With winter holiday plans now in full swing, the Finger Lakes region, which takes its name from eleven vertical, parallel lakes spanning the center of New York State like a giant handprint, recently came to my attention. Encompassing two gateway cities, Rochester and Syracuse, this part of New York State is full of natural beauty and adventure.

At Rice Hill, adventure seekers can sled down a 10 storey hill (almost three football fields long), ice skate on two ponds with a warming house and explore the surrounding multi-use trails on often used for snowshoeing and cross-country skiing.

At Rice Hill, adventure seekers can sled down a 10 storey hill (almost three football fields long), ice skate on two ponds with a warming house and explore the surrounding multi-use trails on often used for snowshoeing and cross-country skiing. The best part is all these activities are free and open daily from 12 p.m. to 4 p.m. More information about the park can be found here: www.nysparks.state.ny.us/parks/info.asp?parkID=93.

Morning Star Café (Mid Mountain Lodge) at Bristol Mountain Winter Resort is calling all single snow bunnies to enjoy three, 45 minute ski dates when matched up couples get to know each other on the ski lift ride up together and ski down to do it all over again. Following the ski dates there will be an après ski wine and cheese event. The event fee is $15 per person, which does not include a lift ticket or equipment rentals. Viewers can call 585-374-6000 for details or to RSVP.

For a dozen years, hearty Ithacans have met in December to crown a world champion rutabaga curler. In this pseudo sport, athletes roll the hefty vegetables down a 79 foot court to a round target. Subsequent players try to knock competing rutabagas away. Closest to the target wins. The annual event marks the official closing of the seasonal Ithaca Farmers Market. Rutabagas are just about the only vegetable left in the market that time of year. And no one wants to eat them. For additional information about this 14th annual event on Saturday, December 17, visit: www.rutabagacurl.com.

Nordic Summit Center at Bristol Mountain Winter Resort welcomes the magic of moonlight Nordic skiing complete with a pre-ski yoga session and a hotdog cookout. The event fee is $15 and does not include a lift ticket or equipment rentals. Please call 585-374-6000 for details or to reserve.

Known to some as the “Napa Valley of the East,” the Seneca Lake Wine Trail is located in the heart of “Finger Lakes Wine Country” and worth visiting next spring or summer. Out of the 277 wineries in New York State, the Finger Lakes have 101 of those and among that group the Seneca Lake Wine Trail has approximately 49!

Located on Seneca Lake, the largest of the Finger Lakes, the Wine Trail has something that is pleasing to a beginning taster or wine enthusiast.

The Finger Lakes are full of history and early Americana. You can visit the sites comprising the National Women’s History Trail through Rochester and Seneca Falls. A National Historic Landmark, the Susan B. Anthony House was home to this legendary suffragist during her 40 most politically active years. From Mary Jemison to Harriet Tubman to Clara Barton and Martha Matilda Harper, the region is full of pioneering women who laid the groundwork for women’s rights.

To learn more about the region, visit “Finger Lakes Travel” on Facebook,@Finger_LakesNY on Twitter or www.fingerlakestravelny.com.

Mike Cohen’s email address is info@mikecohen.ca.
Log on to his travel advice column at www.sandboxworld.com/travel