Vegan: Watkins Glen & Farm Sanctuary

Animals and vegan food?! What could be a better blog post?!? We enjoyed our time in Watkins Glen, NY and our visit to Farm Sanctuary. To be brutally honest, I didn’t want to leave – the sanctuary or Watkins Glen. Have you been? Let us know in the comments. This post is going to be a bit different than our usual food tour posts. We are adding in our tour of Farm Sanctuary & some other things we did in Watkins Glen, NY.

What We Ate Vegan: Watkins Glen, NY

Rooster Fish Brewing Pub

Beyond Burger with Fries and Vegan Dipping Sauce

In the course of four weeks, we enjoyed food and brews from Rooster Fish at least a half a dozen times. Their Beyond Burger and Fries (with their tasty vegan burger sauce) was one of our favorite burgers and fries ever. No detail was left off – a delicious bun, a well cooked beyond burger, perfect veggie toppings, and a burger sauce to die for (pro tip: order extra sauce and dip your fries in it!).

They also offer a vegan jambalaya – which we did not get as it was well into the 80s and sometimes over 90 degrees during our stay. And they had some pretty tasty seitan tacos topped with fried onions. This place had enough vegan food to keep us satisfied all month – and their beer was pretty good too!

Seitan Tacos from Rooster Fish

Elf in the Oak

Veggie Panini (no cheese, cooked on the flattop) Elf in the Oak

Nestled on the East side of Seneca Lake with a very impressive view is the Elf in the Oak. A remodeled house that is home to some pretty tasty food. They have a labeled vegan option on their menu (a vegan Greek Salad), but after a quick email, I learned there were other options we could veganize.

We headed over to Elf in the Oak after our tour at Farm Sanctuary, and we were not disappointed. John and I both had a vegan version of their Veggie Panini – roasted red peppers, caramelized onions, greens, house-made pickles, olive salad, and a lemon garlic hummus – we told them we were vegan and they left off the cheese and toasted it on the flat top. Two Thumbs Up! Just the loaded veggie sandwich we needed after that tour.

The Great Escape

Vegan Chocolate Peanut Butter Ice cream with Sprinkles at The Great Escape

Vegan Ice Cream Options! YUM!!! Can’t go wrong with an ice cream shop that has vegan options. It is in walking distance to the Watkins Glen State Park Gorge Trail, a fun treat after that hike!

Other Vegan Options

We also snagged a vegan Ice Cream cone from Ben & Jerry’s (it was to keep me sane while we did eight loads of laundry in the town laundromat – hahaha). We know that we missed some other vegan options – Glen Mountain Market and Thai Elephants, to name a few. If you’ve been to other Watkins Glen restaurants than the ones we visited, we’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments.

Ben & Jerry’s Vegan Ice Cream

Farm Sanctuary Tour

Farm Sanctuary – Watkins Glen, NY

Merlin & Kathy at Farm Sanctuary, Watkins Glen, NY

Situated in the rolling hills of the finger lakes region, more than 800 rescued animals call Farm Sanctuary their home. Each beautiful animal with its own special story now has a happy ending and will live out its days at the sanctuary.

On our one hour tour we were able to pet and spend time with cows, sheep, pigs, chickens, turkeys, and goats. Each animal with their own unique personality.

I told John, before we went, that I really wanted to hug a cow… and I did. A 3000+ pound cow named Merlin. Such a gentle giant. I was truly in awe at his size, yet calm and sweet demeanor.

John fell in love with these free roaming chickens at Farm Sanctuary, Watkins Glen, NY

A visit to Farm Sanctuary (any sanctuary really) will only further solidify your decision to live a compassionate vegan life. You can make such a strong connection with these peaceful animals, you just “get it.”

Go Vegan, Farm Sanctuary, Watkins Glen, NY

Wineries, Breweries, and More

Lakewood Vineyards, Finger Lakes Wine Trail, Watkins Glen, NY

Watkins Glen sits along the Seneca Lake Finger Lakes Wine Trail, so we dabbled in some wine tasting during our stay.

Our favorites were Barry Family Cellars and Lakewood Vineyards. We also enjoyed wines and the views from a few more along the southern end of Seneca Lake. The Finger Lakes Wine Region is known for their Reislings, which (prior to this visit) were not our favorites, but we’ve grown to love them and have been enjoying a bottle here and there from our stash.

Gazebo overlooking Seneca Lake at Lakewood Vineyards, Finger Lakes Wine Trail, Watkins Glen, NY

We also visited 2 Goats Brewing Co and Rooster Fish (which you read about above). There are a couple other breweries in that area – and some just a short drive away in Ithaca (we love the Ithaca Beer Co).

Brews from Rooster Fish Pub, Watkins Glen, NY

We ran out of time before visiting the distilleries, but there were two that we passed on our adventures.

From what we could tell, the Watkins Glen area has adult beverage options for everyone’s preferences, some wineries even offer grape juice (like Lakewood – who sells their grapes to Welch’s) for the kids, or adults, who don’t sample wine! A win for all!

Watkins Glen Farmers Market

We’d be remiss if we didn’t mention the small but mighty Watkins Glen Farmers Market. We stay during the summer of 2019, and the market was held in the park on Fridays. There were only a few vendors – but we got the best veggies. If you follow along on our adventures on Instagram, you know we do a lot of cooking with fresh veggies, and we are always looking for local grown produce. This market was a great find. We made this pasta with our veggies from the market!

Watkins Glen State Park Gorge Trail

At the start (bottom) of the Gorge Trail, Watkins Glen State Park, Watkins Glen, NY

We hiked the Gorge Trail at Watkins Glen State Park as well. A gorgeous hike with 19 waterfalls. Such stunning views and scenery. Our first visit we hiked the whole trail from the visitors center, up to the picnic area, and then back down the north rim trail – where we got caught in a major downpour. We were both soaked. While there were a lot of stairs, we felt that up was an easier hike than going down all those stairs (and a great work out too!).

Gorge Trail, Watkins Glen State Park, Watkins Glen, NY

Vegan: Watkins Glen & Farm Sanctuary

Though we stayed a month in this area, we definitely could have stayed longer. There was so much more to do that we were able to fit in (I’m looking at you kayaks on the lake), and some cool bike trails that we never took the bikes on (in our defense it was close to 90 degrees most days of our stay – yikes!).

We have added Watkin Glen to our must return list, so we know we’ll be back.

Let us know if you’ve been to Watkins Glen.

Until Next Time, Eat more plant and Live VegInspired!