Author: Karen Miltner

Karen Miltner is the chief content officer and public relations manager at the Finger Lakes Visitors Connection. She has spent most of her adult life collecting upstate New York zip codes but is now settled in 14456 (Geneva) with her farmer-husband and their three crazy cats.

Karen will bike, hike or snowshoe just about anywhere for a pretty picture, and finds these activities to be the best way to alleviate guilt when ordering a second Finger Lakes beer.. After dark, she craves live music, theater and literary events. On rainy days, look for her in antique shops, thrift stores and libraries. She has ridden her bike around all 11 Finger Lakes twice (that's close to 1,100 miles), and is in the process of cycling every street and road in Ontario County.

While grape growing and wine making have a long history in the Finger Lakes and other parts of New York State, it was historic legislation enacted 40 years ago that ensured the industry would survive and prosper.

According to Hudson Cattell’s 2014 book, “Wines of Eastern North America,” June 4 marks the historic signing of New York’s Farm Winery Act of 1976. When then Gov. Hugh Carey signed the law, he was essentially creating a sea change for the state’s wine industry.  

What's New in Ontario County?

Tuesday, May 17, 2016 11:26 AM by Karen Miltner

This edition of What’s New in Ontario County highlights three new businesses in downtown Geneva where you can drink, eat and shop.

Do you love vintage-hip fashions, antique housewares and furniture, design-décor fru-fru and truly unique costume and hand-crafted jewelry? Then Serendipity Boutique, pictured above, will provide a mega-dose of retail therapy.

You know how they say that you can’t judge a book by its cover? Valerie Calkins is the first to admit that the same could be said of the Miami Motel, the Canandaigua motor lodge she owns with her husband, Dennis. 

Built in 1952, the Miami Resort Motel (the property’s original name) was the pinnacle of convenience, comfort and affordability for people traveling by car. It’s no coincidence that the New York State Thruway opened two years later.

The original owner opened the Miami with only 10 rooms. A few years later an upstairs addition was built, with plans to make it a restaurant, and rooftop patios were added for sunbathers.

Robert F. Kennedy skied here!

Saturday, January 16, 2016 1:10 PM by Karen Miltner

Famous people past and present have visited the Finger Lakes or even called the region home. 

Our previous Insiders Blog explained the late great movie star Humphrey Bogart's connection to the Finger Lakes. (His family had a summer house on Canandaigua Lake.)

Former President Bill Clinton and his wannabe president wife, Hillary Rodham Clinton, have been to Skaneateles more than once. Actress Anne Hathaway has been rumored to have toured wineries on Keuka Lake. 

1,000 points of light? Try 100,000!

Friday, December 11, 2015 4:56 PM by Karen Miltner

When I was a kid, my parents would drive my sisters and me around town on Christmas Eve so we could ooh and aaah all the great holiday lights and decorations.

Given my eagerness to get to bed early to ensure Santa's arrival, I didn’t always appreciate the long detours Dad would take as he drove the car through neighborhoods sparkling with house and lawn displays that included snowmen, nativity scenes, and blazing rooftop reindeer.

Now that I know that Santa works on flex-time, I’m not as worried about getting to bed early. I still like to drive around and see how the outdoor halls are decked. Here are some standout destinations in Ontario County for those of you who share my fascination with holiday displays.

What's new in Ontario County

Friday, December 4, 2015 2:06 PM by Karen Miltner

Time to fly. 

The excitement never sleeps at Bristol Mountain Aerial Adventures, which recently opened its Zipline Canopy Tour (pictured below) near Canandaigua. The experience features seven ziplines measuring more than 5,000 feet, four bridges, two hikes, two off-road rides and a final “leap of faith.” 

The three-hour tour is led by two guides and is limited to 12 participants. Experience the Bristol Hills in ways you could never imagine, even in winter. For information, click here or to make a reservation, call (585) 374-1180. Tours are offered by appointment by Saturday and Sunday starting at 10 a.m.

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.

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.