Drink It In: 2300 revisited

For those of you who are newer to my blog my first “real” post of A. Greene’s Adventures was last year at this time about a local event at the Corning Glass Museum called 2300 (see 2300 degrees ).

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2300 degrees is a free event sponsored by the Corning Glass museum every third Thursday night from November to May. Each month the museum chooses one night to close the galleries and transform this tourist attraction into a site for a night on the town.

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Corning Glass Co.  launched 2013’s 2300 degrees with a “Finger Lakes Finest” themed event which meant free wine tasting.  The Finger Lakes Region, as our area of upstate New York is called, is home to many local wineries and wine trails nestled in the hills surrounding the local lakes.

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To start off 2014 the museum hosted a similar 2300 night called “Drink It In” which like last year featured free wine tasting. This year there were three less local lake wineries than last year and a little change-up in the variety of the wineries present. But this did not change the enthusiasm and crowd drawn to this event. There were still 26 wineries present offering their seasonal best reds to whites,  drys to sweets, and everything in between. And a local artist Jeff Mack made amazing goblets in the Hot Glass Show.

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This year we met up with two other couples and took our time wandering. Now that we are familiar with the museum and some of the local wineries we felt there was no rush in trying them all. We caught up with good friends after the holiday-craze, enjoyed snacks, and tried a few wineries. Near the end of the night we enjoyed the big band sound of: Big Mean Sound Machine from Ithaca in the Auditorium.

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One feature of these 2300 events I did not mention last year is the glass museum sale. Although I am not one for modern art or large expensive (and also breakable) glass pieces, the museum does offer great sales deals on this once a month event night. Those items not already on sale are all 23% off and that includes the non- or less- breakable items like toys, ornaments, jewelry, books, lamps, glassware, chess sets etc.

January’s 2300 launch was just as fun and entertaining and the previous years. Maybe this year we will make and effort to attend another month’s 2300 events.

2300 degrees

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Since we didn’t get much of a vacation over the holidays, Luke decided to take a few days off of Martin Luther King Jr. weekend. For our first day off, Thursday January 17th, we decided to go to 2300 degrees.

2300 degrees is a free event sponsored by the Corning Glass museum every third Thursday night from November to May. Each month the museum chooses one night to close the galleries and transform this tourist attraction into a site for a night on the town.

Corning Glass Co.  launched 2013’s 2300 degrees with a “Finger Lakes Finest” themed event which meant free wine tasting. You heard right: free!  The Finger Lakes Region, as our area of upstate New York is called, is home to many local wineries and wine trails nestled in the hills surrounding the local lakes.

Luke and I arrived around 5:40pm to find the Glass Museum parking lot, and all adjacent parking lots full. It was disappointing to have to walk several blocks in the snow, but it was promising to know that this event was well attended. Grateful to get into the warmth, we were greeted and given a program listing the 30 wineries and their booth locations.

We walked through the entrance and wandered toward the auditorium. Low-lit black dinning tables lined the back wall. On the stage was an Indie Rock band from California called The Blind Spots. A lead singer with a  Zooey Deschanel hair cut swayed as she sang and rocked to her decked-out microphone stand. On the adjacent stage screens flashed images from the Hot Glass innovation stage as lights danced on the open stage floor.

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The Blind Spots

After listening to a few songs, Luke and I decided to check out the wineries. This was my first time wine tasting and although I know generally what I prefer, I was not as familiar with wines such as Caberet Franc, Riesling, or Gewurztraminer. Fortunately  being married to an ex-bartender, Luke has had plenty of wine-tasting experiences, so I let him take lead.

Each winery brought three to five wines  from crisp whites to full-bodied reds, some even brought fruit or dessert wines. We decided to focus on red wines. We wound through the corners, ramps, landings, and stairways of this modern museum reading each booth’s wine descriptions and taking brochures from the ones we liked best. (It didn’t take long for Luke to start a 0-10 rating system on the side of our program.) I was pleasantly surprised to discover we both liked the same wineries and the similar qualities in a red wine.  Just as I began to remember we had not had dinner yet, we rounded the corner to find a table of free snacks: cubed cheese, crackers, vegetables, dip, and cold cuts were piled high on round black tables getting quickly picked over.

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We took a short break from the crowds to watch the glass blowing in the Hot Glass Innovation studio.  A tiered open auditorium hosts a large screen showing the busy hands of the glass artists on the stage directly below. With the aid of state-of-the art video equipment observers can even watch the glass be turned and heated via a video camera inside the kiln.  Many people sat sipping their drinks while watching the artists make a large wine colored vase decorated with clusters of glass grapes.

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 In spite of the tight space, everyone was warm and friendly, milling around the booths discussing their taste and preferences with each other. Everyone stood in clusters holding comfortable easy conversation. If they bumped into someone it was only to  recognize their face and ask how their holidays were.

This was one local event we were lucky to attend. We now can support local wineries without any guesswork.

Curious what 2300 degrees really looks like?  Here is the event list and photo gallery: Click Here

Want more details on the wineries? Here is a link with information on “2300: Finger Lakes Finest”: Click Here

Looking for new up-and-coming music artists? Find out more about The Blind Spots: Click Here

P.S. I’d love to know: What do you do for date-night or a night-on-the-town with your friends where you live?

Happy Blogversity!!!!

Last year today I posted my first major post on A.Greene’s Adventures. So this week marks a year of blogging, my blogging anniversary or Blogversity!!!

I started A. Greene’s Adventures as a means to get back in the habit of writing and to share my new life in Corning New Work with family and friends who were thousands of miles away. Since then I have become connected to so many other bloggers, writers, pintrest pinners, and facebook friends. All of whom have enjoyed A. Greene’s Adventures about local foods and events, living with food allergies, baking and cooking, and life as a newly wed.

So much has happened in a year as I’ve reviewed with you through food: 2013’s Low Calorie and Healthy Meals , events 2013 in review  and  6 months and 100 posts and marriage: Niagara Falls Anniversary Part 1 and Wow it’s been 6 months but let me point out some of the blog stat highlights of my now year old writing hobby:

My First major post: A Lesson in Independence

Most popular posts:

1. A Vegetarian Mediterranean Meal

2. Stina’s Bridal Shower

3. Tell Them Thank You!

Most popular topics: Gluten-Free, Barley-free, food, and natural

Day with most views:  Wednesday, January 8th 2014 with  144 Views 

Month with most views and visitors : October 2013 with 1,005 views and 560 visitors

Views total: 8,811 and counting

Comments total: 384

Total Blog Posts: 160

Last major post: Drink it in 2300 revisited 

So there you have it!! A lot has changed in a year. I promise more on the topics above along some news ones such as establishing friendships in a new area, and finding a job(s) when you have no known connections in the area.

I’m looking forward to another amazing year of sharing my adventures learning how to transform, transition, and transcend.

2013 in review

I know we are a little more than a week into the new year but it has taken me a full week to get back into the normal routine of things (I can’t be the only one who’s in the post-holiday struggle for normality). As I look back on almost a full year with this blog I thought I’d review some of the highlighting events of 2013.

So here is a review of 2013 blog style:

January: survived our first NY winter:  A Lesson in Independence and explored our local museum’s winter events: 2300 degrees

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February: Started a new Valentines tradition: Valentine’s Pie: a New Tradition, and explored what it means to be newly married :Dispelling Marriage MythsMarriage Myth busting: Round 2

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March: Celebrate Luke’s birthday with brewery tours/tastings in Rochester: A Chemistry lesson for a birthday present, Shared about my allergy to barley: Why I am barley free: Part One, and celebrated Easter: Hot Cross Buns and Berry Salad

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April: Celebrated 6 months of marriage: Wow it’s been 6 months!, shared details about our wedding:The Dress and  learning how to look for a job: Patience: giving myself time

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May: Traveled to the West Coast for an Oregon vacation and my brother’s college graduation: Vacation Highlights Part 1: Family TimeVacation Highlights Part 2: Date Days

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June: Went Kayaking in Rochester: Kayaking and BBQ, bottled our first homemade barley-free beer:  Bottling our first homemade brew and celebrated my birthday in Ithaca: An Ithaca birthday Adventure

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July: Explored local festivals: Two festivals and Korean BBQ, Fixed up the front porch: Home Improvement: The Front Porch Project, and traveled to Washington to be apart of pre-wedding events for my brother’s wedding : Pre-wedding Jitters

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August:  Particpated in my soon-to-be sister-in-law’s bridal shower: Stina’s bridal shower and other wedding events, attended two local foodie festivals in NY: Smoke on the WaterTaste of Ellicotville, and hiked a local landmark: Walkins Glen State Park= Gorge-ous

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September: Looked back on my brother’s wedding: The Wedding, and shared more about my job-search: A New Year: Teacher without a classroom

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October: Picked pumpkins and attended an Apple Festival: Picking Perfect Pumpkins;  Apple Fest,  shared about my allergy to tree-nuts:Why I am tree-nut free Part one,  and celebrated a year of marriage with a trip to Niagara Falls :Niagara Falls anniversary Part One

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November: Kept busy with non-blogging activities and shared about them in: busy: and update

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December: Started two new holiday traditions: Post-Parade Cookies and Cocoa and Christmas Concert TSO. Attended our local holiday festival: Sparkle and shared our Christmas with my parents: A Very Corning Christmas present and A handmade and heirloom Christmas

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That is one very full blogging year! And that is only a small portion of the blog-post in this past year and doesn’t include any of my recipes. So what can you look forward to reading about this next year? You’ll find out soon enough.

Niagara Falls Anniversary Part 2: Wine tours and Italian dinner

In review, Friday night at the The Keg in Embassy Suites  we had a partial view of the Canadian side of Niagara Falls. Afterwards we walked around the  tourist area filled with haunted houses, wax and world record museums, children amusement parks and arcades, and much more! Although we are not into these tourist traps they are pretty fun to walk by lit up at night. Here are some pictures:

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Saturday (our actual anniversary)  we packed up our things at the Best Western and checked out. The Best Western had given us a 15$ off card to use at IHOP and although we do not often go there we thought we’d save the money where we could. So we ordered one meal to split of whole wheat blueberry pancakes and an omelet.  The waitress came back and said the fine print on our coupon said we had to order two entrees to get the 15 off. We understand having to follow the rules of the coupon but it was a little frustrating and disappointing to find this out after we’d already eaten.

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We then chose to walk off the carbs (and our annoyance) down the hill to the Canadian view of the falls along the Niagara River Recreation Trail. It was another beautiful sunny day and there were plenty of pedestrians and tour buses alike taking in the view. We followed along from the American Falls down to Horseshoe falls. As we got closer to Horseshoe falls we needed to put our sunglasses on the mist reflecting light from the sun was creating quite a glare. At the end of the falls trail it felt like we were back on the Maid of the Mist standing in a thin rain cloud as we listened and watched gallons of water flow over the edge is seconds.

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After our walk, we got back to our car, found directions, and drove to Niagara-on-the-Lake to local wineries. We first went to Pellar Estates Winery. This large vineyard/winery is probably one of the oldest in this area known for it’s fertile ground and good weather. We brought our groupon vouchers to the front desk after wandering the tasting room and got set up for the winery tour. At 1:30pm we went with a large group to learn about the Pellar winery. The tour was extremely educational, out in the vineyard we got a change to hear about how the soil is conditioned differently for each type of grape, how the grape vines are kept and pruned, when the grapes are picked based on the varieties and how they use a eco-friendly pest control prevention system.

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Next we were  taken into their wine cellar were the wine barrels are kept. Our tour guide informed us about the different barrel types used, the varieties in woods/materials the wine is fermented in, and changes in fermenting times.  Last of all we were taken to a table to taste their wine. The tour guide explained the wine connoisseurs process of three tastings for each wine: one to clean the palate, one to taste the oxygen in the wine, and last to get the full flavor. We tried three varieties, a pinot noir, a chardonnay , and one of their regionally famous very sweet ice wines.

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Getting back in the car, we followed the wine trail to Trius Winery, another winery owned by the Pellar family. This tour was less formal or informative but we did get a chance to learn a little about Trius’ specialty which was sparkling wines and see where these wines are fermented in the bottle. We were then taken to a garden to taste another one of their ice wines, and their traditional white and red. This was my first day doing a wine tasting at an actual winery but I was grateful for having experienced tasting wine where we live in the Finger Lakes area (for more on this see 2300 degreeslocal food and winecabin fever ). We decided that the Niagara area wine was not for us, they were either too light and acidic or too sweet. It may be that we are becoming partial to our local region.

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We decided to not drive another half hour into the country to check out the last winery and instead headed back to the Falls area. We checked into the Sheraton hotel around 5:00pm; in time to relax a little before getting ready for dinner. In contrast from our previous hotel, this place was large, spacious, and connected to a casino, a Starbucks in the lobby,  several stores, restaurants, and even a water park! Dressing up for a wonderful dinner out we took the walk way to the Crowne Plaza Hotel and up to the 10th floor to Massimo’s Rainbow Room, a more formal Italian dinning room.

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We made reservations months ago when we got the groupon for $40 towards a dinner there to celebrate our anniversary night. We were ushered in low lighting to a white table clothed table for two right up against a glass window over looking the falls at sunset. It was beyond beautiful. Sadly we did not bring a phone or camera with us to dinner so we will just have to keep that dinner and moment in our memory. When the sunset we enjoyed watching the falls light up with varying colors as we ate a delicious dinner. Luke ordered the steak I ordered a rack of lamb but we shared. (for a more detailed description of the menu click here ).

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What the restaurant looks like in the daylight

After our wonderful dinner, we headed back down the elevator and on to see what our other vouchers for the evening would get us. We started at the Hard Rock Cafe  where we had two free cocktails at the bar. After enjoying our rum and cokes by lava lamp (seriously they had mini lava lamps all across the bar) we headed over to Hershey’s for a sweet finish.

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After standing in line at their candy store we turned in our voucher and out came a box that the cashier said contained two cupcakes. We walked back to our hotel room and opened our dessert to find one chocolate and one white cupcake with vanilla frosting topped each with a Hershey’s kiss. After dessert we cuddled up on our king size bed to watch our wedding video for the first time. It was great to look back and laugh at the small details or reactions from family and friends we were too nervous or preoccupied to notice the day-of.

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I didn’t get a picture of our actual goodies but here’s what they had in the store

Sunday we slept-in, Luke tried his luck at the casino for a brief hour  and then we checked out of the hotel. We hit the road back home in the middle of surprising noon traffic back over the bridge to America. After a long wait at the border we were on the road to Buffalo and eventually back home. It was one wonderful weekend to celebrate a crazy busy and challenging first year of marriage!

Girls Day (and Night) Out

This past week I shared about my now sister-in-law’s bridal shower (see Stina’s Bridal Shower). Saturday to Thursday afterward was a blur of errands, small details, and quality time with the Moseng family (some of which I’ll share later).

But skipping ahead to more fun, all the bridesmaids arrived in town Wednesday night and Thursday for the Bachlorette party. Similar to the suggestions about creative bridal pary gifts, (see Tell them Thank you) Stina decided instead of giving us a present, she provide us with some quality time making our present.

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So all of the bridesmaids, close female friends, moms, and flowergirls (and their Mom) all went to the Dancing Brush Studio, a pottery decorating place downtown Pouslbo. We had reservations for a large table, which the owners decorated with balloons. One of Stina’s bridesmaids had decorated bright blue T-shirts for us bridesmaids and Stina to wear for our girls day out.

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We each had our choice of a specific price range of objects to paint. I chose a round mug. Many people chose to go with a theme in the colors of Stina’s wedding.

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Mine was unfinished on the outside with blue dots and a blue colored handle. The inside of the cup I painted bright yellow with a blue H for Halvorson on the bottom. I told Stina that every time I use this cup for tea or coffee I will think and pray for them.

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It was a enjoyable afternoon listening to folk music and having the place mostly to ourselves. We got a chance to get to know everyone and learn about people’s creative sides as they painted their cups, mugs, and other clay items.

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Stina guessed that there were plans for a follow up party but didn’t know what we were actually doing. Stina’s sister Elisabet and I had been planning this over the past weekend, picking up supplies at party stores and pulling the last minute details together. We also somehow mysteriously ended up showing up together and late to the pottery decorating session (so we could secretly decorate for later).

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After we were done with our pottery pieces (which would be mailed to us later) the Mom’s and young ones left and it was only us girls. Elisabet had sneakily packed a pretty little lace dress for Stina to wear for her night on the town. Slowly each one of us snuck away also to change out of our art clothes and into some fun dresses and skirts.

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With zebra print goodie bags filled with taffy, chocolates, ring pops and mini comb tiaras in hand we went to the nearby downtown coffeeshop. Stina leading the way while wearing her beautiful plastic princess bridal crown, we talked and hung out enjoying the weather outside the coffee shop.

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Making Stina close her eyes and spin around, we guided her to our next designation: dinner. We walked her up the steps to this little bistro called Mor Mor  downtown Poulsbo. Mor Mor is a quaint restaurant with an extensive wine list and many delicious dinner options. They had a great selection of soups, salads, small plates, appetizers, and pasta dinners so that everyone was happy.

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After an enjoyable dinner, we all piled into cars and carpooled back to the Moseng house. When all the girls arrived they found the dinning room table decorated in pink and black ready for a dessert bar. This particular party was covered in plenty of wonderful sugary treats.

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The table was prepped for decorating your own cupcakes. One of Elisabet’s friends had made amazing from scratch chocolate kalhua cupcakes which the girls then decorated with fresh vanilla or raspberry frosting and pink or pearl sprinkles. In the center of the tables were also berry blast Oreos, pink and white mints, new york patties, and watermelon drops (Stinas favorite fruit).

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We took our treat and sat down to enjoy watching Stina open her gifts.

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After gifts were given, we transitioned to round two of the dessert bar (did I mentioned plenty of sweets) and opened up several types of ice cream and topped it off wtih fudge, carmel, whip cream, cherries (the whole deal).

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We then took our frozen treats downstairs where the last phase of the night was to be set up for one of Stina’s favorite movies: Ever After. As several of us quoted along with Drew Barrymore and the rest of the cast (yours truly included) we also discussed the following day: Rehearsal.

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Thursday was a break from all wedding planning, focused solely on celebrating with female friends and family.  It was so much fun to show Stina that her “sisters” knew what would be fun, comfortable, and very “Stina” for her last single girls night out.

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6 months =100 posts

 Hard to believe I started blogging A.Greene’s Adventures 6 months ago. 100 posts later, I have shared with you the ways I have transformed, transitioned, and transcended, into married life in Corning NY.

Looking back, since January we:

Survived our first NY winter

our little home covered in snow
our little home covered in snow

(See: A lesson in Independence2300 degreesmy new hometown)

Settled into our home, state, and name change

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(See: I miss my old lifeBecoming Mrs. ________________Passport to new beginningsThe Game Chest, The front porch project

Celebrated first married holidays just the two of  us

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A very Irish dinner complete with Luke's Irish red ale (I had hard cider).
A very Irish dinner complete with Luke’s Irish red ale (I had hard cider).

(See: Valentines Pie a new traditionHappy St. Patrick’s Day!A (new) Easter traditionHappy Mother’s DayHappy Memorial DayHappy Father’s Day4th of July funfetti cookies,)

Discovered the job market and applied to teaching positions (me).

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(See: The future ispatience: giving myself timeSummer projects, the waiting gameContentment is)

Enjoyed spring and summer festivals:

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(See: Strawberry FestivalStars hollow, fireworks, and minionsTwo festivals,

Learned from each other what our married life looks like:

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(See: Dispelling Marriage MythsMarriage myth busting round 2Sleep after Marriage isn’t always a Dream come TrueHappily Ever After is only the Beginning

Explored the area on drives, hikes, and kayaking

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(See: kayaking and BBqAn Ithaca Birthday Adventure,)

Checked out the best local events and food

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(See:  Sorge’s: local food and wineCabin feverGlassfest, )

Brewed our first homemade barley-free beer

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(See: Why I am barley free part oneA chemistry lesson for a B-day PresentThe home-brewing has begunBottling our first homemade brew,

Created and experimented with many new dinners

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(See: A Vegetarian Mediterranean meal,   A good Spring QuicheGreene’s Tilapia fish tacos

and dessert recipes and found our favorites:

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(See: key lime chocolate cupcakescookies n’ cream pudding popsMocha cupcake oreo brownies)

Reflected back on our wedding as we celebrated each new month of marriage

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(See: Who to choose for your bridal partyWow it’s been 6 monthsThe DressA pictures worthTo the Brides to be . . .)

Spent quality time with family and friends in Oregon

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(See: Our first VacationVacation highlights: Date Days,

Shared in the excitement of my brother’s graduation and engagement

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(See: Wedding Season has BegunFamily Time Vacation Highlights)

Celebrated our birthdays

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(See: Cinnamon Roll Bunt B-day Cake25 is Goldenbirthday in picture review)

Paid off all credit card debt and learned ways to save money after completing a budget class at church

Learned how to maintain and live with one car and no dishwasher

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(See: I’m a New Yorker?!Living without a dishwasherLiving with one car,)

Made new friends

Went to Washington to celebrate my brother’s wedding

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(See: Pre-wedding Jitterscongrats matt and stina! and I promise pictures and details from the wedding are coming soon)

And so much more. Thank you everyone for your encouragement, your comments (here or on facebook), and most of all for sharing in Luke and my lives through reading about our adventures.

If this is your first time exploring my blog, first of all welcome! Also to learn more about my last 6 months  click on the links above, check out the calendar archive ,or look into the categories on the right of my page.

Looking forward to sharing many more adventures,

-A. Greene

Glass Fest!!

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Glass Fest, a four day festival in the Gaffer District, is downtown Corning’s biggest annual festival. It kicked off Thursday with the last  2300 degrees event of the season during which the Corning Glass museum is open to the public for a free concert and glass art demonstrations. Friday night started Rock the Park, a weekend series of free outdoor concerts at the Riverfront Centennial Park. Meanwhile, much like Cabin Fever the stores on Market street were open from 5pm-8pm for wine and beer tasting.

The big events hit Saturday starting with the Glass Fest 8K run in the morning. This was followed by day long art exhibits, live glassmaking demonstrations in Centerway square, and promotions in all the stores on Market street.

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Our adventure with Glassfest started Saturday afternoon. We bundled up for an unusually windy Memorial Day weekend. Walking down the center of Market street, we scoped out some of the vendors and sales in the antique stores: vintage colorful glass and pyrex, free face painting, puppet shows, and of course every possible unhealthy treat from deep fried goods to chocolate dipped cheesecake on a stick. After sampling some local mustards, cheese, jam, and salsas we went to the Rockwell Museum of Western Art which was free to the public for the festival.

The Rockwell Museum of Western Art was started by local business owners Bob and Hertha Rockwell who collected Western art and artifacts and donated them for the museum now established in  Corning’s refurbished old City Hall.

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I was happy to be greeted by cactus in the museum’s foyer. Walking to the front desk, we told them we were locals and were handed silver deputy stickers to wear. It was suggested to start on the third floor. Each room of the top floor was brightly colored, displaying art depicting buffalo, native americans, cowboys, and the great frontier in statues, costumes, photos, collages, and of course paintings. The most prominent of paintings greeting us at the entrance was a great scenic view of Mt. Whitney.

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Working our way to the second floor, we found the exhibition display of photographs collected by National Geographic. These photos ranged from views of national parks, to rodeos, to reservation pow wows and everything in between. I enjoyed pointing out places I have been including Yellowstone, Carlsbad Caverns, and Yosemite.

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After the museum tour, we walked the rest of the vendors noticing local photographers, jewelry, and pottery makers, and of course more food vendors and children’s activities. In addition to the street vendors and glass demonstrations, in Centerway square Friday-Sunday a glass making competition was held called Flame Off. During Flame Off local glass artist could enter to compete for prizes and showcase their work to the public.

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When it came close to dinner time we decided to return to Sorges ,our local Italian restaurant, to celebrate the 1 year anniversary of our engagement. (see Memorial Day Flashback)

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After dinner we bundled up and headed to the Riverfront Centennial Park for a Rock the Park concert by DSB, a famous Journey tribute band. The park was crowded and people had set up chairs wrapping up in jackets and blankets in spite of the cold. Glow in the dark necklaces were passed through the crowd as children played and friends caught up drinking coffee and eating the last snacks of the day from the food vendors. Luke and I stood in the back singing along the songs we knew and tapping to the ones we didn’t. After a great finish on “Don’t Stop Believin'” (of course they left it to last) the fireworks show started shooting from the bank of the Chemung River.

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Although we didn’t attend any other events, Sunday the fun continued with street vendors, glass blowing demonstration, children’s activities in the park, and Flame Off. Monday afternoon Market street was closed again for the annual Memorial Day parade.

Talk about one eventful holiday weekend for Corning!!

What did you do for the long weekend?

Cabin Fever

Every year during the dead of winter the Gaffer District hosts Cabin Fever: a wine/beer tasting event hosted  in the storefronts along Main Street.

This year Cabin Fever was postponed because of a snow storm, leaving us stuck inside for the month of February (ironic ? yes). So we anxiously waited for the chance to get out this past Friday. We arrived around 6:30pm to the information center, when we showed our IDs we received our purple wrist-bands and souvenir miniature beer/wine  glasses. Taking the program list, we briskly walked in the cold passing parties of college students, old friends, and couples laughed as they strolled down the street.

Some of the wineries at this event were also at the Corning Glass event we attended in January (2300 degrees). Thinking ahead, we brought along our list from the previous wine tasting so we knew which wineries to try something new from, give a second chance, or skip all together.

Going with a Mardi Gras theme, each location gave a string of beads to guest so that by the end of the night people were decorated in green, yellow, and purple. Many of local businesses also provided food/chocolate samples, live entertainment, or coupons/ give-aways for their stores.

Still this will probably not be an annual event for us. We knew that rescheduling would changed a few elements such as which wineries/breweries would participate. Yet there was no effort to make changes based on the new date. For example, it was a little odd to celebrate with a Mardi Gras theme so close to St. Patty’s day. As well as, the brochures were not updated; so which stores were open or which wineries/breweries were present at the event was inaccurate.

The tickets were 15 bucks a person but the number of winiers/breweries participating was substantially less than the free event we went to in January. A downside to using local storefronts was the line out the door; you felt rushed at the one-at-a-time-line for each tasting. This is why I didn’t take a single picture! The samples were also communion-size, far less than the free samples at 2300 degrees. Because Luke works late we didn’t arrive at 5pm when the event started, so by the time we had arrived to some stores the brewery/winery they hosted had already left (apparently out of samples).

Cabin Fever gave us an excuse to step into some of the local businesses we haven’t  visited yet.  It also gave us the opportunity to try samples from several new wineries and confirm what we liked/did not like from before. In addition, Luke was able to sample local beers and check out some of Corning’s pubs/bars.

Our souvenir wine and beer glasses, wrist bands, and Mardi Gras beads
Our souvenir wine and beer glasses, wrist bands, and Mardi Gras beads

Still, there is no limit to the year-round wine/beer tasting events in our area and next year we will check out a different February/March event.  

How about you? Are you out of the winter slump yet?

What post/Christmas winter activities are in your town?

Sorge’s: local food and wine

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This past holiday weekend (federal=holiday for us) we went to an Italian restaurant in the Gaffer District  called Sorge’s. We were given a gift card to this local family-run business by close friends of Luke. Open for 62 years, Sorge’s is known for their homemade pasta. In fact in the summer of 2011 they made it into Guinness World Records book for the world’s longest egg noodle!

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We took advantage of their weekend special: pasta and salad bar buffet with a complimentary glass of wine (hard to turn down). You never know what you are getting with a buffet, but the food was great! Since my trip to Italy I can tell when pasta or noodles come from a box or are homemade. With Sorges there was no question, I could tell they make their own pasta noodles.

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The buffet included three Italian cheese ravioli, stuffed cheese manicotti, veal and spinach cantaloni, cavatelli (similar to gnocchi), cheese and vegetable lasagna, and meatballs in meat sauce (am I making you hungry?) We were also given the option of white or burgundy house wine and served warm bread at the table with olive oil and seasoning .

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Sorges also offers a Gluten-free Menu  including an alternative pasta made with corn and several yummy gluten-free desserts.

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Their service was great, in-spite of how busy they were. And as I looked around I  saw large families enjoying a meal out, couples on dates, and friends catching up. You could tell this is a family-oriented comfortable place where people can be themselves and enjoy some great pasta.

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When we left we decided (in a belated Valentine’s day celebration) to pick up some wine to enjoy with our homemade pie. When we went into the liquor store  (wine isn’t sold in grocery stores here) we were surprised to find a large selection from local wineries. We found one of the wineries we’d given an score of 8 at the wine tasting at 2300 degrees: Bully Hill Vineyards. So we took home a bottle of their goat white and a bottle of love my goat their red wine which we had tasted before.IMG_2725IMG_2724

(The white rose was from Luke for Valentines day.)

Cheers to a more than successful local date-night out!