"Down Time" for Silver Ball Tournament Players

Professional baseball was born in New York City in 1845 when members of the Knickerbocker Base Ball* Club formed and began formalizing the rules of the sport.  The game  has changed, along with its rules, uniforms and etiquette since those early days, but true baseball aficionados can see the game played in its original 19th Century form at Genesee Country Village & Museum‘s premier vintage baseball park.  Each year, a dozen teams from across the northeast gather in Mumford, NY to play the three-day round robin-style National Silver Ball Tournament.

In 2011, the tournament takes place from Friday, August 5 through Sunday, August 7 at Genesee Country Village & Museum, located at 1410 Flint Hill Road in Mumford.  Spectators can catch the games between between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m.  Major Event Admission rates apply: Adult $16, Youth 4-16 $10, Seniors 62+ or students with ID $13, children under 3 admitted free.

If this article was of interest, you may also enjoy the Travel Maven’s 2009 Article on Genesee Country Village, the National Silver Ball Tournament and Laura Ingalls Wilder Day.

For more on Vintage Baseball, visit the Vintage Base Ball Association’s website.

*Baseball was originally written as two words.

Photo and text copyright 2011 © Carol White Llewellyn.


This "Carrousel," now a centerpiece in Hershey Park, was once a landmark in Auburn

From 1929 to 1944, the Philadelphia Toboggan Company’s wooden merry-go-round that is now the centerpiece of Hershey Park‘s Founders Circle in Hershey, PA was once part of Enna Jettick Park  in Auburn, NY. The park is now named Emerson Park, after park found Fred L. Emerson of Dunn & McCarthy shoe fame.

Because Enna Jettick Park had to be closed during WWII due to gas rationing that prevented patrons from visiting the park, many of the rides deteriorated.  The merry-go-round was purchased by Hershey Park in 1944, was restored, and it has been in Hershey ever since.  It still sports the original signmaker’s spelling of “Carrosel” and has 42 Jumping Horses, 24 Standing Horses and 2 chariots.

The carousel that replaced the one sold to Hershey Park was also sold in 1972 and the beautiful building that once housed the carousels is now home to the Merry-go-round Playhouse, “Broadway in the Finger Lakes.”

Photo by Carol White Llewellyn copyright © 2011.  All rights reserved.

Ganondagan's Annual Festival commemorates its dedication as a Historic Site

On July 23 and 24, Ganondagan State Historic Site will hold its 20th Annual Dance & Music Festival.

Jeanatte Miller, Friends of Ganondagan Executive Director looks back at this annual celebration that started with one modest tent under which a storyteller, Iroquois dancers and a demonstration or two entertained attendees. The festival began in 1991 to celebrate the July 14, 1987 dedication of Ganondagan as a State Historic Site.

“In the beginning, we had Iroquois Social and Pow Wow dancers. As the festival grew, we decided to change things up each year,” shared Jeanette, who heads the separate non-profit organization that supports the Historic Site’s educational initiatives and handles its events and marketing.

“Although we still focused on Iroquois culture, we began adding performances by other indigenous people,” she explained.

For example, in 1995 a group of Maori dancers introduced attendees to traditional dance and music from New Zealand.  Since then, Ganondagan has welcomed Aztec Dancers, the Dinah Tah Navajo dancers,  Hawaiian Dancers and even dancers and musicians from France performing traditional Basque numbers.  Each year, the Buffalo Creek and Ganondagan Spirit Dancers pack the tent with attendees who love watching the dynamic Iroquois social and pow wow dancing.

Grammy and Nammy Award Winner Joanne Shenandoah Headlines the 2011 Festival
Video courtesy of LinkTV, Joanne Shenandoah and Youtube.

Native music is integral to the festival as well, and over the years, attendees have been treated to both contemporary groups and more traditional performers.  This year, Ganondagan welcomes Grammy and Native American Music Award Winner , Joanne Sheandoah who has performed at The Parliament of the Worlds Religions, The White House, Carnegie Hall and three Presidential Inaugurations.

In addition to Native Dance and Music, Ganondagan hosts a Native Arts Market.  For collectors of Native art, names like Peter B. Jones, Tammy Tarbell, Tom Huff and Michael Galban are an enormous draw.  Many of the artists, some of whom come from as far away as Arizona and New Mexico, do demonstrations in their booths. The quality of the work shown and sold at the festival is on a par with that found at the Santa Fe Indian Market.

My daughters and our visitors from China enjoyed making corn husk dolls

So, what else is there to do at the Festival? Plenty! For music lovers, the Family Drum Jam offers an opportunity to try Native drumming, and award-winning Native flute maker William Harjo will teach a Native flute workshop (bring your own or buy one at the festival).  If you enjoy crafts, the Wegman’s Family Discovery Area offers hands-on activities for kids that focus on transforming recyclable products into fun crafts.  Throughout the festival, demonstrations provide a fascinating look at Native handwork and culture today. Scheduled demonstrations include an historic archery demonstration by Michael Galban, Pottery Making by Peter B. Jones, one on Ancient Tools by Mike Tarbell and Water Drum Making by Bill Crouse Sr. At workshops on both days, attendees can make classic Native arts such as corn husk dolls.  Be sure to register early for these popular activities that usually sell out. (Note: there is an additional fee for the Native crafts workshops).  Another great way to explore the history of the Native people who lived in this region is to join storytellers Perry Ground and Barbara Bethmann Mahooty who bring Iroquois tales to life, or to take a tour of Ganondagan trails and longhouse, given by expert trail guides and site interpreters.  Culinary adventurers can even try such Native delicacies as fry bread, bear and venison sausage, but less exotic foods are also available for purchase.

Ganondagan’s 20th Annual Native American Dance & Music Festival will take place on July 23 & 24 from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. at Ganondagan State Historic Site, located at 1488 State Route 444 in Victor.  There is free parking and shuttle service from Fireman’s Field, off of Maple Avenue in Victor, NY.  Simply follow festival signs from Route 96 in Victor.  The admission fee is Adults $12, Seniors $10, Students (18+ with ID) $7, Children 3-18 $5, Children under 3 Free.  Friends of Ganondagan Members are free with current membership card.  Become a Friends on Ganondagan Member at the festival and you’ll receive free admission.

Note: Sign interpretation is offered for free at this festival and golf carts make the entire event accessible to those who have disabilities or difficulty walking.

For more about this event, take a look at this slide video I created for last year’s event, but please note that this year’s dates are Saturday, July 23 and Sunday, July 24.

Photos and text in article copyright 2011 © Carol White Llewellyn. All rights reserved.

Fanny and Her Father shared a close relationship

William H. Seward lived part of his life in the Finger Lakes region and was secretary of State to Abraham Lincoln.  His daughter Fanny was an aspiring writer whose diaries have given rich insights into her father’s and her family’s life in and outside the public eye.  We even know that one of her father’s favorite party drink was Roman Punch, shared here, thanks to an article contributed by the Seward House’s former Executive Director, Peter Wisbey.

The Seward House, located at 33 South Street in Auburn, NY is open Year ’round, Tuesday through Saturday 10 am – 4 pm. It is closed Mondays and major holidays and also during the entire month of January. Admission is Adults $8, AAA/Senior Citizens/Military $7, Students with ID $5,Children under 6 and Circle of Friends Free.

Photo is in the public domain.

This reproduction of "The June Bug" actually flies!

Father’s Day was just around the corner and I was stumped on a gift for my husband.  He’s not a big fan of receiving clothes as gifts, and his habit of simply buying the things he wants left the “Dad gift list” pretty empty.  Suddenly, I recalled a friend’s recommendation of the Glenn H. Curtiss Aviation Museum in Hammondsport, NY.

Glenn Hammond Curtiss became a local “speed prodigy” while in his teens when he began designing, building and racing bicycles.  By the time he was 24 years old, his bicycle company was well-known for producing bikes under the brand name of “Hercules,” and he used his mechanical prowess to add engines to the bikes, creating some of this country’s early motorcycles.  In 1907, he added a V-8 engine to a bike and was tracked at 136 m.p.h., bestowing on him the name of “The fastest man on earth.”  His exploits in speed attracted the notice of the early adventurers in aviation, including Thomas Scott Baldwin, who hired him to add a V-twin engine to his “lighter-than-air” dirigible.  Curtiss joined the Aerial Experiment Association and was working elbow-to-elbow with visionaries, such as Alexander Graham Bell, who saw the promising future of aviation.

Watch this short narrated slide show to get a snapshot of this amazing man’s life and a peep at one of the region’s truly fascinating museums:

At the museum, we get a peek at the life and times of an amazing man from Hammondsport

The Glenn H. Curtiss Museum is fittingly housed in what resembles an enormous airplane hanger.  Not only does the museum celebrate the man and display his many achievements …bicycles, motorcycles, early airplanes and seaplanes, WWI fighting planes, RV trailers… it also shows how his creations influenced society (he was the first to train female pilots) and history. Through photos, personal items and historic memorabilia, we get a look at the times and life of Glenn H. Curtiss, the fastest man on earth.

The Glenn H. Curtis Museum is  located at 8419 Route 54 in Hammondsport at the south end of Keuka Lake (GPS coordinates: 42.235548N 77.135839W). It’s open May through October, Monday – Saturday 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Sunday 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. From November through April it is open daily from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. It is closed Easter, Thanksgiving Day, Christmas Eve and Christmas Day and New Year’s Day.  The fee for admission is Adults $7.50, Seniors (65 and over)$7.50, Students (7-18)$4.50, Children (6 & under) and Members Free. They also offer a family rate of $20/family an adult group rate of $5/adult and a student group rate of $2.50/student.  If you’re wondering whether to take your children or grandchildren, most kids will be enthralled!

P.S.  We all had a blast and between the trip to the museum and lunch on the terrace of “The Switz,” (The Switzerland Inn Restaurant) overlooking Keuka Lake, I think he’d say it was one of his best Father’s Days ever!

On Saturday February 12, you can give your sweetheart a gift he or she will long remember at Granger Homestead & Carriage Museum! You’ll feel as if you’ve stepped back in time as you cozy up under warm blankets on your horse-drawn sleigh ride in one of the museum’s historic sleighs. When the ride’s over, you’ll receive a long-stem rose for the lady and a box of delicious chocolates to share.  The sleigh ride fee is $50 per couple and ride slots are available between 12:30 and 4 p.m.

Cuddle up with your sweetheart on a romantic horse-drawn sleigh ride

Don’t forget that you can pop by Granger Homestead on Sundays between 1 p.m. and 3 p.m. to take a fun 10-minute  jaunt around the grounds in a one horse open sleigh. Although the Mansion and Carriage Museum are closed for the winter, be sure to take time to explore the charming town of Canandaigua after your sleigh ride where many of the shops and restaurants are open for business. Sunday rides are $5 for adults and $3 for children.

Granger Homestead and Carriage Museum is located at 295 North Main Street in Canandaigua, NY.

Photo courtesy of Granger Homestead.

Learn about the history of Rochester’s major parks and how to develop your own garden design at Sonnenberg Garden & Mansion‘s all-day seminar.  This symposium will be held in the Carriage House meeting room at Sonnenberg Gardens and Mansion State Historic Park in Canandaigua from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Saturday, Jan. 29.

Sonnenberg Gardens & Mansion in Summer

The morning session, “Early Development of Rochester’s Flower City,” will feature Beverly Gibson, Horticulturalist of the Landmark Society of WNY, who will discuss the design and development of Rochester’s Highland Park and Durand Eastman Park.  She will also highlight the establishment of the Ellwanger Estate and the Harris Seed Company, the key foundations in making Rochester the Flower City of the USA.

The afternoon session, “Principles of Garden Design,” will be led by Sonnenberg’s Executive Director and Horticulturist, David Hutchings, who will be assisted by Sonnenberg Garden volunteers.  Participants will learn how to design a new landscape around their home for the spring.  Supplies list available upon registration.

Reservations are $18/person, or $15/ Sonnenberg members, and the seminar cost includes hot soup and a beverage served at the lunch hour (bring a sandwich, if desired).  Sonnenberg Gardens and Mansion Historic State Park is located at 151 Charlotte Street in Canandaigua, NY.

For more information or to make your reservation, call (585) 394-4922 during business hours (9:30 a.m. – 4:30 p.m. M- F).

Photo courtesy of Sonnenberg Gardens and Finger Lakes Visitors Connection.

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