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.

4 famous women who made Ontario County history

Tuesday, February 28, 2017 8:00 AM by Karen Miltner

Women make history every day, but we Americans tend to save the celebration for March, thanks to proclamations signed by President Jimmy Carter and President Ronald Reagan in 1980 and 1987, respectively. Carter created a National Women’s History Week from March 2-8, and Reagan extended it to the entire month.

Living in Ontario County, I am reminded about some of our lady history makers every day with the architecture I see, the artwork I admire and the stories I hear on a regular basis.

With purple fire hydrants dotting the downtown streets and vineyards defining its hills and valley, the village of Naples takes its grapes, and grape pies, very seriously. These inky purple pies are the unofficial mascot of the community, sold at roadside stands and at farm markets during harvest season and at small retail shops throughout the year. There's even a local pizzeria that has a grape pie pizza on its dessert menu.

After a long, hot summer that saw very little rain, I assumed that the late September afternoon I would be hosting a travel writer from Nashville, Tennessee, would follow suit, and I would be able to show her the splendor of Indian summer in the Finger Lakes.

I had plans to take Alex, an editor at an online women’s lifestyle publication in the Southeast, kayaking on Canadice Lake, and John Kenney, owner of Canadice Lake Outfitters, was going to be our guide.

Farmers markets are a great way to really experience local flavor in the Finger Lakes. Not only can you find fresh, locally grown and produced fruits, vegetables, eggs, meats, grains and dairy products, but at many markets you  can also purchase fresh-cut flowers and plants, crafts, baked goods, maple syrup, honey and homemade jams and other exclusive Finger Lakes treats.

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.  

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. 

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.