Erin & Nick: Love on New York's Finger Lakes
I “met” Nick & Erin through Instagram, and am constantly inspired by their lake adventures and the views they take in on a regular basis. These two are quite the pair - living their lake life in a way that embraces all the unique traits and opportunities the Finger Lakes Region has to offer. Today they’re sharing with us a few tidbits of their story and lake life.
Tell us a bit about your story - are you both from the region? Where did you meet? What caused you to decide to move/stay in the region?
We met on Otisco Lake, which is what we call the “pinky” finger Lake due to its size. Nick drove his jet ski down to my parents dock. It was a brisk fall September evening where we watched the sunset together.
It was not your ordinary sunset, it was one for the ages and a sunset that will live forever between the both of us. It was our first sunset together, “It was a top 5 sunset of all time”, Nick says.
We immediately uncovered what we both cherish, which was “The Lake Life” is the best life, family and friends are most important, being outside is a necessity, the little things in life are what matter and Nick is super attractive.
He was visiting the lake for a bachelor party and I was home for the weekend. The next day, we met up again and went out on the jet skis for most of the afternoon trolling the lake, laughing at each other’s silly jokes and taking in the beautiful fall colors. It was cold that day- I was wearing sweatpants which was not ideal for a second date!
We both grew up in central New York and are familiar with most of the lakes around us. Both of our families are still in the area, and share a love for Upstate, NY living and what this spectacular region has to offer. It’s home to us, and we value that.
Currently Nick and I reside on Oneida Lake (largest inland lake in NY, excluding the Great Lakes). Here we have roughly 10 acres of land with several hundred feet of water frontage. Not only is the “Lake Life” our dream but it also ideal for our energized yellow lab, Luna. You can often find her pulling 15ft sticks out of the woods and jumping in the lake to cool off at all hours of the day. We are blessed and living a dream.
The Finger Lake region is absolutely breathtaking. Here we have every season and every season is extreme. Hot summers, very snowy winters (bitter temperatures) and extravagant falls (a lot of color). You will also find the most charming, unique and quaint small towns here.
What’s your favorite lake activity as a couple, and is it different than what you like to do lakeside solo?
As a couple, our favorite lake activity would be to float together. Tying the raft to the dock and just simply floating hand in hand. There is nothing more relaxing than being on the water with your best friend, enjoying the day and views of the lake with good tunes! We are pretty simple. Oh, and Luna! She likes to float as well.
As for Nick, you can find him out on the lake right around dusk racing all the young kids on his jet ski. Nick loves speed and is considered an adrenaline junky. “Just floor it.”
I love that as well but enjoy tubing and water skiing too. Nick is going to teach me how to wakeboard this summer and I’m going to teach him how to water ski.
I know mine is Otisco Lake because it is where I grew up, however I do love Oneida which is where we are beginning to make memories as a couple.
Oneida Lake is Nick's favortie because it is where he has most of his memories throughout his life.
We feel blessed to wake up each morning and see the view of the lake, no matter the season.
What’s are a few things people visiting the region absolutely must do?
I’d say it depends on what your interests are. There is plenty to do throughout the year, so we put together a little list.
- Wine tours (Cayuga Lake, Seneca Lake, Keuka Lake)
- Snowmobile (Tug Hill region/Adirondack region)
- Shop the small towns (Skaneateles, Cazenovia, Hamilton)
- Hike (Adirondacks/Catskills).
- Sail (All the lakes)
- Boat (All the lakes and the 1000 Islands)
- Visit the 1000 Islands
- Camping is very popular throughout the region
- Ski (Green Peak, Labrador Mountain, Toggenburg, Song Mountain)
- Motorcycle (Through the wineries and through the Adirondacks)
- Visit USA's Top 10 apple orchards (Beak and Skiff)
Below is the sunrise over the east end of Oneida lake. The lake is very shallow, so in winter months it freezes very easily. With funky climate and the temperature inconsistencies, it thawed back out earlier in December when the photo was taken. When the lake doesn’t freeze, people on the south shore get aggravated. Why? Because when it freezes they can cross the lake on snowmobiles and shoot up to the Adirondacks or Tug Hill (which has about 4 ft right now). When the lake doesn’t freeze, they have to trailer the sleds over which is more time consuming. We have fantastic snowmobiling in the Tug Hill region which sits just north of us here in North Bay. In the summer months, the lake can be very dangerous when winds are high and a storm is rolling in. The 4-6ft waves we get are pretty insane considering we are not on a Great Lake.
Below is another sunrise photo. Excluding the Great Lakes, Oneida Lake is the largest inland lake in NY with a surface area of 79.8 miles. It’s roughly 21 miles long and about 5.5 miles wide depending where you are. The mean lake depth is about 22-24 feet, which is quite shallow considering its size.
We live on 10 acres which is rare on Oneida Lake because it is very populated - from Yale to jail, all walks of life, poor or rich. The North shore is less congested, more country, lots of deer, minimal shopping, diners, and everyone knows everyone. On this side of the lake we have the mountain backdrop (looking across the lake to the south shore), and from the South shore looking North you don’t have that view. This photo is of the driveway off the main road leading down to the lake after a fresh snow covering the dismal dark gray trees. It’s just a wonderful way to enter to the lake!
Below is a photo of the Finger Lakes, Lake Ontario, and Oneida Lake. In New York we are spoiled with lakes. We have the finger lakes, Oneida Lake, The St. Lawrence River (which is my favorite, very high class, has 1083 islands, and home of 1000 Islands Dressing), Lake Ontario, Lake Erie, and the hundreds of lakes in the Adirondacks. But as you can see in this photo, Erin had the Artist put a little heart on our location on Oneida Lake. When people think of New York they think NYC, but it’s two different worlds. We live by lakes and tons of sprawling land. Upstate NY is also known for dairy farms, one of the top in the country. If you love the seasons we have it all. And it’s all extreme. Extreme winters, extreme summer (hot), extreme falls (the color is breathtaking).
We have a decent amount of sea glass that we find each year on our shore line. It’s a ritual of ours to go out when we spring clean and clean the shore line while looking for glass.
This is Bernhards Bay, about 7 miles west of our homestead. It’s a small town with a total population of about 1,600. As you can see behind the bell in the water, there are swans, and this location is where hundreds of swans gather in the fall and early winter. The bay is very shallow and it’s easy for the swans to feed. When passing you will mainly see the swans rear end up in the air rather than the head. We call this, Swan Town and when passing by we say, “Swanin on em”.
Sylvan beach is a very touristy summer spot, but if you’re looking for a sunset, this is where you go. The beach spans about 2-3 miles, lined with amazing eateries, shops, and an amusement park that was seen on Ghost Hunters. In the summer the roughly 900 people town is jam packed with good food, family gathering, picnics, events, sunsets, kite surfers, dog walkers, out of towners, cocktails, boaters, yachts, wake boarders, kite flyers. It is truly a beach town. Also in the summer, hundreds and hundreds of boaters will bring down their families and friends to party on the beach and soak up the limited summer sunshine.
When watching a sunset you will see nothing but open water and a magnificent set. Erin calls the lake The ocean.” Otisco Lake, one of the finger lakes that she grew up on, is about 7 miles long and barely a mile in width.
You will often find Erin, myself, and our English Yellow Lab (Luna) walking the town and beach once dusk hits, grabbing an ice cream cone to cool off the sunburn. In the winter and fall months we locals are very happy to have the town back to ourselves, as the vacationers and seasonal folks have vanished and the town is desolate, with nobody to be found. This is the best time of the year, as we can enjoy the beach town with what the town has to offer, minus the chaos.
The Village of Cleveland was incorporated in 1857. Much of the 19th century industry was based on glass manufacturing from the Cleveland Glass Company and the Union Glass Company. During its existence, the New York Ontario and Western Railway ran through Cleveland. In town all we have is a post office, gas station/market and this light house. This is it, lol. Population of about 750 people. Daniel Baldwin (Alec Baldwin’s brother) lives in Cleveland, NY, lakeside, about half a mile from us. Just north of us (Cleveland) Adrien Brody lives in an old castle that he restored. Google: Adrien Brody, Stone Barn Castle. It’s absolutely wonderful. Adrien Brody and Daniel Baldwin migrate here to enjoy the vast and extreme seasons we have.