Gardens are a special treat around the Finger Lakes in the summer (and fall and spring). 

The neat thing about gardens is that the experience can change based on the company you keep. There’s a different mood and mission when you stroll a garden solo or as a hand-in-hand walk under the moonlight, or as a family on a nature adventure. 

Sonnenberg Gardens and Mansion State Historic Park in Canandaigua has gardens for all these walks of life.

“Preserving a past. Providing a future.”

That is the slogan of the Ganondagan State Historic Site. More than 300 years ago, Ganondagan was the site of a flourishing, vibrant Seneca community. Though the original community was destroyed by the French in 1687, today there are countless numbers of people working hard to preserve the culture and history of a nation that played a vital role in the region’s history.

There is nothing that captures the spirit of a place quite the way a county fair can do. A warm and sunny summer day, the smell of fried dough and fair foods lingering in the air while kids dart excitedly from ride to ride, all playing out to the symphony of sounds from people conversing over classic cars and prized animals. It’s easy to blissfully lose oneself just taking in all there is to experience.

Annual county fairs are among one of the oldest New York State traditions. Originally a place where people would gather to exhibit their livestock and show off their agricultural achievements, county fairs have since expanded to include not only these events but also everything from games and rides to food and shows.

How to stay cool in the Finger Lakes

Wednesday, July 15, 2015 11:44 AM by Laurie Gifford Adams

While there are activities galore to keep everyone entertained on a Finger Lakes vacation, sometimes when it’s hot out I just want to find a way to beat the heat and relax. Here’s a quick guide to some of my family’s go-to places to do just that. All of them are family-friendly, so pick one or two from the list, or if you’re in the area for several days, try to fit them all into your itinerary. It’s fun to be one of the “cool” ones in the summer.

Of course, since we’re right here in lake country, boating, water skiing, knee boarding and swimming are the standard ways to experience the water. But I also like to explore opportunities that are a little less traditional when we think of going to the lake, so here are my top choices for fun ways to get wet and cool down.

The green drumlins along the northern border of Ontario County are pretty and quiet.

But for seven nights each summer, one hill in particular becomes the epicenter of a 77-year-old theater tradition that draws hundreds to a multi-level complex of 10 stages and thousands to the seats below.

One of my favorite quotes is “Live simply, laugh often, love deeply.”

I have found that living in the Finger Lakes is the perfect environment to live by these three simple and important ideals.

As National Simplicity Day (July 12) approaches, I like to celebrate the simple things in life.

Simplicity is defined as the state, quality, or an instance of being simple. Too often we complicate our lives and forget that the simple things in life matter most. I could never give up my life in the country. There are so many instances where I give thanks for the simple beauty of the world around me.

In a private, secluded area off Townline and Murray Roads in Victor, Ontario County lies 100 magnificent acres of privately owned land. For 362 days a year, it is a quiet residential area. But for three days every year since 1990, this “NEIGH-borhood” transforms into an equestrian competitor’s paradise—and spectators can witness the entire competition from just feet away.

In May of this year, our tourism office had the opportunity to host the Midwest Travel Writers Association’s (MTWA) annual spring conference. they stayed at The Inn on the Lake  in Canandaigua.  We hosted 61 travel writers, photojournalists and industry suppliers for a four-night/five-day itinerary.  MTWA active members are writers, editors or contributors actively engaged in producing travel-related content for newspapers, magazines, web or specialty publications.  MTWA associate members are public relations professionals working in the field of travel and tourism.  We have hosted many travel writers in the past but this was our first time with an organized group of this size. What an adventure it was sharing the Finger Lakes with them!

Taking care of the "family antique collection" seemed to be the theme of the day when I recently took my Dad to a doctor’s appointment and my uncle was along for the ride.

My Dad is the kind of guy who gets a kick out being referred to as an antique. But in my book, antiques are valued treasures, and he is definitely one of mine. 

So, a funny thing happened on the way home from the appointment – where my Dad had some testing done.  While we headed out for breakfast I remembered that the Stanley Steamers were touring in Canandaigua.  These antique cars are all open-topped and run on steam and have the greatest horns ever.

Just because you’re on vacation does not mean you have to take a vacation from celebrating the country’s most patriotic of holidays, Independence Day, or Fourth of July.

Ontario County has several celebrations happening, ranging from a parade, a picnic and fireworks to a lakeside ring of fire.

The latter, Honeoye Lake’s ring of fire, is especially endearing to Finger Lakes residents. Flares are lit on shore all around the lake, encircling the water with beautiful brightness that ascends to the summer sky. The Ring of Fire is also a beloved end-of-summer ritual on Canandaigua Lake on the Saturday before Labor Day. 

Here is the schedule of events.