Fun in the finger lakes

If you're a fan of great wines and you've got an RV, there is perhaps no better region in the country to explore than the Finger Lakes in upstate New York. The wineries in this part of the U.S. rival the famous California vineyards that most aficionados deem the best in America. The Finger Lakes may not be as well known, but it's still a fantastic area to spend some time if you're a fan of wine – and even if you're not.

Begin in Ithaca, New York, which is famous as the home of Cornell University. There's an eclectic mix of eateries and shopping here that serve the students of the Ivy League institution, but there's stuff for outdoorsy types as well. Take a hike north of town to Taughannock Falls State Park. After about 20 minutes of hiking through a deep gorge, you'll come across the namesake waterfall, a 215-foot drop that is the perfect way to begin your vacation.

National Geographic named this one of their "Ultimate Road Trips," and its easy to see why. The lakes here are simply stunning, but it's the wine that'll stick in your memory. Most of the wineries lie on the shores of the Keuka, Cayuga and Seneca lakes. The news source recommends doing a 175-mile loop around the lakes, starting and ending in Ithaca – but really you can zig-zag between wherever you want.

Along Cayuga Lake, you'll find the famous Lucas Vineyards as well as Sheldrake Point Vineyards. Lucas is famous as being the first vineyard along Cayuga Lake, kicking off a wave of imitators. It's tough to beat dining on lunch at Sheldrake Point's outdoor cafe, however.

This is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to wineries around the region, but half the fun is exploring and discovering each one for yourself. Once you've had your fill of wine, you can check out some of the small towns in the area that do not have a connection to the vineyards. The pictureseque Seneca Falls is said to be the inspiration for Frank Capra's classic "It's A Wonderful Life," and it also includes the National Women's Hall of Fame, with tributes to a number of female activists throughout history.

If you've purchased some wine along your journey, try to ask the makers for some recommendations on food pairings. Together with the recipes shown on "RV Kitchen," you can put together a delicious meal using your RV's built-in applicances. Many don't believe that RV kitchens can handle fine cuisine – but a little elbow grease and the right bottle of wine can change your mind.