I get some amazing faces from my son in photographs. Usually by accident. I really can’t explain it, except it seems to be an incredible combination of him hamming it up for the camera, and my rapid fire and hope for the best technique. Last […]
I’ve written before about how much I love living in a region with dramatically changing seasons, but fall, oh fall in New York is just one of the best things you can ever experience! The colors are amazing, the food and smells are fantastic and the weather is my favorite. I call it jacket weather–I love jacket weather. Not too hot, not too cold and I look great in a cute a jacket.
My only complaint about fall is that it’s short, or you have a short window to enjoy it. I especially notice this because the Rochester region has so many opportunities to enjoy it, it’s hard to fit them all in. I’ve discovered that when the leaves hit their peak color (usually in the last two weeks of October), you just have to stop everything you had planned, grab a camera and enjoy it as soon as you can. My favorite spot: Highland Park. However last year we explored the Webster Arboretum too and got some amazing pictures there.
One of the other things you must do in Upstate New York is some agri-tourism, a fancy sounding word that means, visit a farm. Many farms in this region open to the public with family fun activities. So many in fact, I not sure I can get to them all in a single season. Whether you are young or older, it is great fun. Long Acre Farms in Macedon, NY has one of the largest corn mazes in the region. They call it the Amazing Maize Maze (get it?). But before you think it’s all about the kids, it’s not. The farm also has a winery attached, so while the kids play on the jumping pillows and playgrounds, Mom can enjoy a glass of wine. The whole family can explore the corn maze, that includes a smaller version for younger kids. But at night, adults and older kids will enjoy the moonlight mazes. Bring a flashlight and challenge yourself in this enormous corn maze after dark.
This year we visited Stokoe Farms in Scottsville, NY. Stokoe is huge! with 35 farm activities for the kids. At $10 a ticket you will certainly get your money’s worth, as you can enjoy this farm all day long. Some of the activities include, a corn maze, playgrounds, two jumping pillows, lots of slides, a zip line, mini train ride, and pumpkin launching. We ran into several people while there, who told us they make Stokoe an annual tradition for their families. There is also a grill with fresh made to order food, so no need to go hungry. Stokoe Farm’s season continues into the winter as well, since it is also an enormous Christmas Tree farm. While you pick out your favorite tree there are special events throughout the season with Santa, including Santa parachuting into the farm from a plane on opening day. Fun fact about Stokoe, it is now as of 2014 100% solar powered.
In the past we have visited Powers Farm in Pittsford. Power’s farm is small. Just a few animals, a hay ride and a giant teepee made of corn. You can really only spend about an hour here, but it is free. (just a few dollars for the hay ride) and conveniently located. We go here for some pictures, but of course always make sure to buy some apple cider and donuts too.
For the last few years we have also visited a farm in Wayne County (next county over to our Northeast). Wayne County is known for it’s apples. No wonder as it is also the home of the Mott’s factory. Almost as soon as you cross the county line you see apple trees at every turn. Each year the county hosts it’s annual Apple Tasting Tour. For the entire month of October, visitors can download a copy of the apple passport and are challenged to drive along the scenic roadways, stopping at farm markets along the way. Earn stamps for each stop on your passport. Challenge your friends and if you collect all the stamps you may win a special prize. We just went apple picking, which is always fun too. With very little work, you get an amazing bounty of apples at an incredible price. Then its time to go home and bake.
There are a lot more area farms I have yet to visit, like Brown’s Berry Patch, Springdale Farms, Wickham Farms and many more. I don’t know if we can do it all this year, but the good news it just means we have more to look forward to next year.
Aside from the odd funny holidays and observances I like to talk about—there are real ones. Like Halloween. And Rochester, NY doesn’t disappoint when it comes to fun and affordable options for celebrating. I wish I could attend them all, but that would be impossible. […]
I just recently read two columns in our local paper, the Democrat & Chronicle, about Rochester’s obsession with snow. And while both columnists are at odds, neither of them embrace the snow. Neither of them talk about snow’s value, beauty and the impact on our culture in Upstate New York.
Both argue that the snow makes us crazy–that we panic, running out to the store to stock up on supplies, drive slow and dress in layers. Perhaps they have forgotten about “Snowmageddon” a few years ago. When places like New York City, Washington D.C. and Virginia were crippled by amounts snow that Upstate New Yorkers wouldn’t bat an eye at. Not that it’s their fault. They don’t have our experience and infrastructure. We don’t really panic–we just know snow and we know that the best way to handle it is to be cautious and prepared for anything. Like snowflakes, no two snow storms are alike and it is prudent to be prepared to expect the unexpected.
I have lived in upstate New York for as long as I can remember and I am still awestruck every year with how quickly and efficiently we clear the snow. We are experts at snow shoveling and ice scraping. But it’s more than that. We are patient in snow time. We know it may take longer to get there, we may have to jump a stranger’s car, give a friend a ride, or help someone stuck in a snow drift. Years ago, when I was living in Schenectady County, my car skidded off the road into a snow drift when I was in a hurry for an important job. It happens to everyone once in a while–doesn’t make you a bad a driver, it’s just the nature of driving in snow. Strangers pulled over and helped shovel me out. My employer was worried when I was late but understood once I explained what happened and was glad I was safe. Wouldn’t it have been so cool if the cities of Buffalo, Rochester and Syracuse sent down snow removal crews to help out in NYC, DC and Virginia a few years ago (just like the strangers who helped me)–what amazing PR that would be for upstate New York! It would demonstrate our expertise and the best of our nature.
Of course we are obsessed with snow–it’s a big part of our lives (a quarter of our year) and we know it better than most. “I don’t think it’s going to work yet,” I said to my husband who was trying to make a snowman in December. “December snow is too fluffy, February snow is the best for making snowmen”
Just last week we were visited by snow storm Nemo (yep, they name snow storms too). Those who were able, my family included, left work early to give enough time for the slow and safe travel home. We know that sometimes that’s what it takes. You have to take your time. Once home we suited up in our appropriate layers (there’s an art to it–an art we have mastered), and we began to shovel our driveway and walkways, making sure to clear a safe path for the mailman. While outside our neighbor was snow-blowing her driveway–then she moved on to another neighbor’s house, and then another neighbor. She didn’t mind or complain–that’s just what people in Upstate New York do. Once the labor was done came the fun part. I pulled out the camera and got some nice shots of the newly fallen undisturbed snow. There really isn’t anything prettier. Oh sure it will turn gray and brown with time–but we know that for these brief moments the world will never look so enchantingly lovely. I even love how the air smells just after it snows–so crisp and clean. We took pictures of the snow on the trees but also of ourselves embracing and loving the snow. Playing in it, sitting in it, even lying down and making snow angels. No snow day is complete without following up with a cup of hot cocoa–which of course we had on hand. As I sipped on my hot cocoa and looked at all the lovely and fun pictures my friends were sharing on Facebook, I thought how lucky I was to live in a place with snow–not tornadoes, hurricanes and earthquakes (which have much less warning time to get prepared and aren’t as much fun).
And the best part about snow is–it doesn’t last. Soon it will melt and Spring will arrive with its lovely flowers (made much lovelier after snowy winter); then Summer will be here, with picnics and festivals; followed by Fall’s hot apple cider and playful colors. I would get tired of the same thing day after day–I love that the weather changes and with each season there are different opportunities to enjoy them.
Wednesday, I got a chance to attended the Susan B. Anthony Birthday Luncheon. The Luncheon is organized by the Susan B. Anthony House, (her home–now a city landmark) located here in Rochester, NY. This year, 2010, marks the 90th anniversary of the 19th Amendment. That’s […]