BicycleMan - Keuka Lake fall ride
As we finished breakfast the warm sun was
pouring through the window, burning off the morning fog and beckoning us
out to our bike. Riding north on route 54A we had a great view of Keuka
Lake on our right and tree covered hills on our left. Locally known as
West Lake Road, it is one of my favorite
bike rides, just hilly enough to be interesting and not much traffic on a
weekday like this. We passed a thirty-foot sailboat calmly resting at its
dock; we wouldn’t have to deal with much wind today. On the left we passed
With The Wind B&B, a beautifully restored stone mansion. The
steady stream of lakefront cottages was interrupted by a marina full of
boats as we gradually warmed up. The road leveled as we approached
Branchport at the northwest end of the lake. Keuka is a unique lake.
Shaped like a “Y” it has one southern end but two northern ends.
Branchport has a convenience store with a small dinner if you need rest
rooms or snacks. They also have “Crooked Lake Mercantile” for groceries
and unique lake gift shopping. Rt. 54A turns right at the light the
traffic about doubles. Fortunately the shoulders improve and are wide and
quite rid-able. We began the gentle climb to the highest point on our
ride. Nearing the top of the climb we paused at the “Scenic overlook”.
Apparently the trees have grown since it was named, as it is no longer
scenic but still a nice place for a rest. Soon after we passed the Keuka
Lake State Park with tent and RV camping and boat launch and beach
Once over the crest we coasted down into
Penn Yan. Looking for a spot for brunch we went straight to Main St and
asked a local. He told us to follow him. He led us to the right and in
about half a block he led us into the Angels Family restaurant. After a
good meal we headed out the door. We passed Birkett Mills, home of the
worlds largest pancake griddle. It is hanging on the outside of their
building and it’s BIG, two stories high!
We continued to
54 south. It was now 11:30, we had plenty of time to
relax and enjoy a few stops on the rest of the way around the lake. Rout
54 south is a busier road but has excellent shoulders. It isn’t as close
to the lake as Rte 54A is so we opted to take a few of the many East Lake roads for the “scenic
rout”. These roads are paved though rough in spots. The traffic is
basically non-existent so we rode around the bumps. At times these roads
become tiny lanes but remain paved. Very nice if you are not in a hurry.
When riding with “the guys” we usually stay on
The traffic isn’t bad and the road allows us to hammer our way south with
out letup. Linda and I prefer to amble along the East Lake roads. At times you are
practically on the water.
It was at a spot like this where we found
ourselves in front of Finton’s Landing B&B, where we took this picture.
Finton’s is a restored steamboat landing. Before the development of roads
steamers would pick up their loads or passengers, grapes and wine on their
way up and down the lake. Now beautifully restored (and air-conditioned!)
the house still has a private beach and intimate view of the lake. We are
definitely staying here in the spring!
We continued south at 12:15, now about
half way around the lake. We had a ball poking our way south on East Lake road. When it ended we
pedaled up the short but abrupt hill back to
54. Back on the state road we gently climbed-and-descended out way south
to Hammondsport. We decided to forgo further forays onto
East Lake roads, and skipped the
winery tours available too. We wanted to have a leisurely time in the lake
front park in Hammondsport. Though we weren’t right on the lake anymore we
had a few nice views of the lake below us.
Coming into Hammondsport we rode past the
Keuka Maid dock we saw the lake tour boat was out on an excursion. As we
turned north into town, we were only about a mile from the excellent Glen
Curtis Museum or early aviation.
We picked up some snacks, loaded them up
and rode down to Depot Park at the end of the lake; it
was now 1:45 and we were hungry! Finding a park bench in the sun we
relaxed, snacked and watched the scenery go by. A sailboat, a duck, a
motor boat, a fisherman, then The Keuka Maid returning to its dock with a
happy crew. Nearly 100 years ago Glen Curtis flew the first successful
flying boat from the lake near here.
After consuming a few hundred calories we
were refreshed and headed north on Rte 54A again. The tailwind combined
with small climbs and descents made it a lot of fun.
54A is not as close to the lake as East lake roads are but is a lot closer
54. The traffic and shoulders situation is somewhat in-between too. We
climbed past the Keuka Yacht Club; its yard is a mass of sailboats on
trailers. Only a few miles left to our starting point we began to discuss
riding to Branchport for dinner, but the weather looked threatening so,
reluctantly we stopped where we had started and put the bike away. After a
hearty dinner we slept well. The next morning we drove to “The Speckled
Hen” for breakfast. Linda wanted to see where all those signs led and we
were not disappointed. Their pumpkin pancakes alone are worth the drive.
We spent about 5 ½ hours on this ride,
about 4 hours of it actually riding. If 45 miles sounds a bit daunting I
recommend making it a two-day ride. You could spend one night each at
Finton's Landing Bed & Breakfast and Gone With the Wind Bed and Breakfast.
They are both beautiful and conveniently about half way around the lake
from each other.
Bicycle Man llc
6393 State Route 21
Alfred Station NY
Wheels Unlimited, Sales and service
20 W Steuben St
Bike Shop, sales and service
338 State Route 14A
Penn Yan NY
315 536 3012
Trail bike Rentals –
Junction Routs 14 & 54
mid April to end Sept.
mtb outlet trail Seneca - Keuka ~7 miles
10 a day, $8 hour
Bed & Breakfasts
Finton's Landing Bed & Breakfast on Keuka
661 E. Lake Rd.,
Penn Yan, NY
Waterfront Victorian, 4 air conditioned
guest rooms /all private baths. 165' SECLUDED KEUKA LAKE BEACH, romantic
porch, rocking chairs, lakeside gazebo, flower gardens, cozy 2-person
hammock, luscious 2-course breakfast, near Windmill Market,
pet-free/smoke-free. Visa/MC (315) 536-3146 (9 A.M.-9 P.M.).
Gone With the Wind Bed and Breakfast on
Keuka Lake, 14905 W. Lake Rd.,
Rt. 54A, (Town of Pulteney) Branchport, NY 14418. 1887 stone
plantation style inn with secluded "log" lodge. Fireplaces, hot tub,
restful trails, swimming, docking, full breakfasts, home baking.
Robert & Linda Lewis, innkeepers.
The Speckled Hen
7790 Tuttle Rd
Prattsburgh NY 14873
Angels Family Restaurant
5 Main Street
Pen Yan NY 14527
The Park Inn and Restaurant,
Village Tavern Restaurant & Inn