28 miles W of Ithaca; 21 miles N of Corning

At the southern tip of Seneca Lake, the deepest and second-longest of the Finger Lakes and the one with the most wineries clustered around it, Watkins Glen is a small town that looms large on the tourism landscape in summer. It is home to Watkins Glen State Park, site of a spectacular gorge and thundering waterfalls -- perhaps the single most beautiful natural area in the entire region -- as well as the annual NASCAR rally at "The Glen" and Finger Lakes Wine Festival. But even those heavily attended events have a hard time competing with the town's peaceful, picturesque location on the waterfront of Seneca Lake.

The southeast bank of Seneca Lake, which local winemakers only somewhat facetiously call the "Banana Belt," due to its warmer microclimate, is home to several of the Finger Lakes' best wineries and most notable farm-fresh, chef-driven restaurants, as well as a growing number of small inns. In fact, Route 414, which skirts the eastern edge of the lake, is emerging as the restaurant row of the Finger Lakes.