Archive for August, 2012

Make New York State Fair Friends

Finger Lakes Summer

Making new friends at the fair

You can meet interesting people at the fair, and even more interesting animals. The Honey Man and the Honey Queen, The Camel, Grandpa and his grand kids, Sargent Pepper, a Giraffe, and some who just can’t take in another moment. Who knows?

Finger Lakes Summer

  • Thursday, Aug. 23, to Monday, Sept. 3, 2012
  • Gates open at 8 a.m. daily
  • exhibit buildings are open from 10 a.m.-10 p.m.
  • 375 acres filled with fun: Free Stuff to do and see:
    • Butter sculpture / Sand sculpture
    • Animal shows, petting zoo
    • Nightly parade at 6 p.m.
    • NEW: Monster truck show
    • NEW: BMX stunt show
    • NEW: Interactive rain forest learning exhibit
    • NEW: Midway Music Series – built around local and up-and-coming bands
    • NEW: Great Lakes Lumberjack Show

Finger Lakes Summer

Finger Lakes Summer

New York State Fair

Finger Lakes Summer

Finger Lakes Summer

Finger Lakes Summer

Finger Lakes Summer

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August 30, 2012 at 8:58 am Leave a comment

More Fun at the New York State Fair

People paid $25 each to sit in this catapult chair and get launched like a rubber band. The best part was listening to their screams amplified through a PA system.

August 29, 2012 at 9:30 am Leave a comment

Fun at the New York State Fair

We took the entire family to the New York State Fair and it was a lot of fun. The best part was singing along with the McCarthy Family in front of the Agricultural Museum. They have been performing at the fair now for 6 years.

The images below are of concert-enjoyers, and also some of the “vintage” displays inside the Agricultural Museum.

Finger Lakes Summer

Shane McCarthy before the show

Finger Lakes Summer

Enjoying “Ring of Fire.”

Finger Lakes SUmmer

“Corncert”

Finger Lakes Summer

Enjoying the concert

Finger Lakes Summer

Log Cabin INSIDE the Agricultural Museum

Finger Lakes Summer

Farm Play sets on display. My Fisher Price Farm

Finger Lakes Summer

Milk Bottle display of prize-winning milk

August 28, 2012 at 12:36 am 2 comments

Dorothy McIlroy Bird Sanctuary

Finger Lakes Summer

Dorothy McIlroy Bird Sanctuary

Small footprint — big impact. That’s what you could say about Dorothy McIlroy’s life and the 198 acres of land purchased by the Finger Lakes Land Trust, in her name, at the southern end of Lake Como. Dorothy McIlroy was a professional birder, playing a significant role in the early days of the Cornell Ornithology Lab. Her children wanted to create a bird sanctuary in her memory. When I visited I could see that there is a LOT more than just birds enjoying sanctuary.

Finger Lakes Summer

Trail is well-marked. When visiting in spring and fall, boots might be in order.

This was my opportunity to hike a “fen.” I have  bogged and swamped, and marshed, but can’t say that I have had the opportunity to explore a fen — until now.

Finger Lakes Summer

It’s only fenny ’til someone gets hurt

So what is a fen?  — according to Squidoo, “Similar to bogs, but not the same ecosystem.

  • Fens are freshwater cold region wetlands that receive their water from rivers, streams, and springs as well as rain.
  • Fens vary from mildly acidic to alkaline.
  • Fens are often found alongside bogs, but have more diverse flora and fauna.”
Finger Lakes Summer

beaver biography

That definition is clear as mud — which you’ll tramp through a lot of — regardless. According to the Finger Lakes Land Trust, “The most unusual aspect of this preserve is the variety of plant life. Rich shrub fen, peat swamp and forest thrive on either side of Falls Creek. The limestone bedrock of the creek favors fen development — the surrounding northern-type peat swamp forest makes this site exceptional. A number of plants that are uncommon or rare in our region are found at the preserve. Many species are on the State protected list.”

Finger Lakes Summer

This guy was hiking the same path as me.

How do you find this precious gem? The easiest way is to look at the map of protected lands on the FLLT web site. I drove south on 41A, past Bear Swamp, until I could take Lake Como Rd. The Lake is VERY small, so it’s easy to miss Fire Lane A with the tiny sign, as soon as you run out of lake. The Fire Lane can get very muddy, so you may want to park on the lake road and hike in to the sanctuary entrance.

Finger Lakes Summer

Why you should stay on the trail

Because there are so many varieties of plants and animals its best to stay on the trails —otherwise someone might give you the snake eye!

Dorothy McIlroy Bird Sanctuary

Trail Map

Beware:  The McIlroy Bird Sanctuary will be closed to the public during early and late bow (archery) deer season.

The Finger Lakes Land Trust has since added 86 acres of wetlands and uplands to the Dorothy McIlroy Bird Sanctuary, expanding the Summerhill haven to span 250 total acres.

The Ithaca-based conservation organization said the additional land — acquired as part of the state’s Open Space Plan using funds from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s North American Wetland Conservation Act grant program —  joins two existing portions of the McIlroy sanctuary and stretches the borders to include land along Lake Como and Peth roads.

August 19, 2012 at 1:30 am Leave a comment

Finger Lakes Fun: 2012 New York State Fair

Finger Lakes Summer

Photo contest runner-up, 2011

Here it is — everything you need to know about the 2012 New York State Fair. I’ll be attending, and you can attend too — free — compliments of the NYS Fair — if you let me know your favorite fair memory. I have tickets to give away, so impress me. I’ll pick a winner August 22, contact you, and you can pick up your (2) FREE tickets at Will Call.

  • Thursday, Aug. 23, to Monday, Sept. 3, 2012
  • Gates open at 8 a.m. daily
  • exhibit buildings are open from 10 a.m.-10 p.m.
  • 375 acres filled with fun: Free Stuff to do and see:
    • Butter sculpture / Sand sculpture
    • Animal shows, petting zoo
    • Nightly parade at 6 p.m.
    • NEW: Monster truck show
    • NEW: BMX stunt show
    • NEW: Interactive rain forest learning exhibit
    • NEW: Midway Music Series – built around local and up-and-coming bands
    • NEW: Great Lakes Lumberjack Show
    • Different acts each day at 2 and 8 p.m.
    • All shows at Chevy Court are free with Fair admission
Finger Lakes Summer

Photo Contest Winner — 2011

Signature State Fair Food:

  • Lots of food deals: $0.25 cup of fresh milk, $1 baked potatoes (Horticulture Bldg.), hot beef sundaes, salt potatoes
  • Deep-fried mac & cheese, mashed potatoes, candy bars, cheesecake, PB&J sandwiches
  • Dinosaur Bar-B-Que, Gianelli sausage sandwiches
  • Big Kahuna Donut Dog

Tickets:

  • General admission is $10 (children under 12 free every day)
  • Advance sale tickets $6 – save 40% – (on sale at a variety of locations throughout New York State, click here for a full list).
    • Can also purchase six-day frequent fair passes (valid for one person) $30, pre-paid parking passes for one day $5

Special Days:

  • Senior Citizen Days: Aug. 27 & 28 (free admission 60 and older)
  • Veterans Day: Aug. 30 (free with military ID)
  • Student’s Day: Aug. 31 (free admission for students 16 and under)
  • Native American Day: Aug. 31 (free admission for Native Americans)
  • NEW: College Night: Aug. 31 (college students will receive vendor discounts)
Finger Lakes Summer

photo contest runner-up 2011

Midway:

  • Unlimited rides for one price: $25 wristbands on six days
    • Thurs 8/23, Fri 8/24, Mon 8/27, Tues 8/28, Wed 8/29, Thurs 8/30
  • This year we will again offer the Discount Strates Shows Midway FunCard worth $24 for only $14 if you purchase by Aug. 22
    • Available at most advance sale locations
    • 24 credits per card each ride requires 2 or more credit.
    • A savings of $10 off the regular ride book price.
    • The FunCard System replaces traditional ride books and individual tickets with a single electronic, bar coded card that can be used on all of the of the rides at the Midway and Kiddieland.
  • NEW: This year, Fairgoers can also buy advance sale midway wristbands and ride tickets online through Aug. 22. There will be a price discount for those purchasing online.

 Mobile Fair Site:

  • A mobile version of nysfair.org
  • It functions like an app on a smartphone and allows smartphone users to have easy access to the most popular Fair information (concerts, visitor guide, food guide, etc.)

QR Code:

  • NEW: This year, QR Codes will be placed on agricultural signage around the Fairgrounds allowing Fairgoers to scan the QR Codes and learn more about NYS Fair agriculture.
  • There is a QR Code on the advance sale posters and counter cards at all advance sale ticket locations. The QR Code will also be placed on print ads.
  • If you can scan the QR Code with a smartphone, you can enter into a drawing to win a free, one-day parking pass to the Fair.
  • Those without a smartphone can text “parking” to 24587 to be entered into the free parking drawing.

Updates:

August 14, 2012 at 11:35 pm 3 comments

The 1820 House — A Sunset View of Skaneateles

There are not many places in the Finger Lakes where you can get a great meal AND a spectacular view at the same time. The 1820 House will serve you both. Skaneateles locals love this off-the-beaten-trail restaurant because its quiet, consistently delicious, without being as expensive as what you might get on the main drag.

Continue Reading August 11, 2012 at 7:01 am Leave a comment

Combine the great tastes of the Finger Lakes at the Farm and Fork

It’s a hot Saturday summer night. We enjoy a long drive rolling through the heart of the Finger lakes, headed for Trumansburg. As the sun grows low in the sky, we park the car, looking at a normal-looking farm and barn. Can this be it?

Silver Queen Farm plays host to a monthly gourmet, farm-driven meal, known as the The Farm & Fork. The Farm & Fork is a collaboration between a caterer and local farms. The third Saturday evening of each month they welcome guests for a gourmet meal prepared with just-picked vegetables and fruits from the Finger Lakes Region.

Continue Reading August 6, 2012 at 12:52 am Leave a comment


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