May 26, 2015
A Great Place to Say "I Do"
By Cassandra Harrington
The Finger Lakes Region is one of the nation’s fastest growing destination wedding locations. With its beautiful scenery, abundant with rolling hills, glacial carved lakes, and endless vineyards, it’s the perfect backdrop for every couple’s “big day”. With great scenery comes a plethora of talented photographers on hand to capture the moment along with plenty of places for guests to hang their hats, from quaint rustic cabins to modern chic hotels.
Half the members of the Cayuga Lake Wine Trail offer their facilities for a variety of events such as intimate weddings, graduations, reunions, and more.
Six Mile Creek Vineyard overlooks a valley, a picturesque pond, rolling fields, and vineyards. Offering both indoor and outdoor options, including the use of the grounds as well as the tasting room, the winery also offers wine service and coordination. Six Mile Creek is located just outside the Ithaca city limits, very close to wedding essentials such as guest rooms, caterers, bakers, florists, musicians, and photographers.
Heading north along the lake, The Bistro at Thirsty Owl Wine Company is one of few who offer on-site catering. With over 2,000 feet of lake frontage, the property is often host to wedding ceremonies, photo sessions and the reception altogether. Thirsty Owl also has the 4-season-friendly, Vineyard Room, a designated space for gatherings that accommodates a group of 60. If the weather is cooperating, use of a tent is permitted as well the winery’s lake-facing patio.
The Finger Lakes winery with a Spanish flare, Toro Run, sits high above the west side of Cayuga Lake overlooking a well-established and maintained vineyard. Their Grape View Terrace accommodates both large and small events with up to 300 guests. With an on-site caterer, meals are made easy. Also offered is an on-site vacation cottage that sleeps 8, available to the wedding party or honored guests. Toro Run will soon offer packages that include shuttle busses to and from area hotels for ease of travel during the event.
Nestled in the woods, adorned with four rustic yet modern cabins that comfortably sleep four adults, Buttonwood Grove Winery has lots of room for larger parties and a picturesque setting with a pond-side trellis overlooking the lake. This property, in particular, always boasts exceptional landscaping and floral arrangements. For events with less than 80 people, the tasting room is open after normal business, as early as 6pm. Guests of Buttonwood Grove find themselves surrounded by the casual elegance of the winery and their breathtaking gardens; all complemented by exceptional wines and superb hospitality.
Knapp Winery too offers beautifully landscaped gardens, grapevine covered trellises, manicured vineyards, and a functional barrel room, all for a charming wine country wedding. Knapp’s Vineyard Restaurant has a skilled culinary team that is sure to please any palate with a customized menu. Their extensive wine list, including the bubbly, and assortment of hand crafted cordials make any occasion complete.
Even further north, Varick Winery & Vineyard is boat accessible and lined with a beautiful cherry orchard. The winery’s historic 1800’s Inn, set to open soon, is adorned with country and antique décor for guests or the event party. The winery itself is famous for its Cherry Festival and flavorful food samples at the Country Store.
Other hosting sites include Cayuga Ridge Estate Winery, which offers a unique and intimate, countryside venue and Bellwether Hard Cider and Wine Cellars whichhas an exquisitely manicured lawn with a charming pond by which many happy couples have exchanged vows. For more information on Cayuga Lake Wine Trail event sites, visit cayugawinetrail.com/wineries/wedding
Cassandra Harrington is the executive director of the Cayuga Lake Wine Trail. To learn more, visit cayugawinetrail.com.