Naples Grape Festival


Around this time last year we drove through Naples and noticed several grape pie and grape sellers along the main street. I looked up Naples to find they host a very large fall grape festival and pie contest. If you have never heard of grape pies it’s ok, neither did we, this area is actually where it all started.



We decided to go to the Naples Grape Fest on Sunday afternoon, hoping this popular festival would be less busy at that time; I was wrong. We parked almost a mile from the vendors and walked in. Unlike other festivals  the main route through town stayed open (although moving at a snails pace). This made traveling along the sidewalks slow.



There were vendors with everything from clothes, to wood carvings, glass work, candles, produce, and fair food including all things grape flavored. Along the way we picked up local cheese, maple syrup, and grape jam.



Behind town hall was a fenced-in wine tasting area, with a large selection of wineries and a few breweries present. Next to this was a music tent where we listened to a  folk country/bluegrass group called Ruddy Well. We enjoyed them so much we ended up buying their CD’s.




About half way through town, we found the main food court. I choose to eat at Effortlessly Healthy a Rochester based food truck that serves dairy and gluten free meals with vegan options. I had a bowl with cole slaw sweet potatoes, ground beef, chicken, and avocado it was perfect. They also have their own store in Rochester where they serve healthy lunch options and provide delivery meal services.


On our way back  we stopped at grape pie stands. Luke got a slice to-go from one. Fortunately I was able to eat a mini open tart’s filling from another, it tasted like concord grapes (the most popular grape in the Naples area). Some vendors sold pie filling. Too bad they didn’t offering tastings  or I would have bought one to make my own barley-free pie.


On our way out of town we stopped for dessert at Lynnie Lou’s a homemade ice cream and custard shop . We were happily surprised to see them open; most ice cream stands  close after Labor Day. Luke got a grape and vanilla swirl custard and I chose vanilla custard with warm apple pie filling.

It was another great date day.

Work before Play

Luke’s parents came to visit us for a week at the end of June. We were very excited to have them stay with us as this was their first time to upstate New York while we have lived here.


Since we only had a week we were busy fitting in both work and play. We decided to get work out of the way. At the beginning of the week Luke and John repaired and replaced the roof of our porch. They  got it done in less than two days in-spite of the very warm weather (91 which is HOT for June here).

Diana and I spent part of that time working on editing and making changes to her most recent work: Undivided Heart Leader’s Manual and Guide for Book One. We also hosted an author’s reading/discussion for Diana and her books at my church.  For more on this check out:Diana Greene Ministries website

The two of us also went to Rochester where we did some shopping Diana needed for the rest of their vacation,  some birthday shopping for me, but we also grocery shopping for the week because there are more natural and organic options there.


By Wednesday we were done with our projects  and to rest. We decided to stay local and went to Stony Brook Park. Kira loved getting some attention and out of the house and the parents enjoyed the walk. Even though it was warm in the gorge near the water we stayed cool.


More on the rest of our week touring or “play time” coming next.

Memorial Day Weekend


This past weekend allowed for a much needed break and time to catch up on work around the house.  On Saturday we went to Lowes and did (hopefully) the majority of our summer shopping. We bought all the plant food, fertilizer, bug repent, and grass seed we think we need. Also we bought supplies to finally create that path to the front door we started working on last year.  For more on this see

An update will come as some of these projects are completed.


On Sunday we drove up to Rochester for a special dinner. All the month of May the Rochester melting pot had a special for a gluten free four course meal. That meant they took all croutons off the salads, I had good gluten free bread with my cheese, meat that was not in a flour based marinade for the entree, and flourless brownies and angel food cake to go with our chocolate. It was a great date meal out, plus because we had gift cards, and a groupon so the dinner cost half of what it normally does!


On Monday we took the day slow and did some outdoor work. Then in the afternoon, to get out of the heat, we went to see the new x-men movie, which was of course good. For our memorial day dinner we did homemade cheese hamburgers with all the fixings and baked potato wedges. We already have enough mint from my plant that I was able to make mint lemonade to go with. Later for dessert I made my fresh berry salad with homemade whip cream, a light and healthier summer dessert. For more on this see:

Overall it was a great weekend, but as always we could have used a few more days. How about you?


Lamberton Conservatory and Highland Park


While my parents were here for Christmas we took them on several outings. One, during our day in Rochester was to Highland Park, the  largest (150 acres) and probably most well known park in Rochester. It holds many city festivals including the annual BBQ (for more see  Two festival and Korean BBQ) and Lilac Festival, both of which Luke and I have attended in past summers.


The park has many walking paths through well maintained and developed gardens and orchards. It also includes a band shell for summer concerts, amphitheater for summer movies and plays, seasonal ice skating rink, lodges for rent, and Warner Castle home to Rochester’s Civic Garden Center . Parts of the park can also be driven through as well.


Although Luke and I had been to Highland Park several times, we had never gone to the Lamberton Conservatory. We decided to take my parents because at Christmas the conservatory does a poinsettia display.  Also during the Christmas season the conservatory is open late, until 9pm, so you can see colored lights they have hung throughout up against the nature and the glass walls.


We went during the day and their poinsettia display was beautiful and included great variety. We were told as we walked through the separate rooms to watch for quail and tortoises. The conservatory cares for quail, tortoises, and turtles in the different green houses, as well as fish but no worries about stepping on those.


Although these gardens are much smaller than the botanical gardens in Buffalo (for more on this see Buffalo Botanical Gardens) they have done a great job with the smaller space providing a large variety of plants from all over the world.


My parents were entertained by pointing out all of the succulents and cacti they have at home which are so rare and unusual to us here.

Even though it has been unseasonably warm, the conservatory I think is always a great mini-retreat in the winter months, take off your coat and for a short while and imagine you are in another climate on an adventure.

After the conservatory, we drove the scenic way through a good portion of the Highland park on our way out and on to our next adventure. (More on this to come)

How do you escape the winter blues?

Celebrating 3 Years

Luke and I have been married now for three years.

Us while we were still dating, amazing that it’s been 4 years

They have been full of adventure, challenges, and changes, many of which I have put on this blog, but we are glad we have gone through them all together.


To celebrate we went this past Saturday to see the musical broadway tour of Newsies in Rochester.


We also got sushi from our favorite place, our sushi chef surprised us with these rolls including one with strawberry on top, spicy sauce, and yellowtail and avocado inside.


And for dessert we had homemade apple pie at home .

We both have today and tomorrow off from work, a much needed break and blessing. We are taking this time to re-focus, get some time together, and get a few things accomplished as winter creeps up on us.

August Backlog: Summer Lovin’ Date Night

To recap you may wonder what fun activities we have done this summer? To be fair a good portion of them have been spent working on our garden and porch area. But I thought I’d review some of our better summer date nights.


  1. The Drive-in. Luke and I went to Vintage drive in Avon to see minions and inside out ( yes kids movies with no kids) . We were glad we got there as early as we did as spots fill in quickly. We were also glad we packed snacks, blankets, pillows, books, and cribbage to play while we waited. It was a beautiful sunset and two good movies.


2. Melting Pot Date Night We do not often go to the Melting Pot usually it has to be a birthday or holiday for us to spend the money on cheese and chocolate. But the Melting Pot in Rochester had a deal for Friday nights you could get their four course dinner and two free Regal movie tickets.  We enjoyed our cheese, steak, and chocolate then went to the mall to see Antman.


3. No not all of our summer dates have included movies. We also went for a second year in a row to the corn hill arts festival. Where like last year we got Bruster’s ice cream to share (and a gyro). We wandered around and enjoyed listening to a up and coming band Wise Water, whose EP we bought. Then picked up a metal sign to include in our living room wall collage.


4. Recently we decided to join a local hiking group who meets every Sunday for an afternoon hike in Naples. It was warm but the shade helped plus we hiked part of the trail in thin water surrounded by waterfalls. We met with the whole group after the hike to share stories and had food to eat. Afterward Luke and I found a local homemade ice cream shop called Lynnie Lous with custard. We shared a large custard with fresh blackberries on it.


5. We found a groupon for a massage place in Pittsford, not the far from Henrietta. They had couples massages for a great rate with hot stones and aromatherapy. We check them out back in May and found it very relaxing. They even taught me a few stretches to do to help my normally very tight neck. So we decided to return, with the same groupon rate, again this month. Afterward we went to a Japanese Ramen place called Furoshiki.

Field Lacrosse Game

A few months ago Luke and I decided to go to a professional box lacrosse game downtown Rochester. It was a great learning experience for me and a lot of fun too. For more on this see Rochester Box Lacrosse.

After enjoying our groupon for the box lacrosse game we decided to get tickets to a professional field lacrosse game in order to see the differences and find out which we enjoy better.


When I bought the tickets I thought through the summer time and decided the end of June would be sunny enough to enjoy an outdoor sport. Well, not this summer.


After checking the weather, the stadium website, and the Major Leauge Lacrosse website, nothing was canceled. So we packed warm clothes and rain coats and headed to Brockport, a neighborhood west of Rochester.


When we got to the state university college campus it was overcast but not raining. We walked over to the stadium just at the national anthem finished and got our tickets.

With how cold it was we opted for supporting the local team by buying two cups of coffee then settled into our seats. The Rochester Rattlers and Ohio Machines were playing on the college football field. Luke said it felt like being in High School again. Shortly after the game started it began to sprinkle fortunately it only lasted for a short time


Watching the game we noticed several differences from our box lacrosse experience.  The teams had more players on the field at one time and of course the field was longer. Because of this similar to soccer some players played defense and some offense. The goalies were in less padding and gear but had larger nets. Also in general this version was less aggressive, less offense attaching and more running and passing.


We were grateful that the ball was a bright orange because it would have been hard to see otherwise. Luke said he missed the big screen to capture the moments closer and to get play-backs of what happened.



Also unlike the box lacrosse this game was much slower paced partly because the  the game was televised on an ESPN channel the game was stalled often by commercials after time outs. During time outs the announcers went through a short list of advertisements, the same ones, each time.


No one seemed to have their full attention on the game.  The audience was mostly families with young boys who had played a lacrosse game on the same field before the professional game got started. The local cheer/dance group for the local team were very unprepared and unprofessional..

Overall we are glad we went. It was good to see the differences and to learn that it is obvious the box lacrosse is much more popular around here.