Top 4 Things to Do in Skaneateles

Top 4 Things to Do in Skaneateles

  • Ellen O'Connor
  • 10/4/22

Skaneateles is one of the most beautiful cities in New York State, thanks to its proximity to the seemingly endless Skaneateles Lake, the sixth largest of the seven bodies of water that make up New York’s famed Finger Lakes.

Named for the Iroquois word for long lake, a fitting name for the gorgeous waterway, Skaneateles Lake is more than 16 miles long. It is full of a variety of fish, including rainbow trout, smallmouth bass, Atlantic salmon, and whitefish, making it an excellent lake for fishing (a good reason to begin scouting Skaneateles property if fishing is your go-to activity on the water).

The village of Skaneateles is located at the north end of the lake, a source and center of entertainment. There are many things to do on the lake, known for sailing — regattas occur regularly, there is yachting, and cruises are available for special events, or just because a cruise is always a good time. Other villages also surround the lake, but Skaneateles is something special with a rich history and much to explore.

In addition to activities on the lake, there are myriad things to do. You can shop, walk nature trails (the Charlie Major Hiking Trail is great for beginners and includes a breathtaking waterfall along the way), or visit the John D. Barrow Art Gallery. There are several parks for picnics, and residents love the Bahar Nature Preserve, which also features waterfalls that will take your breath away.

Skaneateles is also packed with history, but you might want to check out this gorgeous vineyard first.

A winery visit

Anyela's Vineyards, located on the hills along the Finger Lakes region, is an excellent way to spend a day in Skaneateles.

The sophisticated winery features estate-crafted varietals, and there are several wine tastings with wines selected by the winemaker or a flight of four wines you can choose for yourself. There are also tours of the vineyards and special events, including live music, which is a beautiful way to enjoy a glass of wine (or two) in a gorgeous, relaxed setting.

The winery offers red, white, rose, sparkling, and dessert wines, so there is wine available for any occasion, especially if you're hosting a dinner at your Skaneateles property and want to celebrate local food and wine.

Wine pairing dinners are often held at the vineyard so that you can find inspiration for your next dinner gathering for friends and family at your Skaneateles lake home.

Restaurants abound

There are many high-end restaurants in Skaneateles, a must given the luxury homes that line the picturesque lake.

The Krebs, for example, is a longtime Skaneateles property that continues to produce fantastic food thanks to its farm-fresh approach, which means that menu items are seasonal, ensuring the freshest, most delicious produce available in the region. (Think grilled peaches to enhance a Caprese salad and entrees featuring freshly-harvested peas as part of multiple different components.)

The Sherwood Inn, a gorgeous piece of property with roots dating back to 1800, includes a high-end restaurant with a menu that in no way disappoints. Start with a French Onion Gratinée with melted cheese spilling over the sides of the bowl, try the homemade kettle chips with blue cheese fondue topped with crispy bacon, and finish with a grilled Delmonico steak. The lake view makes this longtime favorite a perfect establishment for unwinding and relaxing.

Rosalie's Cucina, a Tuscan-style Italian restaurant, has a menu highlighted by an array of pasta dishes, veal piccata and marsala, pork with braised escarole, braciole, and a wide range of other traditional dishes.

If you can, leave room for dessert because the menu for these luscious treats goes far beyond tiramisu (but it’s there if you want it). You can order a decadent and towering chocolate cake or an imported lemon sorbet, an Italian take on a banana pudding that in no way resembles its Southern cousin.

Sportscaster Bob Costas called this Italian gem one of his favorite stops, which means that it should be where you bring your friends and family once you have settled into your Skaneateles property.

The Preservation Trail

History buffs will love the opportunity to see the Preservation Trail, featuring not only part of the Underground Railroad in this region of New York but also sites that took part in integrating white and black communities.

Stops in Syracuse, not far from Lake Skaneateles, include:

  • The Courier Building, where Daniel Webster in 1851 challenged the people of Syracuse to protect fugitive slaves.

  • Dana Block, site of the law offices of George Vashon, the first African-American lawyer in New York State.

  • Wesleyan Church, one of many churches that broke away from the Methodist Episcopal Church because members of the congregations did not want to belong to any church allowing enslavers to be members.

  • Plymouth Church, which actively promoted the Underground Railroad.

  • Harriet May Mills House, once considered a safe house on the Underground Railroad.
There are many other sites related to the Underground Railroad, and you could easily spend a day or two touring these significant places in American history.

A spa retreat

One of the best spas in Skaneateles can be found at the Mirbeau Inn. The facility’s Spa Skaneateles offers plenty of pampering, including eight different types of massages ranging from deep tissue massage, a Swedish massage with essential oils to soothe away stress as well as physical pain, and a warm stone and Himalayan salt massage, an ideal way to erase any anxiety and sore muscles. Couples’ massages are also available for a romantic day date activity.

Those staying at the Mirbeau will take precedence over other spa visitors, so just to be safe,  book your treatments during the week when the inn is not quite as busy.

Looking for a lake house?

Many luxury homes are located along the Lake Skaneateles shoreline, so finding a great Skaneateles lake home that’s right for you should not be a problem with the right real estate agent.

Finding a trusted, experienced agent who knows and understands Lake Skaneateles and the surrounding Finger Lakes area will make selecting the ideal lake home a less stressful process.

Soon enough, you’ll find yourself in a Skaneateles lake home with an outdoor dining space and fireplace for spring and fall days when you can’t resist the sound of the lake’s waves. You can find homes with myriad windows offering unfettered waterfront views, space for entertaining, oversized rooms, and seamless interior designs in harmony with the area’s pristine natural elements.

Ready to take the next step? Reach out to Ellen O’Connor to see what’s on the market.

Work With Ellen

Ellen O'Connor offers impeccable service to real estate clients in the Central New York region, with a specialized focus on waterfront and distinctive properties.

Follow Me on Instagram