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23 miles W of Syracuse; 32 miles E of Geneva

Hard to pronounce and just as complicated to spell, Skaneateles ("Skinny-atlas") is perhaps the most beautiful and photogenic town in the Finger Lakes region, the only one whose main street backs right up to the curved shore of a sinewy Finger Lake. A small village surprisingly well endowed with creature comforts for visitors, it is deservedly one of the most popular stops in the region. With a moneyed past and long favored by those in the know, it gained a considerable amount of attention several years ago when President Clinton and his wife vacationed here at the home of a wealthy friend. Skaneateles comes as close to emitting a chic Hamptons vibe as you'll find in upstate New York, though it's much more relaxed and personable. At Christmastime, the village defines quaint, becoming a Dickensian postcard with costumed carolers parading around the streets.

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