Author: Jake Banas

Jake Banas is the Visitor Experience Curator at the Finger Lakes Visitors Connection. Originally from the Albany area, he first came to the Finger Lakes as a student at Keuka College. While in school, he developed such a love for the Finger Lakes region that he decided that he just didn’t want to leave! Jake has a passion for all things outdoors, especially hiking, kayaking, and nature photography. He also loves theatre and the arts, and is always looking for new experiences. Jake’s take on the Finger Lakes is that, “There’s simply so much to experience and there’s always something new to try!"

10 things to do in the Finger Lakes this winter

Friday, January 6, 2017 3:00 PM by Jake Banas

When winter weather comes to the northeast, a few misguided folk flock to the south but they don't know what they're missing! While the south may be warmer during the winter, there are plenty of ways to escape, relax and rejuvenate right here in the Finger Lakes that you would miss out on.

Finger Lakes weekend Pokémon roundup!

Monday, July 18, 2016 2:00 PM by Jake Banas

From Pidgey to Pikachu we’ve got ‘em all in the Finger Lakes. Because of the mobile nature of Pokémon GO, the hit game from Niantic and The Pokémon Company, people of all ages are getting outdoors, moving and exploring. Here are some of our suggestions for family friendly places that are great for taking a tour, general hanging out, or learning something new, and also happen to be great for finding Pokémon. 

A Finger Lakes Fourth of July

Tuesday, June 21, 2016 3:11 PM by Jake Banas

There’s something to be said about observing traditions, and celebrating the birth of our nation is, if anything, paramount to that rule. But whether you’re looking for a change of pace or want to create new traditions entirely, the Finger Lakes has some truly spectacular ways to celebrate all things U.S.A.

Fireworks: If there’s anything critically essential to celebrating the Fourth of July it has to be a good firework show and if there’s one thing we in the Finger Lakes know, it’s how to put on a good show! In fact, three of our communities celebrate with fireworks

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.

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…

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.

“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.