Summer 2015: 36 Hours Canandaigua

Summer shines in the Finger Lakes

Text by Lorna Oppedisano | Photos courtesy Finger Lakes Tourism Alliance

Downtown Canandaigua

Downtown Canandaigua

Canandaigua a ‘chosen place’ for good reason

Canandaigua comes from the Native American word meaning “the chosen place,” and it certainly is. Located directly north of Canandaigua Lake, the fourth largest of the Finger Lakes, the city of Canandaigua is brimming with food, wine and culture. Whether you want a relaxing weekend away or a couple days of adventure, you’re sure to discover it.

Friday, 3 p.m., Check in

Canandaigua offers travelers a handful of hotel and bed and breakfast options. Depending on your preference, you’re bound to find the perfect stay.

Is this weekend a romantic getaway? Try the Chalet of Canandaigua at 3770 state Route 21. Nestled in the woods less than five miles from downtown, the log-cabin-turned-inn has three bedrooms, each with its own fireplace and luxurious spa-inspired bathroom, and a shared common area and porch. Be sure to plan your vacation well in advance; with only a few rooms, this gem fills up fast.

If you’re more in the market for a fun and funky family holiday, check in to the Miami Resort Motel at 4126 state Route 5. Also less than five miles from the business district, this is the spot for an eclectic, out-of-the-ordinary stay. Rated no. 1 on TripAdvisor, the recently resurrected Miami Resort offers 28 rooms and suites, some complete with Jacuzzi tubs and all filled with bright colors and bold patterns.

Friday, 4 p.m., Explore downtown

Downtown Canandaigua is quaint but full of life. With rows of shops and restaurants, there’s a sprinkling of everything. Stop and smell the roses at Rockcastle Florist, 100 S. Main St., a Finger Lakes area staple for more than 50 years; get your chocolate fix on with the made-fresh-daily goodies from Sweet Expressions, 169 S. Main St.; taste the myriad of olive oils and vinegars at family-owned F. Oliver’s, 129 S. Main St.; and shop at American Made, 143 S. Main St., a store that proudly carries only goods made in the U.S. Also check out the Canandaigua Wine Walk, scheduled for the first Saturday each month. The walk highlights local eateries along South Main Street. Just make sure to save some room for what’s up next.

Friday, 7 p.m., The spot for dinner

Tonight’s restaurant is the spot to be. Literally. Il Posto — translating from Italian into “the spot” — was opened in 2013 by two Rochester restaurateurs with 15 years of experience under their belts. Located at 137 S. Main St., right on the main drag of downtown Canandaigua, Il Posto specializes in Italian cuisine served in an intimate setting. The menu includes pasta, pizza and entrees; and keep an eye on the business’ Facebook page for specials. Walk-ins are welcome, but the dining room is small, so reservations are recommended.

Saturday, 9 a.m., A bright & early start

Start your day out right with breakfast at Café Sol, 4503 state Route 64. Chef and co-owner Julie Woloson brings more than 10 years of experience in Rochester and Canandaigua to the table. The breakfast menu offers what you would expect — eggs, pancakes, breakfast meats and the like – with many locally-sourced products. With sunflower-colored, photo-adorned walls on the inside and seating on the wraparound porch on the outside, Sol will bring a vibrant and healthy start to your Saturday.

Saturday, 10:30 a.m., A blooming tour

All of Canandaigua is filled with beautiful and vivid experiences and sites, but the Sonnenberg Gardens & Mansion State Historic Park could easily top the list. Originally created as the Victorian summer home of Frederick Ferris and Mary Clark Thompson, this 50-acre estate includes a 40-room Queen Anne-style mansion, nine formal gardens, a small café and a wine center, which holds a spot on the Canandaigua Wine Trail.

After the original owners died, the estate was purchased by the government, turned into a Veteran’s Administration Hospital and fell into disarray. In 1972, ownership was transferred to a local grassroots non-profit organization. Restoration efforts began, and the site opened to the public in May 1973 with the original name, Sonnenberg, meaning “sunny hill” in German. The site is now one of the two public gardens in the state park system, operated by the non-profit per an agreement with the New York State Office of Parks.

The park, located at 151 Charlotte St., is now open May 1 through Oct. 31 for public tours, events, weddings and private parties. While planning your visit, check online for the flower blooming schedule and event calendar.

Sonnenberg Gardens & Mansion State Historic Park

Sonnenberg Gardens & Mansion State Historic Park

Saturday, 1 p.m., Eat, eat, eat

Walking around the gardens and mansion builds up an appetite, and to fulfill any sort of hankering, look no farther than Macri’s Deli & Café at 699 S. Main St. Whether you’re craving pizza, salads, sandwiches, subs, paninis, pasta, coffee, wine or dessert, this family-owned restaurant has it all. The menu is extensive. The food is fresh and made-to-order. The service is attentive. Macri’s is the perfect midday stop.

Roseland Waterpark

Roseland Waterpark

Saturday, 2:30 p.m., Splish, splash

A weekend afternoon in Canandaigua presents travelers with a couple distinct top picks, depending on your company. Today’s options are the family-fun Roseland Waterpark, located at 250 Eastern Blvd., or the adult-approved Canandaigua Wine Trail.

Roseland, the area’s largest waterpark, plans to open for the season at the end of June. The 56-acre park offers everything from water rides to beach volleyball to boating. Slated to open this year is the Roseland Wake Park, the only cable wake park in the northeast. Roseland plans to offer lessons, camps and parties to wake board fans. Keep an eye on Facebook for the official opening day.

If it’s a child-free vacation, explore the Canandaigua Wine Trail. The trail is 41 miles long, covering seven wineries across Canandaigua, Fairport, Naples, Victor and Hemlock. If you don’t wish to drive the trail yourself, both Crush on Canandaigua Beer & Wine Tours and Quality Wine Tours offer transportation and guidance. If wine isn’t your “cup of tea,” the trail also highlights a few local breweries, as well as other attractions along the way.

A Canandaigua  Wine Trail vineyard on Lake Bear Hill

A Canandaigua Wine Trail vineyard on Lake Bear Hill

Saturday, 6:30 p.m., New York State pride

Get ready to experience some of the best local food New York State has to offer at the New York Wine & Culinary Center, 800 S. Main St. Created by Constellation Brands, Wegmans Food Markets, Rochester Institute of Technology and the New York Wine & Grape Foundation in 2002, the establishment is an epicenter of culinary creation.
Along with a hands-on kitchen for classes, demonstration theater, tasting room, private dining room and culinary boutique, the site houses the Upstairs Bistro, a locally-sourced restaurant. Executive chef Andrew Chambers and his culinary team use seasonal items from local farms to construct a menu of pizzas, salads, sandwiches, entrees and more that can be paired with the restaurant’s extensive beer, wine and cocktail list. More than 85 percent of ingredients making up the lunch and dinner menu are from New York State. Menus are available online for your perusal.

The New York Wine & Culinary Center

The New York Wine & Culinary Center

Saturday, 8 p.m., Get your groove on

Bring your Saturday to a close with some good old-fashioned hip shaking at the Constellation Brands-Marvin Sands Performing Arts Center, 3355 Marvin Sands Drive. Founded in 1983 and recently renovated in 2006, CMAC is one of the most impressive outdoor venues in the state. Offering enough covered seats for 5,000 guests and sprawling lawn space for 10,000 guests, the site has been visited by a number of national performing acts, including Phish, Dave Matthews, Kenny Chesney, Mumford & Sons, Snoop Dog and The Allman Brothers Band. The center is also the summer home to the Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra. To see a list of planned summer events, visit CMAC’s website.

The Constellation Brands-Marvin Sands Performing Arts  Center

The Constellation Brands-Marvin Sands Performing Arts Center

Sunday, 10 a.m., Caffeine kick

It’s time to refuel for the last leg of the Canandaigua tour. First stop of the day: The Dalai Java’s Beanz and Thingz at 246 S. Main St. Two things about Dalai Java’s brew make it unique. Firstly, the company only roasts fair trade and organic beans. And secondly, Dalai infuses medicinal grade Chinese herbs into the coffee, aiming to help with longevity, immunity, digestion, relaxation, stamina and sinus issues. The result of these two features is coffee that’s good for the mind, body, soul and society. Pair your drink with a pastry, and you’re good to go.

Sunday, 11 a.m., Last stop

It’s time to unwind after this weekend of food and fun. About a mile down the road from the morning java, you’ll find Kershaw Park at 155 Lakeshore Drive. Located on the north tip of Canandaigua Lake, Kershaw offers swimming, walking and boating options. So put on your swim suit, throw down a towel and take in the beauty of Canandaigua.

Kershaw Park from the gazebo

Kershaw Park from the gazebo

Getting there

Hook up with Interstate 81 South, and take it to exit 25A. From Watertown, this is about 64 miles. Then merge onto Interstate 90 West toward Buffalo. In about 57 miles, take exit 43 toward state Route 21/Manchester/Palmyra. Turn right to get onto state Route 21 South, and then take the first right onto state Route 96 North. After two and a half miles, turn left onto County Road 28, and continue for a little more than four miles to reach Canandaigua.