Boat Watching at The Inn on the Lake in Canandaigua, NY

inn on the lake chairs and boat resizeThe Inn on the Lake Waterfront Resort’s spot on Canandaigua Lake in upstate New York gives guests a treat of prime real estate property. Touted as one of the priciest lakes to live on in the United States, Canandaigua, the fourth largest of the Finger Lakes, is a boat, food and drink lover’s paradise. The Inn on the Lake is a perfect hub for exploration—or for staying put.

There are many reasons to stay put. As spring turns to summer, the long row of the inn’s Adirondack style chairs offer the best seats for boat watching. With Sutter’s Marina right next door, and a place to dock along the inn’s shoreline, the parade of boats seems to never stop. Some boaters hop out for libations at The Sand Bar, the inn’s seasonal bar and grill. At night The Sand Bar pulses with live music and youthful energy even though the crowd ranges from early twenties to well past that.

Drinks with a View. On the patio overlooking The Sand Bar.

Drinks with a View. On the patio overlooking The Sand Bar.

For those who prefer a more sedate place to have a drink or dine, but still want outdoors, the inn’s The Shore restaurant has a lovely covered patio that stretches from the main dining room to the restaurant’s bar. The Shore serves up breakfast, lunch and dinner with a menu that ranges from casual to creative to classic fine dining. Complimentary coffee and tea are set up outside the restaurant in the morning. We ate our meals in other Finger Lakes’ restaurants, but I did have a glass of wine on The Shore’s patio.

inn on the lake front resizeThe lounge, connected to the reception area lobby, is another lovely place to hang out. Artwork and furnishings are a blend of contemporary and comfy, and the fireplace promises coziness in the winter. In the summer, though, the outside is too delicious to ignore. Another hang out option is the outdoor pool at the edge of the resort’s property right next to the lake. It’s possible to see boats motor by from a poolside vantage point.

inn on lake room resizeAs for the guest rooms, there are 134 guest rooms and suites. Ours had two queen beds and was lovely with a décor that felt airy and light. Over our four night stay, the service was impeccable. After a day of sight-seeing, we’d return to a place returned to order for another night of pleasant slumber. Bedding is plush and new. Rooms come with a one-cup coffee maker, an iron, ironing board, hair dryer and a flat screen TV. Suites have a refrigerator.

Staff was consistently friendly no matter how busy the lobby buzzed. Wedding guests and a high school prom were part of the milieu during our stay. Plus, I was happy to never miss a wake-up call.

Boat watching from poolside.

Boat watching from poolside.

One thing that did startle me was when I arrived back at the hotel on a Saturday evening after a short trip to another town. The parking lot was filled to the point of that cars were parked on the grass. Luckily one car pulled out at the right time. This is a typical scene on the weekends, I was told. The Sand Bar is a popular place and weddings are frequent. That said, you can pull up to the front of the hotel and park for check in if you happen to arrive when the hotel is its busiest. Checking in and out is a smooth process.

Other hotel features include an indoor pool and a fitness center. There is a business station in the lobby, and WiFi is free. Room rates start at $150. Rooms with balconies and patios that overlook the lake are higher.

*My stay was courtesy of the wonderful folks at the Finger Lakes Visitors Connection who were the hosts of the Midwest Travel Writers Association’s spring meeting. All opinions, however, are my own.

Post and photos courtesy of Jamie Rhein

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