Things to Do
Top 10 Gardens
Who doesn't enjoy beautiful gardens? We have an abundance of gardens for you to see. Here's our top ten.
#1. Where history is forever in bloom
Sonnenberg Gardens & Mansion State Historic Site, Canandaigua
Every time philanthropist Mary Clark Thompson traveled to Europe or Asia, she brought back ideas and art that helped shape the nine unique gardens and greenhouse at her Finger Lakes mansion. From pansies to roses with a greenhouse and aviary, the grounds at Sonnenberg are a magical horticultural adventure. Combine a walk through the gardens with a tour of the mansion and you’ll be mesmerized for hours.
#2. A bit of Europe here in the Finger Lakes
Geneva on the Lake, Geneva
This romantic resort was built more than 100 years ago, modeled after the Villa Frascati in Italy. The beautifully manicured maze of shrubbery behind this four-star inn also has an Old World European feel, and offers a truly unique and stunning view of Seneca Lake. It's hard not to be swept away.
#3. A garden that celebrates peace between two countries
Granger Homestead & Carriage Museum, Canandaigua
To commemorate the 200th anniversary of the War of 1812 and the long-standing friendship between the United States and Canada, there are gardens dedicated at historic sites in the Great Lakes region, and Granger Homestead is the location of one of these beautiful tributes. Officially called the War of 1812 Bicentennial Peace Gardens, these gardens celebrate the world’s longest undefended border. Maybe Granger Homestead can be your first stop on the Peace Trail.
#4. Flowers and furry friends
Lazy Acre Alpaca Farm, Bloomfield
Pretty flowers and soft, fluffy alpacas. Now that’s a combination! This family-friendly agritourism destination will captivate anyone who loves the outdoors and animals. Of course, there are the long-necked alpacas. But garden lovers will fall in love with Lazy Acre's bucolic gardens surrounding gift shop as well as the tree-lined pathways to the barn and pasture areas. Some beds feature vegetables, while the perennial and annual gardens add the extra splash of color that will brighten your “lazy” day.
#5. The farm-to-supermarket connection
Wegmans Organic Farm, Canandaigua
The Wegmans supermarket chain, headquartered in nearby Rochester, has a long history of building relationships with local farmers and selling foods from local farms. In 2007 the company started its own organic farm on West Lake Road in Canandaigua, and during the growing season it offers occasional tours of the farm, which includes greenhouses, an apiary, a sophisticated composting system and a gorgeous view of Canandaigua Lake. (Check www.wegmans.com for details concerning registration, schedule and admission fee).
#6. Main Street in bloom
Downtown Clifton Springs and Warfield's Restaurant
Take a stroll around downtown Clifton Springs for a delightful garden tour. A sulphur creek (the source of the village's healing runs though the hospital grounds downtown and serves as a focal point for a thoughtfully landscaped walkway that meanders around the hospital grounds, with occasional benches and markers for rest and reflection. There is also a lovely labyrinth to walk. Be sure to make time for lunch or dinner at Warfield's Restaurant and request a patio table. Al fresco dining at this classic eatery offers another lovely garden experience.
#7. Search for the great pumpkin
Pick'n Patch, Stanley
In the fall, there's no better place to find the perfect pumpkin than Wickham's Pick'n Patch, a family-friendly agri-tainment stop that includes a pick-your-own pumpkin patch, a corn maize, mums, fall decorations, a kiddie train rides and refreshments. Located on Route 5 and 20 between Geneva and Canandaigua, drive to Pick'n Patch is also an opportunity to see some of the richest farmland in the Finger Lakes.
#8. Explore Finger Lakes farmland
Route 245 through Rushville, Gorham, Stanley
It's not a garden per se, but we think of the drive along Route 245 between Geneva and Naples as a journey through the best of Finger Lakes farmland. As you pass through the communities of Rushville, Gorham and Stanley, you'll see fields flourishing with a variety of crops, such as cabbage, corn, green beans, hay, wheat, oats and buckwheat. When you are in Gorham, stop and stretch your legs at the Gorham Post Office, built around 1900 and moved to its current location in 2003. Inside (during business hours) you can enjoy historical artifacts from the region. Outside, there is a lovely garden.
Check out Route 5 and 20 between Geneva and Bloomfield too, and in the pumpkin season go to Wickham's Pumpkin Patch in Stanley for some homegrown fun.
#9. See how New York grows
The New York Kitchen is all about educating visitors about the state's diverse agricultural bounty. Fruit trees, vegetables, herbs and other edible crops make up the Kitchen's teaching garden, which is a lovely place to visit before or after a hands-on cooking class.
#10. A peaceful public gathering space
Pulteney Park, Geneva
Pack a lunch, grab a bench and enjoy the tranquility of Pulteney Park. Located at the east end of Washington Street, this park was designated as the original village green in 1794 when Geneva was laid out. Today the park serves as a tranquil public space, complete with a layered square water pool monument and the statue of “Peace” in the center. On the south side is a granite World War II memorial.