Summer Destinations: Finger Lakes

May 28, 2021

Credit Visit Finger Lakes / Flickr

There are plenty of great destinations to visit this summer in the Finger Lakes, including:

Auburn Public Theater

Auburn Public Theater (APT) is a non-profit, multi-venue performing arts center that celebrates diverse voices and artistic expression. APT enriches the social, cultural, and economic growth of central New York by bringing people together through affordable access to live music, comedy and theater, as well as cinema, arts education, and community events. The venue features a 200-seat main stage theater, a 65-seat independent cinema and Stage Right, a 100-seat cabaret space. This summer, explore Cafe 108, APT’s new café featuring healthy, local fare and whose profits directly benefit the theater. By providing a top-notch, intimate venue for artists and audiences, the theater makes worldly performance art a common local experience and offers something for everyone in a space where all are welcome.

Cayuga Museum

The Cayuga Museum engages the public with the phenomenal cultures, innovators, and creators who shaped the history of Cayuga County and the nation. The Museum operates in three historic sites, each with a distinct focus: the Willard-Case Mansion, where the collection and stories of the past are shared through exhibits, the Case Research Lab, where sound film was introduced to the world, and the Carriage House Theater, a multi-use performance space and one of the earliest recording sites for sound film.

Doug's Fish Fry

Started in Skaneateles, Doug's Fish Fry has been serving since 1982. Their seafood is delivered by truck on crushed ice five days per week. The menu offers seafood, chicken, grilled items, steamed clams and lobsters, beer, wine and ice cream. Doug's Dipping Sauce is also available in a convenient take-home size at the Skaneateles or Cortland locations, at The Great New York State Fair, and online.

Equal Rights Heritage Center

The NYS Equal Rights Heritage Center is the official welcome center for the City of Auburn, NY. It serves to shine a light on New York’s equal rights heritage, as well as, the historical, cultural, and entertainment assets the City of Auburn has to offer in a welcoming and educational manner. It features an “I Love NY” exhibition titled "Seeing Equal Rights in NYS" where New York State's progressive history supporting equality comes to life through digital displays. This tourism hub also offers free Wi-Fi, public restrooms, “I Love NY” trip planning kiosks and regionally sourced products in the Taste NY Market. Guests can relax on the green space or admire the bronze statue of Harriet Tubman in the courtyard.

The Finger Lakes Land Trust

The Finger Lakes Land Trust was founded in 1989 to protect the region’s forests, farmlands, gorges, and shorelines. The Land Trust has saved over 26,000 acres of land by creating public nature preserves and helping landowners conserve their beloved properties. Their conservation work is designed to benefit everyone who lives or travels to the region. 35 nature preserves are open 365 days a year, free of charge for anyone who wants to explore, attend events, and help build more trails this summer.

Fort Hill Cemetery

Steeped in history, Fort Hill Cemetery, is a must for history buffs and Underground Railroad enthusiasts. The cemetery is the final resting place for Harriet Tubman, William Henry Seward, Theodore Case, Martha Coffin Wright and other notable historical figures. Fort Hill was used by the local Indians in the 16th century as a fortified hill, and is regarded as one of the best preserved fortified villages of the ancient Cayuga Indians. The cemetery is also home to the iconic Chief Logan Monument. Open year round from dawn till dusk, Fort Hill is easy to navigate by car or foot. Spend a day or just a few hours exploring this bucolic cemetery located in the heart of the City of Auburn.  

Geneva Music Festival

The 2021 Geneva Music Festival season, First Decade Retrospective will run May 20 through June 12. The season will showcase the diverse musical influences the Festival has celebrated since its inception, including Classical, Jazz, Latin, African American, and women composers and musicians. The programs will include your choice of in-person or live streamed concerts at the Smith Opera House, Sonnenberg Gardens and Geneva On The Lake.

Harriet Tubman National Historical Park: A Partnership Park


Harriet Tubman was guided by deep faith and devotion to family, freedom, and community. After emancipating herself and members of her family from slavery, Tubman moved them to Auburn/Fleming in 1860. Central NY was a hub for progressive thought, abolition, and women's suffrage where Tubman continued to fight for human rights and dignity during her 54 years in freedom. 


The National Park Service works in partnership with the Harriet Tubman Home, Inc. an independent non-profit established by the African Methodist Episcopal Zion Church. The Harriet Tubman Visitor Center, the Tubman Home for Aged and Infirm Negroes, and the Harriet Tubman Residence are operated by the Harriet Tubman Home, Inc. The National Park Service preserves the Thompson Memorial African Methodist Episcopal Zion Church, where Tubman attended service for 22 years and was buried from. 


Kitchen Theatre Company

Kitchen Theatre Company is an intimate 99-seat theatre, located at 417 W. State Street, right in the heart of Ithaca's West End that focuses on creating bold and intimate theatre that sparks important conversation. More information available online.

  The Rev Theatre Company

Headquartered in Auburn, The Rev Theatre Company is a dynamic arts organization committed to creating theatrical experiences at the highest level of artistic integrity. The Rev presents large-scale Broadway spectacles with high caliber talent from Broadway and across the country at its main stage, the Merry-Go-Round Playhouse; new musicals in development at its cabaret-style venue, The Carriage House Theatre; and tours educational theatre shows in schools across NYS.

Schweinfurth Art Center

Schweinfurth Art Center is a multi-arts facility in Auburn that hosts more than a dozen exhibitions a year in its three galleries, runs an internationally known quilting conference, offers art classes for all ages, and sells unique items in its gift shop. The Schweinfurth's classes include painting, drawing, ceramics, and sewing, and the art center is internationally known for its focus on fiber arts. The Schweinfurth’s three summer exhibits -- "Made in NY 2021," “Threads Across Time: Quilts by Sarah Bond,” and “Harriet’s Legacy” – run through August 7.

Seward House Museum

Visit the historic home of William Henry Seward and his family. Serving as a state senator, governor of New York, a U.S. senator, and as Secretary of State during the Lincoln and Johnson administrations, Seward was one of the foremost politicians of nineteenth-century America. The museum provides guided tours to help you navigate the many fascinating aspects of this beautifully preserved home that houses one of the largest original collections in the United States.

Seymour Public Library

Since 1903, Seymour Library has been housed in the historic Case Memorial Building. On the National Register of Historic Places, this monumental stone building was designed by the New York City firm, Carrere and Hastings, designers of the New York Public Library. Today, the library serves as the community’s hub of learning and discovery. Explore new interests with a range of resources and programs for all ages. The library’s History Discovery Center provides research assistance to those seeking local history and genealogical information. Programs are free and open to the public.

Skaneateles Chamber of Commerce

Skaneateles is hosting an array of unique events throughout the summer season, including: the annual library book sale July 15-17, and the Curbstone Festival and sidewalk sales with great bargains and balloon art, July 15 through 17. More information is available online.

Skaneateles Foundation

The 43rd Antique & Classic Boat Show hosted by the Skaneateles Foundation and the Finger Lakes Chapter of the Antique and Classic Boating Society is scheduled for July 23-25. The Boat Show features water and land displays along with three concerts, a boat parade (3:15 p.m. Saturday), an aerial photo shoot and spectator cruise (10 a.m. Sunday aboard the Judge Ben Wiles), demos, shopping, raffles, and more. This year we look forward to welcoming the Pat II, the original mailboat, back to Skaneateles. More information is available online.

Willard Memorial Chapel

Labeled as the "Tiffany Treasure of the Finger Lakes,” Willard Memorial Chapel is the only complete and unaltered Tiffany chapel known to exist in the world in its original location. Built in 1892-1894, the interior of the chapel was designed and handcrafted entirely by the Tiffany Glass and Decorating Company of New York City for the Auburn Theological Seminary. Visit the Total Tiffany chapel for hourly tours Wednesday through Friday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. The chapel is also a National Historic Landmark used for weddings, concerts and special events.