Need a Getaway? Plan a Trip to Hammondsport, New York!


We all love Clifton, but every once in a while it’s good to get away. But where to go when you have a few days off and you want to take a quick — or not-so-quick — vacation? Over the next few weeks, we’ll explore some fabulous getaway options that are just a few hours away by car.

First stop… Hammondsport, New York

Voted “Coolest Small Town in America” by readers of Budget Travel, Hammondsport is a small town in the Finger Lakes region of New York State that you can travel to from Clifton in about four hours by car. When you arrive, you’ll feel as if you stepped into the set of a Hallmark Christmas movie, with beautiful old buildings, American flags waving proudly from front porches, and a friendly population of just over 600 who all seem to know virtually everyone in town.

The main block of Hammondsport is Shether Street, home to several quaint Bed and Breakfast establishments and Airbnb lodgings. If you’re lucky enough to find accommodations on that main block, you can park your car and walk to practically everything the town has to offer.

There are adorable restaurants, with surprisingly sophisticated menus considering the small-town location, an ice cream parlor, and one of the best bakeries I have ever been to: the Shethar Street Patisserie. The owner/baker/server creates incredible breakfast sandwiches, served on homemade bagels, along with buttery croissants, mouthwatering danishes, cinnamon rolls, and more, along with freshly made coffee to be enjoyed inside the book-filled bakery or taken to go.

The residents of Hammondsport all seem to have a wonderfully creative flair, with the local yoga instructor who moonlights as an artist, the craftsman who creates furniture and decorative accents from reclaimed wine barrels, and the the baker who features passages from famous poetry on the blackboard of his establishment.

At the bottom of the hill, just two blocks from the center of town lies Lake Keuka, one of the 11 lakes that comprise the Finger Lakes. In the warmer months there is swimming, paddleboarding, seaplane rides, fishing, and boating, and there are beautiful vistas any time of year.

Like wine? You’ll love Hammondsport. A short drive from the center of town brings you to an assortment of Finger Lakes’ vineyards, many with tasting rooms and restaurants, and all with astounding views of the lake and hillsides. In addition, there are breweries and distilleries popping up and offering craft cocktails and microbrews to enjoy for happy hour after a day of fun in the sun.

Waterside dining, small-town hospitality, an aviation museum, watersports, and more, visit Hammondsport for a short stay, and you’ll definitely want to come back again.

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