A Q&A with Finger Lakes Premier Properties

If you’re looking for a vacation home that sleeps 20, a lakeside getaway that feels private and serene, a cozy cottage or a luxury house… you can rent it in the Finger Lakes. And it’s all thanks to local company Finger Lakes Premier Properties, who operates the largest selection of vacation rentals in the area. We’re not talking your typical AirBNB—Finger Lakes Premier Properties works directly with vacation homeowners in the area to streamline the entire process, from listing and booking, to cleaning, safety and security, maintenance, and more.

As a team of rental (& real estate!) professionals operating in the area for over 10 years, they have both the homeowner and the visitor in mind. We spoke to Marketing & Real Estate Sales Director Lindsay Bolton and Marketing & Sales Coordinator Emily Barber to get the inside scoop on their business model and how they help to make a Finger Lakes vacation seamless from start to finish.

Sarah: Tell me a little bit about Finger Lakes Premier Properties, how did you get started?

Emily: Finger Lakes Premier Properties started about 30 years ago under the name “Rental Plus.” The company’s owner, Brian Zerges saw a void in the region of vacation homeowners who needed a local agent to care for their homes and guests during their stay. Through the years, the company underwent multiple changes as needs of both the homeowner and visitor evolved—one of those changes included a rebrand to Finger Lakes Premier Properties to reflect the quality of homes and services provided.

In 2018, the company expanded into its new 22,000 sq. ft. facility located in Penn Yan, which houses all operations and business offices to-date. Finger Lakes Premier Properties maintains its position as the largest property manager for the region serving over 270 vacation rental homes, hosting over 30,000 visitors annually around six of the lakes and averaging about $18 million in real estate sales each year.

Sarah: Wow, that’s a big operation! What makes you different from other vacation rental companies?

Lindsay: Our experience and dedication to providing quality services with the largest regional capacity of both local and national property managers. In the past 30 years, we have developed a professional team that covers all aspects of property management, making us the one-stop-shop for vacation rental owners. From accounting and marketing to housekeeping and maintenance, we provide each owner and guest within our 1,500 square mile service region a premier experience. Each season we also employ more than 150 trained housekeepers and property care advocates to uphold our standards and create repeat visitors to our region.

Sarah: What is unique about this area, why do visitors love the Finger Lakes?

Lindsay: Our niche is lakefront properties, and we truly believe the lakes are the natural draw to our region. You can’t beat the picturesque views, endless adventures, bountiful wine region; the lakes are the source of our area’s success as a travel destination. 

Sarah: I know you have homes on several different lakes in the region – what sets Keuka and Seneca Lake apart from the rest?

Emily: Keuka Lake is known for its community and vibrant feel. With seven lakefront restaurants (the most of any lake!) and over six lakefront gas stations, it’s easy to spend a day on the lake creating some truly memorable times on the water. You can easily travel from one end to the other in just 25 minutes, join a float-tilla, listen to live music from waterfront restaurants and each end of the lake offers a place for people to park their boats and walk into town. Keuka Lake also features the Keuka Lake Wine Trail with not only award-winning wineries, but some historical and iconic tasting rooms who pioneered today’s Finger Lakes Wine Country.

Seneca Lake, on the other hand, is one of the largest lakes in the region with its own unique qualities. For one, it is spacious and can be less crowded for water activities. It’s a location for those looking to experience the wine trails because not only does it have the largest number of wineries surrounding it, but it’s also close to the Keuka and Cayuga Lake Wine Trails on either side.

The best of both lakes is that they are pristine, clear lakes with many green spaces and waterfalls flowing into each.

Sarah: The lakes are amazing, and truly each unique in their own way. What are some of your favorite properties to point visitors towards?

Lindsay: Oh that’s a tough one! Some of my favorites include:

  • Sunset Point – This property is just gorgeous with all of the wood and stonework, and an updated, open floor plan. The inside is one thing, but I personally love the back deck overlooking Keuka Lake.
  • Camp Laurelwood – This one fits up to 10 for a woodsy, lakeside retreat, and the view is excellent from both the living room and dining area. The screened in porch helps provide that campy feel and dock provides access right into Keuka Lake.
  • Timber Ridge – Timber Ridge is the epitome of serene lake-living. It’s a four-bedroom with sleeping loft on Keuka Lake, and often offers packages like our Ski & Stay in the winter, Hot Tub package and BOGO deals.
  • Seneca Shores – One of our Seneca Lake properties, Seneca Shores sleeps a whopping 14 people and is one of our pet friendly properties! It’s built for a large group getaway and has a pool table, foosball and shuffleboard on the lower level.

Emily: Yes! There really isn’t a bad property in the bunch, it all comes down to what the guest is looking for. A few that have always caught my eye include:

  • Hygge on Seneca – The big open windows in the great room let in so much light to bright up this woodsy property! The access to Seneca Lake makes this a worthwhile find.
  • Seneca Lake Effect – This property sleeps up to 10, is pet-friendly and is located in the heart of Finger Lakes Wine Country on the eastern shores of Seneca Lake. We offer a lot of seasonal packages here, including our Hot Tub Package.
  • Cayuga Sunshine – This property is a little smaller than the two mentioned above, but is so nicely decorated and feels so chic. It’s situated in the charming village of Aurora and is located across the street from Cayuga Lake.
  • Blue Heron Shores Estate – Another of our larger rentals, Blue Heron Shores sleeps up to 18 and is located on the shores of Cayuga Lake. The kitchen is huge and absolutely stunning, fitting in with the décor of this beautiful Adirondack-style lodge.
  • Peaceful Sanctuary – This luxurious home in Canandaigua really brings the lake view to life with its big windows and glass doors. It also has a gourmet kitchen and sloping beach that has direct access to the lake.

 Sarah: These are all so stunning! I’m sure there are also some favorites for a winter versus a summer getaway.

Lindsay: Yes, definitely! For a winter visit I love to point people to Just Bluffin’, Cedar Lodge, Schoolhouse Cottage, Winey Duck Cottage or Seneca Memories. We do a lot of winter specials and Ski & Stay Packages at these places, based on their proximity to nearby Bristol Mountain.

In the summer, I enjoy Keuka Sunrise Retreat, Helvetia House, Rapalee Retreat, and Lake Reflections. But the beauty of these places is that they each have their perks in every season—there really is no wrong choice based on what the visitor wants to see and do.

Sarah: Do you have any special packages for the season that guests should know about? 

Emily: We update our specials every quarter based on the season and what guests are looking for most during that time of year. In the winter, we offer a lot of Ski & Stay Packages, Hot Tub Packages and Get One Night FREE specials. In the summer, we offer a Stay & Play Deal and Shorter Stay Deals.  Tune into our Facebook page though if you are looking for a last-minute getaway as we post Last Minute Cancellations throughout the summer. All of the specials that we are currently running can be found on our website at

Sarah: Exciting! I love hearing about all of these properties and special offers. Having a business like yours in the area really helps the Finger Lakes show off the best that the region has to offer! Is there anything else you would like to add before we say goodbye?

Lindsay: I’ll just mention that a new community-based initiative has been started by the Marketing and Owner Services Department at Finger Lakes Premier Properties, called the Finger Lakes Vacation Rental Alliance (FLXVRA). This is a non-profit Alliance comprising vacation rental owners, property managers and real estate professionals who live and work in the Finger Lakes and are committed to responsible renting and reasonable regulations. It means a lot to us to uphold these high standards in our area. If anyone wants to join our initiative you can find our responsible renting community at

Sarah: Agreed. A rising tide lifts all boats. Thanks for the conversation, ladies!


To learn more about Finger Lakes Premier Properties, visit: or