A sampling of our favorite wineries to visit.

Let us be clear, recommending JUST 5 wineries is tough. We would be here all year typing if we tried to tell you ALL of our favorite wineries. Here is a brief description of how to plan where you will visit, followed by 5 of our favorite places.

When planning your trip to the Finger Lakes it is important to understand that there are no two wineries that are exactly the same. Some wineries focus on dry wines, some focus on sweet wines. Some wineries just do reds, and some wineries ONLY produce Riesling. The variety is vast, and there is something for every kind of wine drinker.

First, try to identify whether you like dry or sweet wines. Then, research the types of grapes we grow in this region.  Although, there are MANY varietals grown here, there are a few that you will see at almost every winery. Riesling is the most popular white wine in the Finger Lakes, and Cabernet Franc is the most popular red. Do not come to the region expecting to find Malbec, or Pinot Gris every where. Next, check out some of the winery websites and learn about what they are known for. Do they produce primarily sweet wines from native Finger Lakes grapes? Or do they produce wines in a traditional french style? Are they only producing dry, bold reds from both Native grapes and European grapes?

Finally, be safe. Plan to have a designated driver, or hire a driver. The wineries are located on rural roads that locals live along, farmers drive their tractors on, and there are other people on the roads who may or may not have been drinking as well. Take your time and follow the rules of the road. The wine will still be there, even if it takes you a few extra minutes to arrive at the next pace.

Here are a few of the wineries Ian and I LOVE to visit.

1. We LOVE LOVE LOVE the Syrah and Sauvignon Blanc at Hector Wine Company. Both of these wines are dry, and just 1 glass is never enough! Go for the bottle and enjoy it with friends.  Aside from having lovely wines, HWC also has a friendly local vibe, and they sell local packaged food products.  Grab some snacks, a bottle of wine, and go sit outside at their picnic tables in the sunshine 🙂

2. Probably one of the most unique tasting experiences you will ever have will take place at Boundary Breaks. They ONLY produce wines of the Riesling varietal, but that does not mean their variety is limited. I never knew how complex Riesling is, and I am always so impressed by their variety of dry to sweet Rieslings. Bonus, their tasting room looks like something out of a magazine. It is so beautiful and they have a beautiful view of Seneca Lake.

10173636_10203985901592718_450371707745776440_n3. If you could not tell by now, we are dry wine drinkers, and we are partial to dry reds. It is only natural that we love Ryan William Vineyard. They have a variety of dry and sweet whites, and all their red wines are dry. Their Gruner Veltliner and Chardonnay are truly unique, and all their red wines are crowd pleasers. Stop in for brunch and a tasting 7 days a week!

4. Speaking of dry reds. Shalestone vineyards ONLY produces red wines, using grape varietals from all over the world. Check them out for the biggest, the boldest, and the most unique reds you just might ever have the pleasure of trying. They have limited tasting room hours, so be sure to do your research in advance.

5 Reasons to stay at The Local in 2018

We know your options for lodging in the Finger Lakes are numerous and making decisions through a computer screen is not easy. Let me tell you WHY you should book  with us and stay at The Local Hostel in Watkins Glen this Summer/Fall.

1. ALL of our beds are equipped with brand-spanking-new memory foam mattresses. Not only will you be saving money, but you will be getting semiseriously comfortable rest while you are here. Hike all day through the Finger Lakes National Forest or the Watkins Glen State Park and then come back to our Hostel and relax in a clean and comfortable environment. You can even borrow one of our dogs for a snuggle session.  #HighComfortLowPrice28313436_10216019916795577_197837952_n

2. We are right across the street from the Watkins Glen State Park Gorge trail. You can save yourself the $10 parking fee, leave your car it he hostel parking lot during your stay and walk over to the beautiful park! Enjoy the walk, the waterfalls, and all the beautiful nature without spending a dime on parking fees. #AintNobodyGotTimeToPayForParking

3. We have the worlds cutest dogs. They love to be pet, eat treats, sniff you, play tug-o-war etc. Let Beatrice and Emme welcome you in and help you relax. #HostelDogs28381233_10216019918115610_1397019053_n

4. Ian and I will give you tips about the region that you can only get from locals who grew up here! We LOVE to share our favorite hiking trails, wineries, breweries, sunset spots, ice cream shops, restaurants, and places to catch live music. We have had a lot of positive feedback from guests about our solid recommendations! #YoureWelcome

5. We have a kitchen. Eating out for every meal when you are traveling can REALLY add up and break the bank. Although we love to give you restaurant recommendations we also want you to save money when you need to. Use our kitchen stocked with oils, spices, eggs, bread, oatmeal, rice and beans and other free to use items! #FrugalandFun

These are just 5 reasons to stay with us this year, but really the reasons are limitless. We look forward to seeing your reservation come through. Run, don’t walk, to the Finger Lakes this year; we cannot wait to meet you.

Emily, Ian, Beatrice and Emme

Two new private rooms added in 2018

We have exciting news this year! Ian and I have added in two new private room options at The Local Hostel, and they both have full size beds.

First, in the main building we added a room with a handmade full size bed frame equipped with a brand new memory foam mattress. Guests are still in close proximity to the kitchen, bathrooms, air conditioning and wi-fi! Check out the photos below:

 

Second, we turned our separate commercial building into a nightly rental, we call it The Cottage. Guests get a little more privacy, space, a full size bed, a private half bathroom, air conditioning and wi-fi extended from the main hostel building. See the photos below:

 

We are so happy to offer these new options to our guests! Currently we only rent the new private rooms through our website or Airbnb. Check it out and come for a visit soon! Relax in your comfortable bed after a lovely day of hiking in the Watkins Glen State Park or swimming in Seneca Lake.

Beatrice and Emme are ready to say hi!

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Book now for Phish Festival 11 Curveball.

It is oPhishial and we still have plenty of space available for rent the weekend that Phish returns to Watkins Glen. To guarantee your space, you can book through our Reservations tab on our website, or call us directly to book.

Please be aware that we are not taking any reservations through 3rd party sites such as Booking, Expedia, AirBNB, Hostel World etc.

Don’t wait, because rooms are Philling up Phast. Call us and book your stay for Phish Festival 11 at the Watkins Glen International.

The FLX <3 Music

Can we just talk about the music scene in the Finger Lakes? How did we get so lucky?

The Finger Lakes are bursting with musicians, writers, artists, producers, and singers. It might have something to do with Ithaca College and all their music students. Having so many well trained musicians in one small region, it is no surprise that Ithaca and the Finger Lakes region have become a destination for music and entertainment. Below I am sharing a list of some festival-style events that make the region truly unique.

Let’s start with the newest festival in the line up: Finger Lakes Thaw. Where the city of Ithaca is the venue, and the listener gets to seek out their entertainment by hopping in and out of local bars, restaurants and night clubs.  This city-is-the-venue-style is the same at Trad Fest in Dublin and Virginia Key Grassroots in the City of Miami. Very popular and promotes a change of scenery, as well as keeps festival goers exploring the local businesses, instead of being fenced in at one specific venue.

Then you have some off the cuff “festivals” like Wintersquabee at Stonecat Cafe. It’s 3 days of food, music, and flannel-clad hector-ites looking to brush off the winter dust.

One of my favorites is the Old Time Fiddlers Gathering and Folk Arts Festival at Lakewood Vineyards. The festival celebrates the tradition of music, dancing, fiddling, and social gatherings in New York State. It is an educational and entertaining event, and started back in 1989!

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Probably the largest annual gathering here is the Finger Lakes Grassroots Festival of Music and Dance in Trumansburg, NY. I cannot put into words how special this festival is, you just have to experience it. (special tip: bring some friends and a tent)

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Grassroots Photo by Dave Burbank

It does not happen often, but sometimes we get lucky and Phish comes to Watkins Glen International. We are expecting them to return this August.

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One small region in New York with a big love for music and dance.

TBEX is coming to the FLX

Yesterday I had the chance to attend a TBEX 2018 planning session for local businesses. What is TBEX you may be asking. TBEX stands for Travel Blogger Exchange and they hold 1-2 conferences all over the world each year, and the Finger Lakes will be hosting their 2018 conference in September, in Corning NY.  WHAT?!?!?! The Finger Lakes! This is such an amazing opportunity to share our hidden gems and secrets here.

In september 500-600 travel bloggers, sponsors, program partners will converge on our region to learn from each other, but to also experience our region in one of the most beautiful months of the year.  I hope they take a few extra days to pay attention to the beautiful Seneca Lake.

In preparation I want to point out some of what I think are our best attributes of this region.

1. Women own businesses in abundance here and they are contributing to the growth of the region in a HUGE way! We have women inventing new forms of flour. Female chefs are on the rise and opening their own restaurants, cafes, and shops, almost too many to all be named right here. Artists, creators, and producers supporting each other with in-store features. We also have women making wine, managing vineyards, and owning wineries. Let’s not forget, I am also a female business owner at The Local Hostel 🙂

2. We have an abundance of farms that open their arms and welcome avid travelers to come and work with them. The first that comes to mind is Six Circles, a beautiful and certified natural garlic and vegetable farm. You can also work trade at Spice of Life. Both are educational opportunities, and you will be surrounded by community.

3. Live Music. Do I really need to say more?!?! You can find live music ALL YEAR LONG in Ithaca and Hector, at breweries, wineries, on the Ithaca Commons, or the infamous State Theater. In the summer months you can find music every day of the week. To make this point even better, it’s original music. We don’t just see cover band’s galore. We have an abundance of local musicians who create their own music. I cant begin to express how much that adds to the quality of life here. We also have music festivals here!
These are just a few of my favorite aspects of life in the Finger Lakes, but there are so many more that I have not even begun to touch on! Welcome to our region TBEXers, we can’t wait to share the FLX with you.

~Emily

The Local Hostel Wins 2016 Guest Review Award

We are so excited to announce that The Local Hostel has received the 2016 Guest Review Award from Booking.com.

This means that in 2016 we received exceptionally high guest review scores, as a result of our cleanliness, high quality customer service, available facilities, comfort, superb location, and value for money. We are so grateful to share out hostel with visitors coming to the Finger Lakes, and look forward to continuing to do so, while improving The Local experience.

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We receive booking.com reviews from guests who book their reservations through booking.com. If you would like to stay with us, you can book through our website and leave reviews on our Google Business page or Facebook. We are also featured on Hostel World.
Thank you to everyone who has supported us in our first your of business, we could not be successful with out you!

Sincerely,

Emily & Ian