Western NY Travel

Discover the best places to X-country ski and snowshoe

If you’re an avid cross-country skier or snowshoe fans, you’ll be delighted to hear about a new resource developed by our expert friends at Footprint Press. They’ve turned their book, Snow Trails – Cross-country Ski and Snowshoe in Central & Western New York, into a new e-book for those of you who prefer to have electronic access.  The e-book gives coverage of 78 snowshoeing and cross-country skiing trail systems between Chautauqua, Buffalo, Rochester, Syracuse, and Binghamton by providing maps and in-depth detail.

You can download this authoritative e-book now, for only $9.99, by clicking on: Footprint Press’ Cross-country Ski and Snowshoe
in Central New York & Western New York


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If you’re looking for a fun winter adventure on February 6, head out to Ganondagan State Historic Site for their Winter Games & Sports! This event is fun for the whole family and includes many winter activities done by the Seneca people throughout history that are still in practice today, such as dog sledding (enter the raffle for a chance to win a ride!), traditional maple sugaring, storytelling, toboggan making and more. 

This year’s event features a Seneca Snowshoe Race where you can compete in the Pro Run from 10 a..m. – 12 p.m., if you’re athletically and competitively inclined (it will be a timed competition) or the Fun Run from 12 p.m. to 2 p.m. Both Runs give you a chance to snowshoe around the Trail of Peace, shoot archery and try your hand at the Native game of snow snake.

The event runs from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. and is FREE and open to the public.  There is a fee to enter either of the runs, so if you’d like to try the Pro Run, register quickly! The fee for the Pro Run is $5 for kids $10 for adults and $15 for the family. If you want to try the Fun Run, it’s $3 for individuals and $5 for the entire family.

If you simply want to check out Ganondagan’s many beautiful trails on snowshoes, you can bring your own snowshoes or rent them for $3 for children and $5 for adults. There will also be food available for purchase. You can warm up in the heated food tent, step into the visitors center to watch a video or let the kids participate in children’s activities, or enjoy storytelling in the bark longhouse.

Ganondagan State Historic Site is located at 1488 State Rte. 444 in Victor, NY.

I hope to see you there!

P.S.  The music in the video isn’t Native American, but The Maple Leaf Rag goes with Maple Sugaring, right?

In spite of colder weather, the Finger Lakes region bustles with activities during the month of November. 

Discover a New Author at the Rochester Chlidren's Book Festival

Discover a New Author at the Rochester Chlidren's Book Festival

  1. Ongoing through Jan 18  – Titanic: The Artifact Exhibition at the Rochester Museum & Science Center – Adults $17, Seniors/College Students $15, Ages 3–18 $14, RMSC Members $5. Check website for extended hours during this exhibition. Rochester, NY.
  2. Ongoing through Jan 3 – Turner to Cezanne at the Everson Museum of Art  Tues.-Wed. Noon-6.00p.m., Thurs.-Fri. Noon-9p.m., Sat.-Sun. 9a.m. – 6.00p.m. Adults $15, Children under 18, Students, Seniors 65+ $12, Members $10. Syracuse, NY.
  3. Ongoing through Jan 3 – Paint Made Flesh at the Memorial Art Gallery – Wed.-Sun. 11 am–5 pm, Thurs. 11 am–9 pm. Adults $10,  Seniors/Active & reserve military personnel $6, college students w/ID and children 6–18, $5. Half-price general admission Thursdays 5–9 pm. Rochester, NY.
  4. Nov. 1 – Opening day of Tiffany Treasures: Favrile Glass from Special Collections and Tiffany Treasures: Design Drawings by Alice Gouvy and Lilian Palmié at Corning Museum of Glass. Exhibit runs through 2o1o. 9 a.m. – 5 p.m. daily. Adult $12.50, 55+ $11.25,Students w/ID $11.25, Military w/ID $11.25, AAA w/Card $10.60, Local Residents w/ID $5.00, Audio Guide $3.00, Kids & Teens (19 & under)Free, Museum Members Free. Corning, NY.
  5. Nov. 1 – Quilts = Art = Quilts at the Schweinfurth Museum – Tues. – Sat. 10 a.m. – 5 p.m., Sun. 1 p.m. – 5 p.m. $6, members and children under 12 Free.  Auburn, NY.
  6. Nov. 1  – El Dia De Los Muertos Celebration  at the Rockwell Museum  – 1 p.m.-3 p.m. Adults (20-54) $6.50, 55+ $5.50, Students w/ID $5.50, AAA w/Card $5.50, Kids & Teens (19 & under) FREE. Corning, NY. 
  7. Through Nov. 8 – The Clean House at Geva.Time varies by performance. Single ticket pricing $22-$59 depending on day and seating preference.  Rochester, NY.
  8. Nov. 3-17 – Tabletop Tree and Holiday Wreath Display and Silent Auction at the George Eastman House. Adults $10, Seniors (60+) $8, Students $6, Children (5-12) $4, Under 5 Free.  Tues.-Sat. 10 a.m. – 5 p.m., Thurs. ’til 8 p.m., Sun. 1 p.m.-5 p.m. Rochester, NY.
  9. Nov. 6 – José Limón at Nazareth College Arts Center – 8 p.m. $35-$65. Rochester, NY.
  10. Nov. 6-7 – Artful Holidays by the Genesee Valley Council on the ArtsFri. 10 a.m. – 6 p.m., Sat. 10 a.m. – 5 p.m. Donation of $3. Geneseo, NY.
  11. Nov. 7 – Christkindl Market Dinner Dance at Granger Homestead. 6 p.m. – 10 p.m. Featuring the Skycoasters. $25 per person. Canandaigua, NY.
  12. Nov. 7 – 2009 –  Rochester Children’s Book Festival 10 a.m. – 4 p.m. Free. Rocheter, NY.
  13. Nov. 7 – Canandaigua Wine Walk – 4 p.m.- 7 p.m. $5 for commemorative wine glass. Canandaigua, NY.
  14. Nov. 7-8 Opening Weekend for Annual Dickens  Festival at Craft Antique Coop 10 a.m. Runs through December. Free.  Rochester, NY.
  15. Nov. 7-8 – Annual Fine Craft Show at the Memorial Art Gallery Sat. 10 a.m. – 5 p.m., Sun. 11 a.m. – 4 p.m. $10, students w/ID, $5. Includes Gallery admission.  Rochester, NY.
  16. Nov. 10-15 – Chicago at the Auditorium Theatre. Times vary. Tickets start at $135. Rochester, NY.
  17. Nov. 11 – Veteran’s Day Celebration with the RPO Pops7 p.m. $5, Free for first 1500 Veterans.  Click link for details. Blue Cross Arena, Rochester, NY.
  18. Nov. 11 – Canandaigua Treaty Day – 10:30 a.m.-8:30 p.m. – Commemorations of the 1794 signing of the treaty between the United States and the Six Nations of the Iroquois Confederacy. FREE.  Bring a dish to pass if staying for dinner. Canandaigua, NY.
  19. Nov. 13 – Virsky Ukrainian National Dance Company at Nazareth College Arts Center 8 p.m. $30-$60. Rochester, NY.
  20. Nov. 13 – Dec. 6- Opening of the Festival of Trees at Granger Homestead. Adults $5, Seniors & Members $4, $1 Students K-12, Under age 5 no charge. Canandaigua, NY.
  21. Nov. 13-15 Christkindl Market at Granger Homestead. Fri. 1p.m.-7p.m., Sat. 10 a.m. – 6 p.m., Sun. 10 a.m. – 5 p.m. Adults $6, children 12 and under Free. Look for $1 off coupon online.
  22. Nov. 14-15 – Crafts at Christmas at Genesee Country Village & Museum – 10 a.m. – 3 p.m. $20. Mumford, NY.
  23. Nov. 14-15, 21-22 Keuka Holidays I and II Times vary by winery. Advance Tickets: $35 per person; $55 per couple. Along Keuka Lake.
  24. Nov. 15 – Wayne County 10th Annual Bed & Breakfast Tour $10 advance sale and $13 after November 14th. Wayne County, NY.
  25. Nov. 18-Dec. 15 – Sweet Creations Gingerbread Display at the George Eastman House. Adults $10, Seniors (60+) $8, Students $6, Children (5-12) $4, Under 5 Free.  Tues.-Sat. 10 a.m. – 5 p.m., Thurs. ’til 8 p.m., Sun. 1 p.m.-5 p.m. Rochester, NY.
  26. Nov. 18-Dec. 27 – A Christmas Story at Geva Times vary by performance. Single ticket pricing $22-$59 depending on day and seating preference.  Rochester, NY.
  27. Nov. 20-2216th  Annual Holiday Shopping Spree on the Cayuga Lake Wine Trail.  Times vary by winery. Advance tickets: Single $35.00, Couple $50.00; Tickets at the door: Single $40.00, Couple $55.00; Designated Driver: Single $30.00, Couple $45.00. Along Cayuga Lake.
  28. Nov. 20-2218th Annual Deck the Hall Weekends on the Seneca Wine Trail – Friday 1p.m.-5p.m., Saturday and Sunday 10 a.m.-5p.m. $70 per couple, $58 per couple if one is designated driver, $48 per single, $36 per single designated driver. Along Seneca Lake.
  29. Nov. 21 – The Very Hungry Caterpillar and Other Eric Carle Favorites at Nazareth College Arts Center  2 pm & 4 pm. $12 -$17.
  30. Nov. 22 – Jigsaw Jones: The Case of the Class Clown at Nazareth College Arts Center – 2 pm & 4 pm. $12-$17. Rochester, NY.
  31. Nov. 25-Jan. 10 –  Lights on the Lake. 5 p.m. – 10 p.m. $8 per car every night; $6 per car Mon. & Tues. w/Wegmans Shoppers Card, $6 Disc. Tickets, good every night, available to purchase from November 1-24 at Wegmans, Heid’s of Liverpool and the Landmark Theatre. $24  minibus (17-25 capacity) $50 motorcoach. Liverpool, NY.
  32. Nov. 27 – 15th Annual Dickens in Skaneateles. Noon – 4 p.m., every Sat. & Sun. through Dec. 20, plus Noon – 3 p.m. on Dec. 24. Free. Skaneateles, NY.
  33. Nov. 27-29 Rochester City Ballet and Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra perform the Nutcracker. 2 p.m. and 7 p.m. $22-$62 depending on seating preference.  Rochester, NY.
  34. Nov. 28 – Parade of Lights in the Historic Gaffer District – 6:30 p.m. Free. Corning, NY.

 If you know of others, please share them with our readers!


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As summer ends and fall tiptoes in, the Finger Lakes region launches into a festival season rich with entertainment, arts & crafts as well as agricultural and culinary delights.  Each weekend, you can find something fun and unique to do!  Below, discover the many activities you can enjoy during the month of September.

Enjoy the works of more than 350 artisans at the M&T Clothesline Art Festival

Enjoy the works of more than 350 artisans at the M&T Clothesline Art Festival

If you know of other festivals taking place in the Finger Lakes during the month of September, won’t you please share them with our readers?  Thanks!

Last weekend, we enjoyed stepping back in time with a visit to Genesee Country Village & Museum in Mumford, NY, a hidden gem of the Finger Lakes region.

Girls from far and near joined the Laura Ingalls Wilder Look-alike "Prairie Parade"

Girls from far and near joined the Laura Ingalls Wilder "Prairie Parade"

This restauration village in Mumford, NY is the third largest living history museum in the country with as many buildings open to the public as in Williamsburg, VA.!  Chartered by the NYS Education Department, its goal is to preserve 19th Century architecture as a backdrop for interactive programs that bring history to life.

Time Out for the Silver Base Ball Players

Time Out for the Silver Ball Players

The weekend we visited was not only Laura Ingalls Wilder Weekend, but it was also the playoffs of the National Silver Base Ball Tournament (no gloves – ouch! – and unique rules, uniforms and slang) so there were even more people in period clothes than usual. Young ladies in bonnets and aprons sauntered the pathways amidst gents and ladies in 19th Century Baseball duds.

Children love the animals at the farms, including cows, turkeys and sheep

Children love the animals at the farms, including cows, turkeys and sheep

The village is spread out over 700 acres in three sections. The Pioneer Settlement is from the period 1705 t0 1830, the village center is from 1830 to 1870 and Main Street houses are from 1880 to 1920.  Buildings of these periods have been installed here from throughout New York State, and care is taken not to duplicate styles of architecture and to appoint them with authentic décor.  The village also boasts the original Nathaniel Rochester Homestead and George Eastman’s charming childhood home. 

Costumed interpreters enact the reality of the 19th Century

Costumed interpreters enact the reality of the 19th Century

Throughout the buildings, knowledgeable interpreters in costumes share stories and information about 19th Century everyday life.   At the potter’s, Maureen Ehmann explained the two types of pottery created here, (both on sale at the gift shop) and showed us the firing kiln.  Jim Nicoll, portraying the town’s peddler,  regaled us  with  tales about the life of the Yankee Peddler.

On this day, Jim Nicoll played the part of the Yankee Peddler

Jim Nicoll regaled us with stories of the Yankee Peddler

Wandering through buildings, it was fascinating to see the most humble of dwellings as well as several that were homes to the period’s rich and famous.  It was also interesting to see how the styles of furnishings changed over time.
A room on the octagonal Hyde House, circa 1870

Victorian furnishings were beautiful, but not very comfortable

This Italianate style house belonged to the Hamiltons of Campbell, NY

This Italianate style house belonged to the Hamiltons of Campbell, NY

Throughout the week and weekend, there are lots of demonstrations and hands-on experiences such as roping a bed, making a tin ornament, trying stilts, churning butter, playing tavern games, feeding the animals, helping in one of the kitchens and more.

Everyone enjoyed trying their hands, uh, feet at stilts!

Everyone enjoyed trying their hand, uh, feet at stilts!

If you want an ultimate reenactment adventure, you can even sign up to spend a weekend onsite participating in an authentic pioneer experience, customized to your needs!

Throughout their season, Genesee Country Village & Museum offers a variety of activities and events that are fun for people of all ages.  A free tractor-drawn wagon transports passengers around the grounds, and there’s an art gallery, heirloom gardens, several restaurants, and a wonderful Flint Hill Country Store that rivals shops in Williamsburg. 

The Genesee Country Village & Museum is located at 1410 Flint Hill Road in Mumford,  NY and is open from May 18 – October 18, Tuesday through Friday, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. and Saturdays, Sundays and Holidays 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. 

Admission is $15 for Adults, $12 for Senior Citizens and Students with ID, $9 for youth (4-16) and Free for children 3 and under.

CLICK HERE for information on accessibility of the buildings.

You can also visit the John L. Wehle Art Gallery  or the Nature Trails only for $5 for Adults, $4.50 for Senior Citizens or Students, $4 for Youth and Free for children under 3.

If you enjoy historical exploration and hands-on experiences, you’ll love the Genesee Country Village & Musuem!

Market Street is the heart of Corning, New York’s Gaffer District and got its name from the Gaffers, or glass blowers, at Corning Glass Works. 

The Gaffer District epitomizes what the downtown of a small city can be.  It is fun and rich in well-maintained architecture, galleries, shopping and dining experiences.

Baron Steuben Place is a bit reminiscent of Europe

Baron Steuben Place feels a bit like Europe

In the center of the Gaffer District is Centerway Square, known as “Baron Steuben Place.”  (Baron von Steuben was a Revolutionery war hero who aided General Washington and after whom Steuben County was named).  Here you’ll find Finger Lakes Wine Country, a tourism organization where you can pick up information about the region.  A historic clock tower makes a perfect meeting place in the square where you may be lucky enough to hear musicians performing.  Behind the historic clock tower is a foot  bridge adorned by flags of many countries and with foot games for kids.  The bridge leads across the river to the Corning Museum of Glass.

This pedestrian "bridge of nations" leads to Corning Museum of Glass

This pedestrian "bridge of nations" leads to Corning Museum of Glass

Baron Steuben Square is surrounded by a marvelous assortment of stores,  restaurants and galleries.

The Glass Menagerie's Gallery features works by more than 60 artists

The Glass Menagerie's Gallery features works by more than 60 artists

We stopped int0 the Glass Menagerie’s Gallery to find a mouth-watering assortment of glass items by more than 60 local, regional and international artists.  It is open from April through December and strives to carry pieces not found at the Corning Museum Glass Market.  Across the street is the store by the same name, open year-round, where you will find an amazing assortment of beautiful mostly-glass items including jewelry, kaleidoscopes and paperweights, serving bowls, chandeliers and tables, wall hangings and sculptures.

Some of the fun places we stopped included Wild Birds Unlimited offering gift items and supplies for the bird and nature lover, Connor’s Market Street Mercantile with its fun assortment of gifts, collectibles and Corning Souvenirs and The Tea Chest (guess what they sell!).

Charming ambience at the Gaffer Grille

Charming ambience at the Gaffer Grille

There were many more we could have explored, but by now it was time for dinner.  I’d heard good things about many of Corning’s Restaurant’s, but at a friend’s recommendation, we made our way to the Gaffer Grille & Tap Room.   

The Gaffer Grille & Tap Room specializes in steaks and offers fine, but casual dining so we didn’t feel out of place in our casual clothes.

The Gaffer Grille specializes in beef and steak But for those who prefer other fare, the Gaffer Grille also offers seafood, pasta dishes and such specialties as Jambalaya and barbecue.

I ordered prime rib, which was delicious, done to perfection, and which came with warm, buttery rolls, a fresh salad, baked potato and delightful vegetables, not over- or undercooked.  My husband ordered the New York Strip Steak and was equally delighted.  The kid’s menu is guaranteed to tempt a child’s palate, and our daughters loved their chicken.

The restaurant has a full bar, and I was delighted to see a generous selection of Finger Lakes wines.

With dining alcoves and stained glass room dividers shaped like baubles being blown by gaffers, the Gaffer Grille & Tap Room is a fun and ambience-filled dining experience.  The Gaffer Grille & Tap Room is located at 58 W. Market Street in Corning, NY.

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The Rockwell Museum of Western Art in Corning, NY is located in the city’s beautifully renovated former City Hall. 

The Rockwell Museum is located in the former City Hall, built in 1893

The Rockwell Museum is located in the former City Hall, built in 1893

This is a fascinating museum in so many ways.  Its focus is primarily 19th and 20th Century Western art, but the more recent additions are by contemporary Native and non-Native artists. 

 The exhibits are organized around People, Places and Ideas of the West rather than periods or artists.  In many cases, these works present the artist’s sincere attempt to capture the West as it was.  In other cases, they offer the artist’s interpretation of the West.  This is humorously captured in a lithograph by Larry McNeil entitled “Edward Curtis’ Last Photograph” showing two Native American men objecting to Curtis’  stereotypical portraiture.

Two amazing temporary exhibitions are currently on display and run through October 4, 2009. 

Ms. Garcia combines traditional Santa Clara pottery making with her own unique style

This piece exemplifies traditional Santa Clara pottery combined with Garcia's own unique style

The show on the first floor is Visions Beyond Clay: The Artwork of Tammy Garcia of the famous Santa Clara Pueblo.  Taking her heritage and the pottery skills learned from her clan and combining them with her amazing artistry, she breathes life into clay, bronze and glass for breathtaking results.

Ms. Garcia captures the essence of the Southwest
Ms. Garcia captures the essence of the Southwest

The second temporary exhibit, Sewing the Seeds: 200 Years of Iroquois Glass Beadwork, encompasses several thousand amazing pieces of beadwork collected by Dolores Elliott. 

The collection includes beautifully beaded card cases and shelf valances

The collection includes beautifully beaded card cases and shelf valances

Many of the items in the collection were created by the Haudenosaunee people for tourists.  The collection includes mocasins and picture frames, pin cushions and purses and detail intricate imagery based on nature.

Imagine the fine occasions to wear these mocasins

Imagine the fine occasions to wear these mocasins

Throughout the museum, all pieces are beautifully displayed and well curated revealing information about the artists and the works.  

The museum is a treasure trove of Frederic Remington's works

The museum is a treasure trove of Frederic Remington's works

The permanent collection showcases pieces by Frederic Remington, Andrew Wyeth, Walter Ufer, Cyrus E. Dallin, and many other familiar artists and many wonderful works by artists I’d not encountered before.

I was awed by this photo collage, which is life size

I was awed by this life size photo collage

I was concerned about whether this museum would be appropriate for my  daughters, who are 9.  This museum works for kids because they engage children through the use of a scavenger hunt, art packs for children’s use, displays throughout the museum that invite touch, and a small children’s Wild West area. 

Danielle & Nicole pretend they work the chuck wagon

"Howdy Ma'm, welcome to our chuck wagon. Can we serve up some coffee?"

We had to make a quick stop at the Trading Post, which offers a fun assortment of items for sale, including books, jewelry, toys, gourmet food items and home decor.  It was no surprise to me that we came home with 2 stuffed toy buffalos.

The Trading Post is well-stocked with gift items in various prices

The Trading Post is well-stocked with gift items in various prices

After our explorations, we stopped for lunch next door at the Cantina, part of the museum.  Its southwestern decor and southwestern/mexican menu were a real treat.  The food was tasty, reasonably priced and the service was great.  If spicy foods are not your thing, don’t let that put you off.  Some of the foods are deliciously hot and spicy, but others are mild, so you  need only ask.  Be sure to check out the humorous murals in the restrooms.

This museum was a great find!  It’s open seven days a week from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. during the summer and 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. throughout the year (closed Jan. 1, Thanksgiving Day & December 25).  Admission is $6.50 for adults, $5.50 for age 55+, students w/ID and AAA members with ID; free for kids & teens (19 and under).  It is located at 111 Cedar Street, Corning, NY.

By the way, when you exit the museum, look up to the second floor.  You’ll see the museum’s mascot, a buffalo name Artemus (for “Art is a must”) “crashing” through the side of the building.

P.S.  If you are interested in a guided tour of this museum, Ganondagan State Historic Site is offering a Tour and Day Trip from Victor, NY on August 29th to this museum, which includes round-trip bus, museum admission, snacks, lunch, and lectures by Iroquois Beadwork Expert Dolores Elliott and  by renowned Seneca Artist and Museum Curator, G. Peter Jemison.  For more on this tour, CLICK HERE.

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