Worth a 30-mile detour north of Geneva on Route 14 is Sodus Point, which overlooks Lake Ontario. The village boasts gorgeous views, an inviting public beach, and the handsome 1870 Sodus Bay Lighthouse Museum (7606 N. Ontario St., 315/483-4936, 10 a.m.–5 p.m. Tues.–Sun. May–Oct., $3 adults, children 11–17 $1).
The real reason to venture up here, however, are the Chimney Bluffs. Located on the eastern side of Sodus Bay, the bluffs rise 150 feet above the lake like some giant confectionery delight. All pinnacles, spires, and peaks, they’re part of a glacier-created drumlin that has been eroded, carved, and shaped by water, wind, and snow. Atop some of the pinnacles sit lone trees; below them extends a stony beach. Scuba divers exiting Lake Ontario are another unexpected sight on the beach.
Dozens of other drumlins (minus the pinnacles and peaks) can be found throughout this part of the Lake Ontario region. The only other places to view drumlins in North America are the areas bordering Lake Superior in Minnesota.
The Chimney Bluffs and its beach form part of the undeveloped Chimney Bluffs State Park. The park can be reached by taking Route 414 north to the end of Lake Bluff Road.
On your way to and from Sodus Point, you’ll pass through serious farm country, heavy with rich black soil. Near the lake thrive apples, cherries, and peaches. Farther inland grow corn, wheat, potatoes, onion, and lettuce.
Off Route 14 just south of Sodus Point lies Alasa Farms (6450 Shaker Rd., Alton, 315/483-6321, June–Oct. by appointment). Once a 1,400-acre Shaker religious community, the site passed into private hands in the 1800s. Throughout the 1920s and 1930s, the farm raised everything from shorthorn cattle and hackney ponies to timberland and orchards, and today, it’s still a 700-acre working farm. Visitors can opt for either a self-guided farm tour or an escorted tour of the Shaker Dwelling House.
One of the region’s foremost events is the Sterling Renaissance Festival (315/947-5783, www.sterlingfestival.com), held in Sterling, near Fair Haven, about 25 miles west of Sodus Point. For seven weekends in July and August, the fest celebrates the Middle Ages with music, jousting, outdoor theater, crafts, and food.
© Avalon Travel and Sascha Zuger from Moon New York State, 5th Edition