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

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 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

5 Reasons to Visit the Finger Lakes in the Winter

Hundreds of thousands of tourists pass through Watkins Glen, April through October every year. During those months they swim, camp, hike the Watkins Glen Gorge (standing room only), crowd wineries, make traffic a nightmare, cushion the pockets of bartenders and servers, and promptly leave to return to their homes. We love tourists, they bring an outside perspective to our town, and are usually very appreciative for our hospitality. Once the leaves fall off the trees, the tourists disappear until next April. Then, the locals come out to play. For those of you looking for the true local experience, the winter is time to visit the Finger Lakes, I am here to tell you why.

1. Live Music – For such a remote and rural area, we are incredibly FORTUNATE to have an abundance of local bands, and live music hot spots. Two Goats Brewing features original artists ONLY, no cover bands. A quick drive to Ithaca and you have the choice of The Haunt or The Dock for regularly scheduled concerts. In Ithaca you can find local artists as well as more notorious bands such as Rubblebucket, Lake Street Dive, Old Crow Medicine Show, Big Mean Sound Machine, John Brown’s Body and many more. Every wednesday at The Dock is Reggae night, featuring a rotating line up of local/regional musicians coming together to make magic happen.

2 Frozen Waterfalls – Have you ever seen a frozen waterfall? NO!?! It’s majestic, put that on your bucket list.

3 Low Lodging Rates – The hotels, hostels, motels, inns, B&B’s owners really rely on their income from rentals, and tend to maximize their earning potential in the summer by inflating their prices. That is their prerogative. It is also their prerogative to drop their prices to as low as they want in the winter just to make a buck. If you have been waiting to plan a weekend getaway because your budget is tight, Winter in the Finger Lakes is definitely a good time to negotiate or barter with the lodging establishment owners. At The Local Hostel we rent beds for $25/per person all winter, this includes access to 2.5 bathrooms, a kitchen, wi-fi, and walking distance to every point in Watkins Glen.

4 Nearly Empty Wineries – The winter is a great time to get the all star treatment and a private winery tour and tasting. Wineries are overrun with visitors during the summer and fall months tasting room employees and vintners are unable to give their undivided attention to one group of customers. In the winter on the other hand you are likely to find at least one winery where you can meet the owner, the wine maker, and tour the facility with a glass of wine in hand.

5 The Locals come out of hiding – This should not come as a surprise but the locals work like crazy during the busy tourist season, they are the life blood of the industries that draw the visitors in. Most locals work multiple jobs and over 60 hours a week April through October. November is when the majority of locals come out of hiding and start to play. You will find them drinking at Hector Wine Company and Two Goats Brewing in Hector. They will catch live music at The Dock in Ithaca or The Rongovian Embassy in Trumansburg. They eat breakfast at The Harvest Cafe, Glen Mountain Market, or Toni’s Diner.

The Finger Lakes have so much to offer in the Winter months, don’t let the cold keep you away.

Are you planning any winter trips? Where are you going?

Our Finger Lakes Fall Favorites

An unusually warm fall has prolonged the leaves from completely changing colors and falling off the branches. This means you can still get your chance to peep the leaves and experience our favorite Finger Lakes Fall activities.

#1 Visit Reisinger’s Apple Country in Watkins Glen, NY. Their u-pick is over for the season, but they still have an amazing assortment of apples available, apple cider donuts, jams & jellies, and maple syrup from their trees.

#2 Take a drive on one of the many scenic routes in the Finger Lakes. Our personal favorite is to drive all the way around Seneca Lake, but you could drive along any of the Finger Lakes and be satisfied. Cayuga Lake, Keuka Lake, Canandaigua Lake, Honeyoye Lake, etc. Added bonus, there will be wineries on most of these routes.

#3 Eat a seasonally inspired meal at some amazing local restaurants. Our favorites are Stonecat Cafe, Hazelnut Kitchen, and Just a Taste.

#4 Plan a wine tour with friends. The Finger Lakes winery and brewery business is constantly expanding and gaining prominence among the wine producing regions of the world. Hire a driver and go explore some of the best wineries in the Finger Lakes. Our favorites are in Hector, NY, including Hector Wine Company, Ryan Williams Vineyard, Damiani Wine Cellars, and Two Goats Brewing.

Now take these suggestions and plan your weekend getaway soon!

Have you been to the Finger Lakes before? Where did you visit and what did you love?

Welcome to The Local Hostel!

Welcome to The Local hostel! We are proud to offer a new way to stay in the Finger Lakes for all travelers. We have designed The Local for your maximum comfort and fun, without breaking your travel budget. Relax knowing that we are local experts and we want to make your visit to Watkins Glen State Park and Upstate New York the best.

Located in beautiful downtown Watkins Glen, The Local is one block south of the world famous Watkins Glen State Park Gorge. The southern tip of Seneca Lake is less than ten minutes north on foot. Take a quick walk to the entrance to the Catherine Valley hiking trail. Start your Finger Lakes Wine Trail excursion from Watkins Glen, when you are done for the day you can walk to shops, restaurants and bars.

Featuring:

  • Hand made bed frames with memory foam mattresses.
  • Two bunk rooms and two private rooms each named after a finger lake!
  • Three bathrooms, two with showers.
  • Two friendly dogs
  • Handicap accessible building, including bathroom and bunk room.
  • Small lockers available
  • Free towel rental
  • Free wireless internet
  • Air Conditioning in the rooms.
  • Easy walk to many favorite local businesses.
  • Bunk rooms range from 2-6 people
  • Luggage storage available before and after check out.
  • Beautiful kitchen for guest use with a fridge and a stove.
  • Kitchen stocked with cooking staples – oils, spices, vinegars, rice, beans or lentils.
  • Free coffee and tea. Light breakfast items provided between 7am and 11am for you to prepare for yourself like: eggs, fruit, bread.
  • Limited parking in our lot, free street parking is available just beside our building
  • 24-hour locked facility

Book your next getaway through our website by clicking here, or call us today! We are now accepting reservations through December 2018. Truly experience the Finger Lakes and Watkins Glen while you stay at The Local.

Happy Travels

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Let yourself
be silently drawn
by the strange pull
of what you really love.
It will not lead you astray.
-Rumi