Every year around our husbands’ birthdays, Christmas and Valentine’s Day, my sister, most of my close friends and I commiserate at how hard it is to find just the right gift for our husband or significant other.

I’ve often thought about what makes a gift memorable. I’ve come to the conclusion that it either includes an unforgettable experience, or it shows our partner we know and understand him so completely  that we can read his mind (now there’s a scary thought!).

Shared experiences can make for a memorable gift

Then I return to reality.  We all think we know our partners pretty well and yet we still struggle to find gifts that they’ll really enjoy.  With that in mind, I’ve put together a list of gifts – both experiential and tangible- from the Finger Lakes that just might tickle your sweetheart’s fancy.

  1. For beer loversBrewery Tour and Tasting at Custom BrewCrafters Tours on Saturday 11 a.m. – 5 p.m., Sunday 12NOON to 5 p.m., Weekdays – Call ahead for private tours. $4 per person for a tasting of up to 6 beers. Honeoye FallsBrewery Tour and Tasting at Ithaca Beer Company – Tours are offered at the top of every hour on Saturday and Sunday or by special arrangement for larger parties.  Reservations aren’t necessary unless you are with a group larger than 10. Ithaca.
  2. A selection of coffees from Finger Lakes Coffee Roasters may brew up a little romance!

    For the coffee hound – a one-of-a-kind handcrafted ceramic mug from The Wizard of Clay ($13.50 – $25) and a flavored or traditional coffee collection from Finger Lakes Coffee Roasters ($24.95 – $55.95)

  3. For the hiker, backpacker, kayaker or outdo0rsman – Any of numerous books by Footprint Press about “playing” outdoors in the Finger Lakes; includes books on the region’s waterfalls and the region’s many trails and activities.  Prices range from about $16.95 to $19.95.
  4. For the classical music lover – A collectible CD of the RPO ($15 – $25 new) or tickets for an RPO concert ( approx. $20-$75) (have patience – RPO site is often slow)
  5. For the spiritual man – The Creator’s Hands has a lovely assortment of beautiful and unique hand-crafted Christian and Judaic gifts items by Finger Lakes Artisans. Sorry, no online store, but you can visit in person or browse online and call for suggestions. (prices vary)
  6. For science lovers and star gazers – Visit Rochester Museum & Science Center and its Strasenburg Planetarium for a variety of star shows & films. Combined Museum & Planetarium admission $17 for adults. Or consider a membership that includes these to facilities as well as Cummings Nature Center, starting at $58 for individual membership and $83 for dual/family memberships.
  7. For the photography collectorFinger Lakes photography from Keukaview Photography by Steve Knapp ($30 unframed 8″ x 10″ to $400 for panoramics on canvas), Gorges of the Finger Lakes by Joe Braun Photography ($20 8″ x 10″ unframed to $140 12″ x 18″ framed and matted)
  8. For the connoisseur of wines – Perhaps a bottle of Casa Larga’s Fiori Vidal Ice Wine ($40) , a specialty wine opener from Cooks World ($8.99 to $129) or an award winning bottle of Riesling from Dr. Konstantin Frank’s Vinifera Winery (also see their Salmon Run and Chateau Frank labels) or Heron Hill (available at the wineries or at your local wine or liquor store).  Another idea is a “subscription” to Dr. Frank’s Wine Club ($40 – $80, depending on club selection) or Heron Hill’s Wine Club ($32 – $150, depending on club selection)
  9. For the guy who’s health-oriented – a man’s health bracelet from Magnetic Connections. $25 to $40, depending on single or double strand.
  10. For the adventurer – How about a Day at Rock Ventures in Rochester ($8 – $70 depending on what level and whether he wants to take a class) or a day of ice climbing or cross country skiing with Pack Paddle and Ski ($39 – $125, depending on activity and whether equipment rental is needed)
  11. For clothing lovers – How about a Tommy Bahama Silk Camp Shirt ($89), a Calloway Windbreaker ($69.50-$74.50) or a Jerry Garcia Tie ($29.50) from Dick Anthony, Ltd. P.S. Dick Anthony also carries big and tall men’s clothing.
  12. For bird lovers – Visit Cornell Lab of Ornithology’s Sapsucker Woods (FREE, donations appreciated) and perhaps add a stay at the nearby Courtyard by Marriott ($109) that offers free shuttle service to the Lab. (Be sure to mention Cornell’s Lab for this special reduced rate).
  13. For the ski or snowboard buff Bristol Mountain’s Group Lesson (beginner to advanced) plus ski or snowboard rental and 8-hour lift-ticket – $79, Private Lesson plus rental and lift-ticket – $129.  Another option is a Ski and Stay Package in Ontario County, near Bristol Mountain. Starting as low as $94.
  14. A Ray Matthews Putter will be a conversation and collector's piece

    For the golfer A signed, hand-crafted glass golf putter by Ray Matthews from Corning Museum of Glass’ Glass Market – $195 (note, there are multiple styles). $195


  15. For the wine afficianadoGuided Wine Trail Tour from Quality Wine Tours, ranging from $295 per couple for a 6 hour tour in a town car  to $660 for up to 12 passengers for six hours in a super stretch limo. (perhaps you and some of your stumped girlfriends can join forces for a couples tour!). Guided Wine Trail Tour from Park Place Global Transportation, starting at $299 per couple.

Got another great idea for a gift for your guy from the Finger Lakes? Please share it in the comments section!

Still looking for ideas?  You might be interested in checking out the post on Finger Lakes Museum and Attraction Gift Shops where you can also find many unique and creative gifts.

Photos courtesy of Finger Lakes Coffee Roasters and Corning Museum of Glass.