Photo Credit: Photo Credit: Dahcia Lyons-Bastien
Here's Why You Should Escape To Aurora, New York - The "Village Of Constant Dawn"
New York City gets all the shine, but what about a trip to Aurora, a village in upstate New York?
Over the years, it has had many nicknames. Indigenous groups called it Deawendote, or the village of constant dawn. Some called it Peachtown because of its abundance of peach orchards. When white settlers arrived, they chose “Aurora” as a tribute to the Roman goddess of the dawn.
The indigenous people and the settlers were equally awed by the sunrises here. According to Cayuga Genealogy, “an eastern ridge obscures the rising sun, causing the vicinity of the village to have a longer dawn than usual.” You can witness this yourself as you sip your coffee or go for a jog.
As for the sunsets? They’re equally magnificent, but the magic doesn’t stop there. When the sun disappears below the horizon, the skies glitter with stars.
Here’s what to know about Aurora, and why it’s such a special place to visit in every season.
Aurora: The Jewel of The Finger Lakes
The fastest way to get to Aurora from New York City is to fly into Syracuse. The drive is about an hour, and be sure to look out for the Harriet Tubman house in Auburn. Aside from The Underground Railroad, she worked tirelessly for women’s suffrage and other causes until her death in 1913.
Twenty minutes from Auburn, you’ll arrive in Aurora. This postcard-perfect village is perched on Cayuga Lake, one of the eleven Finger Lakes. The neighboring lake, Seneca, has more water than the other ten combined.
According to native legend, these long, skinny bodies of water were formed when The Great Spirit placed both hands on the land to bless it. There are maps showing the layout, but if you can view them aerially, all the better.
Inns of Aurora Resort And Spa: A Luxurious Accommodation That Has It All
When was the last time you allowed yourself to simply be? It’s easy to forget the crucial balance of work and rest, especially in the digital age. If the purpose of your trip is relaxation, the accommodations should mirror that.
At Inns of Aurora Resort and Spa, you can do plenty or nothing at all. Each inn has a distinct personality, and offers a high caliber of service. Which one is best? That depends on personal preference.
If you want to arrange a murder mystery game night, the Gothic aesthetic of E.B. Morgan House ticks that box. If you want to be in the center of town, try Aurora Inn. It even has its own restaurant—1833 Kitchen and Bar.
Rowland House really leaves an impression on guests. The parlors, dining room, and wraparound terrace invite peaceful reflection. This inn is named for the founder, Pleasant Rowland. If you ever owned an American Girl doll in the 1990s, or read the books, you can thank her.
Zabriskie House, Wallcourt Hall, and Orchard Cottage also offer guestrooms. To further the spirit of relaxation, music is played at all the inns at low volume. The only industrial noise you might hear is the faint buzz of a lawn tractor or a boat zipping across the lake.
The innkeepers ensure you won’t have to lift a finger, except to sip a beverage. Guest comfort is their priority, no matter the time of day.
Facials, Yoga, Or Archery – The Choices Are Endless
So much can be said about the spa, which has to be seen to be believed. The building and the landscape harmonize, and it’s worth spending a full day here.
Facials, massages, and nail care are some of the services. The hydrotherapy pools will keep you occupied between treatments, and you should definitely spend a minute or several in the cold plunge pools. When you need to warm up, slip into the sauna or steam room.
The cafe serves soup, salad, and other light fare. If you don’t feel like hopping around, retreat to the relaxation room. Between the fireplace and the music, there’s a good chance you’ll fall asleep. Nobody would judge you if you did!
Aurora isn’t as wired as New York City, but it isn’t completely devoid of action.
The Inns of Aurora offers a plethora of activities, from sunset boat cruises to yoga. If you don’t know anything about archery, Matt and Michael, who are seasoned outdoorsmen, will teach you in no time. Their love of the sport is contagious.
Weather permitting, take a dip in Cayuga Lake, which is just below Rowland House. Even when its cold, the water is gentle. But be mindful of the rocky shoreline.
Culinary Experiences You Won’t Forget
Aurora may be small, but it packs a punch on the culinary front.
Start your day with breakfast at 1833, and grab lunch at Fargo Bar and Grill, home of the best burger in the Finger Lakes. The pastries at the Village Market are delicious, especially the cookies and lemon tarts.
For something different, book a live cooking demonstration at Aurora Cooks! You’ll appreciate Chef Lou’s attention to detail, and her multicultural cuisine. She can cook for individuals and groups; modifying the menu as needed. If you aren’t sure whether to pair your meal with the Riesling or the Merlot, she can advise.
Complete your trip with a winery visit. Because of their location, Aurora and the other villages of the Finger Lakes offer the finest wines in New York State.