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!

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.

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?

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.

Taking care of the "family antique collection" seemed to be the theme of the day when I recently took my Dad to a doctor’s appointment and my uncle was along for the ride.

My Dad is the kind of guy who gets a kick out being referred to as an antique. But in my book, antiques are valued treasures, and he is definitely one of mine. 

So, a funny thing happened on the way home from the appointment – where my Dad had some testing done.  While we headed out for breakfast I remembered that the Stanley Steamers were touring in Canandaigua.  These antique cars are all open-topped and run on steam and have the greatest horns ever.

So, you want my job?

Monday, May 18, 2015 1:35 PM by Valerie Knoblauch

Most days at my job as president of the Finger Lakes Visitors Connection, I earn a grade of F. 

And that’s a good thing. 

Why? Because, as it should be tourism is fun, fulfilling, and full of new friends. That’s a lot of f-words --- and people still want my job.

As I write this, it’s 36 degrees outside (January 19, 2015), a relative “heatwave” given the temperatures we’ve had in the area (just yesterday it was 2 degrees – and no I did not forget the zero – that would be two degrees.  I enjoy stretching my mind to think what I should write in this blog. Of course, in those ponderings, I can’t help but think about the weather. After all, it’s right in front of me and envelopes us every day, for better or for worse.  I say we focus on the better! 
 
I thought back to my conversations in the last couple of weeks and although they’ve been about the weather a bit, I must say that I am amply impressed with how positive they are.  We Finger Lakers are, overall, a very positive bunch; at least the ones I hang out with. Maybe that’s why we’re in tourism because we tend to be optimists. How do I make the most of this situation?  It’s important to keep that tone and that attitude when you’re sharing why tourists should come visit here.