Skaneateles Lake: After a last minute assignment shooting the Polo ponies outside the Village of Skaneateles yesterday, I hurried down to the “Roof Garden of Lakes” for a relaxing dip. My producer gave me clearance to do a post-pony plunge so I took full advantage!
Skaneateles (“long lake” in local Iroquoian language) is a culturally-rich hamlet in the Finger Lakes region of New York State. It’s surrounded by rolling farmlands, award-winning vineyards, nationally-recognized restaurants and blocks of sidewalk shopping.
While others stayed dry at Clift Park: fishing for perch off the pier, sightseeing from a flagship ferry called the Judge Ben Wiles or watching the 80th Lighting Regatta from a distance, I got wet in one of the cleanest lakes in the country. At a brisk 68 degrees, the water was so clean that locals told me I could drink it unfiltered. After all, it’s the primary source of water for residents in and around the City of Syracuse.
I tested that theory as I looped the perimeter of the roped beach area. I was pretty much swimming solo, with the exception of an indifferent mallard resting on a waterlogged life guard stand. The quality of the water tasted pure enough to me. Underwater, I could see nearly as clearly as I do wearing a scuba mask.
This beautiful 16-mile lake is a boater’s dream. On the horizon of the shimmering waters, the 80th annual Lighting Regatta, a premier sailing competition enjoyed plenty of wind for the event. After swimming, I found shade at the nearby Shotwell Veterans Park. Built of handsome stone walls and a waltzing water fountain, it’s said to be one of the most beautiful war memorials in the country. The tall village flagpole wavering against an azure-blue sky reminded me of my stepdad, a military hero who would have loved this town.