Great Lakes Seaway Trail, NY-PA – Great Lakes Seaway Trail travel promoters invite cold season enthusiasts to visit the 518-mile-long National Scenic Byway region along the freshwater coastlines of New York and Pennsylvania to enjoy winter fun from wind skating and snowmobile trails galore to wine tastings and a frosty War of 1812 battle reenactment.
A sampling of events for early 2014 follows: dozens more Great Lakes Seaway Trail winter fun activity ideas – from birdwatching and geocaching to three professional hockey leagues, fireworks, and the Great Eastern WhiteOut are online at www.seawaytrail.com/winter.
When temperatures dive along Lake Erie, wave surge and freezing spray create impressive ice dunes at Presque Isle State Park near Erie, PA. Walk the beach as iceboats from the Erie Yacht Club and ice anglers (experienced ones bring a windbreak) dot the frozen lake surface or lace on skates and hoist a kite for wind skating. Rentals are available for cross-country skiing. Info: www.presqueisle.org
New York State is heralding its statewide snowmobiling resources in 2014. The Great Lakes Seaway Trail region is home to more than 2,700 miles of trails. Clubs and trail links in NY and PA are posted online at www.seawaytrail.com/snowmobiling
Along Lake Ontario, Wayne County alone has 200 miles of State, corridor, local and secondary trails through open fields and forested lands and on railroad beds for great riding all winter. Info/maps: www.waynecountytourism.com/snowmobile-information.
To ski where an Olympic athlete has trained, try Brantling Mountain at Sodus, NY, where 10 slopes and trails include Diann’s Run named in honor of U.S. Olympic Gold Medalist Diann Roffe-Steinrotter. Staff offer ski and snowboarding lessons and programs for youth, adults, and racers. Learn more at www.brantling.com
If you prefer to ski on the flat, try the trails at Montezuma Audubon Center: www.friendsofmontezuma.org/
Fair Haven Beach State Park, among Cayuga County’s “Lake Effect” destinations for snowmobilers, snowshoers, cross-country skiers and ice anglers, is perfect for winter photography of towering shoreline bluffs, 1500-foot beach, and wooded hills. After enjoying the fresh air here follow the Finger Lakes Sweet Treat Trail to the New Hope Mills store in Auburn to pick up pancake mix and maple syrup for a tasty winter breakfast. Find romantic getaway packages enhanced by wine, cheese, and chocolate, at tourcayuga.com
Some winters 200 to 300 inches of snow blankets the Tug Hill region of the Great Lakes Seaway Trail. In early January 2014, forecasts were calling for up to five feet of snow to fall in two days on the Tug Hill plateau. Trail maps for Tug Hill snowmobilers and ice climbers interested in scaling the 110-foot Salmon River Falls Unique Area’s iced-in falls are found online at visitoswegocounty.com, www.dec.ny.gov/lands/63578.html.
Spectators are welcome at Pennsylvania Sled Dog Club events held on several weekends at the 9,233-acre Winona Forest Recreation Area in Boylston. Check out the mushing videos at http://visitoswegocounty.com/the-great-outdoors/dog-sledding-skijoring/
Once the waters of the Great Lakes Seaway Trail freeze solid, tip-ups and ice shanties dot bays and marshes as hearty souls cast their lines for great winter angling for walleye, perch, northern pike, and other species as permitted by waterbody. The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation website at www.dec.ny.gov/outdoor/71546.html lists Special Fishing Regulations by county.
Events for Winter Food and Wine Travelers
Foodies are invited to celebrate the 50th anniversary of Buffalo wings at their birthplace the Anchor Bar in Buffalo, NY. Since 1964, the deep-fried chicken wings flavored with Teressa Bellissimo’s secret sauce have become a worldwide favorite: www.anchorbar.com
Wine tourists are encouraged to reserve the $35/person tickets early for the January 9, 7pm-11pm, 2014 Wine Blends Tasting at The Giacomo luxury boutique hotel in Niagara Falls, NY. The Art Deco-style hotel, first built in 1929, offers opulent upscale accommodations complete with Italian linens, concierge, cookies, and chocolates. The 39-room National Register of Historic Places gem hosts this tasting and discussion of the popularity of wine blending with wines from around the world: thegiacomo.com
Wine About Winter tickets ($15, $20) for the first Saturday in February event in Medina, NY, are going fast. Participants receive a keepsake glass and sample wines from local and other New York wineries at various merchant sites from early afternoon to 7pm. In past years participants have enjoyed 5-minute stylist consultations, a visit to an historic opera house, and specialty shops. Info: 585-798-2447, www.wineaboutwinter.com
February 14-16, 2014 plan fabulous Valentine’s Day and President’s Day Weekend visit to the Mayville Lakeside Park Winter Festival (mayvillechautauqua.org/) along Chautauqua Lake with ice and snow-themed indoor-outdoor activities, Saturday night fireworks, and weather-permitting Ice Castle and snow sculptures and add Lake Erie Wine Country Wine And Chocolate Weekend stops. Tickets (ages 21 and older) are $20-35 for wine sampling, sweet and savory foods, and a gift of Pulakos Chocolates, a wine glass, and $5 wine/food voucher. Pick up gift bag and tickets at one of six host sites to visit 24 participating wineries: www.lakeeriewinecountry.org/events/1
Indoor Fun: Solve a Mystery, Find Out What Women Want
January 24-26 brings murder mystery fun to the 1000 Islands region of the Great Lakes Seaway Trail with A Cruise to Die For weekend who-dun-it that includes two nights of deluxe accommodations at the Riveredge Resort overlooking the St. Lawrence River, hors d’oeuvres, breakfast, live entertainment, a wine tasting, clue contest and the dinner theatre event. Info: https://riveredge.com/
The 10th Annual What Women Want New Trends Show and Sale at the Casa Large Event Center in Fairport, NY, on Saturday, February 8 offers a unique all-day shopping experience with strolling models, stress management and free massage opportunities, food and wine sampling, entertainment, prizes, and discounts on apparel, jewelry, makeup, self improvement productions, technology, and more. Get tickets early: www.whatwomenwantweekend2014.com/about.html
River Shiver and Muskets in St. Lawrence River Region:
Turn out the weekend of February 22-23 to hear musket fire and cannon roar resound along the St. Lawrence River during the annual Forsyth’s Rifles’ reenactment of a winter War of 1812 battle at Ogdensburg, NY. The colorful recreation is part of River Shiver Weekend with polar bear plunge, ice fishing derby, hockey tournaments and more activities for all ages. Info: ogdensburgny.com, fort1749.org
Learn more about year-round fun on the Great Lakes Seaway Trail National Scenic Byway at www.seawaytrail.com