Tiny Hammondsport, at the southern end of Keuka Lake, is a postcard-perfect small town built around an attractive village square. Though tiny, it bustles with a disproportionate number of antiques and gifts shops, an ice-cream parlor, and a couple of restaurants and inns. If you'd like a bit of small-town life to complement your Finger Lakes experience, it makes a good base.
Besides the lake and wineries, the biggest attraction in the immediate area is the Glenn H. Curtiss Museum, 8419 Rte. 54, Hammondsport (tel. 607/569-2160 607/569-2160;www.glennhcurtissmuseum.org ; May-Oct Mon-Sat 9am-5pm, Sun 11am-5pm; Nov-Dec Mon-Sat 10am-4pm, Sun noon-5pm; Jan-Apr Thurs-Sat 10am-4pm, Sun noon-5pm; $7 adults, $5 seniors, $4 students 7-18, free for children under 7), devoted to one of the true pioneers of American aviation, who was also a Hammondsport native. In the early 20th century, Curtiss began designing motorcycles and moved on to dirigibles, airplanes, and hydroaeroplanes ("flying boats"). His first flight, in 1908, was the first advertised public flight of aircraft (the Wright Brothers had already been aloft, but in total secrecy). The museum displays a fine collection of historical aircraft and antique Curtiss motorcycles (including a reproduction of the one he used to achieve the world speed record of 136 mph). The museum also presents dioramas on turn-of-the-20th-century life and winemaking, as well as an interactive children's gallery.
Shoppers in Hammondsport should check out Opera House Antiques, 61-63 Shethar St. (tel. 607/569-3525), a multidealer shop featuring silver, linens, and period furniture. Across the street is Scandia House, 64 Shethar St. (tel. 607/569-2667), a shop specializing in women's clothing, Scandinavian sweaters, and housewares. Mud Lust Pottery, 59 Shethar St. (tel. 607/569-3068), features locally crafted fine pottery. Chocoholics should check out The Chocolatier of Hammondsport, 69 Shethar St. (tel. 607-569-2157), a new shop that deals in high-end chocolates and confections. A new bakery is also open in Hammondsport in center of town (really good baked goods, go early for the best choices!)
If you're sore from driving around the lakes or boating or cycling, pay a visit to the family-run Finger Lakes Wellness Center & Health Spa, 7531 County Rte. 13, Bath (tel. 607/776-3737 607/776-3737;www.fingerlakeswellness.com ), just south of Hammondsport, for a massage.