Author: Valerie Knoblauch
The Finger Lakes runs deep in Valerie’s soul. She is a native from the Keuka Lake area. She has lived here her entire life, is the President of the Finger Lakes Visitors Connection and maintains an absolute encyclopedic knowledge of all things Finger Lakes. She takes a special interest in all the wonderful food and outdoor recreation of the area. Valerie has biked around all 11 of the lakes! One of her favorite activities in the Finger Lakes is visiting the wineries. Valerie can often be seen along the roads of the Finger Lakes taking breathtaking scenic shots and interacting with visitors. If the Finger Lakes had an award for its #1 fan, Valerie would most certainly win it!

Spring, I’ll admit, is not my favorite season in the Finger Lakes. I’ll be honest and say it’s a tad “muddier” than I’d like and the fluctuations in temperatures just tease me into longing even more for those generally ideal summer temperatures that the region is noted for. But, there are those bright spots of renewal and reminders that this is a special place to live – and a special place to visit, in any season! 

Often, it’s just the simple little things, but they are reminders of authentic Finger Lakes experiences that every visitor should try when they come here. 

Here are my top signs that we’re launching into another year of magnificence in the Finger Lakes.

Matt Meltzer of Thrillist.com can be credited with calling a spade, "a spade." His recent Thrillist.com article, titled Most Underrated Place in Each State, cites the Finger Lakes region as New York's most underrated place. Being a Finger Lakes native, I can agree that Matt was on target with his article, which pointed out the Finger Lakes deserves more recognition for wines, cheeses, fall foliage, boating, fishing and more. All my life, I've been one to root for the underdog - and this positioning as "an underrated region" brings out the fight in me! @mmeltrez article made me think.

Happy Mother's Day - Barbara J. Gifford, Sandra Banas, Jackie Miltner, Janice Hicks, Cindy Blair, Gayle Cappelluti and Taylor's Mom - this call out is for you ... the "mother's of our Finger Lakes tourism team!" I posed the question late on Thursday to everyone - if you could take your mother to just one local place on Mother's Day, where would that be? Drum roll - here are your tourism bureau's answers!

But, before I really get into the Mother's Day treat ideas, I want to make a special call-out to my assistant, Carol Hicks - who along with me - is a "Sandwich Mother." I actually don't know if that term exists or not, but if not, I'll define it as "the extra special woman on Mother's Day who balances being celebrated as a mother, as well as celebrating her own mother." (as opposed to a mother who only makes PBJ sandwiches for the kids). I know that Carol shares my sentiments about motherhood, and to use one of her favorite phrases, "it's awesome." 

I was on my way home from a family reunion a while ago and came over a small hill and literally stopped.  I looked across the expansive fields of hay bales, into the white clouds, blue skies, and green, green, green. I knew that just about 18 miles away was Canandaigua – bustling with tourists and waterfront activity. Beyond that in another 20 miles is Rochester with nearly 350,000 people. Right now though, in my world over that hill, there were no people – and that’s the kind of moment that is just as precious in our tourism world.  Real, authentic, fresh air in the country!  I was in Gorham, New York.

A Snowy Day - a Facebook Snow Show

Tuesday, February 16, 2016 5:57 PM by Valerie Knoblauch

Our son called us from Atlanta. The temperature there – about 55 degrees.  He’d heard we were getting some snow, so he was checking in and being a true New Yorker, “wished he was here because he missed the snow.”  It’s always fun to be in town when a record is set. February 16, 2016. 17.9 inches of snow! This gives all of us "FLX - Finger Lakes" folks certain bragging rights. And, show off we did. I asked my son how he knew about our snow and he simply said, “all the Facebook posts.” 

All people of the world share the same sun, but in New York’s Finger Lakes we were blessed with a special treat of “Sunset Spectacular” a few nights ago.

Less than five minutes later my sister posted the sunset view from her home in Gorham - different than my pinks, purples and blues.

Captured at the same time, her sunset was made of oranges and golds with a barn backdrop and a window teasing the sunset to come in. I was deep into some kitchen event when my husband alerted me to the beautiful sky out our western window.

Who is bringing the dessert for Thanksgiving?

Tuesday, November 24, 2015 10:39 AM by Valerie Knoblauch

With Thanksgiving upon us, I’ve heard a lot of discussion lately about desserts for the infamous holiday dinner. Certainly, this is one of the key components of our American traditions for this holiday. Jake, our newest team member, is fresh out of college and going home for his first Thanksgiving as a working professional in the real world. He wanted to contribute to the dinner and got a great suggestion from Karen, our second to the newest team member (and a former food writer and in-house culinary expert), that he should consider taking a grape pie. I heartily endorsed that suggestion. 

There’s a Phelps County in both Missouri and Nebraska and a town named Phelps in Kentucky and Wisconsin. There is even a Lake Phelps somewhere, according to Wikipedia. 

But this week, I spent the “best” time in Phelps, New York, at a Business After Hours event sponsored by the Phelps Chamber of Commerce.

The Finger Lakes Visitors Connection team decided to take advantage of this event and mingle in a couple of different places in town. First stop, the Water Side Wine Bar. I wish I had a photo to show here, but it was dark when we arrived. Still, we looked out through the picture window directly down to the awesome Flint Creek waterfall.