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Your guide to Watkins Glen
Welcome to Watkins Glen
Cradled on the southern shore of Seneca Lake in New York’s Finger Lakes, Watkins Glen is home to both high-speed thrills and leisurely paced wonders. The Schuyler County city is known for its great outdoors, with dramatic cascades dancing over deep gorges in its parks. It also has an unrivaled agricultural scene, with apple farms, creameries, and plenty of wineries. But its moniker is perhaps best known as the one of the country’s great raceways — after all, American road racing started early here, and a love for cars still fuels the area’s need for speed.
When is the best time to stay in a vacation rental in Watkins Glen?
Whether you’re looking to rev up your engines or bask among the new blooms, spring is a delightful time to stay in one of the area’s vacation rentals even though evenings can get cold and there’s often a fair chance of rain. Opening Weekend at The Glen in April officially kicks off the racing season. By the time temperatures warm up for summer, the festivals also crank into gear, with the Waterfront Festival in June, the Finger Lakes Wine Festival and the Finger Lakes Cheese Festival in July, and the Grand Prix Festival in September. The changing of the leaves’ colors ushers in crisp air along with fall fun, including the Falls Harvest Festival and the Finger Lakes Beer Festival. Just because the cold and snow come for winter doesn’t mean the celebrations have to end, so December hosts the Seneca Lake Wine Trail’s Deck the Halls Weekend and Village Christmas, complete with a candy-themed parade.
What are the top things to do in Watkins Glen?
Watkins Glen International
Known in the area as simply the Glen, the road racing track has been part of the Watkins Glen identity since 1948. The 3.45-mile Grand Prix track hosts the auto races it’s known for and also plenty of festivals throughout the year. On certain weekends, you may even be able to take your own vehicle onto the track as part of the Drive the Glen experience. Racing enthusiasts should also make a pit stop at the International Motor Racing Research Center in town.
Watkins Glen State Park
Gorges, waterfalls, and trails, oh my! A two-mile hike through the New York state park involves ascending 800 stone steps, but it’s well worth it to follow the 19 waterfalls along the route. The area is also primed for biking, snowshoeing, and swimming.
Brick Tavern Museum and Wickham Rural Life Center
Just five minutes down Route 14 in Montour Falls are two buildings preserved by the Schuyler County Historical Society. As the oldest brick structure in the county, built in 1828, the Brick Tavern Museum showcases historic musical instruments, toys, and artifacts. Next door, the Wickham Rural Life Center shows what farm life was like between 1875 and 1925.