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

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. 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

A Walk on the Spooky Side

With Halloween quickly approaching I decided it was time to get into the spirit by taking a ghost walk.

For the past 13 years the Chemung County Historical Society in Elmira has hosted a ghost walk in Woodlawn National Cemetery. This cemetery is home to many notable and interesting people throughout history.

I will be the first to admit I do not do scary. But I do love history so I reserved my ticket, bundled up to keep warm and headed out to the Chemung Valley History Museum.

This ghost walk is only available one weekend each year. They do run it both Friday and Saturday night. Our guide told us they had eight tours each night this year. They sell out fast so make sure you reserve your spot early. I booked my several weeks ago.

We were told to arrive 15 minutes before our 7:35 time slot. I recommend arriving a little earlier so you have time to look around the museum or join in on the local trivia questions being asked in the meeting room. We were able to enter our name in a drawing for a prize for every answer we got right.

At 7:35, our bus was ready to take our group to the cemetery. There were around 20 people in our group. When we arrived at the cemetery we were greeted by a group of people carrying lanterns to guide us around.

Walking through a cemetery at night will give you a little bit of apprehension all on its own. When you mix that with the occational “spirit” wandering by in the distance it is a creepy, fun time.

The guides led us to select graves where there are “spirits” who tell the story of their lives. They are dressed in clothing from that time period. They pull you into the story and truly make you feel like you are transported back to their life at that time in history.

In total we visited four gravesites plus saw various other spirits wandering through the cemetery. We were asked to not have our phones out during the spirit visits so I don’t have pictures to share. This is one you will need to see in person. I know I will be going again. It was spooky, good time!

If you would like to check out the spirits that have appeared over the past 13 years you can visit They do change it up over the years so you will want to go back again and again.

Thanks for exploring with me – Shelly

Floating On Air

This weekend I had an opportunity to literally float on air. I went on a glider ride!

A glider is a motorless aircraft that is towed into the sky then released to glide on air currents. Elmira, NY which is located in the Southern tip of the Finger Lakes region is known as the “Soaring Capital of America”. So the opportunity to take a glider ride is too tempting to pass up.

I arrived at the flight center at 10:00am Sunday morning. My flight was scheduled for 10:30am. The view from the top of Harris Hill was sunny and beautiful but the valley below us was full of fog. I was told we had to wait for the fog to lift because if there is an issue with the tow plane they have to be able to see the airport runway for an emergency landing. Hummmm…. I guess I don’t mind waiting, just in case…

While waiting my glider pilot, Bryan, went over all the controls and explained what was going to happen. One thing I found out is there is a weight limit for a glider plane; both a minimum and a maximum. I was a little under the minimum so Bryan put in a weighted pad to balance the glider. Guess I should of had an extra piece of cake with dinner.

Once the fog lifted I got buckled in and we were ready for lift off! The tow plane is hooked to the glider and then the plane and glider give the signal they are both ready. The tow plane wiggles its back flap and the glider wiggles back, then the tow plane is off. The rope pulls tight and we are moving.

As we go down the runway I see the edge of Harris Hill coming up quick. I have to admit it is a nerve wracking feeling to watch the land fall away beneth you as you go full steam ahead over the edge!

And then we are in the air, going higher and higher. Bryan said our goal was 2000 feet high. Once we reached it he said get ready, the tow line will release in 3, 2, 1. The rope fell, the plane went left and the glider went right. Now we are on our own floating on air currents.

The feelings of exhiliration, nervousness and being totally free are all wrapped up in one. One of the first things that struck me was the quietness. It is so peaceful. And the views are amazing. From high above Harris Hill Bryan pointed out Seneca Lake in Watkins Glen and Cowanesque River in PA.

We continued to circle around looking at differnet landmarks below us. I even saw the corn maze I was lost in the day before at Smithome Farms.

The ride was smooth and totally relaxing. Bryan did tell me morning rides tend to be smoother while afternoon rides can be a little rockier. It all has to do with the sun heating the ground which in turn changes up the air currents. I’m very happy I went in the morning and had a smooth, relaxing ride. As we continued to circle we slowly made our way back to the ground. In all it took about 20 minutes. But it was one of the best 20 minutes I have ever experienced.

If you are visiting the Finger Lakes region you should definately take a trip to Harris Hill and go for a glider ride. Due to constantly changing weather conditions they don’t take reservations. It is first come, first served so get there early. It fills up fast. And if you live here; what are you waiting for? This is one you need to go do!

Thanks for exploring with me – Shelly

Fun at the Farm

The Finger Lakes region is now full of red, gold and orange colors announcing that fall has truly arrived. To enjoy the full fall experience we recently headed to Smithome Farms.

Nestled between rolling hills on St. Rt. 352 in Big Flats you will find a Corn Maze, Hay Wagon rides and an expansive Pumpkin Patch. Of course my grandson couldn’t wait to jump in and check it all out!

We purchased our tickets to try out everything they had to offer. For the two of us it was under $20 so very affordable for an afternoon of fun.

We started with the Haystack Hunt. He had a blast kicking hay and tunneling through it to find a hidden chip for a prize. Of course he was a winner!

Then it was time for the Duck Race. This cute game is a new one to me. You put your little rubber duck in the plastic tube and use the old fashioned water pump to send the duck flying down the tube and back to the finish line. He loved do this one!

After playing these games we were ready to take on the corn maze. I have to point out it had rained earlier this morning so there was a lot of mud. When you mix mud and a five year old you definately get FUN! We only found three of the eight clues but we laughed, slid and came out a muddy mess! We had a blast!

Now it was time to jump on the hay wagon and go for a ride. This was a perfect opportunity to pick out the biggest pumpkin in the patch. Once the the wagon stopped we hopped off, grabbed a cart and headed out to claim our pumpkin. Of course we ended up with several more along the way!

If you are looking to make some wonderful fall memories with your family head over to Smithome Farms soon. They are open Saturday and Sunday through October so get there soon!

Thanks for exploring with me – Shelly

Finger Lakes Soap Co.

This past week I had an opportunity to go to Van Etten, NY. Of course my first thought was seeing the fall foliage along the way. This time of year the hills of the Finger Lakes region are dotted with red, gold and orange. The views are breathtaking!

As I was driving along I passed a sign for Finger Lakes Soap Co. Of course I was intrigued and had to stop. Boy was I happy I did! This cute, little shop is worth checking out.

When you walk in, the amazing smells will instantly surround you! As you would expect from the name, they have a variety of soaps but I also found candles, shampoo’s and so much more.

The scents are all made with a local twist. The Macintosh apple hand soap smells like you just bit into a juicy apple plucked right from the tree. I couldn’t resist bringing a bottle home!

If you are looking to take a relaxing drive to do some leaf peeping, head toward Van Etten. These winding back roads are perfect for viewing the fall colors and they will take you right by the Finger Lakes Soap Co. Do yourself a favor and stop in to look around and smell the delicious scents. If you want to check them out before you go their website is

A funny little side note – I realized after I got back home, the hand soap in my bathroom was made by the Finger Lakes Soap Co. I bought it at a winery over the summer. It smells amazing!

Thanks for exploring with me – Shelly

Chamberlain Acres Indoor Market

After a very busy Saturday this past weekend, I decided to spend Sunday relaxing while shopping. Whenever possible, I shop local and it doesn’t get much more local than the farmers market at Chamberlain Acres.

The Chamberlain Acres nursery and garden center is located at 824 Broadway St. Elmira, NY. When you arrive you will see a large Victorian home. Trust me and follow the driveway leading behind the home. As you make the turn you will see a beautiful flower nursery expanding in front of you.

The market runs every Sunday, year round. You will find it located inside a greenhouse in the middle of the three acre flower garden. The setting is beautiful and very tranquil giving you a relaxed setting to stroll around and check out locally made goods. When the weather takes an unpleasant turn you will stay warm and dry inside this large greenhouse full of vendors.

This past Sunday I found handmade scarves and hats, hand painted holiday decorations and lots of beautiful mums perfect for fall decorating.

I had a very interesting conversation with Amy from SteAmy Farms LLC. Amy and her husband Steve produce honey in Woodhull, NY. She was very informative about all the health benefits of honey. I tasted several flavors, which were all yummy, while she told me honey can also be used as a face cleaner or to heal cuts. I never knew that! She is a fountain of information. Be sure to stop by and chat with her.

As I made my way around I came to the booth for Seneca Sunrise Coffee. They have a large variety of coffee infused items such as Coffee Infused Maple Syrup. If you are a coffee fanatic you need to check them out.

While I was there I saw several people making their own hand-painted pottery. Artist Colleen McCall will direct you in the technique to paint your own plate or bowl. You can free hand your own design or use a pattern to trace on the clay and then color it in. The completed ones are beautiful!

I was told the vendors do change from time to time so you will want to go back for a few visits to make sure you see all this area has to offer. There is amazing talent right here in our own backyard. For more information visit their website at

If you are looking for a true, locally made experience you need to take a drive to the Chamberlain Acres Farmers Market. With the fall foliage really starting to pop you can take a beautiful drive down 352 along the Chemung River to get there. Remember to keep you eyes open for a bald eagle. They have been spotted in the Big Flats and Elmira area around the river.

Thanks for exploring with me – Shelly