The locale: With about 650 year-round residents, it’s a little over two hours southeast of Buffalo.
The scoop: Nicknamed the Wine Village and the Cradle of Aviation, Hammondsport makes many travelers’ bucket lists because it’s the personification of quaint, with an authentic village square and accommodations that make it the perfect home base for visiting scores of area wineries, including world renowned Dr. Konstantin Frank Wine Cellars. So pick a place to relax for a few nights, focus on the village and lake for a couple of days, then plot day trips around Keuka and Seneca lakes.
The hit list
Black Sheep Inn and Spa, 8329 Pleasant Valley Road — This is a farm-to-table bed & breakfast with luxury accommodations. Don’t miss the on-site art gallery and mercantile, where the owners’ stained glass and jewelry pieces are among items for sale in a renovated barn.
Keuka Lakeside Inn, 24 Water St. — It’s clean, recently renovated and moderately priced. Enjoy being close to the water, with a gazebo and fire pit onsite.
Village Tavern Restaurant and Inn — 30 Mechanic St., on the Village Square, gets high praise for its jambalaya, shrimp asiago and fisherman’s soup. The most unusual item might be the restaurant’s grape cheesecake, a nod to wine country. Equally important are the ambiance and welcome feeling provided by the piano player and the hospitable staff.
Burgers & Beer — 41 Shethar St. Connecticut visitor Denise Rose gives their hotdogs a thumbs-up and really likes the black bean burger, which is nice and moist, served with salsa, avocado and sour cream. Plus, the craft beer menu is astounding.
Bully Hill Vineyards — A one-stop attraction if ever there was one, Bully Hill offers a picture-perfect lake view, an extensive gift shop of high-end items, wine tasting and great food that includes an array of “inventive salads,” Rose said.
Glenn H. Curtiss Museum — Half a mile from the village, at 8419 Route 54, the museum celebrates Curtiss’s achievements with gas engines, motorcy cles and aircraft. Movie fans will want to go this summer because props and costumes from sci-fi adventures, including “Star Trek,” “Lost in Space,” “Andromeda” and “Galaxy Quest” are on display until Sept. 30. With a stellar gift shop (worth a stop just for that), it’s home to early aviation and local history collections.
Beer and Wine Trails — Several breweries welcome guests in Hammondsport, and more than a dozen wineries dot a trail that spans Hammondsport and nearby Penn Yan, Branchport and Dundee.
Opera House Antiques — This cooperative at 63 Shethar St. is one of several local spots ideal for those who love to browse the old in search of the unique. The neat thing about antique co-ops is that having myriad booths increases variety, since each reflects the interests of its owner.
The Cinnamon Stick — 26 Mechanic St., offers a beautiful assortment of gifts and cards, plus regional favorites from Keuka Lake Coffee Roasters and Seneca Salt spices.
Browsers — 33 Shethar St., is a fun place that’s been enticing shoppers with its eclectic, and often surprising, inventory for three decades.
The Wine Barrel — 59 Shethar St. Until you visit here, you won’t believe the things that oak barrels can be made into. Check out the furniture and the gallery of local artisans’ pieces.
Hammondsport Grocery — Some call this 22 Shethar St. store “typical,” but once you consider that it has its own coffee shop and what Rose called “more craft beers than I’ve ever seen in a supermarket,” you know it’s something special. It’s full of hidden surprises. So, be a local and check it out.