We recently spent a few days in the Finger Lakes area. I had a really hard time finding info about this region so perhaps this will help other travellers. We stayed in Skaneateles at the Mirbeau Inn. We didn't eat there but if the food is as good as the rest of the place it should be great. We loved the inn - it was beautiful, sophisticated and first rate in every way. Now on to the food.
We ate at Doug's Fish Fry in Skaneateles and loved it. Super fresh fish, well-prepared. Very inexpensive. Good value. And kind of a fun, casual place. Don't expect fine dining - it's a beer-in-paper-cups kind of place. And they only serve fish and chips with grilled salmon and lobster offered on some nights. (DH had the salmon and thought it was excellent).
Also near Skaneateles we ate at Elderberry Pond Farm. It's a beautiful drive on back roads to get there (and only about 10-15 minutes from town). Loved their menu - the actual, tangible menu. It was so interesting to read. Overall the experience and food were very good and I would recommend it with some caveats. What I liked: the beautiful dining room with Stickley furniture, the excellent wine list, the creative food preparation, the emphasis on fresh ingredients. The vegetables were the highlight. I do have some quibbles, though. My main course was duck breast and it was too fatty. A restaurant of this caliber should have been able to melt more of the fat. DH ordered decaf tea at the end of the meal and they didn't have any, just various herbal teas which was not what he wanted. (This happens surprisingly often in expensive restaurants, even in Manhattan). I ordered decaf coffee (which they had) but was told that they were "out of milk" and was offered half and half instead. What kind of an expensive restaurant is "out of milk?" And it was very expensive. There were lamb chops on the menu for over $30! While good, I don't think the prices are merited. It's still probably worth a visit if you're in the area and know what to expect.
We had lunch at the Aurora Inn in Aurora. Beautiful space with a fabulous view of the lake. We had lobster rolls that were yummy - huge chunks of well-seasoned lobster in a very buttery roll. My side dish of black-eyed peas and cucumber salad was well-seasoned but the peas were too tough - definitely should have been cooked a bit longer. A bowl of vichyssoise was tasty and refreshing.
And I must give a shout-out to the Creekside Cafe in Skaneateles for the best iced coffee I've ever had. They actually serve it with ice cubes made of coffee! Pastries are decent too.
I'm not sure if it's considered part of the Finger Lakes but we spent a night at Letchworth State Park and stayed at the Glen Iris Inn. Our dinner there was surprisingly good.
Spent a day in Ithaca. The best thing there was Purity Ice Cream, especially the Boomberry flavor. I'd go back just for that.
We love the area, especially Skaneateles - what a picture postcard perfect little town - and will definitely be back!