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Summer Travel 2013: Where to Play Outside in New York's Finger Lakes

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Get outside …

One of the most beautiful trails in the Northeast, the Gorge at Watkins Glen State Park is home to 19 waterfalls, all within a less-than-two-mile hike that takes you over, under, behind and even through the waterworks. $8 per vehicle. Since the 1940s, Watkins Glen International racetrack has been a destination for those who crave life in the fast lane. Come for the thrill of watching a NASCAR race or, even better, find out if you and your ride are up to the challenge of this tricky track on a Thunder Road Tour. The NASCAR Sprint Cup Series is Aug. 8-11. $25. 2 N. Franklin St., Watkins Glen, (607) 535-2338, theglen.com.

Take a 1.5- or 2-hour daytime or sunset cruise on Seneca Lake in the 60-foot former racing vessel, Schooner True Love. Built in 1926, it was featured in the 1956 Sinatra film, High Society. $29-$49. 3 Franklin St., Watkins Glen, (607) 535-5253, schoonerexcursions.com.

Get out on Keuka Lake with a rental from Morgan Marine. Jet skis are $100 (plus fuel) per hour. Daily fees are $95 for sailboats, $30 for pedal boats or stand-up paddleboards, and $40 for canoes or single kayaks; ski boats and pontoons begin at $295. 2 E. Lake Road, Penn Yan, (315) 536-8166, morganmarine.net.

Seneca HarborCatherine Creek is known as a premier fly-fishing spot, and Summit to Stream Adventures can take you on an excursion there. Six hours $195 ($45 each additional person), four hours $175 ($35). (607) 535-2701, summittostream.com. Also in Elmira, grab a picnic lunch (Charlie’s Café is close by) and head to Harris Hill Amusement Park, a 400-acre hilltop county park with a breathtaking view, plus playgrounds, a swimming pool and pay-as-you-go batting cages, driving range, mini golf and go-karts. Free admission. 557 Harris Hill Road, (607) 732 1210, harrishillamusements.com.

Kids will love meeting the rescued cows, pigs, turkeys and other residents of the Farm Sanctuary. Guided tours are $5 for adults, $3 for children. Private cabins—basic, but clean and comfy—are available for overnight stays ($120, double occupancy). Guests are welcome to hang out with the animals or pitch in with the daily chores. A vegan continental breakfast is included. 3100 Aikens Road, Watkins Glen, (607) 583-2225, farmsanctuary.org.

Rent a bike at the Savannah House. 3927 State Road 14, Himrod, (607) 243-7787, savannahhousevacation.com

Book an 18-hole round on the original Donald Ross-designed, circa-1937 Mark Twain Golf Course. Golf Digest magazine rated it the “Best Secret” in 2004. $25. 2275 Corning Road, Elmira Heights, (607) 737-5770, marktwaingolf.com.
 

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