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Summer Travel 2013: Fun Activities in New York's Finger Lakes

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The town of Elmira is a definite destination for anyone who enjoys—or wants to try—soaring in a sailplane or glider. At the National Soaring Museum, you can try the computerized flight simulator and check out the large collections of sailplanes that date back to the late 1890s. $7.50/adults, $4.50/kids. 51 Soaring Hill Drive, (607) 734-3128, soaringmuseum.org.

Embark on a 15- to 20-minute flight at about 4,000 feet above sea level with an FAA-certified pilot at Harris Hill Soaring Corporation. $90-$95. 57 Soaring Hill Drive, (607) 734-0641, harrishillsoaring.org.

If you only have time to visit one winery, make it Dr. Frank’s Vinifera Wine Cellars. Dr. Konstantin Frank pioneered the cultivation of delicate European vinefera grapes in the colder climate of the northeastern United States. His family still produces outstanding Rieslings, Gewürztraminers and world-class sparkling wines made in the French style. Tastings are free. 9749 Middle Road, Hammondsport, (800) 320-0735, drfrankwines.com.

Founded in 1860, Pleasant Valley Wine Company is the oldest winery in the Finger Lakes area. Now it’s best known as the home of Great Western wines. Take a free self-guided tour of this major facility, or opt for the $5 guided tour. Tastings are free. 8260 Pleasant Valley Road, Hammondsport, (607) 569-6111, pleasantvalleywine.com. With so many wonderful wineries to visit, settle back and let Quality Wine Tours be your designated driver. $295 for six hours; gratuity and tasting fees not included ($1-$5 per winery), (585) 455-8294, qualitywinetours.com.

Taste how Finger Lakes Distilling turns locally grown fruit and grains into 17 types of small-batch vodka, gin, whiskey, brandy, liqueurs and grappa. 4676 State Route 414, Burdett, (607) 546-5510, fingerlakesdistilling.com.

Between 80 and 90 New York wineries and breweries will send their best stuff for swirling, sniffing and sipping at the 17th annual Finger Lakes Wine Festival July 12-14. $40, $50 for two days; discount tickets available in advance. Flwinefest.com.
 

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