This Labor Day weekend Bill and I drove up to Keuka Lake, New York with the kayaks strapped to the top of the car. We went to enjoy family time with our sweet daughter and her lovely husband. The two of them introduced Bill and me to still water kayaking and we are now hooked! We all have fishing kayaks. The weekend could not have been lovelier. The weather was perfect--cool breezes off of the lake, no bugs, a relaxing paddle up one of the creeks feeding into Keuka Lake (Guyanoga Creek Site, State Route 54A, Branchport, NY 14418 Launches into Guyanoga Creek about 250 yds./228.6 m. north of the lake. Gravel ramp and parking for 4 vehicles), then back and out onto Lake Keuka where we had to work a bit harder with the paddling. After some exercise we all paddled back to the launching area.

Launching Areas on Finger Lakes: Boat Launch Sites

All About Keuka Lake

Image: Copyright Kayaking at Keuka Lake
Lindsey kayaking at Keuka Lake.

Image: Copyright and Deb Kayaking at Keuka Lake
Tim and Debbie kayaking at Keuka Lake.

After putting up the kayaks the four of us went out on their Cabin Cruiser moored at Keuka Lake. There was no paddling necessary--just enjoying the cool breeze, the sweet smells on the lake, and a wonderful introduction to power boating while Tim and Lindsey worked together on the boat. After boating Bill and I went to the B&B, Merritt Hill Manor, showered and rested. (More about Merritt Hill below) Lindsey and Tim did the same on the boat. Later that evening we went back to the marina where their boat is moored (just a few minutes away) and met up with Lindsey and Tim. The Marina was having a Labor Day "pig roast"--our first, but hopefully not our last. It was sumptuous and everyone was so kind and welcoming. On Labor Day weekend Keuka celebrates "The Ring of Fire". Article/By David Lee on September 4, 2015 It's a burning Ring of Fire! The festival is to shepherd out the summer season to make way for the fall season. Tradition has it that flares are lit around three of the Finger Lakes, "Canandaigua, Honeoye and Keuka Lake in celebration of Labor Day, marking the unofficial end of summer. A ceremonial bonfire is ignited at the top of Bare Hill, on the east side of Canandaigua Lake, in a celebration of peace and a bountiful autumn harvest." Fireworks light up the late evening sky. There is also a parade of boats as part of this celebration. Ring of Fire

The Orchard

Image: Keuka Lake/The orchard/Copyright Lindsey Dawkins  Image: Keuka Lake/The orchard/Copyright Lindsey Dawkins
The orchard at Keuka Lake

Image: Keuka Lake/The orchard/Copyright Lindsey Dawkins
The orchard at Keuka Lake

Image: Copyright LindseyDawkins/Keuka Lake/The orchard.
Picked apples from the orchard.

Image: CopyrightLindseyDawkins/Apples to Apple Butter!
Apples to apple butter and pie filling!

Bill and I are looking forward to our next visit. Above is a picture of some of the apples that Lindsey and Tim picked at the orchard. The four of us enjoyed walking the land and picking apples on Sunday after breakfast. It is so beautiful and peaceful with a breathtaking view of the lake. When Bill and I got back to DC we made up a concoction in the sous vide of apple chutney. It was absolutely delicious! More new concoctions are on the way---jam and ice cream topping from the wonderful apples. I also made an apple galette. Bill loved it. Thank you, Lindsey and Tim!

We went to the Abandon Brewery which is terrific. There is the wine trail and all the vineyards and wineries to visit. We did not get around to that--not enough time. It is on the list! "Keuka Lake is where the Finger Lakes wine industry started. There is a lot of wine enthusiasm here that eventually spread to the other lakes. A lot of wine history too. This is a list of all the wineries on Keuka Lake, not just the official members of the Keuka Lake Wine Trail. Wine Trail Map I was surprised to find, while researching, that New York--this area--is the second largest grape vineyard wine area in the United States. The first is California.

Image: Creative Commons/Theghostofmojo/Wikipedia Wikipedia Article Keuka Lake is one of the major Finger Lakes in New York. It is unusual because it is Y-shaped, in contrast to the long and narrow shape of the other Finger Lakes. Due to its shape, it was referred to in the past as Crooked Lake. Keuka means "canoe landing" in the Iroquois language and "lake with an elbow" in the Seneca language.


The Y-shaped Keuka Lake empties into another Finger Lake, Seneca Lake, from a stream called Keuka Lake Outlet at the lake's northeastern end in Penn Yan. The stream empties into Seneca Lake at the village of Dresden. At one time the outlet was developed into a canal, the Crooked Lake Canal, connecting the lakes. This canal was later replaced by a railroad branch line which is now a hiking and cycling trail. The lake is about 20 miles (32 km) long and varies in width from 0.5 miles (0.80 km) to two miles (3.2 km). The length of the shoreline is about 60 miles (97 km). It has a surface area of 11,730 acres (47.5 km2), and a maximum and mean depth of 186 feet (57 m) and 101 feet (31 m) respectively.

Lake Ecology

This body of water possesses large and healthy populations of lake trout, brown trout, rainbow trout, landlocked salmon, smallmouth bass, largemouth bass, and yellow perch. The productive fishery is supported by huge numbers of baitfish, most notably alewives (sawbellies), and is a very popular lake with area fishermen. Humans, fish, and wildlife depend on the rich ecology of the lake habitat. The complex ecosystem is subject to contamination of the watershed, largely by storm water runoff. The Keuka Lake Association (KLA) monitors the water of the lake to ensure that it is suitable for its many uses, such as drinking, fishing, and swimming. Tributary streams, groundwater, and the lake itself are regularly tested for water quality. Additionally, KLA collects and publishes data about the lake level.

The infestation of European Zebra Mussels, which has impacted many North American bodies of water, has also affected Keuka Lake and other Finger Lakes in New York. In addition to disrupting the lake's ecosystem, Zebra Mussels can be a nuisance to lakeside homeowners. Their small size enables them to clog water intake pipes. Furthermore, their sharp shells can cause lacerations on the feet of bathers. Bathers may wish to wear water shoes when swimming in the lake.


...The village of Penn Yan is at the northeastern tip of the lake, and Branchport is at the northwestern tip. Hammondsport lies at the south end of the lake. Hammondsport was the home of Glenn Curtiss, a pioneer of naval aviation, and is now the site of the Glenn H. Curtiss Museum. While the shore of the lake is primarily residential, Keuka College is located in Keuka Park on the western shore of the east branch and Keuka Lake State Park is located on the eastern side of the northwest branch of the lake. Camp Iroquois, run by the New York State Sheriffs Institute, is located on the eastern side of the bluff. YMCA Camp Cory is located on the eastern side of the northeast branch of the lake. Camp Good Days and Special Times is located on the western side of the northwest branch of the lake. An important component of the economy of this region is based on grape growing and wine production.

Wine Trail

List of vineyards included in the Keuka Lake Wine Trail:

Merritt Hill Manor B&B

Image: Copyright
Welcome to Merritt Hill Manor B&B!

A word about Susan and Mark who own the Merritt Hill Manor can only be said with a big smile. We stayed at this B&B because it is right across from Tim and Lindsey's orchard. They are such wonderful neighbors. Susan and Mark are so warm, welcoming, kind and charming. They had not yet met Lindsey and Tim and invited them to join us for breakfast on Sunday morning. We gabbed over a sumptuous breakfast complete with freshly picked peaches from the Merritt Hill Manor trees. Mark made a mouth watering apple pastry much like a strudel or galette without the complication. I watched him make it in a pan on top of the stove. He told me that he used to make it with the Boy Scouts because it could be made easily while camping. Susan and Mark were so helpful and attentive. The accommodations are outstanding. Merritt Hill Manor will be our home away from home when we visit Lindsey and Tim at Keuka Lake.

Image: Copyright Hill Manor B&B "Merritt Hill Manor is an 1822 historic Federal-style country estate is centrally located in the Finger Lakes Region near the town of Penn Yan, NY. We are situated on 12 acres overlooking beautiful Keuka Lake with Seneca Lake visible in the distance. Recognized as one of the Finger Lakes best overnight accommodations, we will attend to your individual needs.

Merritt Hill Manor has been beautifully restored and decorated with your peaceful stay in mind. The wide pine board floors have been preserved and original artwork adorns many of the walls. Guestrooms are furnished with antiques and include canopy beds, comfortable sitting areas for your relaxation and private baths in each guest bedroom.

A hearty country breakfast is served daily, an event that will surely be one of the most pleasant experiences at Merritt Hill Manor. Many of the dishes are prepared with fresh herbs, fruits and in season vegetables, and are complemented with homemade breads.

One of the first houses built in Jerusalem Township, the land was deeded from the Seneca Indians in the Gorham/Phelps purchase. It was once used as a stop on the Underground Railroad. Rolling hills of vineyards and orchards, a creek, a stable, and open pastures surrounds Merritt Hill Manor. You are invited to enjoy our gardens with a variety of trees, shrubs, and flowers. Something is always in bloom. Merritt Hill Manor is conveniently located for a wide variety of activities. From early spring to late fall, roam country lanes, visit the Finger Lakes Wine Region with over 80 individual wineries or explore the scenic villages and beautiful natural resources. You can also sit out front in Adirondack chairs with one of the best views in the Finger Lakes as you sip wine bought that day or curl up in front of the manor's fireplace to read. The peace of country living awaits you at Merritt Hill Manor-whether it's for a relaxing weekend or an extended retreat."

Image: Merritt Hill Manor B and B Grounds/Copyright Horse  Image: Merritt Hill Manor B and B Barn/Copyright Horse

Image: Merritt Hill Manor B and B Fruit Trees/Copyright Horse
First posted: Sept 7, 2015
Last update: Jan 21, 2020