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My Finger Lakes Travel Blog

Every year the Finger Lakes region of upstate New York is visited by thousands of tourists from around the world. The reasons are easy to see – the relaxing lakes, the beautiful rolling hills, amazing museums and in my opinion the best wineries and breweries in the country, if not the world. And oh yeah – the food is DELICIOUS!

I have had the pleasure of living in this region for the past 27 years. I love hiking in our local parks, kayaking on the lakes and checking out the area museums, festivals and locally owned shops.

Whether you live in the Finger Lakes region also or if you are planning to visit, I invite you to join me on all my journeys around the area. I will detail what I see and do, so you will know what to expect when you are planning your Finger Lakes experience.

Things are heating up at The Corning Museum of Glass

When cold weather blasts the Finger Lakes region things get hot at the Corning Museum of Glass. 2300 degrees hot!

The third Thursday of each month, Nov. – March, Corning Museum of Glass is the place to be in the Finger Lakes region. And I was there to experience it all first hand for the opening night.

Just walking to the museum will put you in a festive mood. The Christmas lights are glowing and the atmosphere is exciting. When you walk in you will be surrounded by sparkling glass and beautiful scultpures. There is so much to see!

Each month, 2300 degrees features live music, regional fare and live glass making demonstrations by a glass artist. What does it cost to enjoy this amazing event you ask??? Admission is FREE! You do have to pay for your food and drink but you can enjoy the music and experience the glassblowing at no charge.

After checking out some of the items in the gift shop we made our way to the live music area. The room was rocking! And everyone was having a blast.

Of course being at the Corning Museum of Glass my main goal was to see the glassblowing demonstration. This month’s featured artist was Aya Oki. She was making a piece of art that featured bubbles. She made the bubbles by sucking in when the glob of hot glass was put on the large outside piece of glass. With Corning right in my backyard I have gone there a few times and made (with lots of assistance from the actual glass artist) a couple of glass pieces and I can honestly say I never knew this technique even existed. It was really cool to see what she was able to create.

There was an announcer who explained the process step by step so it really brought it all to life as you watched the process. We were told once the piece cools – in a few days – the artist will then cut off the outside pieces leaving the glass bubbles to make a sculpture. I am hoping to get back there soon to see the finished piece. Stay tuned for more to come from the Corning Museum of Glass!

Thanks for exploring with me – Shelly

Hiking at Taughannock Falls

Novemeber in New York brings cold, winter winds. So when you get a warm, sunny day you should take full advantage and head to one of our beautiful parks for some time outdoors.

I was thrilled to wake up to a beautiful Novemeber day last weekend. So of course we headed right out to enjoy a day at Taughnnock Falls. With its flat trails and easy walking path this park is open year round. Just make sure you use caution during inclement weather.

We saw several people out enjoying this beautiful fall day; hiking and fishing.

At Taughannock Falls you can actually walk on the rock bed. Of course there are signs posted stating this is at your own risk.

At the end of the trail you will find a waterfall plunging 215 feet.

If you would like to see waterfall but not able to walk the trail you can drive to a lookout point at the top of the gorge. The view from there is also spectacular.

Thanks for exploring with me – Shelly

Merry and Bright

“Oh what fun it is to ride through a Christmas light display!”

With the Christmas season quickly approaching I was thrilled to discover an all new light display in Elmira, NY.

Twinkle Town at Bradley Farms is a magical, musical holiday light show you view from the comfort of your own vehicle. No mittens are required as you slowly wind your way along a mile long stretch featuring over 200 individually lighted holiday scenes.

Watch the magic of the holidays light up your child’s face when they see Santa’s Workshop, an adorable Christmas train and so much more. The lights move and dance to synchronized Christmas classics delighting you and your family with a symphony of sight and sound.

Twinkle Town is open Nov. 22nd – Jan. 4th from 5:00pm – 10:00pm daily. Prices are per car. Also, $1.00 of every ticket will be donated to Meals on Wheels of Chemung County so you will also be helping out a wonderful, local organization. You can check out their website at http://www.twinkletownelmira.com. Bradley Farms is located at 1543 Maple Ave. Elmira, NY 14904.

This year start a new holiday tradition for the young and young at heart as you turn up the volume, roll down the windows and take in the festive light display at Twinkle Town!

Thanks for exploring with me – Shelly

Adventure Awaits at the Happy Hippo

Princesses, Pilots and Pirates can all come to life when your child walks into the Happy Hippo. Located inside the Arnot Mall in Horseheads, NY. I recently stopped in to visit this charming toy store. And it is just that, a stand alone, independant and locally owned toy store. The kind I remember from when I was a little kid.

Even through the eyes of an adult the lights are sparkling, the stuffed animals are smiling and imagination comes to life.

This is no typical store. They actually let the children get hands on with several of the toys so you will know what your child loves before you take it home. They have a kitchen area set up with all the “food” for your child to prepare. My grandson loves to cook me meals everytime we visit.

You never know what you will find when you stop in. This time I found an arts and craft table where children where making turkeys for Thanksgiving and a table with sugar cookies to be decorated and gobbled right up. Yummm!

Of course being a kid at heart, I was thrilled to find a puppet show stage and a multitude of puppets just waiting for you to bring them to life.

After a busy day of playing every kid needs a cuddle buddy to curl up with for a nap. And what is better than cuddling with a soft, warm stuffed animal. These soft pets can be warmed in the microwave for the perfect snuggle or be put in the freezer and used to soothe a bump or bruise when needed.

With the holiday season quickly approaching why not take some time to spend with your children playing at the Happy Hippo. You can make memories while also buying them a gift you know they will love.

Thanks for exploring with me – Shelly

Sailing Into History

During my recent Finger Lakes exploring I came across a museum tucked away on a hillside in Hammondsport. I love poking in the corners of museums, so of course we had to go in to check it out. And believe me, this one will not disappoint!

The Finger Lakes Boating Museum is located inside the historic former Taylor Wine Company. Talk about a uniquely cool building! We started out in the basement. When you step off the stairs you will step into an arched stone doorway. This will lead you between huge old wine barrels to pass into a room that feels like you are transported back into an old world castle. This room is amazing! And it is available to rent for all your special occasions. I have already put in my request to my husband for a party there soon. Fingers crossed!

Once you head back upstairs you will find two floors dedicated to the boating heritage of the Finger Lakes region. This museum is filled with the rich history of wooden boats built and enjoyed in the Finger Lakes region. These “old antique boats” are beautful! The musuem will walk you through the process of building the boats, the fun times flying across the lake with the wind in your hair, and the lazy, carefree days of leisurely floating around soaking up the sun.

The museum currently has over 200 boats in their inventory, a multitude of boating artifacts and handpainted murals that will make you feel as if you are standing at the side of the lake. There is also an active boat shop where you can witness boats being built and restored firsthand.

The museum is primarily run by volunteers. All of whom follow the example of the museum’s founder, Mr. Ed Wrightman. And believe me, their enthusiam is contagious. We were shown the Pat II restoration project. This boat, originally built in 1924, was brought to Skaneateles Lake in 1956 where she served as a tour boat and postal delivery boat until 1991. From 1991 until 2013 she sat deteriorating until the Finger Lakes Boating Museum took her in and started refurbishing her.

After seven years and countless hours of dedication by approximately a dozen volunteers, this beautifully restored boat will be ready to launch again in the spring of 2020. I plan to be there for a ride so stay tune for more information and details to come!

If you love lake life and boating you will definaetly want to go check out this museum. The volunteers are friendly, inviting and a wealth of information. If you are like me you will walk out with a whole new respect and enthusiasm for the wooden boats of the Finger Lakes.

The Finger Lakes Boating Museum is located at 8231 Pleasant Valley Rd. Hammondsport, NY 14840. You can also check out their website at http://www.flbm.org.

Thanks for exploring with me – Shelly

Fall Fades Away

As the fall leaves drift away and the crisp hint of winter whispers in the wind, we decided to take in one last view of Keuka Lake. Even with the colors fading the beauty of this lake still shines through.

Thanks for exploring with me – Shelly

Soothing Fingers in the Finger Lakes

The Finger Lakes region is known for beautiful lakes, hiking trails and award winining wineries. I personally love exploring every inch of this area. But occasionally I need a little R&R. When that happens I make a beeline right to one of the many amazing spas the Finger Lakes region has to offer.

Today I made a visit at one of my favorites, Namaste in Horseheads.

You will feel the peace flow over you when you walk in the door. The staff at the front desk are always welcoming and friendly. They will show you to the back changing area where you can wrap yourself in a comfy white robe. Make sure you arrive early for your appointment so you have plenty of time to sit in the relaxation room before your service. As you sink into one of the oversized seats your cares will drift away.

Today I enjoyed a totally bone melting massage. I actually fell completely asleep on the table. It was heavenly!

They offer a full range of services at Namaste. You can treat yourself to one service or go for a full day of hair, nail and facial treatments plus relax with a massage. Check out their website for the full list of relaxing treatments. http://www.mynamastespa.com. And bonus – they have a steam sauna that is always free to use in addition to your scheduled service.

When you need a reprieve from exploring all the Finger Lakes region has to offer take a day and relax at one of the many wonderful spas in our area. It’s always nice to treat yourself to a little rest and relaxation!

Thanks for exploring with me – Shelly

Hiking at Robert Treman State Park

With the fall foliage on full display I recently went on a hike at Robert Treman State Park. This is one of several beautiful parks in the Finger Lakes region. If you are looking to soak up the last of these warm fall days you should head out for a hike. Trust me the pictures don’t do justice to the beauty of seeing it in person.

The stairs at start of the Gorge Trail

The views at Robert Treman are worth the hike but it is a challenging one. There are lots of staris, hills and tree roots. If you start at the main parking lot it is a 2 mile hike one way with lots of waterfalls along the way.

Thanks for exploring with me – Shelly