Many people believe Skaneateles Lake is one of the most beautiful lakes in the country, and the best way to see it is to get out on the water.
But you don’t need your own boat to do that.
The Judge Ben Wiles has been cruising Skaneateles Lake for more than 30 years – each summer, more than 10,000 people climb aboard.
The Judge’s story began long before the boat was built.
Sara Wiles’ father, Peter, founded the company in the late 1960s when he bought a small antique boat that delivered mail to the homes on the lake.
Before long, Wiles realized there was money to be made in dinner cruises, so he built a bigger boat.
The Judge Ben Wiles was named after Sara’s grandfather, who was a judge during the great depression.
“She was designed to look like the steamboats that used to cruise Skaneateles and the Finger Lakes in the 1800’s but of course she’s designed to today’s standards,” said Sara Wiles of Midlakes Navigation.
From May through September, the boat takes tourists and locals on a guided tour of what the captain calls the second-purest lake in the country.
The Sightseeing Tour is one hour, and goes one mile down the lake. Adults are charged $16, while children can take the tour for $11.
For other tour options and prices, visit the Midlakes Navigation website.