|NORDIC RETREAT: The Ontario Rail-to-Trails Pathway (Wade Bowman)|
Shallow on wineries, but deep in outdoor activities, Canandaigua Lake, meaning the "chosen spot" in the Seneca language, is the first major Finger Lake approaching from the west. The bustling streets of Canandaigua are lined with historical architecture, but come winter, Cumming Nature Center and Bristol Mountain Nordic Center are the real draws. With cross-country skiing on 15 miles of groomed trails and a two-loop snowshoe track, 900-acre Cumming Nature Center also boasts an environmental education center and living museum operated by the Rochester Museum & Science Center, along with ski rentals and instruction. Mountain Nordic Center has two shorter trails, one for beginners, and one for the more experienced, and they also host group events such as the Full Moon Snowshoe & Music outing. Downhill skiers will enjoy the 33 runs at Bristol Mountain Resort. Or, to get off the beaten path, head over to the Ontario Pathway Rail Trails. Sporting 23 miles of rails-to-trails, it's open to the public year-round, from dawn to dusk, for cross-country skiing, snow shoeing, hiking, biking, and horseback riding.
After a playing in the snow, take a sugar break at MacKenzie Family (716.374.6102) in Naples for a maple syrup tour. Then head to the century-old Widmer Wine Cellars in Naples on the banks of Canandaigua Lake and taste some of its more than 50 styles of wine, ranging from bubbly to dry to sweet. Its sprawling gift shop is stocked with jellies, juices, wine gifts, andof coursecases of wine. Heading back into town, Wilhelmus Estate Winery and Manischewitz Winery, the world's largest producer of kosher wines, have a tasting room and daily tours. Two and half miles down the road is the New York Wine and Culinary Center, which hosts wine and culinary education classes, tastings, and wine events throughout the year.
Drop into Casa de Pasta, tucked away on a side street in downtown Canandaigua, for terrific Italian food in an intimate setting with burgundy linens and candlelit tables. House specialties include scampi, homemade gnocchi, and braciole (thin slices of beef rolled with a filling of prosciutto, sliced egg, Parmesan, and onions). There's also Pasta Only Cobblestone Restaurant (315.789.8498) in Geneva. Carb-phobes breathe easy, the restored 1800 farmhouse serves more than just pasta, including veal chop stuffed with spinach, smoked mozzarella, and roasted garlic; pan-seared tuna in a soy-ginger sauce; chocolate soufflé and, yes, pasta in a cozy fireplace setting.
Details mentioned in this article were accurate at the time of publication