Much To Be Thankful For
When you live in an area as culturally rich, as visually stunning, and as flat-out-fun as we do, it’s easy to take for granted just how magical a place it really is. Lucky for us, each year people from around the world find their way to Corning and the Southern Finger Lakes and they frequently remind us of just how much we have to be thankful for.
Sometimes those people are famous. And sometimes they come because they want to let the rest of the world know just how special it is here. People like Samantha Brown who spent nearly two decades as one of the premiere travel experts on the Travel Channel. That’s right, that Samantha Brown!
An icon in the travel community and beloved by so many around the world, Sam took her wit and charm, as well as her passion for people, places and travel to PBS to start a new show called Places to Love which focuses on the people and the culture of a place, the heart and soul of a place. During the summer of 2019, Sam explored Corning and the Southern Finger Lakes getting footage for Episode 10, Season 3 of Places to Love which is currently airing across the country on PBS.
How to Watch
Check with your local PBS affiliate for dates and times near you.
- The approximately 26-minute episode filmed in Corning and the Southern Finger Lakes will run for the next 2 years (premiere and re-runs on Public Television). If you missed the premiere on your local PBS station, don’t worry. The episodes will run again.
- If you’re not sure of your PBS affiliate, you can use the Show Finder on Samantha Brown’s website by simply typing in your zip code and cable provider.
- Social Media
You can also follow Sam and her show on social media.
We would like to express a special thanks to our local ambassadors, the folks who met with Sam while she was here to show her around and to share their own personal stories as well as the larger story. The one most people who visit seem most surprised to learn. That, as awesome as the attractions, landscape and experiences are, it might just be the people who make a visit here so unforgettable.
As Sam says herself, this is “a place where sparkling lakes are the backdrop for sparkling wine. . . . It’s a place where art and science go hand and hand, while beauty and the goodness of people surrounds you . . .”
The Culture of Glass
Corning has played a role in the development of many innovations that have shaped (and which continue to shape) the world around us from making the first light bulbs for Thomas Edison to glass breakthroughs like fiber-optics and Gorilla Glass which keep us all connected.
During her visit, Rob Cassetti showed Sam around The Corning Museum of Glass and discussed the incomparable culture of glass found here ranging from science and technological innovations to astounding works of art.
Corning is known as America’s Crystal City thanks to exceptional glass artisans of the past: renowned glass cutters from the late 19th century like John Hoare, and T.G. Hawkes, as well as artists like Frederick Carder and Steuben Glass.
Some of that same creative spirit and remarkable artistry can be found here today at studios like Vitrix Hot Glass, as well as Hands-on Glass Studio where Sam tried her hand at glassblowing with artists Rodi Rovner and Aaron Rovner-Buck. Sam also visited with Kitty and Max Erlacher to learn about Max’s long career as a master engraver for Steuben and also for himself.
“The Erlacher Steuben Glass Collection: This is a must see store when you are in town.” - Bob Glaze, Classic Chicago Magazine
Of course, with over 100 boutiques, galleries, and restaurants located in its historic downtown, Corning is more than glass, and Sam strolled its tree-lined streets, stopping by Market Street Antiques to visit with Patty Reilly and Linda Palmer and browse. She also enjoyed a chat with Jennifer Herman over some delicious ice cream at Old World Café & Ice Crean Parlor.
While she was here, Sam got a personal tour from the “Cemetery Lady,” local historian Helen Brink whose annual cemetery tours sell out every year. Helen also showed Sam a hidden gem in the form of a rare historic church which had its entire interior designed by Louis Comfort Tiffany.
“The interior of the church isn’t the original design but that’s precisely how it became even more unique. A memorial plaque on one wall of the sanctuary tells how in 1895 John Davenport died, and his brother Ira hired Louis Comfort Tiffany to redesign the entire sanctuary corner to corner in his late brother’s tribute. It was indeed a rare and pricey endeavor.” - Chris Clemens, Exploring Upstate
Sam discovered a museum devoted to local motorcycle and aviation pioneer Glenn Hammond Curtiss and learned about his many contributions and profound impact on American Aviation. She even spent time with two of the Curtiss Museum’s Restoration Shop volunteers learning about the museum’s efforts to tell this important story and to preserve the past
A World of Sparkling Lakes and Sparkling Wine
Sam visited with Fred and Meaghan Frank, third and fourth generation winemakers at Dr. Konstantin Frank Winery, one of the most instrumental wineries in the development of the Finger Lakes as a world class wine destination. In addition to some delightful company, Sam got a behind-the-scenes tour before enjoying some tasty Chateau Frank sparkling wine.
She also got a taste for the local music scene with an intimate performance at nearby Point of the Bluff Vineyards.
A very special thanks goes out to Samantha Brown and her Emmy-winning crew for finding our destination a Place to Love.
Visit Sam’s website Samantha-Brown.com where you can read the article about her visit under Season 3. If for some reason you don't have cable or access to the show through your local PBS affiliate, scroll down below the header image and you can watch the episode there. Her fans will probably no be surprised to learn this, but Sam's generous spirit, endearing sense of humor, and genuine kindness are even more apparent in person. Being around her while she was here reinforced for all of us how this place we call home really is a Place to Love. Thank you, Sam!