Harriet Hollister Spencer State Recreation Area, Springwater

Richmond, Honeoye & Canadice

The western-most Finger Lakes --- Conesus, Hemlock, Canadice, and Honeoye (from west to east) --- are often referred to as the "Little Lakes," as they are dwarfed in size compared to Keuka, Canandaigua, Seneca, and Cayuga. These lakes and the communities that surround them may be small but they are full of "hidden treasures," to discover.

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At the southwestern corner of Ontario County, three of the four "Little Lakes" touch or are within our borders: Hemlock, Canadice, and Honeoye. These lakes are anchored by the town of Richmond, the hamlet of Honeoye, and the town Canadice.

Historically, the hilly, rugged Richmond and Canadice area was covered in dense forest and in the 19th century, timber from the area helped build the state's major western cities: Syracuse, Rochester, and Buffalo.  Deforestation led to the decline of the lumber mills around the late 1800s, but by the 1920s, as roads improved, people from nearby Rochester started to build summer cottages along Honeoye Lake. The relatively shallow lake, 4.5 miles long, provided recreational swimming and fishing for urban dwellers, and by the 1950s, the lake's shoreline was dotted with summer cottages, that for some became retirement homes.

Canadice Lake and Hemlock Lake have supplied the city of Rochester with drinking water for more than a century, and as such, the land surrounding these lakes has remained undeveloped. While Hemlock and Canadice Lakes are off limits to swimmers, kayaks, canoes, and other small watercraft are allowed and both lakes are good for fishing. Bald Eagles nest in the trees surrounding these lakes, so bring your binoculars. Do note that some areas of these lakes are restricted

Hunting, year-round fishing, cycling, and snowmobiling are popular past-times for both locals and visitors in Canadice. The natural beauty of the area, brings many artists to live here and visitors will find hand crafted pieces for purchase at several local businesses.

Fast facts about Honeoye, Richmond, and Canadice

The town of Richmond was first established as Pittstown in 1796, changing its name to Honeoye, and then, in 1815, to Richmond. Canadice was a part of that municipality, but separated and incorporated as the town of Canadice in 1830.

Hamlet of Honeoye: 579 (2010 Census)
Town of Richmond: 3,361 (2010 Census)
Town of Canadice: 1,664 (2010 Census)

Town of Richmond: 43.3 square miles (1.9 square miles is water)
Town of Canadice: 32.5 square miles (2.4 square miles is water)

The towns of Richmond and Canadice are located in western Ontario County, next to Livingston County. Most of Honeoye Lake lies within Richmond's borders, and Route 20A is the main thoroughfare. The town of Canadice sits south of Richmond. Candice Lake is the center of the town, while Hemlock Lake defines the western border and Honeoye Lake part of the eastern border. Route 15A is the main north-south arterial.

The terrain south of the town of Richmond can be described as rolling hills, with steep hills leading away from parts of Honeoye Lake. The north is largely flat. The town of Canadice has much more rugged, forested hills.

Key industries

Agriculture: Hay, field crops, dairy, and hops.
Manufacturing: CY Plastics makes injection molding of custom-made parts. The Coal Shop at Quality Lawn & Landscape provide coal to residential and commercial customers and sells stoves, boilers, and furnaces.
Retail: Groceries, restaurants.


Students in the towns of Richmond and Canadice attend the Honeoye Central School District, which offers small class sizes and high-quality facilities.

Key landmarks and attractions

Harriet Hollister Spencer State Recreation Area: Located in the town of Canadice, this 1,550-acre park offers hiking, mountain biking, snowmobiling, cross-country skiing, and snowshoeing, hunting and a stunning view of Honeoye Lake and the Rochester skyline. 

Hemlock-Canadice State Forest: Within almost 7,000 acres of protected state land that surrounds Hemlock and Canadice lakes (which provide drinking water for the city of Rochester), there are 14 miles of marked hiking trails, three boat launches, a canoe launch, and numerous opportunities to see wildlife. 

Sandy Bottom Park: Located at the north end of Honeoye Lake, this park has a picnic pavilion that is available to rent, boardwalk, playgrounds, softball field and offers fishing and swimming.  Nature lovers can park at the north end of East Lake Road and walk across open grassland that connects to Sandy Bottom Park.

Wesley Hill Nature Preserve: Managed by the Finger Lakes Land Trust, this 390-acre preserve in includes the immense Briggs Gully, one of the largest gorges in the Finger Lakes. The preserve has 5.6 miles of hiking trails. 

Trident Marine: Located on the east side of Honeoye Lake, fishing, pontoon, and power boats rentals are available.

Pitts Mansion: On Honeoye's West Main Street is the childhood home of suffragist and abolitionist Helen Pitts Douglass, who was the second wife of freed slave Frederick Douglass. The house was a stop on the Underground Railroad and is now a private home.

Honeoye Community Gazebo: The Honeoye Public Library hosts free Friday night concerts at this community gathering place.

Little Red Schoolhouse (in front of Richmond Town Hall in Honeoye): The schoolhouse was moved to this location and now houses a small agricultural museum.

The Historical Museum at Richmond Town Hall features artifact, photographs, and document collections. Open Saturday mornings during the summer. 

Muller Field Station at the southern end of Honeoye Lake provides students at Finger Lakes Community College with field-based environmental education opportunities.

Canadice United Methodist Church: First incorporated in the 1820s, this historic church welcomes residents and visitors. Since the late 1870s, it has been hosting an annual strawberry festival each June.

Key Events

Ring of Fire: The residents of Honeoye Lake light flares to celebrate the Fourth of July and the Saturday before Labor Day to celebrate the end of summer.

Community Resources

Town of Richmond: www.townofrichmond.org/content
Town of Canadice: www.canadice.org
Explore Honeoye: www.explorehoneoye.com