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.

The Geneva Music Festival is a chamber music festival based in Geneva. But its lineup of world-renowned artists will also bring jazz, contemporary compositions and bluegrass to diverse venues in Canandaigua, Skaneateles and Auburn as well as Geneva. 

The festival kicks off its fifth season this weekend with three artists performing three piano trios at three different locations three nights in a row. 

Cellist Clive Greensmith of the former Tokyo String Quartet joins Geneva Music Festival founder and violinist Geoffrey Herd and pianist Christopher Janwong McKiggan (pictured here) to perform piano trios by Ravel, Turina and Brahms.

Gay Pride Fest comes to the Finger Lakes

Thursday, May 28, 2015 10:53 AM by Karen Miltner

Ever since the very first Gay Pride March in New York City in 1970, pride celebrations has been known as an urban phenomenon, with people flocking to larger cities to celebrate with parades, festivals, music, shows and other activities.

But gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender and gender-questioning folks lives everywhere, from small towns and rural communities to the suburbs and large metropolitan areas.

Geneva resident Amy Hickey knows this as well as anyone, and she wanted to create a way for the Finger Lakes LGBTQ community to celebrate right at home, rather than traveling to Rochester, New York City or some other larger metropolitan region.

When you live in and love a really wonderful place such as Ontario County (specifically speaking) and the Finger Lakes (regionally speaking), you assume you know just about everything you need to know to be a good tour guide.

But when 61 curious and savvy travel writers descend on your turf, which is exactly what happened May 5-10 when the Finger Lakes Visitors Connection hosted the Midwest Travel Writers Association Conference, questions come up that sometimes make you scratch your head and run for the Internet. Or dictionary. Or some kind of reliable fountain of facts.

To the seekers of FLX knowledge, we now have answers! A few, anyway. 

As a six-year resident of Ontario County and the Finger Lakes, I often marvel at the things I do right here at home that make me feel like I’m on vacation. On the top of that list is going to one of the Smith Club Series Concerts, a special ongoing project of The Smith Center for the Arts in Geneva. 

The Smith, as everyone around here calls it, is a celebrated historic theater in downtown Geneva with 1,400 seats. The Smith Club Series aims for more intimate shows, so the concert planners book smaller venues in and around Geneva, sometimes capping ticket sales at 75 or 100.

These concerts are really special; my husband and I make a point to attend as many as we can.

Earth Day (April 22) came with two bits of great news this week, both of which center around Hemlock-Canadice State Forest, one of the most pristine and “forever wild” places in the Finger Lakes. No development is allowed here.

First, a longtime resident of the town of Canadice in Ontario County sold 165 acres to the state Department of Environmental Conservation, so now the forest encompasses almost 6,900 acres.

It’s wedding season, and the Finger Lakes has become a destination for many couples who will be tying the knot.

In fact, the cover story for the April issue of Rochester Magazine says the past decade has been full of a lot more “I do’s” in the Finger Lakes by couples who traveled as far as California, Arizona Oklahoma and Florida. Even destination wedding central, Hawaii, has sent us brides and grooms who opted for gentle lakes over tropical lava as the backdrop for their special day.

There are so many picture-pretty spots in Ontario County for nuptial photos that I could never list them all here. But I was curious about the more unusual locales, so I checked in with two Ontario County photographers, Jan Regan and Steve Chesler, for their suggestions.

National Beer Day in the Finger Lakes

Tuesday, April 7, 2015 4:35 PM by Karen Miltner

A question you often ask yourself as the afternoon is getting on in the Finger Lakes is this: Is it beer o’clock yet?

April 7 is one of those days when beer o’clock is around the clock. In other words, Happy National Beer Day.

The holiday is not just marketing blitz, but marks a genuine historical celebration to mark the end of Prohibition. The Cullen-Harris Act, which legalized beer sales, was passed by Congress on March 21, 1933, and signed by President Franklin D. Roosevelt on March 22, 1933. Thirsty beer drinkers had to wait until April 7 for the law to go on tap.