Bristol Mountain Winter Resort, Canandaigua

Bristol & South Bristol

The names are similar but each of these unique and charming towns have bragging rights that are all their own.

Town of Bristol

In 1788, settlers from Bristol County, Connecticut, inhabited land west of Canandaigua Lake and named the area Bristol. These early residents and their descendants established grist mills and lumber mills, raised sheep, and made candles from the tallow, grew hops for beer, and they built a lot of churches.

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Today, Bristol’s rural and pristine environment, shaped by forested hills that explode in autumnal color and winding country roads that lead through breathtaking vistas, is a beautiful place to embrace nature in all its splendor. Inspired by the year-round beauty, many artists and outdoor enthusiasts have made Bristol home.

History thrives in Bristol, in its Revolutionary War-era cemeteries, popular archaeological dig sites, active historical society and large genealogy library, the legacy of late Bristol Town Historian Helen Fox.

An interesting natural feature of the town is Burning Springs, which are underground gas springs that bubble up to the water's surface and can be ignited into a wondrous tree of fire. In 1669, the French explorer Robert de la Salle was one of the first Europeans to witness the Burning Springs aflame.

Bristol is also home to Parsons Pipe Organ Builders, a family-owned business whose early roots stretch back several generations. Parsons restores old pipe organs and custom builds new ones using three-dimensional computer modeling.

A Bristol itinerary must include a stop at Wizard of Clay Pottery, famous for its unique leaf imprints on its handmade works; a tasting at Noble Shepherd Craft Brewery, located next door to the Wizard, and a meal at Lock's Stock and Barrel, a rustic style restaurant close to Bristol Mountain. Levi Corser Memorial Park is a popular place for family reunions, picnics, and weddings, as well as an outdoor fitness center for people who like to run and play basketball, tennis, and other sports.

For overnight accommodations, pitch a tent or park an RV at Bristol Woodlands Campground, which offers breathtaking views of the Bristol Hills. Luxury-seekers will want to make a reservation at the AAA Four Diamond 1795 Acorn Inn, a well-known bed and breakfast renowned for its rich history and hospitality.

Bristol Fast Facts

The town of Bristol was settled by people from Bristol County, Massachusetts in 1788 and then incorporated a year later.  

2.315 (2010 Census)

36.8 square miles

15 minutes from Canandaigua, Bristol is a "land-locked" town located between Canandaigua and Honeoye Lakes.  Major arterials are Route 20A and Route 64.

Bristol is a town of hills with Mud Creek running through it.

Key industries

Manufacturing: Parson's Pipe Organ Builders designs and builds custom pipe organs. Bristol Woodlands Campground provides domestic and imported hardwood and millwork services.

Energy: Honeoye Gas Storage Corp. operates an independent gas storage facility. Solar and Wind FX provides consultation and design for anyone interested in renewable energy. 

Small businesses: There are a variety of service-oriented small businesses that thrive in Bristol, from auto repair to pet grooming.
Agriculture: Small family farms grow a variety of crops.


Town of Bristol students are served by several school districts, depending on where they live: Honeoye Central School District, Bloomfield Central School District, Naples Central School District, and Canandaigua City School District.

Key landmarks and attractions

Levi Corser Memorial Park: This 8-acre park, located on Route 20A, has a running track, children's playground and courts for volleyball, picnic area, tennis, and basketball. The fields are suitable for baseball and soccer, and there is a pavilion that can be reserved for reunions and other special events.

Patriot Park: This 12.5-acre park on County Road 32 offers hiking trails along Mud Creek and an area for picnics.

Burning Springs: In 1669, the French explorer Robert de la Salle was led by residents of a nearby Seneca village to these springs where flames would often erupt due to the escaping of natural gas. The springs are on private property, but visitors can drive on Case Road to see the historic marker.

Bristol Town Hall: Over the years, this historic building has served as a Grange Hall, farm supply store and a dance hall. It is now where the Bristol government is seated.

Wizard of Clay Pottery: Handmade pottery is known for its trademarked Bristoleaf motif, which uses leaves from native trees to make decorative impressions.

Noble Shepherd Craft Brewing:  Located next door to the Wizard of Clay, this microbrewery has an ever-changing lineup of craft beers on tap. 

Lock's Stock and Barrel: This rustic style restaurant is close to Bristol Mountain Winter Resort features pizza, wings, steaks, chicken & chops with prime rib on Tuesday, Friday, and Saturday.

1795 Acorn Inn: This AAA Four-Diamond resort has five exclusive guest rooms. Guests enjoy the beautiful gardens and gourmet breakfasts.

Bristol Woodlands Campground: This 100-acre campground offers stellar views of the Bristol Hills and features wilderness trails. Bring your tent, trailer or RV or rent a cabin.

4-H Camp Bristol Hills: More than 120 acres that include fields and meadows, fishing pond, gorge for hiking, cabins to accommodate up to 225 people, a dining hall, swimming pool, and more. Part of the Cornell Cooperative Extension system. Available on a rental basis.

Key Events

Bristol Fun Day: On a Saturday in mid-June, Bristol Fun Day is a community celebration with live music, library book sale, antique car show, arts and crafts sale, a pie booth, chicken barbecue and parade.

Community Resources

Town of Bristol:

Town of South Bristol

Small yet tall is one way to sum up South Bristol, the smallest town in Ontario County by population and the one with the tallest hills. Standing at the Jump Off point in Ontario County Park at Gannett Hill, you may think you are at the top of the world, but look west at Frost Hill, and you will see the highest peak in Ontario County at 2,290 feet (about 698 meters).

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The town of South Bristol is revered for its lush forests, year-round outdoor recreation, serene vineyards, and stunning views of Canandaigua Lake, which serves as the town's eastern boundary.

While farming and forestry have been the historic backbone of this community, today, South Bristol's key industries are tied to recreation and tourism, some agriculture, and small businesses or at-home workers that operate through the high-speed fiber optic Internet ring.

In the 1960s, snowmaking technology allowed Bristol Mountain Ski Resort to become a premier Finger Lakes skiing and snowboarding destination. Its 1,200-foot (about 366 meters) vertical is the tallest between the Rockies and the Adirondacks. Once the snow melts for good, thrill seekers head to the summit for Bristol Mountain Aerial Adventures, a tree-to-tree ropes course with various elements including ladders, swinging bridges and ziplines. 

Arbor Hill Grapery is a unique wine-tasting stop with specialty food shopping and Brew & Brats at Arbor Hill, a casual beer and sausage eatery.

Town of South Bristol Fast Facts

South Bristol was originally part of the town of Bristol, but formally separated in 1838.

1,590 (2010 Census)

42.1 square miles (including 3 square miles of water)

Geographic location
The town of South Bristol is in the southern part of Ontario County, about 15 miles south of Canandaigua and about 40 miles southeast of Rochester. Major north-south arterials are Route 64 and Route 21. It borders the southwestern end of Canandaigua Lake.

South Bristol has the tallest hills in Ontario County. Mud Creek and Mill Creek run through the town, forming north-south valleys.

Key Industries

Tourism: Bristol Mountain provides skiing; Bristol Mountain Aerial Adventures and Canopy Zipline Tour features various outdoor adventure experiences.  Arbor Hill Grapery offers wines and gourmet foods.

Small businesses: Timber Frames Inc. builds timber frame homes. Other small businesses in the town are dedicated to milling and agriculture.


South Bristol students can attend Naples Central School District or Honeoye Central School District.

Key Landmarks and Attractions

Carolabarb Park's Scenic Overlook: Great spot for pictures and picnics, with view of Canandaigua Lake and surrounding hills.

Ontario County Park at Gannett Hill: This county park has picnic tables, pavilion, camping, hiking, mountain biking and softball fields, basketball, and an ADA-accessible fishing pond.

Woodville Fishing Access Site Boat Launch: Located on the southwest end of Canandaigua Lake in the hamlet of Woodville, this is a good spot for fishing, including ice fishing in winter. 

Cumming Nature Center: Run by the Rochester Museum & Science Center, this nature center has year-round activities and event, as well as trails for hiking, snowshoeing and cross-country skiing.

Bristol Mountain: Premier Finger Lakes skiing and snowboarding mountain with more than 35 trails.

Bristol Mountain Aerial Adventures: Three adventures at one location. Aerial adventure park with seven courses, a Kids Adventure Park with two courses, and a Zipline Canopy Tour.

Gell Center: This unique retreat and conference center, nestled in the woods, is ideal for small group retreats and team-building getaways. 

Arbor Hill Grapery and Brew & Brats at Arbor Hill: Arbor Hill makes award-winning wines and has a tasting room inside a gourmet foods store. Behind Arbor Hill is a carriage house that has been converted to a fun, casual eatery specializing in Brew & Brats own beer and locally produced sausages.

Stid Hill Wildlife Management Area: Straddling the towns of Bristol and South Bristol, this 847 acre-tract that was once used for sheep and cattle grazing, is now used for hunting, fishing, wildlife observation, bird watching and mountain biking.

C.E.K. Mees Observatory: Part of the University of Rochester, the Mees Observatory is devoted to research, teaching and public instruction. The location where the newspaper mogul Frank Gannett was born is free of light pollution, which makes it an ideal place to observe the night skies, especially during the summer months. 

Key Events

Highlander Cycle Tour: Annual charity bike ride that includes challenging hills and magnificent views. The ride starts and finishes at Bristol Mountain Winter Ski Resort.

Bristol Mountain Fall Festival: This annual Saturday in October features great fall foliage, sky rides to the mountain, and other family-friendly activities.

Community Resources

Town of South Bristol: