It has been just a few days since our last storm and I hear there is another one on the horizon. Spring cannot arrive soon enough for me! If you don’t have a real diversion planned in the next few weeks or if your kids lost most of their spring break, I have a great weekend getaway for you.

I’ve planned it all for you to enjoy any time of the year. It’s a real change of scenery just a few hours away: Central New York. What? Yes, I know. I’m sending you to a colder, snowier climate, but the kids get it and are used to handling it.

Fill your tank, pack your bags and follow me.

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Where you’ll stay:

Parks Alumni House

29 Tompkins St., Cortland

(SUNY Cortland)

You will be hard-pressed to find a more spectacular place to stay. This 1912 mansion, flawlessly maintained, filled with exquisite period antiques, classic Stickley furnishings and the best of today’s amenities offers stunning rooms or the entire space if you are traveling with a group. Centrally located in the Finger Lakes gateway, it is the perfect spot to begin your trip and is within walking distance of local attractions, restaurants and museums. The knowledgeable and accommodating staff can help you plan your weekend, but I’ve got you covered.

Why I love it:

Full disclosure: shameless promotion of my beloved alma mater and this historic treasure. As a member of the board that acquired the Lynne Parks ’68 SUNY Cortland Alumni House, I can attest to the magnificence of this venue and guarantee that your every need will be met and exceeded during your stay.

First stop on your visit:


3260 NY Route 90, Aurora

Overlooking the gorgeous Cayuga Lake, the headquarters of Mackenzie-Childs is a don’t miss. This is an experiential spot for all ages. There are tours of the mansion, the bucolic farm and the animals, plenty of winding paths around the property, the café, and of course, the flagship store. You don’t have to love their signature pottery to appreciate the architectural and design details of the Second Empire mansion, the carefully curated “rooms” in the store and the endless breathtaking seasonal lake views.

Why I love it:

Because I’ve been going there forever and it gets better each time. Because I do love its pottery and have waited on line for its annual barn sale for more hours than I will admit and it was worth it. Because if you need more to do, spend some time in the charming village of Aurora; you won’t be disappointed.

Next stop:

Long Point Winery

1485 Lake Road, Aurora

Once again, I’m promoting New York State wines. I can’t help it. They are great and why not support our state’s robust viticulture? The Finger Lakes’ depth and the cold winter climate are proving to be ideal for grape-growing and turning out award-winning wines. Family owned and intimate, Long Point is your next stop. Except in January, there are tastings daily and an onsite eatery to encourage you to linger. Also on the banks of Cayuga Lake, Long Point is a regular stop on the Finger Lakes Wine Trail.

Why I love it:

Great wine, knowledgeable and friendly staff, endless lake views, particularly amazing in the fall.

Next stop:

Treleaven Winery

658 Lake Road, King Ferry

Just up the road in tiny King Ferry is another Finger Lakes Wine Trail favorite. Great tastings and creative event spaces compliment an array of award winning wines and craft beer in the Barrel Room. There are year-round events and if you are visiting in the winter, it has indoor movies, trivia and music every week.

Why I love it:

Besides the obvious reasons (good wine, friendly staff, great location), there are Treleaven Sophistocrats, a line of wine benefiting the Tompkins County SPCA and promoting pet rescue and adoption.

Last stop:

Rosalie’s Cucina

841 W. Genesee St., Skaneateles

You need to spend some quality time in Skaneateles, where there is plenty to do and appreciate on the shores of crystal clear, turquoise Skaneateles Lake, but when it’s time for dinner, you will go to Rosalie’s Cucina. Created in 1995 by restaurateur Phil Romano in honor of his sister Rosalie, this Tuscan-style classic Italian restaurant is known for its classic menu, large portions, subtle seasonings, local sourcing and food and wine pairings. There is an in-house bakery where its signature bread is in high demand. It has served several vacationing U.S. presidents and has a singing host.

Why I love it:

Because founder/mentor Phil Romano and owner Gary Robinson leave no detail to chance. Because after 20 years, Rosalie’s gets better with age. Because the steel structure that now hosts the herb garden was once part of an Erie Canal interchange, the coolest way to preserve Central New York history. Enjoy your weekend!