Canadian Blog House was recently invited on a press trip to Central New York State to take part in some epic experiences in Cortland County, New York. All opinions are our own.
New York State is always a great destination to visit in winter – especially when you get the chance to take part in several epic experiences in Cortland County, New York!
I was both over-the-moon excited and a bundle of nerves – all at once – when I received an invite to visit beautiful Central New York.
Scanning our list of activities for this press trip, I quickly noted that I would most certainly be stepping out of my comfort zone for this one.
As many of my readers know, when I experience things outside my comfort zone, it usually results in some epic fails…or should I say, falls.
On the list?
Downhill skiing, snowshoeing…and steelhead fishing.
Fly fishing. In a river. In winter. Wearing hip waders. In rushing water.
This was definitely going to be an epic trip!
My nerves were calmed when I realized I was going to be able to experience some of the fabulous breweries, wineries, and eateries that Central New York is renowned for.
Cheers to that!
Knowing I would also be traveling with my friend Tori from Ottawa Life Magazine, helped immensely. Crazy adventures are always more fun when you have a friend to enjoy them with, right?!
And so, because I believe that life is meant to be experienced, here is the first of our three adventures from New York State…
15 Epic Experiences In Cortland County, New York
Learn Your Lesson At Greek Peak Mountain Resort
What do you do when you stay at a Central New York mountain resort in winter? You participate in an epic ski experience of course!
“Greek Peak Mountain Resort is the largest ski resort in Central New York with 55 trails, six aerial lifts, two surface lifts, beginners’ slope, four Terrain Parks, including a Progression Park. Additionally, Greek Peak Mountain Resort operates a full-service Nordic Center with groomed Cross Country and Snowshoe Trails with an average annual snowfall of 122 inches.”
Whether you love downhill skiing, snowboarding, cross-country skiing, snowshoeing, or tubing, you’ll find it all at Greek Peak Mountain Resort!
Tips: Are you a novice on the ski hill like me, or just want to brush up on your ski skills? No worries! Sign up for a lesson, slip into those skis, and let Greek Peak Mountain Resort’s expert staff teach you how to safely navigate the hills at your own pace and comfort level.
My lesson with Tyler Lurie-Spicer gave me the confidence to get back out on the ski hill again. Tyler’s friendly personality, calm demeanor, encouraging words, and professional advice was just what I needed to feel safe and comfortable.
In no time, Tyler convinced me to climb aboard the chair lift and whiz down one of the larger hills.
Not one to disappoint my friends, I lived up to my reputation (and hashtag #SandiFalls) by awkwardly falling when exiting the chair lift.
Tyler was graciously by my side the whole time, helping me up, brushing me off, and encouraging me to carry on.
It was all downhill from there!
The rest of my time on the hill was, thankfully, “fall-free”.
Getting out of my ski boots, however, was a whole other adventure.
Just ask Tori.
Looking on with concern and utter disbelief, Tori witnessed me awkwardly falling off the bench, and flat out onto the floor, while trying to get my ski boots off my feet.
Uncontrollable giggling ensued. I was more than ready for apres-ski time!
Stay Active At Lime Hollow Nature Center
We knew we were going on an epic hike when we met up with “Fun Glenn” at Lime Hollow Nature Center.
Glenn Reisweber, aka Fun Glenn, is the Executive Director of Lime Hollow, a nature center that “encompasses nearly 447 acres of beautiful rolling hills and shallow glacial valleys (kame-and-kettle topography), forests, fields, streams, numerous ponds, including many marl ponds and vernal (seasonal) pools, a peat bog, and a great diversity of flora and fauna.”
To say that we were in awe of Glenn, and Lime Hollow, would be an understatement. I don’t know that I’ve ever met anyone who hustles more than Glenn…literally.
Guests of Lime Hollow will find Glenn outside clearing trails, leading group hikes, educating guests, checking on daycare and camp attendees, and doing any one of 100+ jobs he takes care of at this exceptionally well-run nature center.
Lime Hollow Nature Center “offers over 12 miles of open-to-the-public, entrance-fee free trails, public nature programs, and adventure day camps for youth.”
Tips: If you are in the area, be sure to stop by for a hike at Lime Hollow in beautiful Cortland County. Leave yourself time to check out the main Nature Center building for information and some gift items.
If you are lucky enough to live close to Lime Hollow Nature Center, and have young kids, why not think about enrolling them in the Lime Hollow Forest Preschool – the only licensed outdoor preschool in Central New York!
Fire Up Your Appetite At BRIX Pubaria
Known for their brick-oven pizzas, BRIX Pubaria is a much-loved casual eatery located in the heart of downtown Cortland, New York.
Featuring a delicious menu, a fun, warm, and inviting atmosphere, and attentive staff, BRIX Pubaria is a great place for a family meal, or a group get-together for a round of New York State craft beer – and some brick-oven pizza!
Tips: BRIX Pubaria brick-oven pizzas are not small (8 slices). We found that one pizza was plenty large enough to feed two ladies – with a couple of pieces left over.
If pizza isn’t your thing, no worries. BRIX Pubaria has plenty of other tasty menu options to keep the whole family happy.
Take A Break At Hampton Inn Cortland
Featuring their comfortable Hampton bed®, free WiFi, free hot breakfast, and heated indoor pool, the Hampton Inn Cortland is a terrific place to stay when in Cortland County.
Conveniently located just off New York State’s Interstate 81, the Hampton Inn Cortland is the perfect place for Canadian snowbirds to stay when they are headed to sunny south in winter.
Tips: Planning a stop-over in Central New York on your drive south? Stay at the Hampton Inn Cortland! Enjoy an extra night so you can take advantage of staying at this great location and check out some of the other epic experiences in Cortland County!
Savour a tasty hot breakfast in the breakfast area or, if you prefer, do what I did and grab a coffee and your favourite buffet items, and head back up to your room to relax.
Check out our Instagram stories for a peek at our Hampton Inn Cortland hotel room!
Pile It High At Rex’s Pasta
With a tag line like “where the food is made with love and you are treated like family”, you know you are in for a special meal when you dine at Rex’s Pasta.
It’s all about family at Rex’s Pasta – literally. Sister’s Heather and Haley run this family-owned restaurant, named after their father, Rex.
Featuring homemade Italian dishes, Rex’s Pasta offers an extensive menu of mouth-watering authentic Italian cuisine.
One of Cortland’s favourite eateries, Rex’s Pasta has outgrown their current location and will soon be moving into bigger quarters.
When in Cortland, come home to Rex’s Pasta!
Tips: Rex’s Pasta does not skimp on portion sizes. Unless you have a mammoth appetite, go with the “half order” of whatever dish you choose. Unless of course, you wish to take some leftovers home with you. Then, by all means, go ahead and enjoy this epic experience…“pile it high” and enjoy!
If you love spaghetti and meatballs, Mama’s Spags and Balls is a “must-try” dish! Mama doesn’t disappoint!
Stay Classy At Hope Lake Lodge (Acorn Grill)
A stay at Greek Peak’s Hope Lake Lodge is one of the epic experiences in Cortland County that you don’t want to miss.
This timber-framed lodge, located in Central New York’s Finger Lakes region, is a luxury hotel featuring sweeping panoramic views in all directions.
Hope Lake Lodge “features luxury condominium-style suites, each complete with fully equipped kitchens, the relaxing comfort of spa quality mattresses and the warmth of your very own fireplace.”
The gorgeous wooden interior of the magnificent lobby, complete with a towering stone fireplace, will remind Canadian visitors of our own beloved Chateau Montebello.
Tips: For those that don’t wish to cook up their own meals in the beautiful, fully-stocked kitchenette, Acorn Grill offers a great menu for breakfast, lunch, and dinner.
If a buffet breakfast is something you enjoy, Acorn Grill offers a great selection of breakfast items, including yummy bacon, scrambled eggs, and beautifully cooked homefries.
Be sure to take advantage of the beautiful seating areas in the warm and inviting lobby of Hope Lake Lodge. Grab your favourite beverage from the bar, and enjoy a relaxing chat with family and friends by the fireside – like we did.
Eat On The Right Side Of The Trax Pub & Grill
For a little “apres-ski” after your time on the hills of Greek Peak Mountain, head into the warmth of Trax Pub & Grill.
Everyone can find something to love about Trax Pub & Grill’s extensive menu.
I chose to try the Greek Peak Gyro and was glad I did. The meat was moist and tender, the sauce so tasty, and the accompanying fries…delicious! As you know, good fries are very important to this “french fry connoisseur”!
If you love roasted brussel sprouts, you must try these roasted beauties at Trax Pub & Grill…
Tips: Be sure to enjoy a relaxing beverage outside on the huge deck overlooking a gorgeous view of Greek Peak Mountain. On cooler days, warm up next to the beautiful outdoor fireplace.
If you love apple cider – and maple syrup – you must try the 1911 Beak and Skiff Maple Bourbon Barrel Aged Cider. Featuring an unbelievable maple aroma, this Beak and Skiff cider was nothing short of spectacular. I’ve never had a cider like it.
Live It Up At Bru64
What’s better than a bru at Bru64 in the morning? Live music and a brew at Bru64 at night!
Situated in the heart of downtown Cortland, New York, right across the street from BRIX Pubaria, Bru64 is a “coffee lounge by day, pour house by night”.
Three cheers for this unique and tasty idea!
Visitors can enjoy fresh foods and bakery items alongside a specialty coffee in the morning – or a craft brew in the evening. Naturally, Bru64 offers a great choice of NY State craft beers to quench your thirst!
Don’t miss a chance to catch some live music at Bru64! We happened to catch a performance by a fantastic pair of local musicians the night we visited Bru64, and loved every minute of their entertaining show!
Say Three Cheers For Cortland County
Home to a multitude of breweries, wineries and distilleries, Cortland County has something to quench everyone’s thirst for a great beverage.
Discover Cortland County’s Cortland Beer Company and Farm Distillery, Dragonfyre Distillery, and Finger Lakes Tasting and Tap Room, just to name a few. You’ll be glad you did!
Get Festive At A Cortland County Festival
No matter the season, you’ll find many fabulous festivals to experience in Cortland County!
Canadian maple syrup lovers will enjoy the CNY Maple Festival in spring. In summer experience a walking sampling tour with Cortland’s Taste of Downtown. Fall brings the Great Cortland Pumpkinfest to town, as well as the Greek Peak Hops and Swaps festival.
There are two popular festivals that several locals mentioned to us while we were visiting Cortland County.
In winter, the Spartan Race, is an epic challenging race that takes place on Greek Peak Mountain. Participants put their skills and endurance levels to the test during this much-anticipated annual festival.
The Route 90 Garage Sale is a 50-mile garage sale that stretches along scenic Route 90 from Montezuma in the north, to the Village of Homer in the south.
Splash Out At Cascades Indoor Waterpark
Kids will LOVE Cascades Indoor Waterpark located at Hope Lake Lodge. Even you will love playing in the water…until you discover how difficult it is to pry the kids away from this fun-filled ” 41,000 sq. ft., state-of-the-art indoor waterpark”.
This waterpark provide hours of fun for the whole family – no matter the season!
Cascades Indoor Waterpark offers guests of Hope Lake Lodge the perfect alternative for guests wanting a break from the slopes.
Warning: You may not be able to convince your kids to leave the waterpark area to do other things. They will be having too much fun.
Get Wrecked At Shipwreck Amusement Center
Home of the longest miniature golf hole in the world, Shipwreck Amusement Center, offers great fun for the whole family.
Featuring the largest 18-hole indoor miniature golf course in the United States, Shipwreck Amusement Center is ideal for every age and any sized group.
Make History in Cortland County
There is plenty of history to be found in Cortland County!
History buffs can enjoy a great selection of museums in Cortland, including the 1890 House Museum and the CNY Living History Center.
At the CNY Living History Center you’ll find a massive museum complex with a diverse collection that includes larger than life Brockway Trucks, 10,000 items illustrating America’s Civil War, rare items of local and national political significance, and a huge collection of antique tractors.
Let Cortland County Capture Your He”art”
Art lovers will find many epic art experiences in Cortland County, including at the Dowd Fine Arts Center and The Gallery at the Center for the Arts.
For those that enjoy whimsical metal sculpture, pottery, garden art and furnishings like me, Frog Pond Folk Art Gallery looks especially fun!
Get Playful At Greek Peak Outdoor Adventure Center
Looking for more epic experiences in Cortland County – but in summer?Greek Peak’s Outdoor Adventure Center is your family’s ticket to summer outdoor fun!
Hop aboard the Nor ‘ Easter Mountain Coaster for some dipping and diving, heart-racing thrills. For those that love gravity-defying thrills, you can ride the zipline or experience a Euro Bungee.
The outdoor epic fun is practically endless at this adventure center!
Special thanks to our friends at Experience Cortland for hosting us for some of these epic experiences in Cortland County, and to Colleen from Break The Ice Media for facilitating our time in fabulous Cortland County.
Have YOU visited Cortland County? What epic experiences did you enjoy? We would love to hear about them! Share them in the comments below!
Want to see more from our adventures in Cortland County? Check out the Canadian Blog House Instagram Stories from New York!
Stay tuned to the blog! There’s more to come from our adventures in Central New York State!