New York’s Finger Lakes are calling this summer, with one of the most scenic areas in the upstate area, and the one of my new favourite hotels: The Lake House on Canandaigua.
The scenic town of Canandaigua is a short 30 minute drive south-east from Rochester, NY, or a little over 3 hours from downtown Toronto, and it’s perfect for an extra-long weekend getaway, with lots to do and incredible food.
Striking historic sites in the area date back to the mid 1800s, it’s close to wineries, the main street is bustling with shops and restaurants, and on the edge of the beautiful Canandaigua Lake you’ll find The Lake House.
Featuring a classic cottage chic style, spacious and comfortable suites, and vibrantly landscaped grounds, the Lake House is a retreat that is relaxing and unique.
For an incredible dining experience, the Rose Tavern offers mouth-watering dishes, like their remarkable steaks that are cooked over a wood fire hearth, or pick up drinks and a more casual meal at the Sand Bar.
My family and I spent a wonderful long weekend at the hotel, and we can’t wait to go back again. Read on for highlights from the trip, and what we loved about the hospitality, service, and everything that makes this destination so inviting.
Hotel rooms with the perfect balcony view
Suites at The Lake House bring a beach vibe to this upstate NY hotel, with driftwood colours and linen white tones, and striking brass fixtures.
Our room featured two queen beds with a large balcony looking out over the lake, and it instantly felt like an escape from the everyday. I loved sitting out on the balcony and watching the lake.
The spacious room includes large cabinets, linen blinds, a large screen TV, and Adirondack chairs on the balcony for relaxing before you start your day, or at the end. There’s also a Nespresso machine, fridge, safe, and ample storage space. And I loved the dimmable light fixtures so you can settle in at the end of the day.
The comfortable, soft-top beds with lots of pillows drew me right in when it was time to get some shut eye.
The bathroom was elegant and stylish with a clean white sink, large mirror, dimmable lights, and a huge shower. Brass accents and a stylish design aesthetic once again makes the space feel like a beach resort or fancy inn, rather than a hotel.
And on top of everything else, the resort has an eco-conscious focus that feels authentic, and the right thing to do.
Lobby, green spaces, and outdoor highlights
The Lake House is so welcoming the moment that you step into the chic, upscale, and cozy lobby. There’s space to sit and relax, you can grab a coffee or a cocktail at the stunning Library Bar, or play for a while in the games room and lounge.
Every space is perfectly inviting, and I love that you can take some of that style home with you thanks to their small store with unique and mostly hand-made products, from leather wallets to brass-style keychains, and Lake House branded sweaters and shirts.
Stepping outside, the Lake House has a pool, a modern events barn, and there’s the fun Sand Bar for dock-side bites that range from an upscale lobster roll, crab cake, mussels and clams, plus a fantastic wine and cocktail menu.
Best of all though, my favourite space was the main courtyard nestled between the buildings on the west side of the property. Many of the rooms look out over the courtyard, and the space features gardens, trees, firepits, and cozy seating to enjoy the warm summer days and evenings.
Grab a s’mores kit from the front desk, and get toasting for a treat, or take a break at the spa with their outdoor saunas right next to the lake.
It’s a beautiful space, and I loved everything about the mood the hotel sets in every corner of the property.
The sumptuous Rose Tavern
Dinner at the Rose Tavern is a must when you’re staying at The Lake House. I had one of the best meals in recent memory at the restaurant, and everything was perfect from the appetizers and the main course, to the excellent cocktails and local beer on tap.
And I bet you’ve never seen a chef cook a meal over a wood fire before.
The Rose Tavern features wood, brass, and navy highlights for a classy yet welcoming space that looks out over the lake. The restaurant prides itself on local ingredients and rustic dishes, and you can find the list of all the farms where they get their ingredients on their website.
Executive chef Steve Eakins has crafted a menu that is pure Americana. It’s simple and hearty, with classic pairings, and every bite is heavenly.
Make sure to start with their must-have JB’s Parker House Rolls, featuring whipped honey butter and Maldon sea salt. Then try an appetizer, like the mozzarella house stracciatella, or asparagus salad.
Specialties include Atlantic sea scallops, their tavern burger with white cheddar and sauce Rose, or poached cod with crispy potatoes and leek tartar. A lot of the dishes are cooked right on the wood hearth, but if you’re a steak lover, the ultimate dishes at the Rose Tavern are the 8oz Black Angus beef tenderloin, Niman Ranch grassfed strip, or 16oz prime beef ribeye.
Served with a side of their hearth charred fingerlings, or their remarkable sticky Brussels sprouts, and your choice of any of their tantalizing sauces–like red win jus, harissa butter, or horseradish crème fraîche–the tenderloin steak I had was so tender I practically didn’t even need a knife. The sauces were exceptional, and I’ve never tasted a vegetable as tasty as the sticky Brussels sprouts.
I could write almost as much on the cocktails and drinks. At the time I visited they had a wonderful variation on an old fashioned that was one of my favourite cocktails in ages, but the whole menu is a treat. Try the B.A. Negroni, the PJ or the Beverly, or their Spring in St. Tropez beach-inspired cocktail.
You can also try local draft beers from Young Lion Brewing, K2 Brewing, and one of my favourites, Frequentem (they have a couple of really fantastic and creative IPAs).
Lastly, save some room for one of their exquisite desserts, like the pecan crème brûlée, apricot coconut bar, seasame chocolate trifle, or Pittsford dairy ice cream.
Summer at The Lake house and things to do
The Lake House On Canandaigua offers a lot of activities all year round, but the summer is definitely the highlight when you can get out on the lake and enjoy the sun and waves.
Stores next door to the hotel offer everything from lake cruises, boat rentals, and paddle boarding to kayaking and even sailing lessons.
Head to Bristol Mountain and enjoy ziplining, aerial adventures, and a waterpark. Or head out on one of the many nearby hiking trails surrounding the Finger Lakes. CMAC amphitheatre also hosts lots of summer concerts and festivals.
At the Lake House you can sample whiskies, or try cooking classes at New York Kitchen. And of course there’s also yoga, boat cruises, kids club activities, and lots more.
My family and I absolutely loved everything about The Lake House on Canandaigua, and I highly recommend it for your next getaway in upstate New York or the Finger Lakes region.
For the latest packages, specials, and more about the hotel visit lakehousecanandaigua.com. Watch my video from our trip below, and scroll down for more photos from the vacation.
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