Posts tagged ‘canadaigua’

Fly Above the Finger Lakes

Finger Lakes SummerThe best way to see the Finger Lakes is to get a view from 3,000 feet. Finger Lakes Flight School provided me a great view of the stunning landscape while simultaneously allowing me to cross an item off my bucket list — riding in a plane with my 17-year old son flying. I should have read the warning. “Before taking off remove stomach.”

Finger Lakes SummerOur pilot, Mike, has been flying for almost 60 years. He was Nick’s teacher and told us that he had learned to fly as a teenager in Honeoye Falls. Apparently he did not get along with his bus driver, so he would fly to high school.

Finger Lakes SummerOur plane carried the 4 of us packed into a space so small we had to be instructed, one at a time, on how to get in. If you never have flown in a single engine Cessna, picture fashioning a your private plane out of tin foil, sliding into it like a foot using a shoe horn to get in a shoe. The propeller spins like a propeller on a wind-up balsa-wood plane. You look out the window and you are 3,000 feet above the earth. Remind yourself to breathe, and tell yourself over and over that you are PERFECTLY SAFE.

Finger Lakes SummerMike was gracious and generous as a flight instructor. We took off and headed north to Lake Ontario. Once we hit the coast we headed towards downtown Rochester, flying over Irondequoit Bay, downtown Rochester and back over Canandaigua Lake. The view along the shoreline of the lake is spectacular. It was a beautifully clear day. The sun came out and I could see the shadows of the trees projected over the lake edge. OK, maybe this is not too scary.

Finger Lakes SummerWhat I noticed most about the Finger Lakes landscape is an abundance of fresh water. Lakes, ponds, rivers and winding creeks between a checkerboard of farmland.

Now that I am on the ground again, and still breathing, I highly recommend you take a flight over the Finger Lakes.

For more information on flying.


March 16, 2012 at 2:44 am Leave a comment

The Constellation Performing Arts Center has music for everyone

A beautiful HOT summer Saturday evening and we are sitting comfortably on the lawn behind the amphitheater of CMAC listening to an incredible performance by Steely Dan.

Continue Reading August 28, 2011 at 7:50 am Leave a comment

Conklin Gully: Full of Falls

Finger Lakes Summer

A heavy rain the night before left pools full and surfaces glistening

I love gully hiking. Gully hiking with waterfalls and frogs are a plus, and Conklin Gully has lots of both. This gully is a spectacular treasure that has views on par with Watkins Glen, but is much less travelled and beautifully preserved.  The day I chose to hike was a perfect 70 degrees. There had been a heavy rain the night before so the creek was flowing nicely, and the rocks were glistening with color.

Finger Lakes Summer

One frog that was not afraid of me

Finger Lakes Summer

Here is the spot where you can park, right next to Parrish Hill Rd.

Conklin Gully is located in the High Tor Wildlife management Area at the south end of Canandaigua Lake, just north of the town of Naples. The easiest way to access the Gully is via a parking lot on RT 245 (Rushville Rd), just before Parish Hill Rd.

Finger Lakes Summer

Circular rock walls rise up from the creek bed

This is a hike that requires you to wear good shoes and to be able to hike in the stream. It can be very slippery in parts and if you continue up past several of the smaller waterfalls you are faced with much steeper climbs, requiring the use of ropes, tree roots and reckless confidence.

Finger Lakes Summer

Every turn brings a beautiful new set of waterfalls

Each bend in the stream presents a new breath-taking view of cascading water over angular planes of stone. Many of the waterfalls are 10’high or less. Sometimes the walls are mossy and lined with ferns, and sometimes you look up 100 feet, at sheer cliff walls.

Finger Lakes Summer

I'm still seeing this image when I close my eyes.

Several falls up I encountered a really bizarre sight. I pulled myself gingerly up over the top of a broad rock ledge only to face a solid carpet of dead millipedes. I must have discovered the sacred burial grounds!

Finger Lakes Summer

At this point there were no more ropes, trails or easy ways up. My kinda fun.

I followed the creek up for about 90 minutes and never ran out of creek bed. I finally came to a waterfall too high, slippery and steep to scale. Looking for the path where others had gone, I scrambled up several hundred feet of a very steep hillside, using stone ledges, tree roots and tree trunks. Warning:  Don’t look down until you get to the top.

Finger Lakes Summer

This is why you have to climb up to the top — so you can look back down

At the top I found a well-marked trail with red blazes. I followed that for another 15 minutes until I saw a wooden box mounted on a tree marked FLT.

Finger Lakes Summer

View from the red ridge trail.

At this point I heard the first rumblings of thunder. I turned around and started trotting back down hill. The red rail led to a blue trail. The blue trail led to the parking lot. I climbed into my car just as it started to pour.

This was the perfect hike. If you wanted to take younger children on this gully hike, the first half mile is pretty safe and full of frogs and waterfalls.

Finger Lakes Summer

Gully Map showing ridge trail (approximate) on south side.

August 21, 2011 at 7:00 am 1 comment

Bristol Mountain: Tops in Skiing

Tucked between Honeoye and Canandaigua Lakes, Bristol Mountain Ski Resort sports the highest vertical between the Catskills and the Rockies, at 1200′. There are 138 acres of total skiable terrain. Most all lit for night skiing, and most with snow making.

Bristol Mountain is open 7 days a week 9am-10pm, (night skiing mid December to mid-March). The mountain features 2 terrain parks and an Olympic-size halfpipe for snowboarders. And 2 large Nordic loops for traditional or skate skiing. It has 6 lifts, 2 are high-speed quad chairs.

Continue Reading February 5, 2011 at 3:20 am Leave a comment

Finger Lakes Summer eats South of the Border.

Mexican food in Canandaigua

Rio Tomatlan, Beeman Street, downtown Canandaigua

Rio Tomatlon offers authentic Mexican cuisine in downtown Canandaigua. The décor is colorful and appetizing with bright colors of teal, orange and magenta and lots of beautiful artwork. The friendly bar, which is visible when you first walk in, is stocked with more than 50 varietes of tequila!

Rio Tomatlan inside

The bar at Rio Tomatlan

Festive colors inside the finger lakes restaurant

Interior of Rio Tomatlan

We ask our waitress, Jaime, what her favorites are. She recommends the Chile Rellenos, (stuffed pepper) We order a Bocadilla, Ceviche,  plus Primera Pesados, Chile Rellenos and Enchillada Roja.

Juan, the owner, comes out of the kitchen for a few minutes to chat. Turns out his Mom, Maria, owns El Rincon, on Ridge Road in Rochester, and she taught him to cook. Everything he prepares is made from scratch and he uses locally grown produce. The food is delicious — especially the ceviche.  I am a bit of a ceviche freak. I make my own. My neighbor, Jim, makes the best I have ever had. I would order Juan’s ceviche again!

Mural at Rio Tomatlan

Mural: Lady Pink

Lunch at Rio Tomatlan

Enchilladas Rojas

Lunch at Rio Tomatlan

Shrimp Ceviche

Pastel Tres Leches

Pastel Tres Leches

Juan recommends we try his signature dessert, Pastel Tres Leches prepared with cream, condensed milk, and coconut milk and a shot of mescal. Creamy sweet and delicious — this is unusual and worth saving room for.

Also on his recommendation, we head over to the tattoo parlor down the street to meet the artist who created all the murals and paintings decorating the walls.

When in Canandaigua take a side trip to Mexico — via Rio Tomatlan.


April 23, 2010 at 5:04 pm 2 comments

Tasting Tour at F. Olivers creates Finger Lakes flavor!

April’s posts will feature a variety of fun things to do in and around Canandaigua Lake. First stop:  Flavor!

F. Olivers Oils and Vinegars opened it’s doors for business in April on Main Street in downtown Canandaigua. The store’s interior is painted with bright colors and the walls  lined with fustis, sturdy metal containers to hold the 40 varieties of oils and vinegars.

Fustis line the walls at F. Olivers

Fustis line the brightly colored walls at F. Olivers

F. Olivers sells flavor-infused oils and vinegars, small batch extra virgin olive oils, and aged balsamic vinegars. Each is available for tasting right from the tap. We filmed our tasting tour with the owner, Penelope, and she graciously educated us on the variety of gourmet products she sells.

Try the delicious balsamic vinegars at F. Olivers

Beautifully packaged balsamic vinegar

We purchased the Pomegranate-infused balsamic vinegar which is sweet enough to put directly on ice cream, but would make a great salad dressing.

F. Olivers is located at 129 South Main Street Canandaigua, New York, or you can shop online at


April 10, 2010 at 7:00 am Leave a comment

What to do when it’s not summer?

So it’s not sunny and 85 degrees. That might dampen the spirits of warm-blooded lovers of the Fingerlakes, but there are still LOTS of awesome things to do and places to go.

A drive along route 20 is a great way to start. There are antique stores, great spots to eat and charming little towns like Canandaigua, Geneva and Skaneateles.

While you’re in Canandaigua, don’t forget to stop at Phoenix Coffee, run by my friends Joe and Sue Wierzbowski. (Isn’t it ironic that a guy named “Joe” runs a coffee shop?).

Check out their website and see what a charming location this really is!

Phoenix coffee has great baked goods and a really friendly atmosphere, and Joe makes a great brunch on Sundays.

February 9, 2010 at 1:24 pm Leave a comment

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