“Limitless” is Roc City’s claim, validated by innumerable activities on land and water. Surrounded by Lake Ontario, Finger Lakes, bays, rivers and the Erie Canal, beautiful parks include landscape designs by Olmstead, renowned for Central Park and Pinehurst. Metropolitan diversity rocks the revitalized downtown with museums and theaters. Wineries, breweries and dining venues permeate the extended area and high-quality golf is value priced. Caution when visiting: a nice sunny day might trick you into buying real estate.
Lake lovers may select an Airbnb cottage on one of the Finger Lakes while city fans might book a downtown hotel but for golf travelers seeking a special retreat, Woodcliff Hotel and Spa is it. Perched on a hillside in Fairport with free airport shuttle and parking, the walkway is lined with pretty perennials. A practice green sits by the entrance with a nine-hole course to the side. The swimming pool extends from indoor to outdoor with a lifeguard doubling as the bartender. The Horizon Lounge features live music for dancing or unwinding before retiring to comfy accommodations. Golf and all the limitless options are but a scenic drive away.
The private Oak Hill Country Club is most famous as a PGA Tour stop but only playable with a member. Fortunately, there are over 60 public and semi-private courses within an hour drive of Roc City ranging in price from $12 – $65. Ravenwood Golf Club opened in ’03 to rave reviews, placing 5th on Golfweek’s Best New Public Course list. Shadow Lake Golf & Racquet Club was owned by an Irish company for a few years before the Odenbach family bought it back along with their Links at Greystone. Both courses are beautifully landscaped and maintained. Another Irishman, Rory McIlroy is an honorary member at Shadow Lake. His wife grew up three miles away, so he pops in now and then.
Deer think they are members at all the courses. Wildwood Golf Club is indeed a wild ride dodging the deer through the woods. Deerfield Golf and Country Club has generous fairways crossing ponds with reeds and threading through the trees. The clubhouse has a pretty bridal room, wedding ready. For $35 green fees on a refreshed course, golfers say, “We do.”
Uncork New York on scenic wine trails or fill a growler at a microbrewery. The Genesee Brew House serves history, good chow and flights of beer. Perhaps the best flight is the stairs to the rooftop for a jaw dropping view of High Falls, a mini Niagara sight.
Rent a vessel on any waterway or board the Sam Patch Boat on the Erie Canal, passing through Lock 32. Museum hop through the arts district where the fun Strong Museum of Play is filled with laughter. Everyone is a kid here reminiscing about childhood and interacting with playful exhibits.
We were surprised by how rich Rochester is in scenery and experiences. We met Bostonians on the Erie Canal who are frequent visitors for golf and water fun. A high school senior who made the national circuit touring colleges and communities with his parents said he picked “Rochester, hands down.” The vibrant Roc City and surrounding area really does, rock for all ages.
Fly direct into Greater Rochester International Airport, relatively small for efficient security and luggage delivery yet equipped with amenities. Optionally, Buffalo, Syracuse and Ithaca are within two hours. Or sing, “On the road again,” leaf peeping and stopping at farm stands or antique shops along the way.