Imagine the pristine hills and lakes of Upstate New York before the European settlers colonized the area. When cruising on the freshwater lakes of New York and taking in the rural scenery, visions of Native-Americans in their natural habitat arise. The thought of cruising on a commercial boat – not the urban type of “cruise the club scene” – brings the traveller back to reality.
Cayuga Lake, one of the Finger Lakes, is a gem. The reason I find this lake to be such a gem is the time I spent on Cayuga Lake and the memories that remain. I did enjoy other lakes in the region and enjoyed the Fulton Chain of lakes, particularly Seventh Lake near Inlet, NY, but I remain a bit biased towards Cayuga.
On a map of Upstate New York, place the right hand there with the palm of the hand on Lake Ontario. Cayuga Lake is the pointer finger. Owasco, Seneca, Keuka, and Canandaigua Lakes form the thumb (Owasco) and three other fingers.
Map of Upstate New York showing location of Cayuga LakeMap of Cayuga Lake and the other Finger Lakes. Cayuga extends northward from Ithaca. The top portion of the lake is situated between Seneca Falls and Auburn.
On July 5, 2007, I re-visited Cayuga Lake and all its splendor. I discovered Cayuga Lake Cruises
) and the beautiful M.V. Manhattan
. Together with a friend, we enjoyed a scenic tour of the lake and had a delicious lunch while on board. The Manhattan
proceeded up the west side of the lake as we viewed the cottages, boats, and people who lived along the lake.
Travelling along the west side of Cayuga Lake, July 2007.
About half way up the west side of the lake, the captain directed the boat across the waters to the east side. The east side was a distinct contrast in terms of geology. The view of the cliffs was impressive, but less homes are built on the east side of the lake due to the cliffs.
An occasional home sits at the top of the cliff. As we
viewed the cliffs along the water, we wondered about the natives who lived here and what they would have viewed. After all, the word, Cayuga, is derived from the native language. Cayuga was a tribe and language of the Iroquois nation.
As we ended our journey along the east side of the lake and approached the city of Ithaca, we could see, in the distance, Cornell University on the hill – an awesome view from the lake.
Finally, the Lighthouse – at the end of the “journey!”
Almost 25 years living in Florida did not diminish the memories of Cayuga Lake and the days I spent on it. Somewhere on the east side of the lake was the cottage my family once rented with another family. The memories from that vacation are still vivid. In fact, I can pinpoint the date of August 1963 and the week Patrick Bouvier Kennedy, son of then-President John F. Kennedy, died in infancy. I recall listening to the news describing the loss of the First Family’s child. I was eight years old.
I also recall an Egyptian family lived next door to our rental unit on Cayuga Lake in 1963. I recall the tasty Egyptian food, some with grape leaves, that was shared with us. Later, our family visited Washington, DC, and answered an invitation to visit this family at the Egyptian Embassy in Washington. They were at the embassy as employees of the Egyptian Diplomatic Corps.
When visting Ithaca, NY, in the summer, this cruise is highly recommended and well worth the cost. Cruises on Cayuga Lake have been available for many years. The M.V. Manhattan is not the first and it has been on the water since 1987. (The owners in 2007 had operated the boat since 2001).
The M.V. Manhattan
is available for dinner, lunch, brunch, and happy hour cruises. The cruise line also caters to group functions, private charters, and cocktail cruises. We reserved our seats and paid $28.00 per person for the Luncheon Cruise, but it is best to contact Cayuga Lake Cruises
for the latest information about any cruise.
Captain and crew of the M.V. Manhattan.
Left to Right:
B.J. Bliss, Nate Newton, and Captain Bob Dutcher,
Crew of the M.V. Manhattan, Cayuga Lake Cruises,
Cayuga Cruise Lines
P.O. Box 238
Ithaca, NY 14851
708 W. Buffalo St. (across the tributary from Kelly’s Grill)
Ithaca, NY 14850