Pre-Baby Day-cation

With our crazy busy lives it’s been difficult to go on proper dates; let alone vacation. Luke and I haven’t had an official vacation since last year’s spring break trip to New York City.

With three weeks to due-date we decided we would get in one last pre-baby day-cation. We planned to travel to Seattle; only two hours from us. We left mid-morning and arrive in the city by noon time.

We drove straight to our destination: MoPop formally known as EMP; right next to the space needle and monorail. The Experience Music Project was a modern music and culture museum which hosted concerts and festivals year round. It was known for it’s interactive exhibits especially the sound lab where you could record music in studios and play instruments of all varieties. I was lucky to go to the museum for a college end of the year party and was able to return later bringing my brother and mother as well. Luke has never been and we thought this would be a great place to spend the day.

It’s been a few years since I have explored Seattle and of course that means some changes. EMP is now called MoPop. It still has plenty of interactive exhibits, music festivals, and the sound lab, but now the focus shifted to a wider Museum of Popular Culture.

We started with the indie-gaming exhibit.  We read he history of gaming technology and tried out demos of recent games put out by local and independent gaming programmers. Luke probably had more fun than me but I appreciated the history and art of programming.

After this we explored the third or basement floor exhibits of sci-fiction and horror. We were happy to see props from some of our favorite sci-fi movies and shows including light-sabers and hover boards. Luke enjoyed guessing which weapons came from which sci-fi shows and confirming it using the computer database. We glimpsed quickly through the horror exhibit and headed back upstairs .

I loved the way the fantasy exhibit was designed. You open a huge wooden door to pine needles on the floor of a dimly lite forest, in the center is a large tree made of silver dragon scales. Highlights of this exhibit include costumes, art, and weaponry from many famous fantasy movies as well as many interactive programs, one allowed you to create your own fantasy world map.

The traveling star-trek exhibit is a celebration of 50 years of the TV series(es) and movies. I only in the last year watched a few TV episodes via netflix and have seen the most recent movies. Luke who knows more of the star trek world  enjoyed the exhibit but was not impressed enough for the five extra dollars to view it in comparison to the rest of the museum.

Other than these, we explored the exhibit detailing the history of guitar technology over time; especially amplifying sound and the creation of electric guitars. Luke liked the guitar tree, a staple piece of the museum. However we were a little disappointed to see the third floor interactions with the tree, where you can use computer screens to play guitars on the tree, did not seem to be working. We also walked around the sound lab, which was very busy with high school students on field trips.

We left the museum a little before closing time, drove South to Olympia where we had dinner at a brewpub. Afterwards Luke treated me to a late night (well at least for us) movie date to see Beauty and the Beast before we headed home. A very full day-cation before baby Greene arrives.

Save

Flashback: Rochester Museum and Science Center

As promised I plan this month on doing more detailed flash backs to last month’s adventures (since I didn’t post them).

images

For Luke’s birthday we decided to explore the Rochester Museum and Science Center. The museum had a traveling display of a few of Da Vinci’s writings and inventions we were interested in; as well as we wanted to check out the closest science museum.

images-2images-1

Luke and I have enjoyed several science museums in the past few years. They tend to be an interactive easy date-day activity. While we were dating we explored the California Science Center and enjoyed their exhibit on ecosystems.

IMG_0050IMG_0051

On a vacation in Portland Oregon in 2013 we visited OMSI the Oregon Museum of Science and Innovation. There we enjoyed many interactive displays, shows, and had the chance to tour a WWII sub. For more on this see the link below:

https://agreenesadventures.wordpress.com/2013/05/17/vacation-highlights-part-2-date-days/

IMG_4248IMG_4250

We began our day at the Rochester Museum and Science Center in the Da Vinci display. In one gallery were working wooden replicas of Da Vinci’s mechanical inventions along with pictures of his original drawings. Each invention had an explanation of it’s purpose, use, and how we use it in modern day machinery.

IMG_4257IMG_4261

Around the corner in the same gallery were pictures of the Mona Lisa. A photographer was allowed to take raw images of the Mona Lisa and the results were displayed. The science of photography was able to help researchers discover what the Mona Lisa probably looked like when it was originally painted and how it has  been damage or aged over time. This was more interesting for the science behind photography then anything else, which Luke enjoyed.

IMG_4258

Around the corner was the larger Da Vinci gallery. Here were more  wooden replicas of some of his larger work in all fields: aviation, weather detection, musical instruments, sea exploration, civil engineering, biology, and more.

IMG_4281IMG_4278IMG_4269

I was unaware that he was the first to create the weather vane, tank, and some of our first drawings of human anatomy, later used in Gray’s Anatomy (the book).

IMG_4282

This was the highlight of our time at the RMSC. RMSC had an inactive outdated display of local colonial history as well as one of  cultural symbols from around the world that seemed untouched for at least 20 years.  To get to the  hands-on learning area you had to take an elevator from the 70’s to a half floor that Luke and I were unsure we wanted to ride in.

They did have a decent hands-on area for teaching about Rochester’s role in the underground railroad and natural history area including everything from dinosaurs to local farming and the environment.

It is clear that for children the best museum to go to is the Museum of Play for more on this click on the link below:

https://agreenesadventures.wordpress.com/2015/02/17/museum-of-play/

Overall we are glad we went but have been more impressed with other science museums we have been to in the past.

What is your favorite Museum?

Museum of Play

A few weeks ago Luke’s brother and family came to stay with us for the weekend on their way to New York City. We tried to think of what to do with them in this very wintery and snowy season and decided to talk them to Strong’s Museum of Play in Rochester.

IMG_0561

We had heard it was a great museum and my cousins had gone with grandparents there years ago but we have had not excuse to go  . ..  until now.

Luke’s brother had to stay home and work on a paper so it was Luke, myself, our sister in law Ruth and the niece and nephew: Lizbeth and Matthew. When we got up there we decided to first go to a magic show.

IMG_4143IMG_4116

 

Lizbeth (4)  loved it but Matthew (2) was a little squirmy so Uncle Luke took him to go play somewhere else until the show ended. When we got out of the magic show we took off to let the kids explore and they were overwhelmed. There were many kids and many places to play and explore. With an open floor plan the adults were playing a game too: how three adults can keep track of the two children.

IMG_0582

Matthew who loves trains enjoyed riding the train with his sister and Aunt (me) since they are still too short to ride alone. Although we enjoyed the open floor plan play we knew the kids were tired of it and so we moved on to the next place my favorite: Reading Adventure land (yes I’m an English teacher).

IMG_4162

Each little play area was based on a genre of books: mystery, fantasy, adventure, fairytale. In each section there were museum collections of toys, movie memorabilia, crafts, and things to climb, props to dress up in and buttons to push. On top of all of that each area had books from that genre you could check out from the Museum using a Monroe County Library card.

IMG_4168

Lizbeth spent over an hour in the fairytale land climbing jack’s beans stalk and playing “house” in the gingerbread house. Meanwhile Matthew explored the shipwrecked ship in the adventure area and made a crown at King Arthur’s round table. While they were busy playing in the same place within Mom’s eyeshot Luke and I decided to explore on our own.

IMG_0584IMG_0587

We walked around the comic-books superhero area where Luke and I were able to have some fun of our own: playing an old arcade game Captain America and the Avengers.

IMG_4169

Eventually tired of the adventure-land area the kids moved on to the Bernstein Bear playhouse room. A replica of the Bernstein Bear world the kids could play grocers, quilt shop owner, work in the wood shop, farmers market, restaurant among other play areas.

IMG_0591

Once again the kids content Luke and I decided to explore again on our own. We went upstairs to the travel through time area. This area was fun for us because each museum area was dedicated to memorabilia and toys from a different decade including toys to play with for that era. (Sorry not pictures my phone died).

Then we found the grown-up play area: the arcade.On the outside walls were many popular games such as a giant light bright, tetris with giant joy sticks, guitar hero, older pixel computer game some newer (2000’s) and some older (1980’s) all fun. In the middle was a tokened game area with arcade games including frogger, pac man, Atari star wars x fighter games, pinball machines and many more.

IMG_0592

We caught up with the niece and nephew back in the Bernstein Bear area where they were contently playing in the farmers market watching produce go up through the mill and into the barn. It was getting close to dinner time so we headed to the front of and had a short ride on the carousel before heading back into the snow.

Once settled in the car and after snacks both kids were sound asleep as we drove back to our house. It was a successful day of play.

 

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 ).

14Jan2300

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.

IMG_2254

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.

images

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.

6052873849_d2ed3bf9cc

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.

images

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.

Glass Fest!!

Unknown

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.

images-4IMG_0429

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.

Unknown-1

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.

images

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.

NatGeoCoverimage

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.

imagesimages-2

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)

Unknown 8

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.

261796_10151621688433293_41384552_n

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?

My new hometown

Luke and I love to explore but sometimes for cost sake it’s better to stay local. Yet in this still very winter weather, no matter how tempting, we don’t want to get stuck inside. Fortunately we live in Corning.

Spending more time close to home, I realized I haven’t blogged about my new hometown.

(As I have written before click on any picture or word/phrase in orange to see more!)

corning-inc-logo

Corning is probably known best for Corningware or Corelle. You know, all those plates and baking dishes you buy for wedding registries? (maybe even bought for mine). This is where it all got started.

Corning was first known as a lumber town because the Chemung river runs through it. When the industrial revolution hit the city became a center for the railroad. By 1868 it had become the new home for Corning Glass Works. This is why Corning’s nicknamed “Crystal City”.  Tourist come in the summer to the Corning Museum of Glass featuring modern glass art, the science behind glass, glass uses, live glass blowing demonstrations, and an extensive collection on the history of glass.

Unknown F-The Corning Museum of Glass

On the same property is their glass making studio where you can sign up to make a featured item.

Ornaments Luke and I made in the glass studio in December

Ornaments Luke and I made in the glass studio in December

Or you can take one of many glass shaping/art classes at the glass making studio.  You may remember my 2300 degrees blog; that event was hosted at the museum. Corning Inc.’s offices and one their research and development facilities, which test glass products for industry, science and technology, are also in Corning.

Unknown 1

As much as I love history, what you will probably hear me talk most about is our historic downtown called the Gaffer District (a gaffer =a glass blower/maker). This area encompasses several blocks of glass art studios, museums, eclectic speciality shops, antique stores, bars, bakeries, and restaurants.  Many events and festivals are held here annually (some of which I  will attend in the future and share with all of you ).

images 2Unknown 3

If you are a history buff and want to know about Corning’s history: Click Here!

Want to know more about the historic downtown Gaffer District? : Check it out here!

or take a look at the Gaffer District’s Facebook page: Click here!

So that is a short tour of my new hometown. What do you think?

2300 degrees

Unknown

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.

The Blind Spots

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.

images

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.

Unknown

 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?