goes on in Kiana's brain, (There's a lot) now we can continue. Knowing how much I loved it in the fall, I thought upstate would be a fantastic idea for a quick fall getaway.

Once we both agreed upstate sounded great, it was time to put our plans into action! ...On Google. All we knew is that we wanted to try something new! Escape LI for a bit but not do something we have before like Lake George. We looked up something like "Best places to stay in Upstate New York." Incredibly bland search terms, but with help of the right websites, we hit a goldmine. After about an hour or so of looking, we stumbled upon a hidden gem called Canandaigua! It's a pretty small town apart of the Finger Lakes. While researching this place, we found the sweetest B&B that completely sold me and had me all in to go here. I showed Mike and he was hesitant, but if you ask him now, he'd go back in a heartbeat. We'll cover that later.

We are still getting the hang of traveling. Because of this, this trip wasn't 100% perfect in regards to doing what we planned. But I think by doing that, we found many more things that we I'll be sharing with you here!


Something worth noting is that Mike and I are both night people. We both work in the nighttime and that means that it can be difficult getting both of us to wake up early. Our plan was to leave at 6 in the morning. That didn't work out! We actually weren't up and ready to go until around 9. I'll take the fault for this one! I woke up around 6ish, only to fall back asleep while trying to wake myself up. Effort counts, right? Anyway, we didn't get on the road until around 9 or 10.

With this delay, it was set back a bit. Luckily we didn't hit much traffic! However, the weather wasn't fantastic. It was about a 5-hour trip. Because of this, we missed the Pup parade! We thought the whole event would be more of an all-day festival, but we didn't see anything going on. We were told later that everything was canceled due to the inclement weather! After discovering more of the downtown area, we went by the B&B to check in and put our stuff down in our room.

The B&B

Photo Courtesy of chaletbandb.com (NOT MINE)

Disclaimer: This post is no way sponsored by anyone! We just loved it to infinity. :)

The B&B we found was an absolute dream. It's the reason that we decided to stay in Canandaigua in the first place. It's called the Chalet of Canandaigua. It's owned by the two sweetest ladies - Pattie and Margaret. They do whatever they can to make your stay absolutely perfect, even down to scheduling your dining reservations. Mike and I are history buffs, so we were very much into how they acquired the property for this resort. They laid out the story and the history of it for us and it was so intriguing! More on that here. They were beyond courteous and so friendly. After a chat about what we wanted out of our short stay, they took us for a small tour around the premises. 

That leads me to the rooms. Every single one is absolutely stunning. The one we stayed in was my personal favorite, called the Woodsview Suite. 

Woodsview Suite

I wish I had gotten a photo of the other side of the room, too! The entire room was so cozy and relaxing. I have a Snapchat video of the other side, so I'll leave that below. Even though in my opinion, it doesn't do it the right justice!! And before you ask - yes. We were watching Bob Ross.

They showed us the kitchen where the prepare breakfast every morning and I was amazed of how they could have such a professional grade kitchen but still make it seem so homey. I didn't want to be rude on the tour, so I didn't get a photo of that. You'll just have to take my word! 

As for the common area, it was perfectly log-cabiney and cozy. 

The balcony in the common area, where the other 2 suites are located.

So unbelievably gorgeous, and the front lawn was the perfect spot for photos. No photographers or photoshopped backgrounds! Just us, my iPhone, some light color adjustments in VSCO, a self-timer, and a beautiful view. :)

Even on a cloudy day, the dreaminess was still there 1000%.

It was by far our favorite part of our stay! Now that I've gushed about how amazing our B&B was, we should get back to telling you more of what we actually did there to see the sights.

Exploring Canandaigua

NY Culinary and Wine Center

After we got acquainted, we got back on the road to explore! There are countless wineries just near Canandaigua alone, so our options were limitless. Our winery of choice before dinner was the NY Wine and Culinary Center, just minutes from the B&B. It also goes by New York Kitchen. Overall, this was a COOL place. We went in and tried samples of several different NY Wines as well as beer flights, and the best part... CIDERS. Cue heart eyes emoji. 

Wine for two... pinkies up.
Adorable Souveneir Beer Flight Glasses

One of the only things I was disappointed about here was that there were classes going on that I would have LOVED to have taken part in. We went the weekend before Halloween so they were having special themed classes like pairing NY State Wines with HALLOWEEN CANDY. It sounds like my idea of a great time. I saw this on their website while planning, but I didn't want to over plan. I wanted us to enjoy and go at our own pace. But if I could go back in time, I'd register us for this in a heartbeat! They also had cooking classes going on where you could prepare a full meal. Something Mike & I have always wanted to do.

Despite not doing a class, it was still a fun place to go and try some awesome NY Wines, Beers & Ciders! The staff was friendly and helpful. Especially for two beginners in the wine world. Prices for both classes and sampling won't break the bank, too. They are very reasonable!

Dinner at Eric's Office

Mike and I look back at Eric's Office and chuckle in an endearing way. We have great memories of it! When we were trip planning, we both saw Eric's Office and were sold. The website was designed so eloquently and the food looked like good, top-notch pub grub. When we told Pattie and Margaret that we had our hearts set on it, they wanted us to go so bad! They said Eric's Office is like the "Cheers" of  Canandaigua. Everyone knows your name! However, it can get crowded especially on a Saturday night. They had to call in ahead and call in a favor to squeeze us in! Like I said, Pattie and Margaret, the best innkeepers EVER.

Mike surveying his options

We got there and it was everything that Pattie and Margaret told us and more. The place was bustling, and we would have, in fact, needed a reservation. Good thing we had one! We were seated and taking in the ambiance. Like I mentioned, we love all things history. If you want little bits and pieces of Canandaigua's history, you can find it here. They've been a staple for so long that businesses of Canandaigua's past and present have donated their signs to Eric's Office to display within the restaurant. These signs go back and are so cool to look at!

The Food

Like I said, the food at Eric's Office looked to be good pub grub! I was so excited to try after so much anticipation. But me being me... tell me why I ordered the least pub grubby food at this place?! I'm going to be honest. I wasn't wowed by the food. And I'm not saying that it was bad; it just wasn't as impressive than the standard I had set previously in my head! Looking back, I truly don't think it's because of them! Who goes somewhere with a bar atmosphere but gets Calamari and "French Chicken?" (Which was Chicken Francaise by the way.) Apparently, I do. *Facepalm*
"French Chicken"

The meal was still good and the service was spectacular. I do recommend going here! Just stick to sandwiches. I've seen them on Yelp and they look amazing. *Double facepalm*

Winding Down

After an awesome day exploring, wine tasting, trying new things, it was time to return back to the Chalet and relax. We got back around 9, which was very late according to P&M. Lol! We spent the remainder of the night enjoying the beauty of our room. Oh, and the grape pie! They left it out on the counter for us when we went to sign in and confirm we'd be having breakfast in the morning. Overall, what an awesome day. And there were even more adventures to be had!


Onto our next dreamy day! After a great day exploring the great Canandaigua, there was plenty more to see. We got ready for the day and began to pack up. We began our day with a wonderful homemade breakfast from The Chalet! It was delicious and have to mention that it was also 100% homemade. 

And one helluva view!!

And might I mention -- you would think Patti and Margaret have some kind of culinary school experience. I was surprised to learn that they are completely self-taught! Breakfast was absolutely wonderful and they were super attentive dietary restrictions you might have. Mike and I like to always try new foods, so we had a BALL!

After breakfast, it was time to say goodbye to our lovely Innkeepers and get back onto the road. They told us that they wished we could stay longer because there was so much to see! We were intending on stopping by a winery before heading home but they told us to make a few other stops along the way. They gave us a map (cause with all those windy sideroads, you don't want to be caught without one if you lose service!) and we hit the road!

Heron Hill Winery

First stop was Heron Hill Winery. We left a bit early (pretty much right after breakfast) so we were the first customers of the day. May I say, the staff here was lovely. Super friendly, patient, and knowledgeable. As I mentioned earlier, we're still finding out the kinds of wine we prefer. So they walked us through a lot of the basics we had little to no clue about how to differentiate dry wine to a sweet Riesling from just the label. Also, a very awesome perk was that we were the only ones in there for a good amount of time! I'm kicking myself for not getting any photos, but it just goes to show we had so much fun there. They even had some moonshine selections that Mike loved. I got a liquor very similar to Bailey's... but like, BETTER. I'll look for the bottle to get the name and hopefully not forget to update this later. I have a rating system I use for deciding which bottle of wine to buy, and that one was a 10/10. The other 10/10 was their Equestrian Blend! It may have been limited time, but if you can find it, get it. Totally worth it. Overall, go there to learn much more about NY wines and maybe even expand your palette!

The Drive

Going from place to place alone was an experience! The sights were so stunning I told Mike he had to stop the car so I could take these. The foliage is breathtaking paired with the stunning mountain ranges look straight out of a Cozy Living Magazine or something.

County Road 12 Lookout


You can kind of see how our photo taking skills differ here (LOL). Both are great, but I'm extra. He looks like he should be saying, "This city needs a hero." But all jokes aside, this was an awesome place to stop along the way!

I loved when we went because you can see all of the foliage, but I could see this being a perfect spot for a springtime/summer picnic. See below!

Photo from www.visitfingerlakes.com (NOT MINE)

So dreamy, right? I may have to take a spring trip to take proper advantage. But at this lookout, you even learn about the town's history with the signs they have around the premises. But I highly recommend stopping here, whether it's to take a quick look or go picnicking. You won't regret it!

Roadside Market in Naples

Driving through Naples made me wish we had spent more time there! Of course I knew it was part of the Finger Lakes which is wine country; but I guess I never thought about how if the wine is good, so are the grapes. I guess I kind of realized at the B&B eating that grape pie. My point being that this market sold grapes that tasted like no other! There's no way I can really explain it. You need to take my word for it.

Other than my odd grape discovery, this market was all I could have wished for and more. Incredibly picturesque and filled to the brim with local delicacies! I picked up delicious homemade Apple Butter and a big bag of freshly popped Kettle Corn. If I were to go back, would I get more? Oh, yes. Support local business!! And trust me -- it's not something to skimp out on.



This was just an extra one I threw in, cause C'MON. It's a WATERFALL. It's actually not in Canandaigua, though! We stumbled upon this completely on accident. If you're interested in tracking it down, it was in a small village called Cayuga (which I just Googled -- it really is SMALL. 549 people according to a 2010 consensus!) and across from a gas station and a Subway. #NotSponsored. ANYWAY, this was a great way to end the trip. We weren't at all expecting it and we only passed it because of a detour.

That was our Fall trip to the Finger Lakes!

What We Learned

  1. Stay on schedule to the best of your ability. It can make or break your plans.
  2. Try to 'overplan.' It's better to be able to say no to plans than to be stuck on your vacay not knowing what to do with yourself.
  3. When trying new food, consult Yelp and maybe even Instagram.
  4. When going somewhere more than 5 hours away, consider staying much longer than just a weekend. You don't want to eat up all your time travelling and settling before you get time to do much.
  5. DETOUR. It's how you get the best views.
  6. Always try to plan accordingly with the weather. (Yes, this is kind of a given but you don't want to get stuck in the pouring rain on the I-95. Wasn't a great experience!)
I hope you enjoyed this snapshot of our vacation to the Finger Lakes! We hope to return back more sooner than later! Until next time --

Onward & Upward,

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