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.

Springwater Music Fair 2016

This two weekends ago Luke and I went on a date. The first date in months that did not include errands or trips to Lowes. It was just because we wanted to, which was nice.

There are things we will miss about upstate New York, the fall leaves, the dairy farms along the hill sides, the maple syrup, the homes decorated for each season, and summer and fall festivals.


One festival we will miss dearly is the Springwater Music Fair . Last year we found posters for this fair when we toured a local maple syrup producer in March.

For more read:


We thought we would check out this very local festival less than a half hour from our house. We found ourselves at Punky Hollow, a tree farm and property outside of Springwater. For $10 each we enjoyed the beautifully landscaped property in the fall air, looked at local craft vendors, listened to music, and enjoyed local food and treats.

For more on last year’s festival read:

It was so much fun we decided to come again this year.  This year the name has changed to Music Fair. The genre of musicians has broadened and so have the festivals hours, open both Saturday and Sunday.


When we arrived on Saturday afternoon we saw new signs  designating the festivals event spaces. After getting our wristbands we walked around to see what this year’s festival included.


The music tent was moved to the center of the field, with more seating available. We personally enjoy fiddling music: Irish, folk, American Blue grass, Cajun etc. So although we appreciate the festival has more variety we were disappointed to miss some fiddle-featured bands earlier in the day.


Instead we waited through some minor bands not in our genre preference. But we did discover one local featured band we  bought a CD from: The Brother’s Blue. They had great American folk mandolin, banjo, and fiddle music.


In the past, the festival had white fiddles pointing to spots along property trails where fiddlers could play and join other amateurs. We did not see any white fiddles this year, which again was disappointing.


On the positive side, there were more local crafts and food vendors. We picked up honey from a Wayland producer. Also this year two local food trucks added to the food choices. During a lull in our preferred music we got lunch at Milliners Southern Smoke. and for the price we got a great deal on delicious BBQ.



Near the end of the day, like last year, we enjoyed Spotted Duck Creamery Custard a local organic duck egg custard producer. This year I got Salted Carmel and Luke got Strawberry Rhubarb. I will be honest, I looked forward to this dessert all summer. We are happy to see they returned to the festival and that their business is expanding.


Overall we enjoyed the Music Festival just a much as the year before. It is sad this will be our last time attending, but we are glad we were able to enjoy it for two fall seasons.

How do you celebrate the fall season?

Winter Walk: Stonybrook Park

I know I have written about Stonybrook before, since it is our closest gorge park. For more see posts: Here Comes the Sun!: Stony Brook Park and Kira’s first outing.

This winter we were able to share this wonderful place with my parents. While my parents were here we had settled in, caught up,  eaten many yummy cookies and great meals, and we were ready to walk some of it off. So we took my parents to Stonybrook.


Because of our mild December, we were able to enjoy a winter walk without any rain or snow and mild weather walking down the gorge trail.


We also had the chance to try out one of Kira’s Christmas presents: a fleece camo vest my mom made her for the winter and hunting months.


Again we did not make it through the whole trail (still a goal of mine) but we made it further down the path then we had before and boy was it worth it!


In spite of the dry day we had enough rain and snow recently to still have beautiful falls to discover.


It was the perfect winter walk and picture spot. Afterwards we came home and enjoyed hot coco by the lit fireplace.

What type of outdoor winter activities do you enjoy?

Kira’s first outting

Our lab-mix puppy Kira is now a little over four months old.


The past few months adjusting to a puppy have been a fun challenge. It was entertaining to watch Kira discover fall winds, rain, baths. It was especially enjoyable to watch her jump into the neat piles of fall leaves Luke made with the blower.


Through this process we have had to not only be patient with her as she became potty trained, and learned new commands, but we also had to be patient for her to be old enough to go out with people.


Finally she has all of her booster shots and her rabies shot. To celebrate last weekend we took her for her first official “non-vet” outing to a local state park: stony brook (for more on this see stony brook park). We got set with water, bags, training treats, and collapsible water bowl then drove to the park.


Although it was cold it was beautiful. There were many starts and stops along the way as Kira pulled on her leash, got over-excited, and went off the trail. The further into the trail we went the more she became comfortable with the pace and staying by our side.


We were not the only ones at the park. It was not crowded at all but there were some people and dogs. Kira loves people but is still learning about the different sizes and breeds of dogs.


It was a great chance to show her how to be social. But it also made us realize we still need to train her to not jump on people when she is excited and wants to greet them.


I was all set for a vigorous walk but quickly realized-this was a training session. We did not come close to completing the trail but it was beautiful and I know we will go back soon.



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.


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.


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.


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.


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.



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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


It was the perfect event to welcome the fall season.

Rochester Box Lacrosse

I had never watched a lacrosse game before, never known anybody who even played lacrosse until moving to the East Coast.


Now that we have been here for two and a half years we thought it was time I experienced this sport.  So we bought a groupon for a local match between Rochester’s Knighthawks and the New England Black Wolves at the Blue Cross Arena in Rochester.


Luke had been to a box lacrosse game while living in Colorado but this was my first encounter with the sport. A box lacrosse game is indoors usually played on artificial turf put down over a hockey rink. It lasts for four 15 minute quarters.

I asked a lot of questions and learned as we as we watched.


The teams have 5 players each and a goaltender (keeper). Unlike soccer all players, minus the goalie can move around freely, even behind the goal. The ball can roll, bounce, be passed, or carried in the net of the lacrosse stick almost anywhere on the field.


This game was very fast paced and the announcers kept popular music playing throughout the game pausing only to announce penalties and scores. Also, players were traded-out,  almost anytime during the game, not only at quarters. This was done often as the game requires a lot of sprinting.


The arena itself was clean, and the environment mostly family-friendly in-spite of the several fights on the playing field throughout the game. (From what we got this was mostly instigated by the guest team). At each quarter a different activity happened on the field:


First quarter the cheerleaders did a routine on the floor. Half time local girls and boys lacrosse teams held scrimmages at either end of the field. Then a local kids dance team did a floor routine. During the last break they did a hot dog race, three people dressed as hot dogs racing around the field, and a chance for kids to win prices by scoring goals.


I learned later that night that Box Lacrosse became popular in the 1930’s over field lacrosse, which has larger teams and is played outside, because of weather and to keep track of the small ball. The NLL, National Lacrosse League was started for box lacrosse specifically and includes teams mostly on the east coast although there are some on the west coast and Colorado. We found out that this year the Knighthawks will be going to the playoffs for NLL.


It was clear that our local team was well loved by fans, knew how to play by the books, and knew how to score. The final numbers: Knighthawks 12 Black Wolves 5.

We thoroughly enjoyed the game. So much so that we bought another Groupon for a field Lacrosse game later this summer!

Our First Camping Trip: Part Three

This is the las piece of our First Camping trip: for more see our First Camping Trip: part one and two.

Monday was our last full-day of camping so we wanted to savor it and take it slow. We started the morning with a super still and quiet campsite, coffee, and a big breakfast of eggs, potatoes and bacon. We planned to make this a water day; so we packed up our swimsuits and covered ourselves in sunscreen and headed to the state park marina.


The Tauhannock Falls Marnia is right across the stress from the falls gorge trail. The water from the gorge river/creek flow directly into the lake through walkable inlets. Luke grabbed a book and I took a journal and we found a perfect resting place along the Cayuga lake waterfront at the Marina to peacefully read on the picnic quilt.


After an hour or so we checked out their rental kayaks and found only one tandem. We decided instead of heading out into the large lake’s open waters alongside the many larger fishing and power boats to drive into Ithaca. We drove back into town and found Puddledockers; a kayak and paddleboard rental and retailer found close to the farmers market. For under 40 bucks Luke and I were able to rent a tandem kayak for two hours. After discovering we had our own lifejackets and had obviously been kayaking before they gave us our paddles and a laminated map of the inlets and waterways around Ithaca and out towards the lake.


We took off around 2:30pm; a time that is after the most sun and wind but still early enough to not get dark or cold. We explored the marinas around Ithaca and paddled past the Farmer’s Market at Steamboat Landing. We enjoyed touring the many sail and power boats on our way out toward the State Park Marina. We enjoyed sharing the waterways with many goslings of geese as well.


Although it was a Monday we were not alone on the waterways; other kayakers who had rented from the same location also toured the area as well as several groups from both Ithaca College and Cornell’s rowing crew; we passed both of their rowing centers along the marina.  We turned back around before we hit the more open waters of the lake then backtracked down along the canals that go under roadway bridges that parallel downtown Ithaca.


We came back to the dock at Puddledockers at 4:10 after a relaxing paddle around. We had enjoyed some beautiful views of the cities parks, Marinas, as well as some great views of Cornell and Ithaca College up on the hills.  Before heading back up to our campsite we stopped for an afternoon treat at Yogurtland.


Then we went back to our spot along the Cayuga river at the State Park Marina for another hour or two of journaling, reading, and relaxing; this time we were joined by Geese and some shore side fishermen. As we got closer to dinner time the BBQ summer dinner crowd came in and we headed back to our campsite for our own dinner: tacos. That night we enjoyed the last of our firewood and our last quiet night of camping.

The next morning we were happy to see that although it had rained during the night our tent was dry. We got up and moving with coffee and a quick breakfast and took down camp. We were on the road and back to reality (after a stop for some extra coffee) and got home before 1pm ready to unpack and regroup for the rest of the busy week.