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Erin's blog

When I was a kid growing up, the only place to see Santa Claus was the mall. You stood in a line, saw Santa, got your picture taken and that was it. Now, Santa is everywhere and as a parent, I have been on a quest to not only find the perfect Santa but the perfect photographic experience that makes Santa magical! (I may have watched too many Hallmark Christmas movies.)

Since my job with the Conference and Visitors Bureau is to update the list of where to find Santa, I know there are plenty of magical opportunities to get that perfect photo. I just have one teeny, tiny problem: Baby J is terrified of Santa Claus.

I get it. Santa is a weird, old guy with a long beard who's not his grandfather. But that didn't keep me from trying.

His first Santa was at the Holiday Open House in 2012 at the Corning Museum of Glass. I was singing holiday tunes with my chorus and we always get our photo taken with Santa and Mrs. Claus in front of the glass ornament tree. They love the music and sing along with the different groups that rotate in the lobby where they sit. Baby J was 9 months old at the time so rather than feeling scared he was more confused.

Magical Santa courtesy of The Corning Museum of Glass
Magical Santa courtesy of The Corning Museum of Glass

Then in 2013, we saw Santa at Centerway Square in Corning's Gaffer District. Santa is there every weekend from Thanksgiving through Christmas but we went during his kickoff event at the Parade of Lights. No matter how cold it is outside, Santa and his elves have a nice, cozy workshop building that's warm and inviting. Unless you're Baby J.

Magical Santa courtesy of Corning's Gaffer District
Magical Santa courtesy of Corning's Gaffer District

This year, we decided to check out the other "resident" Santa Claus that keeps hours every weekend at Hornell's Santa Land. Every year, Santa Land is decorated with a different theme and this year, it's "Frozen." That is Baby's J's favorite movie and the Frozen decorations thrilled him a lot more than the idea of Santa.

But I have to say this Santa was excellent with my scared little boy. He didn't make J sit on his lap but let him stand and talked quietly with him while Mrs. Claus got out the candy cane which piqued his curiosity.

Magical Santa courtesy of Hornell Partners for Growth
Magical Santa courtesy of Hornell Partners for Growth

The one thing J loved was the horse and carriage ride through downtown Hornell that was free, thanks to Hornell Partners for Growth. Baby J was all smiles for the horses.

Santa will be making special appearances at events all over Corning and the Southern Finger Lakes this holiday season. He'll be at Spirit of Bath, Christmas in the Park in Hammondsport and Avoca, and Cowboy Santa will be at FunDay Sunday at the Rockwell Museum. Or for a different magical moment, you can receive a letter from Santa with a little help from the Corning-Painted Post Historical Society. 

Magical Cowboy Santa courtesy of the Rockwell Museum
Magical Cowboy Santa courtesy of the Rockwell Museum

The Cowboy Santa photo looks magical. Baby J might go for that one .... I hope this fear of Santa is something he'll grow out of. This is the first year in his existence that Christmas is even a concept he can understand so I can work on showing J why this holiday season is a time of celebration and lights. When he gets older, we may have to revisit these Santas for a second shot at that magical moment photo.

Standard Disclaimer: I have a 2-year-old child but that, in no way, makes me any kind of expert in anything parental. This "family blog series" is about me introducing the things I like about Corning and the Southern Finger Lakes to my child and his friends. When possible, I will consult real experts to talk about the things older small children like to do that mine can't do yet so as to provide a more well-rounded experience.

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Events, Family Fun, Holidays, Play Date with Baby J

It often comes as a surprise to learn that a place filled entirely with glass is a great place to bring kids, but at The Corning Museum of Glass, there's plenty of fun for the whole family! Manymanyarticles have been written about the family friendliness of the Museum. I will likely write more articles about how much Baby J loves the Museum.

But today, I am focusing on a great summer program that they offer: Little Gather. Against my better judgment after the Rockwell Museum, I tagged along with my son's daycare group to the July 30th show, which featured the Diaspora Drumming Ensemble.

Little Gather is a summer program that take place every Wednesday at 11 a.m., showcasing musical groups, puppets, storytelling; it's a different group every week. This summer's last performance is on August 13. The name, Little Gather, comes from a "gather" of glass, the first amount of glass picked up out of a kiln when the gaffer/artist starts working on a new piece.

Baby J and his friends have gone to every show this summer and they love it. Now I know why. We arrived to find the auditorium covered in rugs of all shapes and sizes to sit on. We found one off to the side so the kids (ok, my kid) could run around and crawl in and around the stroller.

Snug as some kids on a rug at Little Gather
Snug as some kids on a rug at Little Gather

I asked Mieke Fay, the Youth and Family Program Educator, about the groups they feature. She said they rotate the groups every 2-3 years, "so the lineup isn't always the same and the kids get to experience different things. This was the first time ever for Diaspora Drumming Ensemble and they were fantastic, so I do try to find some new groups that we haven't had before."

Ringo, Tiffany and Gabriel from Diaspora Drumming were definitely fantastic. . They demonstrated the music of Africa for us, with singing, dancing and best of all, drumming. Their program was called "Echoes of Africa" – they taught us songs and dances that cultures in Africa and Latin America have used to tell stories and communicate with each other.

Diaspora Drumming Ensemble
Diaspora Drumming Ensemble

Echoes of Africa
Echoes of Africa

Most of the audience was up and dancing. Even if you were sitting, you couldn't help but move to the rhythm.

Dancing!
Dancing!

Unless it's Baby J. I discovered this week that it's a thing for 2-year-olds whose parents accompany daycare field trips to go nuts on said field trip. K's mom and older brother were with us; Baby J decided to show Q his "Power Ranger" skills and then joined forces with K to tackle him to the ground.

K and J plot to take Q down
K and J plot to take Q down

After the performance, we talked to the drummers who let the kids play with the instruments. The kids were in heaven.

Banging the drums
Banging the drums

Baby J - Rockstar in Training
Baby J - Rockstar in Training

Since I had to go back to work after the performance, I didn't get to see what else the Glass Museum has for Little Gather audiences. According to Mieke Fay, local families with library cards can check out books immediately before and after the 11a.m. show. Representatives from the Southeast Steuben County Library bring books related to the week's performer or theme, and to glass, and have a remote checkout station. Families can also apply for library cards if they don't already have one.

Since the show is in the morning, it sets up a great day to have lunch in the GlassMarket Café and then spend the rest of the afternoon exploring. Often, the Museum has suggested activities in the galleries after the show that's related to that week's performance.

That sounds like a great day to me!

The kids with Gabriel and Tiffany from Diaspora Drumming
The kids with Gabriel and Tiffany from Diaspora Drumming

Standard Disclaimer: I have a 2-year-old child but that, in no way, makes me any kind of expert in anything parental. This "family blog series" is about me introducing the things I like about Corning and the Southern Finger Lakes to my child and his friends. When possible, I will consult real experts to talk about the things older small children like to do that mine can't do yet so as to provide a more well-rounded experience.

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Events, Family Fun, Museums, Play Date with Baby J

Ask the Local Expert focuses on the people who live and work in Corning and the Southern Finger Lakes. Today, we're talking to Shelly Stevens who was recently named Executive Director at Hornell Partners for Growth.

1. How long have you been with the Hornell Partners for Growth? What is your title and what do you do?
I joined Hornell Partners for Growth just recently in January as the Executive Director. My job is to support local business owners by marketing their services as well as to organize and execute events that happen in the city of Hornell such as the 4th of July and Holiday Aglow.

Shelly Stevens
Shelly Stevens

2. Are you from the Finger Lakes Region? If so, what makes you stay? If not, what drew you here?
I was born and raised in the Hornell area (Arkport) and currently reside in Almond, NY (10 minutes from Hornell). My husband and I chose to stay in the Finger Lakes Region because not only does our family reside locally and this is a great area for us to raise our own children, but we love the small town atmosphere that can be found here. The outdoor activities that we love are accessible merely by stepping outside our front door. This area is safe, always welcoming and neighborly regardless of if I'm talking to my next door neighbor or a local business owner.

Exploring the Outdoors
Exploring the Outdoors

3. What makes Hornell special to you, and why do you love telling others about it?
Hornell is special to me for the exact same reasons that I choose to live in this area. The ability to get to know everyone, the ease of conversations from the Superintendent of Hornell school district to Mayor Hogan to a local business owner to the local moms and dads. Here in Hornell, we all support one another, we are proud of the community that we live in, and we are proud of our local businesses. If you're in need, there's always someone available to help you. Beyond that sense of "home," we are proud of the fact that we are called the Tree City, that the Finger Lakes Trail runs through our city, our local pubs celebrate our heritage on a daily basis, and our community is full of extremely talented artists and musicians. There is always something to do in Hornell, and Hornell Partners for Growth is proud to be the voice that communicates those places and events.

Hornell St Patricks Day Parade
Hornell St Patricks Day Parade

4. Let's play tourist! Tell me what you'd do with your family or friends on a weekend in the Finger Lakes.
On any given weekend, the Finger Lakes is alive with activities. A typical weekend for me starts at "Thursdays in the Park" where there is a Farmers' Market from 10-6, a local band from 5-8, and a movie in the park at dusk every Thursday at 33 Broadway, Friday night, we would visit the Erie Depot Museum and then it is off to date night; my husband and I will enjoy a local band at Paddy's Pub or sing Karaoke at Maple City Bowl, meeting new and old friends along the way. Saturdays are full of activities that we do as a family such as local festivals like the Monarch Festival in August, camping at Bud Valley Campground in Prattsburg, hiking the Finger Lakes Trail, or shopping the local small businesses. Sundays in the summer are typically spent riding at local ATV parks like Demon Run, wine tasting at Heron Hill, riding bikes, or kayaking down the Canisteo Valley River. Believe it or not, there have been times where we have fit ALL of that into one weekend. It makes going back to work seem like a break.

Enjoying the wine at Heron Hill
Enjoying the wine at Heron Hill

5. If there's one thing you wished everyone knew about Hornell, what would it be?
Hornell, for the past 20 years, has been a best kept secret in terms of things to do and places to shop. For the first time, we are coming alive with the assistance of social media as a quick and easy way to communicate the goings on in our community. For example, this week alone, there are multiple things to do every day of the week. Once you've spent the day with us in our city, you'll have no trouble realizing why we hold it dear to our heart and take pride in our businesses and events.

But it you're asking about one particular place that everyone should see in Hornell, it is most definitely the Erie Depot Museum. The focus of the museum is Erie Railroad memorabilia, with emphasis on Erie's history and the people who made it historic.

Erie Depot Museum
Erie Depot Museum

 

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Ask the Local Expert, Attractions, Events

The Master Craftsmen series highlights people who have truly excelled in a craft or skill, and who are bettering the experience for visitors to Corning & the Southern Finger Lakes. Each month, we'll take a look at one of these craftsmen, from artists to chefs, and even outdoor guides. These are the folks who have trained and excelled in a particular area, and are passionate about what they do. They want to share their expertise with you. Today, we're focusing on Chris Merola, owner of Ranger Outfitters, who crafts the outdoor adventure on every guided hike into the Finger Lakes.

If there's one person you could call an expert when it comes to knowledge of the great outdoors in Steuben County, it's Chris Merola.

Chris Merola and Ranger
Chris Merola and Ranger

He grew up in Corning, and joined the military at age 18, where he picked up all kinds of outdoor skills, including land navigation. He spent a total of 28 years in the military, retiring just last year.

He found himself in the reserves and back in Corning in 2000. He was bored, and started looking for something new to do. That's when he stumbled upon the New York State Guide Program.

After becoming a licensed guide, he formed Ranger Outfitters in May of 2001, and has been taking people on guided hikes and camping trips ever since.

Hike at Birdseye Hollow Park
Hike at Birdseye Hollow Park

"The Finger Lakes Region is really just as beautiful as the Adirondacks, and I think it's a well-kept secret," Chris said. "My job as a guide is to teach people how to be comfortable in the woods so they can enjoy it."

Chris leads day-long hikes, overnight trips, and even 3 or 5-day excursions. If you're a beginner or expert hiker, Chris welcomes you.

"We've taken people up to 68 years old on a hike. We look at people's ability and age to plan an itinerary appropriate to their level of expertise."

Hiking in the Finger Lakes
Hiking in the Finger Lakes

When Chris builds his itineraries, he says, "you've got to have the 'Wow!' factor. Nobody wants to walk through the woods and end up in the middle of the forest. You have to have that surprise at the end."

Our staff took our president, Peggy Coleman, on a guided hike for her birthday and I can tell you Chris included that "Wow!" factor for us. He led us to a wonderful pond in the woods and then surprised Peggy (and us) with cake, fruit and milk to toast the birthday girl. It was a hike we will not forget!

Peggy's birthday hike surprise
Peggy's birthday hike surprise

You can contact Chris at (607) 542-3882 or read more at RangerOutfitters.com.

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Master-Crafted Series, Outdoor Recreation

The Master Craftsmen series highlights people who have truly excelled in a craft or skill, and who are bettering the experience for visitors to Corning & the Southern Finger Lakes. Each month, we'll take a look at one of these craftsmen, from artists to chefs, and even outdoor guides. These are the folks who have trained and excelled in a particular area, and are passionate about what they do. They want to share their expertise with you. Today, we're focusing on John Ingle, owner of Heron Hill Winery, who crafts wine using eco-friendly practices.

John Ingle - photo by Michele Kisly Fine Portraiture
John Ingle - photo by Michele Kisly Fine Portraiture

John Ingle discovered his lifelong passion completely by coincidence. He was helping a neighbor with the Concord harvest during the 1971 vintage, and was "bitten by the grape bug," as he put it.

"Something about the sun, crisp air, camaraderie, and chasing a wagon down the rows carrying a 35 lb. crate of hand-picked grapes struck a note for me."

He had no training or experience with winemaking. "I planted 12,000 vines in 1972 and began making mistakes. I remember weeds taller than the vines, tractors stuck in the mud hole." John stuck with it because he was convinced he'd found something that would make him happy for the rest of his life.

"I persevered and gradually produced enough grapes to make a small amount of wine. This process took about ten years." He started learning from winemakers, and eventually discovered he had a special interest in eco-friendly agriculture while attending Denver University. "My organic training came along as part of the vision," John said. "A natural, pure product that I could proudly share with family and friends. A simple proposition, but also a blueprint for a lifestyle."

Grapes at Harvest - photo courtesy of Heron Hill Winery
Grapes at Harvest - photo courtesy of Heron Hill Winery

More then 40 years later, John is now the owner of Heron Hill Winery, and is thrilled when people choose Heron Hill wines. "It's gratifying," John said, "because it indicates that they share our visions and agree with our principles."

Heron Hill Winery opened a Farmers Market in June 2014. They are open every Wednesday from 4-7pm in the summer. You can meet local farmers and buy local products from flowers and vegetables to meat and fruit jams.

Ribbon Cutting for Farmers Market - photo by Ken Corey
Ribbon Cutting for Farmers Market - photo by Ken Corey

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Attractions, Master-Crafted Series, Wine Fun

The alternative title to this would read: "Why I Should Never Chaperone Field Trips with My Child. Ever." I had the bright idea that Baby J would love to play with his friends from daycare at the new Family Exploration Studio at the recently re-branded Rockwell Museum. So I gathered J, four of his closest buddies and their amazing teacher, Terra, for a field trip.

The Family Exploration Studio is a new space for families to get creative with art and have fun. You can draw, trace, color, cut, and read—or if you're Baby J, just roll around on the floor. My child is definitely one to do his own thing.

At the Mythical Beings table, M and K were content to actually trace, color and draw a being. My kid learned about scissors (yay to the Rockwell for tethering them to the table)!

The Rockwell Museum - playing with scissors
The Rockwell Museum - playing with scissors

At the Puzzle Pot table, Baby J actually did the exercise because he loved the ceramic puzzle to put together. He and M took turns helping G, who redid the puzzle several times.

The Rockwell Museum - Puzzle Pot
The Rockwell Museum - Puzzle Pot

The Layered Landscapes table was a big hit with the kids! Terra has a small lightbox at daycare that they love to play on. This table was much bigger and all of them could use it at the same time.

The Rockwell Museum - Layered Landscapes
The Rockwell Museum - Layered Landscapes

K's favorite spot was in the Reading Corner. There were little bucket seats to nestle in while Terra read her and O a story.

The Rockwell Museum - Reading Corner
The Rockwell Museum - Reading Corner

After we had experienced everything in the Family Exploration Studio, we headed up to the 3rd floor for the Art Scavenger Hunt. The Rockwell Museum provides a magnetic board of snippets from pieces throughout the exhibitions that you can find. I will say it is a very hard scavenger hunt. At least, it is when you're herding five children under the age of 5 through—and one of them thinks it's more fun to go in a completely different direction from the herd. But they tried and the staff still gave them all a prize even though we had to give up because lunch and nap time were looming.

The Rockwell Museum - Art Scavenger Hunt
The Rockwell Museum - Art Scavenger Hunt

The daycare kids had a great time visiting on their field trip. My recommendation: when you visit the Rockwell Museum, bring the kids. But if you bring a lot of kids, they should probably be older than 4. Or just bring more adults with you to help.

The Rockwell Museum - Happy Kids
The Rockwell Museum - Happy Kids

Notice Baby J is not in the smiling group of his friends. That's because he had his own ideas of how to enjoy the Museum. He's lucky I think he's adorable.

The Rockwell Museum - Bad Baby J
The Rockwell Museum - Bad Baby J

Seriously, Terra is a saint.

Standard Disclaimer: I have a 2-year-old child but that, in no way, makes me any kind of expert in anything parental. This "family blog series" is about me introducing the things I like about Corning and the Southern Finger Lakes to my child and his friends. When possible, I will consult real experts to talk about the things older small children like to do that mine can't do yet so as to provide a more well-rounded experience.

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Attractions, Family Fun, Museums, Play Date with Baby J

I'm a big believer in telling kids they need to get outside and play more. Mostly because that's what I was told as a child. The problem with saying that to a 2-year-old is that it means I have to then go outside and play, too! So it's a good thing I have the Most Fun Small Town in America close to my backyard!

We decided to take advantage of a warm and sunny day to explore the trails of Spencer Crest Nature Center in Corning. There are 7 miles of trails that you can hike in the warmer months or snowshoe or cross-country ski in the snowy months. There are maps you can pick up in the Nature Center or online but there are also maps placed around the grounds to help you navigate if you don't feel like carrying around a piece of paper.

A fellow hiker came by while we were deciding which trail to take and told us to head to the pond because the bullfrogs were singing. It seemed like sound advice to us so off we went on the Bluebird Lane to the pond. At this point, I became very thankful that the trails we chose were fairly short (less than a half mile) because this is how most of the hike went.

Mom hiking, Baby not hiking at Spencer Crest Nature Center
Mom hiking, Baby not hiking at Spencer Crest Nature Center

Baby J loved nature. He loved looking for birds, chipmunks, fallen trees and pointed out the water every time he saw it through the trees. But he did not want to walk. Jason and I took turns; I carried him down the hill, Jason carried him up. Every once in a while he walked himself.

Now we're hiking at Spencer Crest Nature Center
Now we're hiking at Spencer Crest Nature Center

But the pond and the frogs and the dock waiting for us was totally worth it.

Amelia Pond at Spencer Crest Nature Center
Amelia Pond at Spencer Crest Nature Center

We chose the more intermediate trail back up the hill (called the Ski Slope) which would have been OK except for all the mud that ended up in my sneakers. Baby J thought that was hilarious. Except he wasn't walking so he doesn't get an opinion here.

After the hike, we were on to our next adventure: mini golf at Park Avenue Sports Center. There is actually a lot more going on there than just mini golf. There is a driving range, batting cages, a rock climbing wall, a trampoline bounce house and Water Wars. All of that stuff looks like a lot of fun for the older kids. But Baby J isn't quite old enough to understand how that all works without hurting himself.

But mini-golfing is something we can manage. Sort of. Baby J was free because he's under 3 years old and he got his own sized putting club. However, he didn't want the special blue plastic club because that is not what Jason and I had. I managed to slip him a kid-size club that looked almost identical to mine except it was shorter. That he was OK with.

Mini Golf at Park Ave Sports Center
Mini Golf at Park Ave Sports Center

Baby J got the concept that the ball was supposed to go into the hole, but he preferred to drop the ball in by hand. He combined that technique with kicking Daddy's ball away and throwing Mommy's ball into the water when it got too close to the hole.

Breaking the rules of Mini Golf at Park Ave Sports Center
Breaking the rules of Mini Golf at Park Ave Sports Center

And then we finished our afternoon with ice cream at Dippity Do Dah's Homemade Ice Cream!

Yummy Dippity Do Dah's Homemade Ice Cream
Yummy Dippity Do Dah's Homemade Ice Cream

With more than 30 flavors, there's some tough decision-making involved in a trip to Dippity's! We had to combine several. Baby J got a mix of strawberry and chocolate chip cookie dough, Jason got a mix of salted caramel and Market St. Espresso, and I got the Sweet Walter sorbet (as in Bully Hill's Sweet Walter Red wine!) with hot fudge. Baby J liked Daddy's ice cream the best I think.

Daddy's ice cream is even better at Dippity Do Dah's
Daddy's ice cream is even better at Dippity Do Dah's

Standard Disclaimer: I have a 2-year-old child but that, in no way, makes me any kind of expert in anything parental. This "family blog series" is about me introducing the things I like about Corning and the Southern Finger Lakes to my child and his friends. When possible, I will consult real experts to talk about the things older small children like to do that mine can't do yet so as to provide a more well-rounded experience.

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Attractions, Cool and Fun, Dining, Family Fun, Outdoor Recreation, Play Date with Baby J
Erin and Baby J at the Glenn H Curtiss Museum
Erin and Baby J at the Glenn H Curtiss Museum

Disclaimer: I have a 2-year-old child but that, in no way, makes me any kind of expert in anything parental. I don't read parenting articles or know anything about children other than they're small and weird. I do, however, love introducing him to my favorite things in Corning & the Southern Finger Lakes! When possible, I will consult real experts to talk about the things older, but still small children like to do that mine can't do yet so as to provide a more well-rounded glimpse at family-friendly attractions. 

I love the Glenn H. Curtiss Museum in Hammondsport. It is a giant warehouse of motorcycles, planes, boats and odd historical pieces that, when combined, have a mesmerizing effect on museum visitors. Who knew people made hair wreaths back in the day? But something I know about antiques and kids is that they don't play well together. So, I was a little trepidatious when I brought my husband, Jason, and Baby J to the Curtiss Museum for some exploration. 

I do have to say, there are parts of the museum that are not for the little-little kids. It's hard to explain to my son that while the Curtiss V-Twin from 1909 is really cool, it's not for touching. Can't he read the sign? I got his hopes up, then promptly crushed them before moving on to the airplanes - where he CAN, in fact, touch stuff! There is a replica of a Flyer that lets you get in the seat to try your hand at steering a plane. Baby J was a little small to reach the pedals but he found his dad's attempt to pilot the plane absolutely hilarious. 

Baby J tries steering a plane
Baby J tries steering a plane

Then it was on to the Innovation Center where we stayed for an hour! There is so much to do in that one area for kids of all ages. All the science behind flying is represented in a fun way. Kids love the small planes to ride, and delight in trying the flight simulators, jetting off to exotic locations around the world. Baby J liked the cockpit where you can try on the different hats and aviator gear that comes with flying a plane. Jason introduced him to a toy plane similar to models our grandparents played with as kids - you know the ones that don't actually fly, but come with a lever to steer the plane around? 

Baby J in the cockpit
Baby J in the cockpit

This section is great for kids because they can move from one toy plane to another within this fenced-off area, and tired parents can sit for a few minutes. There were a few things in the area that I think Baby J will appreciate more when he's older, like the magnetic toy sandbox or the engines that you can run. I suppose that just means we can look forward to future visits to the Curtiss Museum when he can engage more with the hands-on experiences. 

Fun at the Glenn H Curtiss Museum
Fun at the Glenn H Curtiss Museum

I asked the director of the Curtiss Museum what appeals to slightly older children, and he mentioned they really enjoy viewing the displays of antique toys, model ships, planes and trains. Other favorites are the sizable collection of miniature doll houses, a Civil War cannon, and things in the changing exhibition space. Currently on display are props from adventure movies, including skulls, bugs, and snakes - oh, my! 

 If you want to make a day of your outing to Hammondsport, you can follow in our footsteps and visit the Bath Fish Hatchery, about two miles away from the Curtiss Museum. Baby J loved watching the trout swim around their tanks - and he especially enjoyed feeding them fish food! He used up every quarter we had in our possession to watch the frenzy that occurred as the fish swarmed to grab the food. 

Feeding the fish at the NYS Fish Hatchery
Feeding the fish at the NYS Fish Hatchery

 I tried to ask Baby J where our day in Hammondsport rated on a scale of 1 to 10 but all I got out of him was "Mommy" and some gibberish that implied he wanted a drink or Spider Man is eating butter. He needs to work on his communication skills. 

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Attractions, Family Fun, Museums, Play Date with Baby J
Travel apps for the FLX
Travel apps for the FLX

Vacation is supposed to be a time to get away from it all, relax and unplug from the real world of work, drama and hectic schedules. If you're anything like me, though, unplugging is the last thing you want to do. One of my favorite things to do is document my travels so all my friends back home will be jealous want to go there too. So, I've put together a few apps that can help you document your next vacation to the Finger Lakes. 

Waze - Waze is a GPS app that provides directions to where you're going but with a real-time bonus. It uses the information from all its users to provide you with traffic updates, potential hazards along the way, police traps and road closings. Your passenger (because you are driving!) can chat with other drivers or take photos too. You can also send your route to friends and family so they can track where you are and know that you arrived safely (you can also post that to Facebook but that might be a little TMI). You may want to keep GasBuddy handy so you can track the closest stations and lowest prices.

Foodspotting the Summer Scallop Salad at Bully Hill Vineyards
Foodspotting the Summer Scallop Salad at Bully Hill Vineyards

Foodspotting - Sure, there are the TripAdvisors, Yelps and Urban Spoons to help you navigate all the restaurants on Market Street in Corning but sometimes the best decider is a photo of The Dish you need to eat now. Foodspotting is all photos of food at nearby restaurants. You can search for your favorite kind of food or just decide which looks the best and head there! Then upload your delicious dish to Foodspotting and share to your favorite social network.

Postagram Keuka Lake
Postagram Keuka Lake

Postagram - Share that beautiful photo of Keuka Lake you took on your phone as a postcard! With this app, you can take a photo or upload any from your photo albums, Instagram, Facebook or Dropbox, write your message and then use your address book to address the cards. Postagram will do the rest and send a postcard in the mail to your friends anywhere in the world. The first 5 postcards you send are free but after that, they are 99 cents per postcard.

Delectable Dr Frank's Celebre
Delectable Dr Frank's Celebre

Delectable - While you're in the Finger Lakes, tasting many different wines from so many different wineries, you may forget which ones you liked the most. With Delectable, you can keep track of your wine tasting all on your phone. Take a photo of the wine bottle and this app will scan the label and store the wine, year, and winery for you. You can add your rating plus comments about the wine or the tasting or the great atmosphere! You can also make this social by following other wine lovers and seeing what your friends and wine experts are drinking and recommending. Unfortunately for Droid users, this is only available on iPhone (but it's coming soon!). In the meantime, Vivino does pretty much the same thing, the photo settings are just a little stricter than Delectable. 

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Cool and Fun, Dining, Wine Fun

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