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.

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