Lake Ontario’s Hidden Wonders

Restaurants, beaches and parks give everyone something to do around Lake Ontario.

Lake Ontario has a surprising view to offer.
Photo courtesy of Catherine Baxter.

Lake Ontario is full of marvelous surprises.

As summer begins to wind down, there is just enough time to take a weekend away before the kids go back to school and the sun begins to cool down. However, it’s not easy or affordable for everyone to simply hop on a plane and explore an exotic island. Luckily, there are some adventures to be had just a few hours from Montclair’s backyard.

Many of the Montclair locals are used to New York City; it’s easy to hop on a bus and explore the city streets. However, there are other beautiful places just a bit further north of the city, areas of which I had the opportunity to explore over the weekend.

Taking a ride about five hours north to a town just off the shore of Lake Ontario will bring you into the gorgeous city of Pittsford, N.Y. Those who are lucky enough to travel in this area should absolutely make a point to see a show at the Constellation Brands Performing Arts Center, a venue located on the campus of Finger Lakes Community College.

This past weekend, Grace Potter & the Nocturnals opened for the Avett Brothers (if you have never listened to either of these groups, do your ears a favor and check them out). These blue-grass-meets-rock groups were perfectly paired with the beautiful, sunny, 80 degree weather. The venue is mostly outside, no walls with a large roof that keeps out the sun, providing a nice breeze inside of the immense concert hall. Thousands of people filled the stadium, eager to see their favorite performers.

Photo courtesy of Catherine Baxter.
Photo courtesy of Catherine Baxter.

If you are up for more of a relaxing vacation instead of seeing a concert, there are plenty of things to do around the Pittsford area. One beautiful hotel that is in the center of it all is the Del Monte Hotel. Complete with flat screen televisions, a fitness center, spa, and an indoor pool and hottub, this hotel has something for everyone to relax in.

Waking up for breakfast, you also have some great choices in this little town. The hotel has a restaurant, or you can even have breakfast brought right to your hotel room. If you are feeling more adventurous, taking a short walk down the road and along the Erie Canal will bring you to Simply Crepes, a delicious crepery that serves both savory and sweet delights.

After you are full and ready to hit the road, make sure you travel about another 20 minutes from the hotel towards Lake Ontario. Your route will be parallel to the lake, taking you to many hidden little beaches along the lake. However, I recommend your final destination be Lake Ontario Beach Park.

Admission and parking for this park is completely free – something that is pretty foreign to New Jersey natives. There are snack bars, arcades and restaurants. A stretch of grass, playgrounds, trees and picnic tables opens up before the boardwalk that lines the stretch of the lake. Between the lake and the boardwalk is a beach with some of the softest sand my toes have ever felt.

Photo courtesy of Catherine Baxter.
Photo courtesy of Catherine Baxter.

Sanctioned-off swimming areas are relaxing and safe for the smallest kids, as the water is very shallow and protected by life guards. Perhaps one of the most interesting parts of this park is the nearly one-mile-long pier that extends into the heart of the lake, allowing you to walk all the way out into the lake.

Whether you want to take some photos, play with the kids or relax amongst friends, Lake Ontario is a wonderful weekend getaway spot not far from our town. The surrounding areas have plenty of attractions for people of all ages to partake in.

Although the lake is too big to see Canada on the other side, there are definitely many sites to see from Pittsford to Lake Ontario. This area is perfect for one last weekend getaway before the summer ends.

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