Escort Notes for Group Tours in the Finger Lakes

WHO KNEW? Ontario County has some really cool escort notes and trivia to share with your group!


Boat houses sit on canandaigua pier on a sunny day

  • Geneva is known as the "Trout Capital of the World."
  • Humphrey Bogart used to spend his summer vacations on Canandaigua Lake.
  • Susan B. Anthony found guilty of voting in in the Ontario County Courthouse in Canandaigua. The women's rights leader was fined $100 for voting in the 1872 Presidential election. She refused to pay the fine.
  • Myron Clark of Naples became the first Republican governor of the state of New York. He was the father of Mary Clark Thompson, sounder of Sonnenberg Gardens in Canandaigua.
  • Gideon Granger of Canandaigua was the third U.S. Postmaster General of the United States. He served under Presidents Jefferson and Madison. His home is open today as Granger Homestead and Carriage Museum.
  • Geneva On The Lake, located in Geneva on Seneca Lake, is a four diamond historic European style hotel. From 1949 to 1974 it served as a monastery. 
  • The Lady Bug is the official New York State insect, the Bluebird the official state bird, the Rose is the official flower.
  • Elizabeth Blackwell was the first woman in the United States to be awarded a medical degree. She received it from Geneva Medical College, located on what is now the campus of Hobart and William Smith Colleges.
  • Wizard of Clay’s Bristoleaf® line, pottery designed with impressions from real indigenous leaves, is made and sold in one place in the world, on Route 20A in Bristol. The potters at Wizard of Clay are unique among only 200 potters in the world to produce a line of crystalline glazed porcelain.
  • The average annual snowfall in Ontario County is 99 inches.
  • Bristol Mountain (Canandaigua) has the largest vertical ski drop (1200') of any winter resort between the Adirondacks and Rocky Mountain Ranges. It is also home to the new Aerial Adventure Park and Zip Line courses.
  • Over one hundred and fifty artists live in Naples and the Bristol Hills, drawing inspiration for everything from entrepreneurial food artists to traditional painters, glass blowers, sculptors, wine makers and more
  • In the 1800’s, Clifton Springs became a magnet for men and women seeking a healthier life. Visitors were drawn by the natural sulphur springs - which were thought to have curative powers through drinking and bathing. The baths are open today for integrated health and wellness treatments.
  • Theodore Roosevelt gave a speech from the platform of his railroad car at the Victor station in 1898. Robert Kennedy was in Naples and enjoyed the festival when he was Attorney General of the United States.
  • Nathaniel Rochester, founder of the city which bears his name, once lived in Bloomfield, as did Abolitionist Frederick Douglass.


Photo of Canandaigua Lake during the annual ring of fire festival

  • The Ring of Fire is an annual tradition of lakefront residents who light flares around the western Finger Lakes signifying the end of harvest season and the conclusion of the summer season on the lake. This is reputed to have started with a Native American tradition, but continues today on Canandaigua Lake, Honeoye Lake, and Keuka Lake.
  • During its active time, the Sampson Naval Training Station (on Seneca Lake) was the country's second largest Naval Training Station -- processing 411,429 recruits between October 1942 and August 1945.
  • Ganondagan of Victor is the only State Historic Site in New York State dedicated to a Native American Theme.  Seneca Arts and Culture Center opened in the fall 2015.
  • Just across the county line, into Seneca County, is the largest population of White Deer in the world located at the former Seneca Army Depot.
  • Hill Cumorah (Ontario County) and nearby Palmyra are celebrated as the birthplace of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
  • Phelps, NY is the home of a unique architectural facility – a two story brick outhouse.
  • Routes 5 and 20 converge in certain parts of New York State, including Ontario County. The roads were originally Indian trail paths and then stagecoach paths across New York State. Route 20 is one of the first transcontinental highways, running from Boston, through New York State, to the west coast (Oregon).



Canandaigua lake as seen from the County Road 12 Scenic overlook

  • There are a total of eleven major lakes in the Finger Lakes Region. Five in Ontario County.
  • Seneca Lake is the deepest of the Finger Lakes (618 ft. depth).
  • Despite its Native American translation meaning "Long Lake," Canadice Lake is the smallest of the Finger Lakes - measuring under 4 miles long.
  • Seneca Lake is Ontario County's waterway connection to the world, due to its accessibility from the Erie Canal, St. Lawrence Seaway and the Atlantic Ocean.
  • The annual NYS Department of Environmental “shocking” of the fish takes place in Naples Creek, just a few weeks before the opening of trout season on April 1. The shocking involves bringing fish to the top of the water so they can be analyzed, tagged, and counted.
  • Port Gibson is the only area in Ontario County that is accessible from the original Erie Canal. The Cayuga Seneca Canal connects the Erie Canal to Seneca Lake.
  • The Finger Lakes were formed by glacial activity over 100 million years ago, during the Ice Age. Glacial activity also formed the Bristol Hills and its surrounding valleys. These geological features are clearly visible from Jump Off Lookout at the Ontario County Park in Naples


Food from Rio Tomatlan displayed deliciously on a plate

  • The Finger Lakes is the largest wine producing region outside of California.
  • What is the most successful and widely planted variety in the Finger Lakes vineyards? Riesling.
  • What are the top 3 fruit & veggie producers ?  Apples, grapes and cabbage.
  • It is estimated that there are over 70,000 grape pies sold annually in Naples – the grape pie capital of the world.
  • Got milk? Well it's New York's official state beverage.  New York ranks 4th for a top 10 producing milk state.
  • Traminette is a grape that was developed at the NYS Agricultural Experiment Station.  Arbor Hill Grapery was the first to produce the Traminette wine.
  • The Phelps Sauerkraut Festival is one of the oldest ongoing festivals in New York State – have you ever bowled with a head of cabbage? It's just one of the activities that you can partake in if the spirit moves you!