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A Toast to 2015
A Toast to 2015
On this final day of the year, I want to take a moment to remember just a smattering of all the exciting events and experiences that took place throughout Corning and the Southern Finger Lakes in 2015.

I also get to reminisce about some of the fun aspects of my job working for Steuben County's official Purveyors of Fun!

2015 Travel Resolutions courtesy of Bob Magee
2015 Travel Resolutions courtesy of Bob Magee
So here is a mostly photographic Finger Lakes Year in Review.

JANUARY

Last January, we explored the benefits of travel and contemplated a different sort of New Year's Resolution, one that included making time for getting away.

Hot Glass Show courtesy of The Corning Museum of Glass
Hot Glass Show courtesy of The Corning Museum of Glass

In January we celebrated the Craft Beer movement in the region. Did you know over half of all the craft breweries in New York State are located in the Finger Lakes? That's pretty awesome, especially if you or someone you know loves beer.

Craft Beer courtesy of Stu Gallagher
Craft Beer courtesy of Stu Gallagher

FEBRUARY

Bed & Breakfast owners, winemakers, brewers, restauranteurs, and shop owners in Hammondsport created a new romantic event for Valentine's Day weekend called the Hammondsport Winter Stroll.

We also had the pleasure of learning a new recipe from one of our extremely creative culinary experts, Chef Debbie Meritsky from Black Sheep Inn and Spa, as she collaborated with her neighbor, Brewer Douglas Shuckers from The Brewery of Broken Dreams, to create some delicious beer batter pancakes with ganache.

Beer Batter Pancakes with Ganache
Beer Batter Pancakes with Ganache

The Finger Lakes Beer Trail launched the Beer Passport which was a huge success. So much so that they've taken the one-time six-week passport and made it a yearlong ticket to savings and special opportunities from January 1st through December 31st 2016.

MARCH

It's difficult to imagine the world's largest anything doubling in size, but that's what The Corning Museum of Glass did in March as it unveiled the new 100,000 square foot Contemporary Art + Design Wing.

Corning Museum of Glass Contemporary Art + Design Wing courtesy of Stu Gallagher
Corning Museum of Glass Contemporary Art + Design Wing courtesy of Stu Gallagher

March marked the return of popular annual events like the St. Patrick's Day Parade in Hornell, and Cabin Fever in Corning's Gaffer District.

Cabin Fever courtesy of Cagwin Photography
Cabin Fever courtesy of Cagwin Photography

In March I met the first of many travel writers and bloggers coming to see the Corning Museum of Glass expansion, enthusiastic adventurers who simply love travel and are usually up for just about anything.

I spent the next nine months exploring all the corners of our region with wonderful people from Virginia, Maryland, Washington DC, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Michigan, Wisconsin, Toronto, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Florida, as well as a couple nomads who spend most of the year on the road, or in far off exotic places, and other adventurers from New York City, Philadelphia, and Toronto.

In October I had the pleasure of meeting several fun, witty writers from Israel. And they all found their way to Corning and the Southern Finger Lakes.

Travel Blogger April Morning Kayak Adventure
Travel Blogger April Morning Kayak Adventure

APRIL

2 Crocked Pots Artist at work in Studio
2 Crocked Pots Artist at work in Studio
For the past several years now, April brings Arts in Bloom, a weekend celebration of the arts with studio open houses and special performances throughout Steuben County. Meet artists, watch them create, and learn what inspires them. There are painters, potters, writers, mixed-media artists, and photographers, as well as special events at local galleries.
Pullman Paintings
Pullman Paintings

I got to spend the day with some charming people exploring museums, shops, and even Corning's newest brewery, Iron Flamingo.

Iron Flamingo courtesy of Stu Gallagher
Iron Flamingo courtesy of Stu Gallagher

The Benjamin Patterson Inn Museum got a new name and a fresh look transforming into Heritage Village of the Southern Finger Lakes. The museum compound - which is home of a number of historic buildings, like the Inn, a log cabin, one-room school house, and blacksmith shop - offers a number of fun events, like the awesome Murder Mystery night I got to attend with several travel bloggers, as well as workshops in blacksmithing, hearth cooking, and more historic crafts.

Heritage Village of the Southern Finger Lakes
Heritage Village of the Southern Finger Lakes

MAY

Each May, we celebrate the fire arts in Corning with GlassFest, an event that has been named one of the American Bus Association's Top 100 Events in North America, year after year. With live demonstrations, cool vendors, music, and . . . well, you need to just come check it out for yourself and see why it's become such a big deal.

GlassFest Fire Eater courtesy of Cagwin Photography
GlassFest Fire Eater courtesy of Cagwin Photography

In the middle of May, you'll also find Craft Beer Week celebrated all over the country. With special events featuring food and beer pairings, live music and a variety of other options, Finger Lakes Craft Beer Week has really taken off. But in 2015, we saw the world's first ever boil for Glass Bier – where glass artists and a local brewer collaborated to create a new style of beer based on a traditional style of Stein Bier, but with the twist of using molten gobs of glass to boil the wort. I can't wait to see what exciting events will be happening during Finger Lakes Craft Beer Week 2016!

World's First Glas Bier Boil & Tasting - Finger Lakes Craft Beer Week
World's First Glas Bier Boil & Tasting - Finger Lakes Craft Beer Week

In May I caught a behind-the-scenes look at how sparkling wine is made at Chateau Frank, which celebrated it's 30th Anniversary in 2015. Sparkling winemaker, Eric Bauman, gave me a private tour.

Chateau Frank Sparkling Winemaker Eric Bauman courtesy of Stu Gallagher
Chateau Frank Sparkling Winemaker Eric Bauman courtesy of Stu Gallagher

JUNE

In June we explored some Lake Fun and were excited for the chance to get out on the water.

Tubing on Keuka Lake courtesy of Chris Brooks
Tubing on Keuka Lake courtesy of Chris Brooks

June was also when The Battle of Lain's Mill Civil War Re-enactment took place out in Canisteo.

Battle of Lain's Mill courtesy of Jolynn Prunoske
Battle of Lain's Mill courtesy of Jolynn Prunoske

JULY

As if anyone needs a reason to visit the Glenn H. Curtiss Museum aside from the simple fact that the place is a treasure of vintage planes, cars, and motorcycles, the New York Harley Davidson Group held their annual H.O.G. Rally in Corning and the Southern Finger Lakes which included numerous visits to the Curtiss Museum, and various rides along our scenic byways.

Curtiss Vintage Engine Motorcycle
Curtiss Vintage Engine Motorcycle

In July I met the inspiring Heather Houskeeper, aka The Botanical Hiker, as she hiked through the region as part of her nearly 1,000 mile journey hiking the entirety of the Finger Lakes Trail which had her trekking and sleeping on the trail for two months including the very wet month of June.

Heather Houskeeper Interviewed for WENY TV
Heather Houskeeper Interviewed for WENY TV

Heather is writing a book about her experience, which also includes information about edible plants she found along the way.

AUGUST

In August, Wine Bloggers from all over the world descended on Corning for the annual Wine Bloggers Conference. The bloggers we treated to a number of educational panels and a variety of eciting excursions including one special evening in Hammondsport including a special dinner, and tastings from Chateau Frank, Heron Hill Winery, Ravines Wine Cellars, and Pleasant Valley Wine Company

Pleasant Valley Wine Company & Great Western Champagne courtesy of Stu Gallagher
Pleasant Valley Wine Company & Great Western Champagne courtesy of Stu Gallagher

I wrote about just some of the Pretty Awesome Perks that come with my job. I mean, sometimes I get to leave the office and kayak on Keuka Lake, take travel writers wine tasting, hold photo shoots or capture photography in some of the most fun and most beautiful places.

Kayaking courtesy of Stu Gallagher
Kayaking courtesy of Stu Gallagher

The Finger Lakes Boating Museum got some TLC courtesy of a local boy scout troop as part of an Eagle Scout Project as several industrious boys worked on restoring the historic buildings wooden doors.

Finger Lakes Boating Museum Door Restoration Eagle Scout Project courtesy of Stu Gallagher
Finger Lakes Boating Museum Door Restoration Eagle Scout Project courtesy of Stu Gallagher

Inside the museum, one of the volunteers in the Restoration Shop worked on restoring a handcrafted wooden boat.

Finger Lakes Boating Museum Restoration Shop courtesy of Stu Gallagher
Finger Lakes Boating Museum Restoration Shop courtesy of Stu Gallagher

SEPTEMBER

I got to visit some awesome new craft beverage businesses like Wild Brute Winery in Arkport and Four Fights Distilling in Corning.

Wild Brute Winery & Four Fights Distillery
Wild Brute Winery & Four Fights Distillery

I had a chance to get out on Keuka Lake with the talented Stu Gallagher and do some kayaking which might just be one of the most relaxing physical activities I've ever done, and certainly one I can't do enough. Talk about peaceful, and awesome views.

Oh, and don't forget some great lakeside dining with new friends.

Lakeside Dining and Drinking at The Waterfront courtesy of Stu Gallagher
Lakeside Dining and Drinking at The Waterfront courtesy of Stu Gallagher

At the end of September, I had a chance to take a hike at Stony Brook State Park - one of my favorite places. I met a number of people who were out enjoying the autumn weather and the scenic waterfalls.

Stony Brook State Park
Stony Brook State Park

Finger Lakes Boating Museum and Steuben Brewing Company each celebrated their 1-Year Anniversaries with fun events.

Finger Lakes Boating Museum & Steuben Brewing Company Anniversaries
Finger Lakes Boating Museum & Steuben Brewing Company Anniversaries

OCTOBER

The 34th Annual Wineglass Marathon saw a record number of runners, and the Half Marathon included a local media celeb and her family. This year's guest runner donated her medal to a volunteer at the local Red Cross. 

Wineglass Marathon courtesy of Wineglass Marathon
Wineglass Marathon courtesy of Wineglass Marathon

Cider Creek Hard Cider opened its very cool tasting room in Canisteo. You have to see this place! while you're there, enjoy the cider, as well as NYS craft beers, and wines. 

Cider Creek Hard Cider courtesy of Carter Saunders
Cider Creek Hard Cider courtesy of Carter Saunders

Members from the Israeli Media and I Love New York visited Corning and the Southern Finger Lakes and got to experience small town Halloween fun in Hammondsport.

NOVEMBER

The Rockwell Museum was named a Smithsonian Affiliate, the only museum in upstate New York to hold that distinction. WooHoo!!!

The Rockwell Museum courtesy of Stu Gallagher
The Rockwell Museum courtesy of Stu Gallagher

People gathered in Hornell for the annual Holiday Aglow and in Corning for the 20th Annual Parade of Lights.

DECEMBER

After nine months of work, our Craft Your Adventure video was complete, celebrating the craft breweries in Corning and the Southern Finger Lakes - see it here on YouTube.

Of course, now we have an awesome cidery and a distillery, plus more wonderful purveyors of tasty libations coming to the area soon. Get your palates ready for more deliciousness in 2016!

Point of the Bluff Vineyards courtesy of Stu Gallagher
Point of the Bluff Vineyards courtesy of Stu Gallagher

A new year means the return of the popular annual events mentioned above, and other favorites like Keuka in Bloom, Fourth of July Fun, Finger Lakes Wine Festival, Seaplane Homecoming, Southern Tier Outdoor Recreation Expo, Finger Lakes Beer Festival, Parade of Lights, Sparkle, and so much more.

We're also bringing new content to our award-winning website with Destination Weddings.

Heron Hill Wedding courtesy of Hitched Studios
Heron Hill Wedding courtesy of Hitched Studios

As 2015 comes to a close, it's the perfect time to start planning what extraordinary things you want to experience in the coming year. Need help? Request the 2016 Travel Guide which is full of information. Or give us a call - 607.936.6544 - and we'll be glad to give you some ideas. We wish you a safe and wonderful New Year! Hope to see you in 2016!!!

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Attractions, Beer, Cool and Fun, Dining, Events, Family Fun, History, Museums, Wine Fun, Wineglass Marathon, Women Only Weekends

Cabin Fever courtesy of Cagwin Photography
Cabin Fever courtesy of Cagwin Photography
Look, I know we are smack dab in the middle of December and that 2016 is only two weeks away. TWO WEEKS!!! It still seems impossible that another year could have flown by so quickly. But it has.

One thing that's becoming more and more obvious to me is that time doesn't slow down. If anything, it seems to speed up year after year. We get busier and busier at least.

That's why I'm making myself a promise: New Year! New Adventure!

Make Your Own Glass courtesy of The Corning Museum of Glass
Make Your Own Glass courtesy of The Corning Museum of Glass

And I get why some people think of Winter and are ready to hibernate.

I get why they sometimes spend January, February, and March yearning for the months to come. But, since the entire year comes and goes so quickly anymore, why not make the most of the winter months we typically spend waiting by having fun then?

Tasting courtesy of Carter Saunders
Tasting courtesy of Carter Saunders

Winter in Wine Country might just be one of the best times of year to get away if for no other reason than the fact that everyone else isn't doing it. Enjoy the same great wines, but with less people around.

Wine Tasting at Bully Hill courtesy of Stu Gallagher
Wine Tasting at Bully Hill courtesy of Stu Gallagher

"Visitors can travel to the Finger Lakes year-round. . . . Winter and spring are low tourist season, but the wine-tasting experience is more personal and less crowded, a great time to visit the Finger Lakes." – Travel + Leisure

You can still visit world-class museums, watch amazing hot glass shows, and create a one-of-a-kind masterpiece with your own hands, while feeling like you have the place to yourself.

Glassblowing Demonstration courtesy of Gary Hodges and The Corning Museum of Glass
Glassblowing Demonstration courtesy of Gary Hodges and The Corning Museum of Glass

Chances are, during the winter months, the person pouring those award-winning wines at the winery might just be the owner or winemaker–or the brewer if you love craft beers.

Railhead Brewing courtesy of Stu Gallagher
Railhead Brewing courtesy of Stu Gallagher

Views of snow-covered vineyards and frosty fields add an almost magical quality to the natural beauty of the region.

Winter Vineyard and Lake View courtesy of Jake Cornelius
Winter Vineyard and Lake View courtesy of Jake Cornelius

The exceptional wines that make the Finger Lakes region one of USA Today's "Favorite Under-the-Radar Wine Regions," the tasty brews that have Ben Jay from The New York Times claiming, "The Finger Lakes in western New York State have long been a top destination for wine lovers, but the region is quickly becoming a haven for beer drinkers as well," the same delicious Saison Reserve cider from Cider Creek which Don Ayres of Paste Magazine named as one of 10 Ciders Craft Beer Drinkers Will Love, all of these things are still here for you to enjoy. But without any crowds or lines.

Cider Creek Hard Cider courtesy of Carter Saunders
Cider Creek Hard Cider courtesy of Carter Saunders

In winter, you can still experience why Kayti Burt of Wanderful wrote: "Corning's main thoroughfare, Market Street, is far cooler than it has any right to be for a city of just 11,000 residents. Filled with artsy boutiques, restaurants, and even a cupcake shop, Market Street is a relaxing place to shop or grab a bite to eat before or after spending time in the city's many museums."

Market Street Brewing BBQ Chicken Sandwich and Sweet Potato Fries
Market Street Brewing BBQ Chicken Sandwich and Sweet Potato Fries

Winter in Wine Country also means cool annual events like Wine on Ice in January, the Hammondsport Winter Stroll in February, and Cabin Fever in March featuring wine and beer tastings and more.

Cabin Fever courtesy of Cagwin Photography
Cabin Fever courtesy of Cagwin Photography

So, yes, winter is upon us. But know that doesn't mean you have to put fun on hold. In fact, it's actually the perfect time to get away to wine country.

Winter Pheasant courtesy of Bob Magee
Winter Pheasant courtesy of Bob Magee

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Attractions, Beer, Cool and Fun, Dining, Events, Museums, Wine Fun, Women Only Weekends

2 Crocked Pots - Made in Corning and the Southern Finger Lakes
2 Crocked Pots - Made in Corning and the Southern Finger Lakes
Corning and the Southern Finger Lakes is known for excellence. Whether it's our remarkable landscape, our world-class museums, or the exceptional wines, beers and other craft beverages we produce.

As a way of providing visitors access to many of the quality products made right here in Corning and the Southern Finger Lakes, we have brought many of our talented artisans and master craftspeople together under one brand - Made in Corning and the Southern Finger Lakes.

Looking for functional art? Experience the beautiful ceramic art of Pam and Cub Storms from 2 Crocked Pots, like one-of-a-kind handmade pots, meticulously hand-painted, with no duplicates. Tour the studio, visit the showroom, watch Cub and Pam use various techniques to create beautiful ceramic works of art.

2 Crocked Pots - Made in Corning and the Southern Finger Lakes
2 Crocked Pots - Made in Corning and the Southern Finger Lakes

In addition to wheel-thrown pottery, Pam has also created an extensive line of "wearable art" jewelry.

2 Crocked Post Jewelry - Made in Corning and the Southern Finger Lakes
2 Crocked Post Jewelry - Made in Corning and the Southern Finger Lakes

Love animals? Know someone who enjoys working with fleece or yarn? Heavenly Sunset Farm is home to over 40 alpacas, plus three Great Pyrenees dogs, and other livestock. Stop by to see the animals or visit the Heavenly Soft Fibers farm store which features a variety of soft, warm, wonderful products made with alpaca fiber.

Heavenly Sunset Farm Alpaca
Heavenly Sunset Farm Alpaca

Raw fleece, rovings and yarn (and accessories made from it) are 100% from the farm's alpacas.

Heavenly Soft Fibers Farm Store
Heavenly Soft Fibers Farm Store

Want to do some shopping and try your own hand at creating something special? Hands-On Glass Studio has an array of beautiful glass art already made right in the studio, but they also offer hands-on glassmaking opportunities.

Hands-On Glass Studio - Made in Corning and the Southern Finger Lakes
Hands-On Glass Studio - Made in Corning and the Southern Finger Lakes

Blow a glass ornament. Shape glass into a flower. Call the studio to set up an appointment and create a work of art for someone special.

Hands-On Glass Studio - Made in Corning and the Southern Finger Lakes
Hands-On Glass Studio - Made in Corning and the Southern Finger Lakes

Heritage Village of the Southern Finger Lakes is more than a collection of historical buildings. It's a living history museum with special events throughout the year featuring costumed docents and reenactments. It's also a wonderful spot for unique workshops and classes, like those offered in the blacksmith shop.

Heritage Village of the Southern Finger Lakes
Heritage Village of the Southern Finger Lakes

For interesting metal products made by the museum's resident blacksmiths, stop by the museum's shop.

Heritage Village of the Southern Finger Lakes - Made in Corning and the Southern Finger Lakes
Heritage Village of the Southern Finger Lakes - Made in Corning and the Southern Finger Lakes

Stop by SoulShine Studio for some beautiful glass bead jewelry.

Soulshine Studio Jewelry - Made in Corning and the Southern Finger Lakes
Soulshine Studio Jewelry - Made in Corning and the Southern Finger Lakes

Or grab a few friends and take a class beading your own keepsake.

Soulshine Studio Jewelry - Made in Corning and the Southern Finger Lakes
Soulshine Studio Jewelry - Made in Corning and the Southern Finger Lakes

Of course, in addition to the wonderful products you can find at each of the respective producers, you can find items from all of the Made in Corning and the Southern Finger Lakes producers at Corning's Information Center located on Centwerway Square.

To learn more about the wonderful products and our other Made in Corning & the Southern Finger Lakes producers, visit our Made Local page. And keep your eyes out for the Made in Corning & the Southern Finger Lakes logo which is a sign of quality, locally made goods.

Made in Corning and the Southern Finger Lakes Logo
Made in Corning and the Southern Finger Lakes Logo

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Cool and Fun, Family Fun, Master-Crafted Series, Museums

Steuben Brewing Company
Steuben Brewing Company
October is the perfect time to savor the scents, sights and flavors of harvest, and that includes the variety of tasty beverages being created by our exceptional Craft Brewers, Ciderists, and Distillers. Oh, and there's an awesome annual event next weekend - Finger Lakes Beer Festival - where you can sample local brews, spirits, food, and more.

Let's face it, the Finger Lakes is a world-class wine destination with good reason.

Great Western Champagne and Pleasant Valley Wine Company courtesy of Stu Gallagher
Great Western Champagne and Pleasant Valley Wine Company courtesy of Stu Gallagher

In addition to a rich history of revolutionizing winemaking in the US and a reputation for making excellent wines, we also have magnificent landscapes and extraordinary things to do.

Autumn Wine Tasting at Heron Hill courtesy of Stu Gallagher
Autumn Wine Tasting at Heron Hill courtesy of Stu Gallagher

And while Finger Lakes Wine Country continues to grow with more and more new wineries opening each year, like Wild Brute Winery which opened its tasting room in Arkport earlier this year, there are a number of other craft beverage enthusiasts chasing their dreams of crafting delicious beverages that aren't made with grapes.

Wild Brute Tasting Event
Wild Brute Tasting Event

We're excited to see the number of quality Craft Beverage producers in Corning and the Southern Finger Lakes growing exponentially. Adding an ever-increasing variety of choices when it comes to what sort of beverages are available to enjoy, and also more and more creative collaborations between these entrepreneurs providing guests with multi-sensory tasting options and events.

Along with Wild Brute Winery, two new businesses have opened in the western part of the region: Railhead Brewing Company in Hornell and Cider Creek Hard Cider in Canisteo.

Wild Brute Winery
Wild Brute Winery

Railhead has been crafting tasty brews and wood-oven pizzas since this time last year, and their following has continued to grow.

Railhead Brewing Company Brews and Pizzas courtesy of Stu Gallagher
Railhead Brewing Company Brews and Pizzas courtesy of Stu Gallagher
Cider Creek Hard Cider opened its new tasting room last weekend, offering locals and visitors to the Hornell and Canisteo area more delicious options, like their exceptional ciders, plus other New York State beers, wines, and spirits.
Cider Creek Hard Cider courtesy of Carter Saunders
Cider Creek Hard Cider courtesy of Carter Saunders

In Hammondsport, Steuben Brewing and The Brewery of Broken Dreams joined Keuka Brewing Company and Finger Lakes Beer Company to offer a great selection of craft beer styles and experiences.

The Brewery of Broken Dreams courtesy of Stu Gallagher
The Brewery of Broken Dreams courtesy of Stu Gallagher
In Corning, Iron Flamingo Brewery opened earlier this year and their beers can already be found in a number of local bars and restaurants, while Four Fights Distilling just put out it's first creation – a flavorful full-bodied Vodka.
Iron Flamingo - photos courtesy of Stu Gallagher
Iron Flamingo - photos courtesy of Stu Gallagher

Plans for the tasting room at Four Fights are underway and should be open for tastings by the summer of 2016, though you can find their Crystal City Vodka in local liquor stores.

Four Fights Distilling - Crystal City Vodka
Four Fights Distilling - Crystal City Vodka

You'll find a few of these craft beverage tastemakers – Four Fights, Keuka Brewing, Iron Flamingo, and Finger Lakes Beer Company - at the Finger Lakes Beer Festival on October 24th at Watkins Glen International.

Keuka Brewing Company courtesy of Stu Gallagher
Keuka Brewing Company courtesy of Stu Gallagher
With great local foods, live entertainment, and a huge selection of Finger Lakes craft beers and spirits, this is one event you'll want to experience for yourself.

Finger Lakes Beer Festival courtesy of Watkins Glen International
Finger Lakes Beer Festival courtesy of Watkins Glen International

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Beer, Cool and Fun, Events, History, Wine Fun, Women Only Weekends

2014 Wineglass Half Marathon courtesy of The Wineglass Marathon
2014 Wineglass Half Marathon courtesy of The Wineglass Marathon
On October 4th 2015, not long after dawn arrives, over 6,000 runners from around the world will take part in the 34th Annual Wineglass Marathon race day, with about 3,300 of those runners competing in the 5th Annual Wineglass Half Marathon.

For a number of half-marathoners, including local television reporter Logan Wilson, the race will mark the first time they've run that far – a half marathon being 13.1 miles, a full marathon coming in at 26.2 miles.

Logan Wilson - WENY TV
Logan Wilson - WENY TV
Logan is a Philly girl. She grew up there and went to college at Temple before getting a job as a Reporter at WENY TV in Horseheads. She comes from an athletic family. Her dad played college basketball and has been coaching the varsity team at her old high school for years. Her mom turned down a chance as an Olympic racquetball player to go to college. Her dad's dad had been picked up by the Philadelphia Phillies, but had to give up playing ball after an accident affected his vision. Her younger brother currently plays college basketball. And her uncle owns an Olympic Track Club. You get the picture. Logan grew up surrounded by sports.

She also grew up a huge fan of the US National Team and played high school soccer herself. She loved it. But, unlike the rest of her family, she sort of burned out. By the end of her junior year, she was over it - the playing, that is. She's still a faithful fan.

2012 Wineglass Marathon courtesy of The Wineglass Marathon
2012 Wineglass Marathon courtesy of The Wineglass Marathon
Despite all that inherited athleticism, Logan will be the first to tell you she's never been a runner. She doesn't even consider herself a runner now, though she's been running three or more days a week for months now, training for her first half marathon.

"I've been doing a Susan G. Komen Race-for-the-Cure 5K ever since I was a kid," she said. But there's some walking involved in that. It's a family thing: a Mother's Day tradition.

2014 Wineglass Marathon courtesy of AD Wheeler
2014 Wineglass Marathon courtesy of AD Wheeler
Although she's not a "runner," per se, she has had running a marathon on her bucket list for years. After starting her job at WENY last October, not long after the 33rd Wineglass Marathon was in the books, and after learning about how wonderful the event is, she decided to give the half marathon a shot.

"I can work out," she says. "But to run 5 miles is not as easy as it looks." Her training has mostly consisted of running 2-3 miles a couple mornings during the week, before she has to get ready for work reporting the daily news. "I'll do the longer 4-5 mile runs on the weekends," she adds.

I would use the phrase "back in her youth" only Logan is still rather young - still being in her early twenties after all - so let's just say, back she was playing sports as a kid, her family couldn't come watch her. She couldn't stand it, even if they were encouraging her, yelling out things like, "go, honey."

But that's the thing about getting older - sometimes the things we avoided as kids are things we embrace later on.

2014 Wineglass Half Marathon courtesy of The Wineglass Marathon
2014 Wineglass Half Marathon courtesy of The Wineglass Marathon
This year, when Logan hits the pavement for her first half marathon, her mom, dad, and step-mom will all be running with her. Well, when she alludes to this a little competitive spark flashes in corner of her eyes. Her family will be entered in the half marathon, too, but she expects to be waiting for them at the finish line.

Over the past few months, Logan has been chronicling The Road to the Wineglass for work - posting a new video every Friday with facts, interviews, and fascinating information about the Wineglass Marathon which has grown from a small local race with 250 runners in 1982 to one of the country's top Destination Marathons and the "10th Best Marathon in the World" according to The Active Times.

2014 Wineglass Marathon courtesy of AD Wheeler
2014 Wineglass Marathon courtesy of AD Wheeler
The race is a favorite Boston Marathon Qualifier for many runners and this year will also be an Olympic Qualifier.

Add the spectacular scenery, the chance to visit the world-renowned Corning Museum of Glass, and all the fun festivities that have become part of this wonderful event, and you're talking one awesome weekend if you're a runner.

One of Logan's favorite things to come out of doing the video series is meeting so many runners and learning their stories. She's enjoyed striking up relationships, like the one she has with Dave Morgan from Athens, PA, and his partner, Mary Wenck, who check in regularly to see how her training is going.

Morgan Burrows Wins the 2014 Wineglass Marathon courtesy of AD Wheeler
Morgan Burrows Wins the 2014 Wineglass Marathon courtesy of AD Wheeler
For many of the runners out there, including 2014 Wineglass Marathon Winner Morgan Burrows, participating in the race is about more than feeding their passion for running. They also run, as much if not more so, for a cause.

"I'd like to run for a cause, too" says Logan with a smile. "There are so many cool stories about why people run it. So many wonderful people."

2012 Wineglass Marathon courtesy of The Wineglass Marathon
2012 Wineglass Marathon courtesy of The Wineglass Marathon
For Logan, running the 2015 Wineglass Half Marathon isn't just a chance to check something off the bucket list. And it's not about the "joy" of running. For her, it seems to have become, perhaps even unexpectedly, a chance to be part of something larger.

And all of those are wonderful reasons to lace up the shoes and go.

2012 Wineglass Marathon courtesy of The Wineglass Marathon
2012 Wineglass Marathon courtesy of The Wineglass Marathon
Of course, even if you're not into running yourself, there's something about being along the course or standing at the finish line cheering the runners on that is quite exhilarating.

This year, I will be at the finish line with race Emcee Craig Flint, Logan's colleague at WENY TV, cheering on each and every runner as they cross that line. But I'll be sure to save a big WOOHOO, WAY TO GO, for Logan. And for being part of something larger!

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Cool and Fun, Events, History, Wineglass Marathon

You want to talk about some great job perks? Here are just a few that leave me shaking my head wondering how I got so lucky to work in tourism.

Occasionally, I get to spend the day traveling around Corning and the Southern Finger Lakes with talented photographer Stu Gallagher getting photographs. Sometimes that means we have to hit the trails or get out on the water to get those action shots. See what I mean about a cool perk?

Kayaking Keuka Lake courtesy of Stu Gallagher
Kayaking Keuka Lake courtesy of Stu Gallagher

I also get to meet fascinating people who are passionate about what they do. Like, Eric Bauman Sparkling Winemaker at Chateau Frank which is celebrating its 30th anniversary. And Joe Carroll at Lime Berry Winery whose Bunny Bunny Blush was just named "Best Rosé/Blush Wine" at the 2015 New York Wine & Food Classic.

Sparkling Winemaker Eric Bauman at Chateau Frank courtesy of Stu Gallagher
Sparkling Winemaker Eric Bauman at Chateau Frank courtesy of Stu Gallagher

I can't even tell you how inspiring it is to learn the stories of people who have found their calling and who are heeding that call - like Shelly Fisher and Douglas Schuckers at The Brewery of Broken Dreams - and then getting the chance to share those stories with others.

Brewery of Broken Dreams courtesy of Stu Gallagher
Brewery of Broken Dreams courtesy of Stu Gallagher

Or meeting folks chasing their dream while also paying homage to the past - like Dave Woolever at Railhead Brewing Company. In addition to offering a nod to the rich railroad and brewing history in Hornell, Dave is busy crafting excellent brews and delicious handcrafted pizzas.

Railhead Brewing Company courtesy of Stu Gallagher
Railhead Brewing Company courtesy of Stu Gallagher

I also get to meet people from all over the globe visiting the area to explore it, and even write about it. Like bloggers Dian Emery from Toronto and Christine Tsang from NYC, or Alexandra Baackes from Albany, and Kayti Burt from Worcester, MA. I get to meet remarkable people like Heather Houskeeper from North Carolina who just spent two months hiking the Finger Lakes Trail. And I get to meet people visiting the area for fun, like the folks in the photo below at Heron Hill Winery.

Heron Hill Winery
Heron Hill Winery

This week I'll get to spend some time with wine bloggers from all over the US and Canada, as part of the annual Wine Bloggers Conference - you can follow the excitement using the hastag #WBC15.

Sometimes I have to explore historic buildings. Sometimes I have to taste wine or beer - I know, you're feeling pretty sorry for me right about now aren't you.

Point of the Bluff Vineyards courtesy of Stu Gallagher
Point of the Bluff Vineyards courtesy of Stu Gallagher

Other times I get to visit cool campgrounds like Camp Bell Campground, or awesome museums like the Glenn H. Curtiss Museum or The Rockwell Museum or The Corning Museum of Glass, or parks like Stony Brook and Mossy Bank to discover what the experience is like.

The Corning Museum of Glass courtesy of Stu Gallagher
The Corning Museum of Glass courtesy of Stu Gallagher

I get to explore the restaurants in the area, like Luna Mezza Grille and The Village Tavern and The Waterfront and sample the culinary delights while I'm there.

Strawberry Salad at The Waterfront Restaurant courtesy of Stu Gallagher
Strawberry Salad at The Waterfront Restaurant courtesy of Stu Gallagher

I get to meet with photographers like Chris Brooks from Oregon and Bob Magee from Hammondsport and look at the wonderful images they've been capturing around Corning and the Southern Finger Lakes.

Chris and Nash Brooks courtesy of Julie Brooks
Chris and Nash Brooks courtesy of Julie Brooks

These are just some of the perks of my job. No, you can't have it. I will, however, do my best to share as much as possible with you though here.

So keep watch. There's more great stuff happening every day in Corning and the Southern Finger Lakes.

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Attractions, Beer, Camping, Cool and Fun, Dining, History, Museums, Wine Fun

Heron Hill Wine Tasting
Heron Hill Wine Tasting
Do you love wine? 

Okay, but have you ever wondered what it must like to be a winemaker - to be in the vineyard harvesting grapes, pressing them . . . to be involved in the process of creating something so delicious?

Well, now is your chance to find out.

Heron Hill Hands-On Harvest Winners from 2014 courtesy Heron Hill Winery
Heron Hill Hands-On Harvest Winners from 2014 courtesy Heron Hill Winery

Heron Hill Winery is running a special hands-on harvest sweepstakes where one person and a guest can win a day with the Heron Hill Harvest Team. "From checking brix before hand-picking grapes, to assisting the winemakers with the action on the press pad and tasting first run juice -- you will participate in all aspects of the harvest and crush."

I remember being at Heron Hill last year when the sweepstakes winners - a young couple from Portland, Maine - came back from the vineyards and their expressions said it all. They were in their own little paradise.

Heron Hill 2014 Sweepstakes Winners on Press Pad After Harvest
Heron Hill 2014 Sweepstakes Winners on Press Pad After Harvest

The experience was beyond what they expected. Being that intimately involved in all aspects of the harvest and crush.

Heron Hill Winery Harvest
Heron Hill Winery Harvest
"The day will include a bountiful lunch in the vineyards with Heron Hill's owner showcasing local produce and Finger Lakes provisions. The winner and guest will also enjoy one-night accommodations at the historic Black Sheep Inn, a stylishly restored octagon house located in the village of Hammondsport, NY."

The real question is - would you love a chance to experience this for yourself?

View from Heron Hill During 2014 Harvest
View from Heron Hill During 2014 Harvest
If the answer is yes, you still have time to register for the 2015 Heron Hill Hands-On Harvest Sweepstakes (visit their website and register before August 15th). You don't have to buy anything, but you do need to be twenty-one.

Interested in tasting some wonderful wines? Here are some wineries we think you'll love. 

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Attractions, Events, Wine Fun

Domaine LeSeurre Winery courtesy of Stu Gallagher
Domaine LeSeurre Winery courtesy of Stu Gallagher

Each year, wine bloggers from around the world gather together for the annual Wine Bloggers Conference. They take part in an assortment of lectures and demonstrations, and enjoy some pretty awesome excursions pairing wine and food.

Grape Close Up courtesy of Dr. Frank's
Grape Close Up courtesy of Dr. Frank's
Although typically taking place on the west coast, the 2015 Wine Bloggers Conference is being held in Corning from August 13th-16th, and we're excited to have so many wine lovers coming to the region because once they get here they'll see that we have remarkable wines and so many other unexpected delights. You can follow us using the hashtag #wbc15.

Corning Museum of Glass courtesy of CMOG
Corning Museum of Glass courtesy of CMOG
We take a lot of pride in our spectacular attractions, like The Corning Museum of Glass with its 55,000 pieces of glass art and artifacts dating back 35 Centuries, and Watkins Glen State Park with its 19 waterfalls, and breathtaking Keuka Lake.
Keuka Lake
Keuka Lake

We also take pride in hidden gems like the Glenn H. Curtiss Museum in Hammondsport, the Erie Depot Museum in Hornell, and the Rockwell Museum in Corning.

Erie Depot Museum in Hornell
Erie Depot Museum in Hornell

Of course, for these writers, it all comes down to the wine. And we have that. too.

We've been making award-wining wines for nearly 150 years. Having a rich past is important, but we understand that a destination is only as good as its current wines and we've got some of the best to be found in New York State and beyond.

Pleasant Valley Wine Company & Great Western Champagne
Pleasant Valley Wine Company & Great Western Champagne
The Finger Lakes has actually been garnering a lot of attention the past few years as a world-class wine region "and these recent awards seem to have bewildered local winemakers, who have been practicing their craft for years . . . It's like the wine world has all of a sudden awoken to the excellent quality of Finger Lakes vintages" (Malerie Yolen-Cohen, Huffington Post).

We've got historic wineries like Pleasant Valley Wine Company, the country's first bonded winery, where you can take a tour and sample Great Western Champagne, as well as Dr. Konstantin Frank Vinifera Wine Cellars, New York State's most award-winning winery since 1962, where the vinifera revolution began.

Girlfriends tasting at Dr. Konstantin Frank Vinifera Wine Cellars
Girlfriends tasting at Dr. Konstantin Frank Vinifera Wine Cellars

But you'll also find one of the most eclectic wineries in the Finger Lakes, Bully Hill Vineyards, offering an atmosphere of "wine with laughter," winery tours, and one of the best restaurants around with stunning views of Keuka Lake.

Bully Hill - Wine With Laughter
Bully Hill - Wine With Laughter

Just a short ways away from this huge winery, you'll find Keuka Lake Vineyards, a boutique winery that has been turning heads with its dry Rieslings, Vignoles, and experimental hybrids.

Keuka Lake Vineyards courtesy of Stu Gallagher
Keuka Lake Vineyards courtesy of Stu Gallagher

At Heron Hill Winery you'll find a winery that's been using eco-friendly practices for the past three decades, a stunning tasting room, and the chance to sample just how much the terroir affects taste with their Single Vineyard Series of five distinctly different Rieslings from 5 different Finger Lakes vineyards. They also offer people the opportunity to win a special annual Hands-On Harvest Experience Sweepstakes. The deadline to enter is August 15th.

Hands-On Harvest Sweepstakes Winners in Vineyard courtesy of Heron Hill Winery
Hands-On Harvest Sweepstakes Winners in Vineyard courtesy of Heron Hill Winery

The newest tasting room to open on the west side of Keuka Lake is Point of the Bluff Vineyards though the winemaker has been winning international awards for his ice wines for years.

Ravines Wine Cellars courtesy of Stu Gallagher
Ravines Wine Cellars courtesy of Stu Gallagher

Across the lake, you'll find Ravines Wine Cellars and Domaine LeSeurre Winery - two "Must-Visit Artisanal Wineries" according to Nish Gera and The Huffington Post. Domaine LeSeurre winemakers rely on their taste buds to determine when the berries are ready for harvest and when the wine is done. At Ravines, you'll discover vibrant, balanced food-friendly wines.

Tucked between these two wineries is the charming Lime Berry Winery, where you'll find award-wining small batch wines made by a winemaker with a lifelong passion for creating new and wonderful things.

Lime Berry Winery courtesy of Stu Gallagher
Lime Berry Winery courtesy of Stu Gallagher

We've got a winery located in the valley, Chateau Renaissance Wine Cellars, which is a big hit with folks in NYC, and is known for its fruit wines and for specializes in traditional methods for making sparkling wine.

Patrice DeMay Bottling Sparkling Wine at Chateau Renaissance courtesy of Stu Gallagher
Patrice DeMay Bottling Sparkling Wine at Chateau Renaissance courtesy of Stu Gallagher

There's a micro-production farm winery, Deep Root Vineyard, that focuses on sustainability and a new winery located off the beaten path in Arkport, Wild Brute Winery, that utilizes indigenous fermentation methods and a philosophy of "minimal intrusion."

Wild Brute Winery
Wild Brute Winery

There's wine for every taste, some offering delicious food pairings, others with panoramic views, each with it's own atmosphere and specialization. We can't wait for the wine bloggers to get here and experience the best of the Finger Lakes. And we're hoping the rest of you will do that too.

For more information, visit our wineries section or request a travel guide and start planning your own wine excursion. If you need ideas, calls us at 866-946-3386, we'll be glad to help.

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Attractions, Cool and Fun, Dining, Events, History, Wine Fun

Dr. Konstantin Frank Vinifera Wine Cellars courtesy of Stu Gallagher
Dr. Konstantin Frank Vinifera Wine Cellars courtesy of Stu Gallagher
"The discovery of a wine," claimed Benjamin Franklin, "is of greater moment than the discovery of a constellation. The universe is too full of stars."

Despite his passion for wine and his renowned ingenuity, however, even Franklin didn't know how to make quality European-style wines here, which was true of everyone else in America for hundreds of years, primarily because they couldn't figure out how to get the vinifera grapes to grow here without dying.

Girlfriends Enjoying Wine at Ravines Wine Cellars
Girlfriends Enjoying Wine at Ravines Wine Cellars

Lucky for us, another brilliant visionary came along and settled along with his family in the small town of Hammondsport, NY. 

That's right, I'm talking about Dr. Konstantin Frank, the man who ignited "the 'Vinifera Revolution,' a movement that forever changed the course of wine growing in the Finger Lakes and the United States."

Pleasant Valley Wine Company & Great Western Champagne
Pleasant Valley Wine Company & Great Western Champagne

In many ways, Hammondsport was the appropriate place for the sparking of such a movement, since it's also the location where the first grapes were planted in the Finger Lakes by Reverend William Bostwick back in 1829.

It's also where the 1st Bonded Winery in the US was founded, Pleasant Valley Wine Company, which was also the first winery in the Finger Lakes, and the first US winery to win an award in Europe for American sparkling wine way back in 1867.

Picking Grapes in Vineyards - courtesy of Nicole Young
Picking Grapes in Vineyards - courtesy of Nicole Young

"The landscape of wine country is enthralling," writes M. Farber, "and there are stretches . . . above Keuka Lake that can compete with Burgundian vistas" (Travel + Leisure).

In addition to its breathtaking beauty, though, the landscape in wine country also plays an important role in the quality of wine produced here, from the way the lakes help moderate the temperatures here to the minerals and soil in the vineyards.

Guys Enjoying Wine in Autumn Overlooking Vineyard courtesy of Stu Gallagher
Guys Enjoying Wine in Autumn Overlooking Vineyard courtesy of Stu Gallagher
In an article originally written for National Geographic Traveler, William Scheller writes that "Hammondsport, with a lovely town green and a public beach on Keuka, harbors two of the Finger Lakes' finest wineries." Scheller singles out Dr. Konstanin Frank Vinifera Wine Cellars and Château Renaissance Wine Cellars and proceeds to quote winemaker, Patrice DeMay's explaination that terroir, a French word, is " hard to translate. It's not just the land, but the air, the vegetation, the water, the wild local yeasts."

And the terroir in Hammondsport, either in the valley where DeMay's winery sits or along the scenic hillsides surrounding Keuka Lake, is ideal for making some of the finest wines, not just in the Finger Lakes, but the world.

Patrice DeMay bottling Sparkling Wine courtesy of Stu Gallagher
Patrice DeMay bottling Sparkling Wine courtesy of Stu Gallagher
According to Scheller, the "vintners of New York's Finger Lakes region make wines that stand alongside California's best. And the scenery is likewise first-rate: Road-trippers can taste their way from vineyard to vineyard amid rolling hills, tidy Amish farms, and long vistas of blue water."

Of course, if not for Dr. Frank, whose knowledge and experience growing vinifera grapes in cold climates and expertise in grafting methods which allowed for those world-class grapes to not just grow here, but to thrive, it's difficult to imagine what winemaking would be like throughout the Finger Lakes and beyond.

Ravines Wine Cellars courtesy of Stu Gallagher
Ravines Wine Cellars courtesy of Stu Gallagher
This August, wine lovers and bloggers from around the globe will find their way to Corning and the Southern Finger Lakes for the annual Wine Bloggers Conference (#WBC15). We can't wait for them to experience the remarkable scenery to be found here. But, mostly, we're excited to share with them the exceptional wines being made right here, in our backyard.

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Cool and Fun, History, Wine Fun

Black Sheep Inn and Spa Breakfasts
Black Sheep Inn and Spa Breakfasts
According to one local chef, Farm-to-Table eating "has more to do with the way our ancestors ate, allowing for our bodies to adjust and the land to heal and replenish."

Farm-to-Table, which is all the rage these days, is a return, in essence, to a way we used to eat, to a way we used to be connected with the land and the food that sustains us.

On September 27-29, 2015, five unique and very different Bed & Breakfasts in Hammondsport, NY are offering a special Finger Lakes Style Farm-to-Table Getaway Package and a series of culinary events, including three that are open to the public.

"Food is love," says Debbie Merisky, co-owner of Black Sheep Inn and Spa in Hammondsport. "It's sharing and it's communal. Wherever people gather, there is food at their table." Despite the fact that food is such a common element in human interaction, Debbie adds that food often "seems mystical to those who don't know much about preparation, sourcing, or how to introduce unknown ingredients to a recipe they love."

For Debbie and for the other B&B owners offering the Farmer's Dinner - Finger Lakes Style Farm-to-Table Package, owning a B&B is about providing guests with an exceptional experience which includes wonderful overnight accommodations and a variety of awesome activities, but it's also about educating people and showing them that "healthy" food isn't tasteless food.

That's why Black Sheep Inn and Spa is joining forces with four other local B&B's, a few winemakers and craft brewers, local farmers and cheese makers this September to offer a special Farm-to-Table culinary package that will include farm-to-table breakfasts, a farm-to-table scavenger hunt, cooking demonstrations, and more in a charming small town that has been voted "America's Coolest Small Town" by readers of Budget Travel.

Each of the five B&B's is located just minutes from award-winning wineries and breweries, boutique shops, and breathtaking Keuka Lake, the most stunning and uniquely-shaped of all the Finger Lakes.

The five B&B's (which offer a variety of room types and prices to suit your individual preferences) creating this wonderful immersive culinary opportunity are:

*You're encouraged to book early, as space is limited, and rooms will fill up quickly.

Pleasant Valley Inn & Restaurant
Pleasant Valley Inn & Restaurant
Tom Simons, owner of Pleasant Valley Inn & Restaurant believes Farm-to-Table is "a great way to showcase local vendors and source local products."

"As we serve a European-style continental breakfast," Tom added, "many of our local fruits will have come and gone by September's end. We will have grapes from our own vines, and local apples. We make grape bread and jam each fall from our neighbor's Concords. Local NY cheddar is always on the breakfast tray."

Sandra Parker, co-owner of McCorn Winery Lodging, sees Farm-to-Table as a way "to build a community with and to support small, local famers," as well as a chance "to know where your food comes from."

All guests participating in the Farm-to-Table Package will enjoy a Welcome Event at Luna Mezza Grille featuring hors d'oeurves prepared with ingredients sourced from local farms, local handcrafted beer and wine.

Each of the five B&B's will feature a special Farm To Table breakfast each morning for its respective guests participating in the package.

Some of he Farm-to-Table breakfasts you'll find at McCorn's include "omelets featuring farm fresh, free range eggs, local organic produce and cheeses, homemade muffins made from local ingredients, and a fruit course of local apples, peaches, or pears."

For Catherine Powell, owner of 18 Vine Inn & Carriage House, the whole idea of Farm-to-Table eating brings back memories of her youth spent with both sets of grandparents.

"It was their love of gardening, and their teaching us as children how to plant the seeds," said Catherine, "how to water and care for the young plants, and watch them grow. We would get so excited when we went out and could actually pick our first vegetables. All my aunts and my mom," she adds, "used to pick fresh fruit and go berry picking. When I was old enough, I went with them. They said I ate more berries than I picked, though." For Catherine and for the others offering these wonderful Farm-to-Table experiences, it's about time spent with special people, and about wholesome food made with love, food that is "good for you."

Three of the special events that are part of the Farmer's Dinner package - the Finger Lakes Farm to Table Scavenger Hunt, Local Food Cooking Demonstrations, and the Farmer's Finale Dinner at Roots Café – are open to guests participating in the package and to local residents looking for an extraordinary culinary experience.

Black Sheep Inn Breakfast
Black Sheep Inn Breakfast
The Finger Lakes Farm to Table Scavenger Hunt allows package guests and local residents to visit farms and local cheese producers to meet the people who grow and produce the food, and to learn about why they do what they do. Other stops include local wineries, breweries, and distilleries.

The Local Food Cooking Demonstrations will include a panel of local chefs who will instruct attendees on how easy it is to find and use local ingredients to create incredible meals. The chefs will share recipes, talk about methods and techniques, and get your taste buds involved when the preparation is done. There will also be time for a Q&A session with the chefs.

Blushing Rose Bed & Breakfast
Blushing Rose Bed & Breakfast
The Farmer's Dinner will take place at Roots Café where participants will enjoy an evening of wine tasting and a multi-course Finger Lakes Farm-to-Table dinner.

For more information visit Farmers Dinner - Finger Lakes Style or to register for the Finger Lakes Farm to Table Scavenger Hunt, the Local Food Cooking Demonstrations, and the Farmer's Dinner at Roots Café events contact Black Sheep Inn & Spa or call 607-386-8471.

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Beer, Cool and Fun, Dining, Events, Lodging, Wine Fun

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Camping and Outdoor Adventures: A Match Made in the Finger Lakes
It seems fitting that both camping and the great outdoors are nationally celebrated during the month of June. Spend your days exploring scenic biking trails, woodsy hiking trails, and fishing on Keuka Lake. End your nights around a crackling campfire with a star covered sky...
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Steuben County Conference & Visitors Bureau
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