Seeing Naples beyond the grapes

Thursday, August 20, 2015 2:04 PM by Valerie Knoblauch

“Grape Pie Capital of the World” or “Finger Lakes Simplicity” or “Easy like Sunday Morning” or “Nooks and Crannies” or “Where People are Just Plain Nice.”

What is the potential tagline for Naples, New York? When you work in tourism your mind often goes to taglines. What quick phrase can sum up the feeling you have when you’re in a place?  Naples is a small village of approximately 1,200 residents who are gearing up for what some estimate to be visitors to the tune of 70,000 or more for the Naples Grape Festival. The folks in Naples sure appreciate all those visitors, and the festival remains our most requested special event. Why not, we all agree.  It’s fun, it’s busy, it’s purple, it’s tasty. And, despite all of this, I suggest that people take the time to visit the “non-grape-festival-weekend” Naples as well. Why?  Well, let’s get back to the title conundrum. What is Naples, NY?

The Finger Lakes farm-to-supermarket connection

Saturday, August 15, 2015 5:26 PM by Karen Miltner

There are not many parts of the country where the local supermarket is a tourism destination, but a lot of us Finger Lakes lifers bring our out-of-town guests and family members to Wegmans Food Markets, an award-winning supermarket chain with deep roots in the Rochester and Finger Lakes region.

Staff is exceedingly friendly and helpful. The produce department always looks ready for a Martha Stewart photo shoot.  And in the Canandaigua store where I shop most frequently, there is a burger bar, sushi counter, coffee kiosk and an outdoor patio where I can eat all the food I'm too lazy to cook myself.

Several weeks after the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor in December 1941, the Voice of America made its debut on radios beyond our borders, broadcasting in German as a new strategy to counter Nazi propaganda and promote American democracy and other values to Americans in occupied territory as well as to overseas allies.

The original VOA relied on shortwave radio, a technology, which previously had only been used in private enterprise.

The Antique Wireless Museum, a mind-boggling collection of historic communications equipment and hardware, now brings a sizable piece of VOA history to Bloomfield.

The bucks stopped here. And here. And here.

Tuesday, August 11, 2015 3:01 PM by Jake Banas

The first time I noticed it I had to stop and stare to figure out what I was really seeing and why on Earth it was there. Sure enough, as I paused on my way to a meeting at the Inn on the Lake in Canandaigua, a large deer adorned with clouds, vines, and the rolling hills of the Canandaigua area stood off to the left of the main entrance, seemingly greeting me as I walked in. It stood, lurking behind a few trees, gazing ominously back at me. No, it was not a real animal, and no, this wasn’t something out of a Hunter S. Thompson story; but why a hotel would have such a large deer painted like a scenic landscape eerily hiding behind the front door landscaping was completely beyond me. I stared at it in disbelief, like (okay, you saw this coming) a deer stuck in the headlights.

In just a few days the town of Hopewell near Canandaigua will welcome more than 40,000 people to the 55thannual Pageant of Steam. This event will bring visitors of all ages, backgrounds and lifestyles.  I really admire the mission statement from the N.Y. Steam Engine Association, which promotes this unique event. ”Demonstrating the past to educate the future.” 

It truly is a pageant dedicated to steam. In fact, I think of it as four days of tractor performance art.

When you open up a craft brewery in the sauerkraut capital of the world, at some point, the local sauerkraut cheerleading squad will come knocking at your door.

That is exactly what happened to Mike Darling last year, just two weeks before the annual Phelps Sauerkraut Weekend. This year's festival of fermented cabbage runs Friday, July 31 through Sunday, Aug. 2 in various locations in downtown Phelps.

Mike is the head brewmaster, keg washer and CMO (Chief Mop Operator) of Crafty Ales & Lagers, a nano-brewery that opened in 2013.

The Finger Lakes were made for bicycles!

Saturday, July 25, 2015 1:11 PM by Karen Miltner

This spring when I found out I would be working for Finger Lakes Visitors Connection, the official tourism promotion agency for Ontario County, I wanted to be able to see my county in a new way, a way that visitors see it, with fresh eyes, curiosity, and admiration.

So I created a challenge for myself. To explore all of Ontario County by bicycle. And by that, I mean riding every single street, alley, road and avenue on my bike. I started the project in late April and will probably take two or three years to complete.

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.