How to make the most of this summer on the lake

On warm days in the village of Aurora, a young Matt Bianconi would grab a pair of goggles and a snorkel and step outside his family’s lakefront home, climbing into the boat his parents built back when they were dating, and tossing toys into the contraption his engineer father built to tow them.

With roots deeply entrenched in the banks of Cayuga Lake — Bianconi’s grandfather arrived in 1910 — the Aurora resident grew up on the water.

He spent summers hovering in the shallows looking for cool rocks and artifacts, joining the rest of the village kids at the Wells College Dock and spending so much time out on the lake that it “was kind of like our babysitter out there.”

Bianconi and his family are lake people, a fitting term for many families across the Southern Tier — about 9,200 people in Broome, Chemung and Tompkins counties are registered boat owners — whose love for being on the water began before they rented their first boat.

If you’ve never been out on the water, or if you’re bringing your kids for the first time this summer, here are some ways to make the most of your experience, as told by the lifers…

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