Museum of the Earth: Fossilized Finger Lakes

Located between Trumansburg and Ithaca

The museum is located between Trumansburg and Ithaca

Museum of the Earth, fossil wall

If you grew up in the Finger Lakes area, you have probably seen fossils  in cliff walls or on the bottom of a lake. The Finger Lakes area was once part of a much larger warm shallow sea. Visiting this area for the first time? Get your hands on some wonderful fossils at the Museum of the Earth, just outside of Ithaca, NY.

The museum has over 3 million fossils, making it one of the largest collections in the U.S.

There is a long mural (544 separate paintings), that stretches along a walkway between the main floor and the displays below. Each painting equals one million years with life-size fossils, displayed in order, representing 550 million years. The reign of man does not even make a single panel. ULP!

Screen Shot 2015-03-30 at 8.22.07 PMI discovered something new on my visit:  We have lovely round rocks on Skaneatleles Lake that can be found in cliff walls with sedimentary layers. Some of them have geodes inside, if split open.

Growing up, we thought they must be fossilized dinosaur eggs. Turns out they are more like pearls – concretions formed around pieces of crystalized calcite (sand). (See photo above)

The Paleontological Research Institution & Museum of the Earth

1259 Trumansburg Road
Ithaca, NY 14850

Ph: (607) 273-6623

Summer (Memorial Day – Labor Day):
Mon – Sat: 10am – 5pm; Sun: 11am – 5pm
Winter (Labor Day – Memorial Day):
Same as Summer, EXCEPT closed Tues & Wed

June 5, 2015 at 10:38 pm Leave a comment

Argos Inn: Ithaca

Argo Inn Bar

The downstairs has a big bar with room for a band and a wonderful selection of craft cocktails.

A night at the Argos Inn located in Ithaca, NY reminded me of some of the spots we stayed at in Italy and Spain. Historic structures refurbished with modern finishings to provide elegant and comfortable lodging.

Ou room had the high ceilings of an nineteenth century home but  also heated slate floors in the bathroom, Nest for managing room temp and Apple TV, which we could not get to work.

Screen Shot 2015-04-07 at 9.11.00 PMMy favorite amenity was the floor to ceiling window in the bath facing the street. Natural light floods this home making it seem airy and modern.

The room H/V system cycled on and off noisily all night waking me up each time. The beds are super comfortable, allowing me to fall back asleep quickly and there was no detectable street noise until after 7am.

Best part for me: a giant picture window in my bathroom looking out on downtown Ithaca. Lovely.

A long table in the breakfast sun room.

There is a wonderful bar on the main floor that often has live music. The sun porch is windowed and well heated making for a splendid breakfast room.

This is not an inexpensive stay — but it is a worthy investment. If you love unique and tastefully restored homes, check this out.

April 8, 2015 at 1:23 am 1 comment

Le Cafe Cent Dix, French Cuisine in Ithaca New York

Chevre and Onion Tart ‚ order it at Le Cafe Cent Dix, eat it and die happy.

Continue Reading April 1, 2015 at 11:15 am Leave a comment

A Spring Visit to 1837 Cobblestone Cottage B&B, Canandaigua NY

Stay in one of the most beautiful Cobblestone homes in America.

Stay in one of the most beautiful Cobblestone homes in America.

Imagine having travelers arriving at your doorstep every day of the year. You have a sparkling clean house and you’re ready to prepare a delicious gourmet breakfast. When everyone else goes on vacation — you get to work!

If there is a “B&B gene,” Joe & Kathy LoVerde both possess it. They are the owners of the 178 year-old Cobblestone Cottage Bed & Breakfast in Canandaigua.

What possesses someone to own and operate a B&B? Many couples look forward to and breathe a sigh of tired relief as kids go to college. Their house is finally quiet. But the LoVerdes craved a new challenge: Joe is a remodeling expert and Kathy loves decorating and cherishes her time in the kitchen.

Cobblestone Cottage Living Room

Kathy loves the creative challenge of keeping things new and fresh. The Cottage’s interior is bright and sunny with large windows. She has artfully combined the charm of combining antiques with (modern) super-comfy king-sized beds and private baths in each room.

 Kathy observes that guests who stay at B&Bs are looking for a different experience: Unlike a hotel, you share social space with the owner and other guests, plus the unique experience of staying in a local landmark.

Isaac Parish Bedroom

Isaac Parish Suite

This lovely stone house was built for Isaac Parrish, builder and captain of the first steamboat on Canandaigua Lake. “Lady of the Lake”, was launched from his farm in 1827. Like many “lake” homes in the 19th century the 257 acres, including 1,900 ft of lake frontage, was used as a farm, with the home located up on the hill, near the main road.

Honeymoon Cottage Suite

Honeymoon Cottage Suite

Cobblestone Cottage provides you with a unique opportunity to stay in “one of only about 900 cobblestone buildings erected in western New York before the Civil War — three-fourths of America’s cobblestone buildings are within a 75-mile radius of Rochester.” More on the history of Cobblestone houses.

Antique Downspouts

If it rains you can see this downspout in action.

Many believe that the home was a “station” on one of the numerous routes of the Underground Railroad routes, leading fleeing slaves to freedom in Canada. Kathy shared colorful anecdotes with me on what they have learned from historians, psychics and ghost hunters, who have visited.

I visited the cottage in mid-March on a quiet Saturday afternoon. The 18” thick outer walls guarantee a quiet stay.

If you want to experience the peace and quiet which year-round Finger Lakes dwellers enjoy, I recommend you visit during the quieter months (late fall, winter, early spring) and arrange your stay for mid-week: Drive up to Bristol Harbor, buy a glass of wine and watch the sun set over the lake, or visit the Wine and Culinary Center on Thursday nights for “Pizza & Pint Night,” and rub elbows with the locals.

Or just ask Joe and Kathy, they are wonderful guides to all the local restaurants and fun hangouts.

For more information visit their Facebook page, or Kathy’s blog.

1837 Cobblestone Cottage Bed & Breakfast is located at 3402 West Lake Rd, Canandaigua, NY 14424

Telephone:  585.721.6765


March 25, 2015 at 10:06 am Leave a comment

Skaneateles Winterfest: Making Winter Fun


Cold weather never stop Skaneateles from having fun

Cold weather never stops Skaneateles from having fun

My father grew up in Skaneateles during the depression. East Lake Road was a little remote in 1930, but winter meant he could  skate to town to watch the double-feature for 25 cents.

Skanealteles is still warm and welcoming during the winter. Each year (usually the weekend between the playoffs and the Super Bowl) the Skaneateles Sunrise Rotary hosts Winterfest. They say “Freezin’ for a Reason,” as proceeds help support the Skaneateles Fire Department, SAVES, and the Skaneateles Education Foundation.

Visit the Creamery to find out about the history of Skaneateles in winter as they share the Story of Ice Cutting on Skaneateles Lake. (10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday)

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What happens at Winterfest?

Friday night:  Lighting of the Ice Chimney,  at Clift Park

Saturday: – Polar Bear Plunge The annual Skaneateles Polar Bear Plunge visit, . The Skaneateles Fire Department cuts a hole through the thick ice and provides a lifesaving crew.

Taste of Skaneateles, restaurants and retail shops will feature tastes. Tickets are available that day  in the Sherwood Inn Lobby or at one of our outside locations.

Scavenger Hunt: Pick up your game sheet from any ticket location or the Sherwood Inn lobby.  Visit local shops to find letters to spell out a phrase then drop it off at a participating store to be entered into a drawing for fantastic prizes.

Sunday, January 25

SKANEATELES YMCA and Community Center host run, swim, skate, and snow shoe!  315-685-2266 or register online at

For further information and details as the date draws near, visit “Skaneateles WinterFest” on Facebook, or contact a Sunrise Rotarian, Candy Searing (685-0552 or ) or Tom Seeley (685-3416 or ).

January 25, 2015 at 4:46 pm Leave a comment

Fresh Christmas Trees in the Finger Lakes

Wilberts is our favorite cut-your-own tree farm.

Wilberts is our favorite cut-your-own tree farm.

Hunting for the perfect Christmas Tree is a great way to spend time enjoying the Finger Lakes. There are great cut your own Tree Farms across Upstate New York.

By far the hardest part is cutting it down.

By far the hardest part is cutting it down.

Remember that cutting your own tree can involve a long outdoor exposure in snow and mud. Everyone has an opinion on which kind of tree is best: strong boughs hold the ornaments best but sharp needles are tough on the hands. Choosing the right height and shape is also a matter of opinion, often leaving sap on the ceiling when you realize its too tall.


We usually buy our tree at Wilberts — where its simple — hike out with a saw and wheel it back on a tree cart. However, if you have small children you might want to try Skokie Tree Farm which has tractors with wagons that can drop you off and pick you and your tree up after you cut it. They also have lots of fun activities and snacks for kids.

Listing of Christmas Tree Farms in the Finger Lakes



November 30, 2014 at 6:33 pm Leave a comment

Otisco Lake Cycle — WOW!


View looking forth from the Causeway on the west side

View looking forth from the Causeway on the west side

A sweet little 20 mile ride around Otisco Lake is not long enough to make my seat sore — but the vertical on the west side of the lake will destroy any quads you thought you had.

Where else where you see a lunar lander but the East Lake Rd of Otisco!

Where else where you see a lunar lander but Otisco!

Park on the east side of the lake at the Lakeside Park (free but only about 6 spots!)  and head clockwise so you can enjoy the winding, picturesque Otisco Valley Road that goes right up next to the water and rides pretty flat from North to South.

Beautiful barn at sunrise

Beautiful barn at sunrise


View at the southern end of the lake as you cross the flats to the western side.

View at the southern end of the lake as you cross the flats to the western side.

Make the turn at the southern end of the lake and enjoy rolling fields of grass. Ride along the lakeside (113) up to the point of the causeway and take a break and walk out onto the causeway and enjoy the view.

Once you hop back on your bike you have an enormous climb up Stanton Rd (246) straight up the side of what feels like a mountain. You continue to climb up all the way to Route 41. Once on 41, you get beautiful glimpse of Skaneateles Lake as you race downhill towards Borodino.

It was a very windy day. This was the first time I worried that the combination of gusts and downhill speed would blow me off my bike. I think I was traveling about 40+ mph and felt myself veering into the ditch.

Otisco2Once you hit Borodino you turn right and head back to Otisco on Rt 174. You’ll pass by some very pretty barns and farm land as you head back towards the north end of the lake.

The view as you return to the northern end and ride  down the very long hill.

The view as you return to the northern end and ride down the very long hill.


There is a wonderful quick video of a bike race that goes around Otisco. It gives you a quick look   challenging and charming this ride is.

September 28, 2014 at 10:54 pm Leave a comment

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