Hotel rooms are at a premium (both impossible to find and expensive) during Cornell and Ithaca College graduations (end of May) and Finger Lakes region festivals and events (including NASCAR); high season lasts from April to November. Rates at inns are generally also higher on weekends. Visitors might also want to consider staying in Aurora at the spectacular Aurora Inn (35 min. north along Cayuga Lake's east bank).

Cayuga Lakeside Inns -- Ithaca may overlook the southern tip of Cayuga Lake, but if you want a real lakeside room, the Silver Strand at Sheldrake, a Victorian B&B on the west bank, is about as close as you can get to being on the lake without sleeping on a boat. Come for the stupendous views; the inn sits on a quiet road on Sheldrake Point, which opens to expansive, distant vistas of the lake. All five of its simply decorated rooms have lake views as well as private decks. The inn, in a large mid-19th-century manse at 7398 Wyers Point Rd., Ovid, NY 14521 (tel. 800/283-5253; www.silverstrand.net), is about 20 miles north of Ithaca on the west side of Cayuga Lake (and only minutes from about a half-dozen wineries). Silver Strand offers guests the use of bikes, boats, and a private beach and sun deck. Rates are $125 to $205 double, including breakfast. Another great lakeside inn, Aurora Inn, is on the east bank of Cayuga Lake, about a half-hour from Ithaca.

Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.