Springwater Fiddler’s Fair

Well it’s been busy past month adjusting to a new job, driving to Rochester everyday, and adding a puppy to our lives. We were ready for a weekend outing.

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A few weekends ago went to the Springwater 7th annual Fiddler’s Fair. We heard about this fair from two sources: first from the maple farm we toured for maple week this past spring (see maple season) and from the Springwater trails group we hiked with this summer.

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The fair takes places at a tree farm on the boarder between Cohocton and Wayland (so not far from our house) and hosts fiddlers from all over upstate New York for one day of performances, workshops, and jam sessions.

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We arrived in the mid afternoon and explored the grounds. A barn was set up at the front of the property with crafts artists inside. We payed a five dollar donation and were given wrist bands and brochures before exploring. Around the corner form the barn was the main stage where fiddling performances occurred every half hour from 10-6pm all day.

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Deciding to walk around the craft stalls outside, we walked around the found the inner loop trail to explore the jam sessions in the woods. At each location where a jam session could occur along  the festival had set up haybails and a white fiddle sign.

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We came late enough in the day that there were not any jam sessions in the forest, but we enjoyed the walk. The spring water hiking club blazes the trails for all of the events on the farm, and for most of the day supported guided hikes along the trails.

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We came back to the main field and listened in on a few of the larger workshops and jam tents further out in the field. Some of the workshops included Penny whistle, woodworking, Cajun fiddling, and basic fiddling skills.

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We also noticed they had nature crafts for children and a sing along stage where children could dress up, pick up instruments, and dance along to a guitarist singing children’s songs.

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After walking around we decided to get dessert first settling on organic custard made locally from duck eggs. I got black raspberry and Luke had the mint chip, it was very good creamy and sweet.

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We sat with our frozen treats and listened at the main stage to several performers including a group of children performers from a string school in Buffalo who were very good.

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We then decided to get dinner and had many options to choose from everything from taco salad, to BBQ, to hamburgers and hot dogs, to vegetarian stew and lamb burritos. Sadly the lamb burritos were sold out by the time we decided to eat ,so Luke and I shared some BBQ and mac and cheese. All of the food stands were local bakeries, restaurants, and catering companies.

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We enjoyed seeing that this fair was put on by volunteers and locals and the cost to get into the festival goes to run the festival next year and to support the community. It was also great to hear a variety of fiddling styles including Americana, Irish, and even Macedonian.

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It was the perfect event to welcome the fall season.

Dogwood Festival and Orienteering

This past weekend was our local city Dansville’s spring festival. Unlike the larger cities the local festivals are more children and family oriented. Most events for the Dogwood festival centered around children’s performances, magic shows, choir or choral performances, and city softball or baseball games. There was also a small carnival being held at a local park. For more on Dansville’s Dogwood Days click the link: Dansville Dogwood Days

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We were not interested in much of this but did get out of the house early to explore the many yard sales happening around town. Some of the sales were posted in the local penny savers. After driving and walking around many yards we came home with a kitchen table for only 5$. It needs a little TLC  some children’s paint and stains removed but it works perfectly as extra work space in the kitchen or as a kitchen eating area.

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We also went to our second ever Orienteering event (it was a busy weekend) at Powder Mills Park in Pittsford outside of Henrietta. We decided this time to do the yellow course and jogged parts of the trail. The park was beautiful, green and shaded.

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Trails winded around and through the trees and a creek. This course was a more hilly and we had to make decisions on navigation making short cuts or taking the longer less strenuous routes.

We finished in 42 minutes and as of the time we finished we were in first place for our course.

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It was just as much fun if not more so then last month’s course. The park is more spread out, and diverse but had just as well kept shelters, bathrooms, and meeting lodges.

For more on Powder Mills Park Click here: powder mills park

Rochester Lilac Festival

It is finally and truly spring here. Once spring comes so do the festival, one or two every weekend.

This past weekend Luke and I celebrated another semester of teaching over by going to the Rochester Lilac Festival.

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This is the largest Rochester city festival lasting two full weeks and weekends. It takes place at Highland Park with food tents, many concerts from various local bands, a home and garden show, children’s shows and more. During the week they also have a Lilac run, wine and chocolate and craft beer tasting events.

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Fortunately Luke and I had heard that MCC provides parking for 2$ and a round trip shuttle back and forth to the festival. We were happy to not have to struggle to find a parking spot or fight the crowd.

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Once we were dropped off at the festival sight we briefly walked around the most crowded area where the food vendors and concerts were. Crossing the street into the larger park area we enjoyed strolling through the lilac trees which are in full bloom with purple and pink flowers and a strong fragrance.

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We passed many acoustic musicians in the park and families taking pictures or resting under the trees and shade. We came down the hill from the lilac bushes to the annual pansy bed and found several food trucks.

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We decided to try a dish from Brick N Motor, a local seasonal menu food truck. We shared a small plate of bim bap: rice, korean beef,  and kimchi topped with carrots, thai basil, sesame seeds and a poached egg. It was delicious.

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After our rest we continued back up the hill toward the reservoir through the azaleas. Past the reservoir at the top of the park hill art vendors were selling their pottery, wood vases, lilac oils and candles, clothes, photography etc. alongside with a few other food vendors.

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Passing the conservatory we decided to make our way back down the hill and finish off our tour of the festival looking at larger food tents and vendors while listening to a little music.

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It was a warm day and crowded but it was a fun festival, with free entertainment and great food.

To find out more about the festival click: Lilac Festival

Ithaca-fest

In the summer time here in the Finger Lakes there is at least one ( if not many) festivals every weekend. So there is no way to check everything you want to out all in one year. Last year we stayed local and went to Glassfest for the weekend of Memorial Day.

For more on this see: https://agreenesadventures.wordpress.com/2013/05/28/glassfest/

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This year instead we decided to go to Ithaca-fest; another town-festival this one always held the weekend after Memorial Day. Over the past year and a half we have explored several Ithaca based festivals and always enjoyed them for the people watching (college students), local musicians, and of course the best varied and international festival food in the area. For more on some of the Ithaca festivals we have enjoyed see:

Apple Fest: https://agreenesadventures.wordpress.com/2013/10/08/apple-fest/

Chili Fest: https://agreenesadventures.wordpress.com/2014/02/17/ithaca-chili-cook-off/

So we left around 1pm on Saturday and took the scenic route through Walkins Glen toward Ithaca enjoying watching the sail boats on Seneca and Cayuga lake on the drive up. When we got to town it was clear the whole city was buzzing with activity. This 4-day long festival kicked-off with a parade on Thursday, and festivities around the commons are held Friday-Sunday.

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Each day of the festival multiple stages placed throughout the closed roads hosted local musicians representing all ages and styles of music. In addition to this, the park and church stages included smaller local cultural activities such as youth dance, Hawaiian dancers, belly-dancers, youth orchestra etc.

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Several city blocks were taken up with local crafts: photographers, painters, jewelry makers, woodworkers, food goods and more. Speaking of food this past week was also Ithaca restaurant week featuring special offers from some of the best local restaurants as well as several local ingredients/sourced three course meals. One full block of the festival was devoted to the many wonderful varied food vendors everything from Tibetan, Thai, and Indian to Tacos, BBQ and potato pancakes. We enjoyed walking the winding streets even though it was very busy.

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We were a little surprised with how extensive of a hype this festival gets that the commons, which has been under construction for more than the past 6 months, was still torn up and unfinished. Also, for the many stages and performers there were no places to sit and watch the musicians, performers, (or just people watch). There were some tables set up for the food vendor area but it was far from enough to accommodate this large crowd.

 

We did noticed that this was much more  family festival then previous Ithaca festivals. There was only one winery represented, a very small beer/wine area at one performance stage, and few college students around. Instead the festival crowd was mostly made up of  families enjoying the sunshine,  children’s activities and rides, and some local ice cream.

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Overall it was a great day to be out and about but we were done exploring after an hour and a half and left the crowd behind to explore on our own. In our explorations we found a new Korean grocery store and the best Chinese food we’ve had on the East coast we drove home happy (and a little sunburnt).

Have you done any local exploring? What summer activities are you looking forward to?

Apple Fest

Last Saturday Luke and I drove up to Ithaca for their annual Apple Fest ! As you may know from past posts (cinnamon oatmeal apple muffins) I love apples, really I do.

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I know that it is typical to think of pumpkins come autumn, but first in my mind is apple season. Growing up my family  each year would escape from LA’s heat and drive up to Oak Glenn to get apples at a local orchard. We would sample the year’s variety and pick a bagful of apples and other treats then head to one of the several area restaurants serving  apple pie. Last Fall before our wedding, we took my Dad up to Serendipity to see where we would be getting married. Then we drove minutes down the road to the Oak Glenn apple orchards to pick out local apples to decorate our wedding venue, and afterward as is tradition, we went to get apple pie.

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With that background, let me share about this years apple experience. We arrived downtown Ithaca around 2pm and paid an event parking fee of $5 then set out to find a map and explore the festival. The first we notice was how crowded it was!! This was obviously a very popular event,, especially with the local college scene.

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We started this multi-street venture with exploring apple vendors, bakers, and ciderys on Aurora st. It was difficult to maneuver through the crowd of people, some standing in front of vendor booths, other waiting in lines for hard cider tastings or to buy carmel apples or  kettle corn.

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When we came to the end of the row we noticed a long tent so packed with people you couldn’t tell what was being sold.  As we got closer we saw table after tables overflowing with local amish baked goods including pies, cakes, fudge, brownies, crisps, and cobblers. Rounding the booths we priced some of the apples per their pecks and shared a hot spiced cider for $1.50.

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We then took a break from the crowd and turned onto E. State street where a parking lot had been reserved for more vendors. In this lot were several more orchard/apple vendors, wineries, breweries, baked goods, and a live music stage.

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A line the length of the parking lot had formed at the end of Little Tree Orchards s waiting for a new batch of their apple cider doughnuts. Considering their popularity, we decided to buy a large bag of Northern Spy apples. We tried several of the wines and beers and Luke discovered one of the companies’ coffee stout was eerily similar to his own first brewed beer (for more on this see The home-brewing has begun).

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Taking turns carrying the bag of apples, we walked through the commons and to cayuga street to check out the craft vendors. We saw much of the same vendors or goods that were available at other festival throughout the summer/spring the usual: clothes, jewelry, photography, paintings, and custom wood or metal work.

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We also toured a smaller simultaneous festival occurring in Dewitt park called “The First People’s Festival.” The highlight of this seemed to be for children who were given the opportunity to make native crafts or hear traditional tribal stories. There were not many distinctive cultural crafts being sold that I could see and I was disappointed to walk away not feeling like I learned much about the four to five local tribes in the area.

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Last but not least we explored the food vendors on W. State st. which were all the cheap and unhealthy fair foods we’ve seen at every fest or carnival. But on the south side of Cayuga street was the international food market. From vietnam,  to India, to Cuba or good old American with a twist they had it all! Although it all looked and smelled delicious, we decided to just grab an iced chai tea and head back to the car. We had a beautiful sunny drive home and enjoyed watching the hills filled with fall foliage color, it was the perfect ending to a great fall festival day.

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So what did we do with all of those apples? Stay tuned to find out later this week. . .

Racefever and local BBQ

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Last Thursday Luke and I decided instead of hitting the treadmill at the Y we would go on a walk downtown  to check out Racefever. We weren’t completely sure what Racefever was exactly celebrating.   But we know we live very close to Wakins Glen, a city on the waterfront of Seneca lake that is know for it’s racetrack. As we  walked downtown we found the source for celebration: a poster in a local storefront advertised NASCAR races being held at The Glen August 8-11.  Friday was the NASCAR Nationwide Series Qualifying and NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Final Practice, Saturday was the Qualifying and Zippo 200 then Sunday was the main event: NASCAR Sprint Cup Series 355.

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Luke and I are not huge race-fans but in the spirit of celebrating our local community events we joined the locals crowding on the closed off Bridge St.

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Starting down the street you could hear live rock music from a stage next to a rock climbing wall.  Several NASCAR cars were on display drivers sitting at booths next to them signing posters and selling t-shirts.

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Alongside these racecars were vendors selling license plates, t-shirts and memorbillia from this year’s NASCAR races, as well as hot wheels and other car themed goods. At the old fashion gas station and car wash by the bridge a small classic car show was also on display. IMG_1105IMG_1111

All the usual food trucks were boasting fried everything, hamburgers, hot dogs, and sausages. Making a Racefever debut was the new BBQ joint Luke and I have been meaning to check out: Slammin’ Jammin’ Southern Smoked BBQ.

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Luke and I stopped at their BBQ booth and got a sample of their meat and sauces.  Luke was satisfied with the sauce so we decided to walk a block or two over to their main storefront to get dinner.

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The front windows advertise a Friday Catfish dinner, Brisket, and Ribs. We walk into the small store front and try to pick out what we want for dinner. They have all the standard sides: baked beans, coleslaw, mac n’ cheese, potato salad, pasta salad, fried, sweet potato fries and more. I ended up ordering a chop dinner ( beef brisket) with a side of coleslaw and baked beans. Luke got ribs with mac n’ cheese and potato salad.

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As we waited for our food we took the chance to look around. This small restaurant boasts a simple country, casual,  but clean environment the indicates they are proud of their food and their new establishment. Newspaper articles announcing the opening of their BBQ joint are framed on both main walls. Next to the pick up window they keep piles of local business cards and a small gum-ball jar.

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When our food arrived we were happily surprised the sides are portioned to indicate they are sides-not compensations for a lack of meat.  And trust me the meat portions were generous and tender. The meat  fell right off the rib bones and the spicy BBQ sauce was tangy and had a perfect kick. And I don’t want to  down play the sides: they were great on their own and definitely not a side note when prepared in the kitchen.

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When we realized I had been given texas toast  Luke offered to walk to the front and asked for a corn muffin, fully prepared to pay for it. Instead he was given two warm ones right from the oven free of charge.  As we left feeling full and very happy with money well spent we said thank you to our host, who obviously is one of the owners. She asked us if it was our first time and after we said yes she voiced her disappointment that we hadn’t tried her peach cobbler.

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We love to support local family-run restaurants especially when it is obvious they are passionate and proud about their food and its quality. So if you are a Corning local or just passing through and craving a great BBQ joint: please support a local business and go  or order-in from Slammin’ Jammin’ Southern Smoked BBQ joint on Pultney St.

Have you check out any local events or restaurants recently?

Two festivals and Korean BBQ

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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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!!

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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How was your weekend? Find any fun summer activities to do?