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The Finger Lakes region, known around the country for its scenic views and numerous water features, is a summer home away from home for many local families


     Whether they’ve lived on the lake for generations, or less than a year, the families that spend time there all share similar experiences of family bonding, learning new things, and a routine much different than their everyday lives.

     Though they have only lived in their lake house for one summer, sisters and sophomores Sarah and Kaitlyn Coluccio still made connections with their fellow lake-dwellers. “At the lake, everybody waves to each other because everybody’s happy to be there,” Kaitlyn Coluccio said. “There is more of a community feel at the lake because you see a lot of people when they come up on the weekends during the summer, and you interact with them all the time.”    

     Being a part of that community also meant taking part in its traditions throughout the summer. “On the Fourth of July, there’s a ring of fire. All of the houses around the lake have fireworks going off, so you drive out and look around,” Sarah Coluccio said. 

Go With the Flow
On a boat ride, sophomore Sarah Pambianchi and senior Avery Pambianchi enter the Cayuga-Seneca Canal. “We’ve gone through the canals a few times—it’s awesome. Sometimes we just boat up there to the top of the lake and it’s pretty fun,” Sarah Pambianchi said. The Pambianchis have a house on Cayuga Lake. photo provided by Sarah Pambianchi

     The sisters chose to broaden their lake community even further by inviting friends from home to share in the experiences. “My friends came up—sophomores Kathryn Larrabee and Chloe Freeland—and we sat on the roof of a shed. We watched the fireworks until they stopped, and then we could look up at the stars. The stars are amazing up there, because there are no lights from the city. You can see everything and it’s beautiful.”

     The first summer in their house on Waneta lake, the Coluccios found that new experiences were abundant there. “We’re kind of on a go-go-go momentum,” Sarah Coluccio said. “We do a lot more there because we’re at the lake, and we want to take advantage of that. My mom’s friend who knows how to wakeboard came over and taught us the basics. I’m still learning jumps. I need a lesson on jumping because I fall a lot.” 

    For the Pambianchi family, living on Cayuga lake also meant family connections and new experiences. “My parents like to invite a lot of my cousins over so it’s a nice way to bond with my family members we go on boat rides and stuff together and it’s a fun time,” sophomore Sarah Pambianchi said. “We’ve gone through the canals a few times—it’s awesome—sometimes we just boat up there to the top of the lake and go through the locks and stuff, so it’s pretty fun.”    

     Family connections are a large part of living at the lake, as sophomore Andrew Beall, junior Darien Beall and senior Lauren Beall have found from their families sharing a house on Keuka Lake for 22 years. “Having the house on Keuka definitely helps build our relationship with our cousins because we live so close together at home. It’s made us really close because we are seeing them almost every weekend up at the lake and spending time with them,” Andrew Beall said. “It brings my family closer too, because we all hang out outside and not just inside, and it sets aside more time for us to be together.”

“My family has had a house up there for over 20 years on Keuka Lake, since before I was born,” sophomore Andrew Beall said. “It makes summers a lot more fun because we are there almost every weekend.”

Andrew Beall, 10

     Increased family connections also benefitted the Coluccios. “When we are there, we see each other a lot more. Because it’s a smaller house, we spend less time in our rooms because we don’t have our own, and we go out and do things together more than we would in Corning,” Kaitlyn Coluccio said. “I think it built our family relationship more, because we have lots of opportunities for family bonding.”

Stars and Stripes
With the rest of the summer ahead of her, junior Darien Beall celebrates the Fourth of July with cousin Kaley Beall. “Having a house on Keuka Lake has made me a lot closer with my family, because I spend so much time with them there, and now it’s my favorite place,” Beall said. “We don’t have WiFi there, so it gives us more time to bond without any distractions we would have in Corning.” photo provided by Darien Beall

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