Every three months or so we find ourselves driving the hour and forty five minutes north to Rochester. Whether it is to get some grocery goods, or eat a meal out we can’t get locally, or to go to a big event it’s worth the drive. Although we drove up to go kayaking (see kayaking and bbq the perfect summer combo) this was our first summer time trip into town since Luke b-day (see a chemistry lesson for a birthday present). So what drew us this time? Two festivals and some good BBQ.
After a humid drive up, we decided to start our adventure at the Corn Hill Arts Festival. A neighborhood event we figured it would be much like the other art fest. this summer: small with local artists. But as we struggled to find parking we realized this was a much bigger event then we thought. For forty-five years this historical district of Rochester has been hosting this local artist competition and street fair. Homeowners opened up their front porches to local musicians and hosted parties and bbqs with their neighbors all along the eight or more streets lined with a large variety of creative wares.
Through the winding beautifully tree lined streets filled with gorgeous old homes were booths with high quality paintings, photographs, refurbished furniture, handcrafted quilts, clothes, jewelry, pottery, toys, carving boards and so much more. Among the vendors were also fresh lemonade, roasted nuts, and popcorn stands. All streets lead to a local community college parking lot with a court of food trucks, a kids bounce house play area, and main stage for the more well known musicians.
Passing through the parking lot, you come to the central square of the Corn Hill neighborhood where the churches have set up hot food booths around the park. in the center of the park is a gazebo where even more musicians are playing in a fenced in beer and wine garden open to the public.
This festival exceeded expectations; a great surprise with plenty of high quality shopping options and food. No wonder it has been running for 45 years. After a long walk around the neighborhood we decided to get a sweet cold snack before moving on and found a local ice cream place selling black raspberry sorbet; it was amazing!!
We then drove to our next stop: highland park where the city was putting on what we thought would be an epic BBQ and Blues fest. Again struggling to find parking, we payed our 5 bucks and took over a piece of park lawn and walked towards the spicy smokey smell and wailing guitars. After paying our 5 bucks each to enter we explored the options.
Displaying trophies and banners of their winning sauces and flavors, from NY to Texas there were BBqed ribs, chicken, brisket and all the classic fixin’s: potatoes, beans, mac n’ cheese, slaw and more. Luke picked up a overpriced IPA and I tried to get some hard cider had to settle for an equally overpriced slushy sangria. Listening to the only blues stage (thinking from the long music list there would be more stages) slotted fro 30 minute sessions each we tried to find the best bang for our buck.
Tasting the different sauces, we decided to get in the Florida Gator BBQ line. We only grabbed a 1/3 rack of ribs and a side of potatoes to share because that snack cost us 11.00. The fest’s meat dishes were expensive without a lot of cheap sampler options. In the end we decided we’d much rather get some amazing food at Sticky Lips BBQ with better meat offerings, sides, and combos. for the right price.
After a meaty snack we moved on to our only errand of the day, a long awaited trip to Trader Joes. We stocked up on coffee, crackers, (samples), and tuna steaks at a cheap price.
Last but certainly not least was a dinner Luke had been looking forward to all day and craving for weeks before that, the spicy salty taste of Korean BBQ. Luke loves the kimichi but also the price. Thirty bucks gets us a big bowl of kimichi soup, rice, the typical fixings, and all the beef we both could need. Satisfied we headed back home at sunset.
How was your weekend? Find any fun summer activities to do?