A half day in the the Finger Lakes region is not enough time to dive into the many treasures of the area but you can make touch the surface of its riches.
Glenn H. Curtiss Museum
Located near the heart of Hammondsport, New York, the Curtiss Museum celebrates all things that can be navigated, be it in air, on land or at sea. Glenn Curtiss began his career by building bicycles and moved on to motorcycles. He attained early notoriety as the ‘fastest man on earth” in 1907 on a V8 motorcycle.
Curtiss was one of the pioneers in aviation, who developed the sea plane as well as many other aircraft designs. The museum also houses a restoration shop which is in the process of the restoration of a 1940’s P-40 that was recovered in Gainesville, Florida in the 1980’s.
The breath of items housed in the museum will leave you amazed. You will find items displayed from Curtiss’s family residences, civil war weapons, bicycles and motorcycles designed by Curtiss and others. Planes, cars and boats fill every nook and cranny of the space.
You need to take time here to digest the impressive contribution that Curtiss made to aviation.
This charming French inspired winery overlooks Keuka Lake. I turned into the parking area, thinking I would just get a quick photograph of Keuka Lake but I ended up staying for a full tasting. Jennifer, my tasting hostess, told me the story of Sebastian and Celine LeSeurre. The two French trained winemakers who settled in the Finger Lakes to unite their French heritage to Finger Lakes wine region. The oval tasting table looks out onto the Keuka Lake and can host a large amount of guests. The LeSeurres’ brought the land in 2012 and opened the tasting room in October of 2013. The winery is in the progress of adding on two larger spaces to expand their tasting experience.
LeSeurre offered twelve wines for tasting as well as a recommended paired tasting. The cost of a selection of five tastings is five dollars and a well enjoyed five dollars, it is. I tried a host of the wines; from Chardonnays (both Oaked and Unoaked), Dry and Semi Dry Resilsings, Gewurztaminer and Cabernet Franc. The crisp and clean flavor Unoaked Chardonnay was so enjoyable, I brought a bottle.
Chatting with the other guests and exchanging stories of our travels to the winery was a treat. This first class winery was an unexpected encounter during my brief adventure in Hammondsport.
The Finger Lakes is a lovely region of New York State. I cannot wait to return and discover more of the gems that surround its many lakes.
Visiting Rochester, New York in early November was as treat for a week-long visit to the Finger Lakes region. Rochester’s history offered much to do and see. While I was only able to scratch the surface during my short visit, I had the pleasure of visiting five exciting and inspiring area museums.
The Eastman Museum is located in the residence built by George Eastman in early 1900’s. The museum which opened in 1949, houses the Eastman collection of some twenty-six thousand items, the Technicolor film archive and exhibit areas;
the David Levinthal exhibit on his career and in the contemporary exhibit area and Gale Albert Halaban’s “Out My Window” is a unique look at neighbors. During the Holiday season, the Eastman sponsors organizations and individuals to create the Sweet Creations Gingerbread displays which are auctioned to raise funds for the museum. One gingerbread house was created by David Levinthal’s wife, Kate Sullivan honoring Mr. Rogers Neighborhood. The thirty-five thousand square foot Eastman residence is a National Historic Landmark and houses the only residential pipe organ in the world. And interesting fact, Eastman enlarged the residence by nine feet to achieve better acoustics for the organ.
This is impressive teaching museum serves its community and preserves photographic history.
The National Susan B. Anthony Museum & House is located in the home that Anthony occupied during her lifetime. Ms. Anthony began her work for women’s rights with the temperance movement. She was the mover and shaker in Rochester for both the temperance movement and most notably for the suffragette movement that would ultimately win women the right to vote.
Anthony had a good friend and fellow activist in Frederick Douglas. Together they worked to achieve the 14th amendment. Although Anthony thought the Amendment needed to include women, Douglas knew it was important to do one thing at a time. She was arrested in Rochester in 1872 after registering to vote and then voting in the Presidential election. She was tried, found guilty and fined. Her fine remains unpaid today. Without the struggle of Susan B. Anthony on behalf of women, we would not have the rights we have today. Her story is inspiring and timely today as women around the world continue to fight for their rights.
Strong Museum of Play is Rochester’s #1 attraction. I wasn’t sure what to expect at the “museum of play”. What I discovered was toys of all shapes and sizes. The Strong owns and cares for the world’s most comprehensive collection of toys: from Mr. Potato Head to the latest x-box game were represented. The museum was founded by Margaret Woodbury Strong in 1968. Mrs. Strong was an avid collector of all things.
The mission of the Strong is “to explore play and the ways in which it encourages learning, creativity, and discovery and illuminates cultural history”. The Strong continued its preservation collection in 2002 with the acquisition of the National Toy Hall of Fame and the Toy Industry Association’s Toy Industry Hall of Fame. Quotes adorn the hallways of the Strong: “Play is our brain’s favorite way of learning.” Diane Ackerman, American Author. The Strong is a natural attraction for children but adults will enjoy it has well, if only to rediscover their own childhood favorite toys and what it is to ‘play’.
At the Rochester Museum and Science Center, I was treated to a personal tour of a portion of the exhibit area by two long-time docents, Diane and Marie. These ladies know the history of the Underground Railroad and its importance in the Absolutist movement. During school visits they educate the children about empathy and the risks taken by those who used the railroad as well as the roll of the Absolutists to the cause. Other exhibits included the Native Peoples of the Americas and Expedition Earth which featured early mammals of the region.
The Museum and Science Center also hosts the Strasenburgh Planetarium.
Rochester’s Memorial Art Museum, located just around the corner from the Rochester Museum and Science Center, currently holds in its collection, some twelve thousand works. The current exhibit of Monet’s Waterloo Bridge is a blockbuster hit. This was a particular exhibit I was excited to see.
I was also struck by the story of The Fabric of Survival which features the embroidered fabric collages of Ester Nisenthal Krintz, who was twelve when the Nazis entered her Polish village. Through the collages her art is an eyewitness to both tragedy and healing.
The Memorial Art Museum collection offers its visitors pieces from Ancient Greece, Italy, Asia, as well as artworks from the 17th through 20th centuries. The massive Grand Italian Baroque Organ that dominates one wall of the second floor exhibit hall.
I thoroughly enjoyed viewing the pieces at the Memorial Art Museum. It offered a quiet place to reflect on my travels throughout Rochester.
Duringy my visit to Rochester, I stayed at the Holiday Inn Downtown. The hotel is situated not far from High Falls and the Genoese River. A fine establishment that is well located for visitor and business travelers alike. Walking around the downtown area one morning, I found the impressive Rochester City Hall and one of the statutes of Frederick Douglas near the hotel. Rochester was easy to navigate and its newly renovated airport was pleasure to fly into even on a midnight flight.
My lunch at Jines Restaurant was a treat. Family run since 1971, it has a large menu and top notch service. The line of customers waiting to get in was my first indication that the community truly enjoys the restaurant as much as did I.
I dined at Pane Vino on my final night in Rochester. The restaurant was a brief walk over the Genoese River on a brisk night. The Italian restaurant was crowded with patrons who were attending a nearby concert. Finding a seat at the bar, I treated myself to a plate of pasta and a glass of wine after a long day of driving and wrapping up my tour of the area. It was a welcomed delicious end to my delightful Rochester visit.
My grateful thanks to both Rachel Pulvino and Chelsea Metzger at http://www.visitrochester.com/ for arranging such an in depth and wonderful tour of the area. There is so much to discover in Rochester. I hope that I can return to and enjoy more of its rich history.
In early November, I had the pleasure of visiting Cooperstown, New York during a week-long driving tour. From the pleasant vistas of the fall colors, the comfortable accommodations and the informative museums of the area, Cooperstown is a HIT. These four museums in and around Cooperstown are not to be missed when visiting the area!
Hyde Hall is a 19th century residence outside of Cooperstown designed by architect Phillip Hooker. The residence was built between 1817 and 1834 by George Clarke. It was designated a National Historic Site in 1986. The magnificent house is perched high on hill overlooking Otsego Lake. If you stand on the lakefront in Cooperstown, you can just make out the shape of a sleeping lion on the hill, Hyde Hall. The drive up the long drive to the house is reminiscent of the drive to Highclere Castle of Downton Abbey fame.
In fact, the entire house brings image of Downton Abby to mind. When you enter the formal dining room with its extraordinarily ornate vapor light chandeliers and massive painting of ‘Jenny’ that towers above the table, you think the family will enter the room and sit down to dinner.
The property was acquired by New York State in 1963 and since 1988, great care has been taken with the restoration of the property by the Friends of Hyde Hall, the organization charged with the care and restoration of massive house. Due to the excellent records kept over the life of the property by the Clarke family, there is plentiful documentation regarding the building and purchasing for the residence. Much of the furniture, most of which was made in New York State, is original to house. The house now is part of the Glimmerglass State Park which is a short drive outside of Cooperstown.
The Farmer’s Museum was founded in 1943. This turned out to be one of the most interesting stops during my week-long tour the Finger Lakes region. The museum was closed but one employee, a nice young man, Patrick, was generous and gave me a brief tour of this captivating village and life in 19th Century America. All the buildings in this living museum were relocated to the museum space in the 1950’s from a radius of one hundred miles of Cooperstown. The museum features a hand carved carousal.
It was carved by one thousand volunteer carvers and it is truly a work of art. We visited the Blacksmith’s shop, the print shop, the pharmacy and the tavern. This was one of the most unique teaching museums I have visited and it is well worth the trip.
Fenimore Art Museum is located just across the street from the Farmer’s Museum, provided me with a nice retreat from the snow and cold. I thoroughly enjoyed the exhibits at the Fenimore from the Letters from Alexander Hamilton’s Final Act, the works of David Levinthal, Puzzles of the Brain, the Coopers of Cooperstown and the Native American art. It proved to be a pleasant, quiet refuge in the middle of a hectic day.
The National Basehall Hall of Fame lies at the heart of Cooperstown. Baseball may not be my favorite sport but I certainly appreciate our National pastime, especially as it relates to my hometown. Mobile, Alabama has made an enormous contribution to baseball throughout the years. I was pleasantly surprised when I discovered a large exhibit about Mobile native, Hank Aaron at the Hall of Fame. Mobile has produced five Baseball Hall of Famers; Hank Aaron, Willie McCovey, Satchel Paige, Ozzie Smith and Billy Williams. That is more Hall of Famer’s than any other city than New York and Los Angeles. The Hall of Fame provides visitors with an in depth look at the game and its players from its beginnings to the most recent World Series game.
Exhibits range from the All American Girls Professional Baseball League, the African American pioneers in baseball and Viva Baseball about the Latin American baseball players to the record breaking moments in the game’s history. All the artifacts and memorabilia throughout the museum have been donated by fans of the game and are truly amazing.
From Babe Ruth’s Yankee uniform to Hank Aaron’s bat and glove, the artifacts help in telling the story of our National Pastime. The Hall of Fame itself is a meaningful tribute to the men and women who play and have played this game as a testament to their hard work and talent. Mariano Rivera is eligible in 2019 and Derek Jeter is eligible for induction in 2020. I am sure the ceremonies on July 21, 2019 and July 26, 2020 will be record breakers for Cooperstown.
I had the pleasure of staying at the Inn at Cooperstown during my visit to Otsego County. This charming and comfortable B&B is located on Chestnut Street. I arrived a bit later than intended and the Inn’s location made it easy to dash out to grab a bite of dinner on Cooperstown’s main street. Breakfast at the Inn was delicious and effortlessly presented to the guests . My room was nicely appointed with a comfortable king bed, large television and cozy bath. B&B’s are a big draw in the Cooperstown area and I would recommend the Inn at Cooperstown when visiting. Parking was also provided directly behind the Inn.
My grateful thanks to Cassandra Harrington and Jacqueline White at https://www.thisiscooperstown.com/ in arranging such an in depth and wonderful visit to Otsego County. There is so much to enjoy and discover in Cooperstown and Otsego County! I hope that I can return to enjoy more of its rich history.