I realize I may get some flak for writing about Christmas before Thanksgiving (my mother, for example, would be appalled). But, at least to me, the spirit of the holiday season definitely starts to build up even before Turkey Day. Many towns have holiday lights in the park, or lights on homes, but in Canandaigua we have trees in houses.

There’s a Phelps County in both Missouri and Nebraska and a town named Phelps in Kentucky and Wisconsin. There is even a Lake Phelps somewhere, according to Wikipedia. 

But this week, I spent the “best” time in Phelps, New York, at a Business After Hours event sponsored by the Phelps Chamber of Commerce.

The Finger Lakes Visitors Connection team decided to take advantage of this event and mingle in a couple of different places in town. First stop, the Water Side Wine Bar. I wish I had a photo to show here, but it was dark when we arrived. Still, we looked out through the picture window directly down to the awesome Flint Creek waterfall.

Everyone in the Finger Lakes region who has an interest in Native American history and culture has been eagerly waiting for the opening of the Seneca Art & Culture Center at Ganondagan State Historic Site.

The 17,300-square-foot interpretive center brings together 2,000 years of Seneca and Haudenosaunee (Iroquois) contributions to art, culture and society. The man who had the vision for all of this, site manager Peter Jemison (pictured below), spent the past 20 years working tirelessly to make this dream a reality.

Waking up to history where the dead sleep

Friday, October 16, 2015 12:47 PM by Jake Banas

“A flower she sleepeth, but is not dead.”

– Headstone of Frankie Tubbs, circa 1850, Baker Cemetery, Richmond, Ontario County, New York. 

Places of historical significance, happy or sad, often have a certain feeling or energy to them that keeps people returning time and time again. The same is often true of places that bear some emotional significance. These places can become locations of peace, of centering, of focus; in particular, right around this time of year the appeal of one such type of location grows strong…

Autumn is my favorite time of year, even though I know it means that I will have to say goodbye (at least for a while) to some of those blissful things leading up to it: fresh vine-grown tomatoes from the garden; bike rides on country roads wearing just a T-shirt and shorts; shaded walks in the woods; breakfast, lunch and dinner on the patio; going to sleep and waking up with the windows open.

The Naples Grape Festival, held the last week of September since 1961, celebrates the area’s grape harvest, as well as local business owners, artists, farmers, musicians... I could go on.  For me, it also means celebrating the close of summer, and welcoming the start of fall. Knowing that some of you may have missed the festival this year or in past years due to other obligations – work, school, travel, Sunday football – let’s take a trip down festival memory lane and look through some of my favorite Instagram photos from the last few years of the Naples Grape Festival.

You are never too old for a field trip

Friday, September 11, 2015 2:44 PM by Karen Miltner

Everyone who works at the Finger Lakes Visitors Connection just happens to live in different parts of Ontario County. So we have a lot of collective home turf expertise. 

Earlier this week, we spent the day in the “twin villages” of Manchester and Shortsville, as well as a mid-day stop in Clifton Springs. For those of us who live in other parts of the county, the day was filled with a lot of “I didn’t know that” moments. Here are my favorites.

The Finger Lakes-Wyoming Connections

Tuesday, September 8, 2015 9:36 AM by Karen Miltner

I love to travel because it lets me experience people and places that are new and different and invigorating in ways I could never have imagined.

Yet inevitably if I come across something that reminds me of home, it makes me feel all that more connected to this new destination.

Two weeks ago I took part in a press tour in and around Cody, Wyoming, joining our friends at the Midwest Travel Writers Association who held their fall conference there.