August came quickly this year. If you are looking for things to do in the Finger Lakes, then you might want to keep reading as there is plenty. What follows are August Touring Tips and just a few things to do the first half of the month… beer, wine, festivals, tractors, sauerkraut and more.
August Touring Tips
Early in the month, the Phelps Sauerkraut Weekend, August 4-6, is a free weekend-long festival dedicated to all things cabbage and sauerkraut. Arts and crafts, car shows, cabbage bowling, live music, parade, fireworks and sauerkraut-themed foods galore. Town of Phelps, Phelps, 14532. (315) 548-8900.
There is always wine…
Always fun and somewhere you can find your innkeeper… Saturdays at Heron Hill Tasting Room on Canandaigua Lake are always a good time with live music and wood-fired pizza from 4:30 to 8 p.m. Hang out by the vineyard at the family-friendly event with Heron Hill wine, local craft beers, and non-alcoholic beverages available for purchase. Performers include Tom Gravino, Aug 5; Ryan Consiglio, Aug 12; Paulson & Baker, Aug 19; Meyer & McGuire, Aug 26; Grace Frarey Trio, Sep 2; and Charlie Ellis, Sep 9. The show goes on rain or shine. 5323 Seneca Point Rd., Canandaigua, 14424. (585) 394-0173.
There is always beer…
While I do make it point to get out and experience all the Finger Lakes have to offer, I have not been here yet. Now may be a good time. Celebrate GAEL Brewing’s second birthday on August 6! There will be a special second anniversary beer release, Terry’s Imperial Irish Stout, and live music by the Party Nuts featuring tunes from the 60’s, 70’s, and 80’s. There will be cake and prizes too, so bring a lawn chair and have a pint. 4180 State Rte. 14, Geneva, 14456. (315) 220-0190.
How about tractors…
All aboard! This is yet another event I have not been to but I think it’s about time. The 57th Annual Pageant of Steam features tractor pulls, antique tractors, craft and flea market, and demonstrations of steam-powered equipment used for milling and agriculture! This annual event encourages interest in, and preservation of, antique vehicles powered by steam. August 9 – 12, 8 a.m. – 8 p.m. each day Admission is $7, free for kids under 12. New York Steam Engine Association, 3349 Gehan Rd., Canandaigua, 14424.
A Festival not to be missed!
Now, this one I have been to and it’s lots of fun. Lots of drinking as well. But, what a great way to taste wine from all over the region in one place. This year the Finger Lakes Riesling Festival is the New York State Wine Festival! This year’s festival has been expanded to include more varietals which means more wines. Partake of wine tasting, grape stomping, live music, and educational demonstrations. August 12 and 14. Tickets are $25 to enter the wine garden or $10 for access to only the educational seminars. Tickets are available online or at the door. 800 South Main St., Canandaigua, 14424.
The 1795 Acorn Inn Bed and Breakfast still has some rooms available for weekends in August and during the week. Check out our availability and enjoy any of these event at your leisure.
“Geneva restaurant FLX Table has bested big-city competition to be named the country’s best new restaurant, ” according to the USA Today 10Best Reader’s Choice poll. Now that is quite an honor. Not too long ago I was honored to enjoy a lovely meal at the FLX Table restaurant in the Finger Lakes. FLX Table, located in a cool building in downtown Geneva, is only a 30 minute drive from the 1795 Acorn Inn Bed and Breakfast and has a 5:45 pm seating and an 8:15 pm seating.
What to expect at the FLX Table restaurant…
Upon entering the restaurant your party is checked in and you are welcome to enjoy a glass of wine, beer or champagne while waiting for other guests to arrive. Once everyone has arrived, you are escorted into the other room and shown your seat at the only table in the restaurant. The kitchen is also in the same room. You really do feel like you are in a special place. Sound interesting?
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Would you like to learn to wakeboard for free on Saturday, June 17th at Roseland Wake Park in Canandaigua at the Liquid Force Free For All event? If the answer is yes, or even maybe, then here is how. In the morning, lessons will be provided on a first serve basis. There is much to learn and one-on-one coaching will have you ready in no time. Throughout the day, Wakeboard Pro Harley Clifford will provide thrilling demonstrations. And, free hot dogs are provided for lunch, as well as a DJ from 10am-5pm. For details call 585-393-9253 or visit Roseland Wake Park.
Learn To Wakeboard
But we are getting ahead of ourselves as all riders new to the sport cannot just begin on the course. Before taking to the course, a practice cable is where all riders new to wakeboarding will begin. Each and every rider will receive his or her own instructor and as a result, a better, each person will have a more comprehensive learning experience.
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Well, it was bound to happen. I have often felt that tripadvisor reviews are a double-edge sword; an Innkeeper’s dream and nightmare. I have been fortunate in all these years to have wonderful reviews. I did have one bad review written some time ago and was successful in getting the guest to remove it. Her review was based on conversations between her husband and me. He did not accurately report back to her and said things that were not said. She was kind enough to remove it and it was quite the victory. I don’t imagine I will be that fortunate twice.
The issue for me with tripadvisor is that there is no one monitoring whether a review, good or bad is justified. It would be a horrific task. With so many wonderful reviews, one bad one certainly doesn’t spoil the whole bunch. Guests can tell what is valid and what is not. It’s actually good to have a bad one because then they believe the good ones more. What does hurt one’s business is the ranking. One bad review can drop your ranking significantly and it takes possibly hundreds to bring it back up. I guess I will find out. I have long thought that tripadvisor should have a mediation committee whose job isn’t to sensor reviews (free speech and all), but to determine if the complaint should affect the ranking. Here’s why…
This is the review I received this morning.
“Although the property looks lovely and it may be, the management is difficult just to be difficult. I recently booked at room her thinking that it was the Acorn Inn near my daughter’s college. When the hotel called to ask me a question about my stay I realized that this was not the hotel near my daughters college and asked to cancel my reservations for the end of August and mid October. The woman said yes but there would be a cancellation fee. I asked why, when it was 3 months in advance not two days or even 2 weeks. She responded that it was in their rules and regulations and that I should have read it. Wow. I am unimpressed.”
This guest made not one, but two reservations, one for August and one for October. She booked them several days apart, three weeks ago. The first reservation was filled out beautifully, but the second one was missing key pieces of information. So, I gave her a call to make sure I had what I needed to fully accommodate them. I began by saying who I was and that I was from the 1795 Acorn Inn in Bristol, Canandaigua. She said she didn’t book with me. She booked in Elan (that may or may not be right but that was what I understood). I did not know what she was referencing but I said I had two reservations for her at the 1795 Acorn Inn in Bristol, Canandaigua. She chuckled and said she was taking her daughter to college in Virginia and that she would have to cancel. To which I replied something to the effect, “Well it’s a good thing I called you so you can make reservations at the other Acorn Inn. I am sure they are filling up fast and you will want to make your reservations.” I then reminded her that we have a $25 cancellation fee. She didn’t feel she needed to pay the cancellation fee because it was a mistake! And that she was cancelling way in advance. When I said that she agreed to our policies when making the reservation, she went off and finally said, “Well, it your business. You decide how you want to run it.” I said I am sorry she made a mistake and that I would send her confirmation of her cancellation.
When I hung up the phone, my heart was pounding hard. I thought I about issuing a refund but then I would have paid credit card processing charges, $15 per refund. So, because of her mistake I was going to pay? I thought no, can’t be. Our policies are in place to ensure fair and equal treatment to all our guests. Period. Do I bend them? Yes, sometimes… in dire circumstances and when it is respectfully requested of me. I do not usually issue a refund, but will give credit toward a future stay. Have a refunded guests because I was afraid of the consequences? Yes. You know that nightmare I mentioned previously? I was terrified of it and am tired of of being scared. If I issued this guest a refund it would be out of fear. Who wants to live that way? Not me.
This guest made two reservations at this establishment. She received two confirmation emails with pertinent information, including our address. And, she received two receipt emails with the $25 Cancellation Fee and again our address. There is a drop down from our menus of frequently asked questions. There is another drop down of our policies. And finally, when making the reservation, she checked off two boxes that she had read our terms and conditions and our cancellation policy. One cannot proceed unless that box is checked.
We have a 14-day or 30-day cancellation policy. At that time, your credit card gets billed in full and the room is no longer refundable. Could you image if she would have been charged and then found out she booked at the wrong place? So many things to be thankful for here, but I get a bad review.
Of course, there are always multiple ways to handle things. There is your way and others’ way. Had someone called me and I then discovered my mistake, I would have been thankful that this mistake was caught. I perhaps would have asked if there was anything that could be done about the cancellation fee. I would have known there was one. My expectation would have been that I would have to pay for my error. It was my responsibility so my expectation would be low but I could be pleasantly surprised. One never knows.
A few weeks ago I went on vacation. I transferred money from checking account A to checking account B. I double checked. While on vacation, I got a voicemail from the bank. I called them back as soon as a could to find out that there wasn’t enough money in my account to satisfy my withdrawal from the IRS for 2016 taxes. I couldn’t figure out why because I had transferred funds. I was fortunate enough that I could have someone transfer some money into the account until I could find out what happened. When I returned and saw my bank statement, I had mistakenly transferred from checking account B to checking account A. Oops. I had three insufficient funds charges totaling $111. And, a $33 late fee from the IRS. Do you think the bank or the IRS will waive these fees because I made a mistake? We all know that answer.
Now, back to this review… I feel as if I am being bullied. This guest didn’t like that she was charged a cancellation fee, to which she agreed to and is a direct consequence of her mistake. So, in retaliation she has written a bad review in an attempt to impact my livelihood by harming the reputation of this business. When I mentioned earlier about tripadvisor being an Innkeeper’s dream and nightmare… well, we do somewhat live in fear (terror) of the nightmare, some more than others. Perhaps this is a good thing… the fear is already lessened and lifted.
What is left for me to do? First I will write a management response to the review. I will professionally state our policies. Tripadvisor has very strict guidelines about what you can and cannot say. And, you cannot reach anyone to discuss. Of course when it’s time to pay… you hear from them. I cannot link to my blog but hopefully I can mention it. I don’t want to discourage those looking for the perfect vacation spot on tripadvisor by bogging them down with unnecessary details. My blog my opportunity for that and hopefully I have the right to free speech as well.
What I would also like to do is ask that perhaps some of my guests will consider writing a review on tripadvisor.com to help counter the negative review. If you have stayed here, great. If you have already written a review, can you write two? Don’t worry if you haven’t stayed here. Apparently you don’t need to have stayed maybe just have a conversation with me. I can be reached at (585) 330-8234. I will also be posting a link on facebook and hopefully my fans will come to the rescue.
I am looking into starting a newsletter soon and can certainly ask previous guests, not on facebook, to write a review. I will do my best to bury this review and have to work harder to get the ranking back.
It just makes me sad that there are people in this world who have to hurt other people in this way. I just cannot imagine doing that to someone. Life must be pretty painful to hurt someone to feel good. And, there is a whole lot worst out there. It’s a difficult world we live in and I am not alone in wondering what it is coming to. Please take the high road. The view is better from up there. And, believe that most people are good. Treat everyone with kindness and respect. Let’s start there.
The silver lining in all this because I have to move on with my day with some positivity, guests that used to come every year and feel like family called this morning and are coming today to spend three nights. They temporarily moved away two years ago and are in the process of moving back. They are homeless but are coming home to the 1795 Acorn Inn. I cannot wait to see them and that fills me with joy. There is a huge hug waiting for them and I know they will reciprocate. All’s good.
Okay. So, better late than never. But, I am left wondering whatever happened to March?
It’s officially spring and warmer weather means more hiking! Throw on those hiking boots, get on the trails, and enjoy some fresh air. Stop by Finger Lakes Visitors Connection for your free hiking and biking kit. Finger Lakes Visitors Connection, 25 Gorham Street, Canandaigua, 14424. 585‐394‐3915. www.visitfingerlakes.com.
If you’re looking to get out and explore great places in Geneva, the monthly Geneva Night Out is a perfect way to do so! On Friday, April 7 from 5 to 8 p.m. follow the self‐guided walking map around downtown Geneva and visit participating venues where you will find performing artists, exhibits, and activities. For a map and more information on participating venues, visit www.genevanightout.org.
Celebrate Mother Earth Week April 14 ‐ April 21 from 1:30 to 3 p.m. each day at the Seneca Art & Culture Center at Ganondagan. Great for families on school breaks! April 14, 18, and 20 learn about the traditional Pigeon Dance, make felt bird ornaments, and hear the history of pigeon hunts in Warren, PA. April 19 and 21 will feature the thrilling Wild Wings program at Ganondagan. See live birds of prey up close! Free with museum admission. Seneca Art and Culture Center, 7000 County Road 41, Victor, 14564. For more information call (585) 942‐5848 or visit www.ganondagan.org.
Spring is finally here! Nothing is better proof of that than the spring flowers on display at Sonnenberg Gardens & Mansion State Historic Park. Attend the Spring Wildflower & Orchid Show and stroll through gardens laden with early spring flowers as well as orchid displays in the greenhouses. The show will take place April 21‐23, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tickets are $10 per person, $5 for ages 4 – 16 and free for children three and under. Sonnenberg Gardens & Mansion State Historic Park, 151 Charlotte Street, Canandaigua, 14424. For more information call (585) 394‐4922 or visit www.sonnenberg.org.
Have a craving for a local live music experience? We’ve got you covered!
On Wednesday, April 19 from 7 to 9 p.m. catch award winning song writer Austic McRae perform in the large meeting room at the Clifton Springs Library as part of the Tunes by the Tracks series. Free, though a $5 donation is suggested. Clifton Springs Library, 4 Railroad Avenue. Clifton Springs, 14432. For more information call (585) 362‐3519.
The Singer/Songwriters in the Side Room concert series at Buffalo Bills Family Restaurant & Tap Room features local music artists with their own flair. You’ll only find original songs at this performance! Enjoy food or drinks from Buffalo Bills while you listen. This month the series will feature Lisa Bigwood on April 6 and Perry Cleavland and Paul Swiatek on April 20. Performances are free but donations are accepted. Buffalo Bills Family Restaurant & Tap Room, 19 West Main Street, Shortsville 14548. For more information call (585) 289‐4104.
On Fridays during April catch live acoustic music at the New York Wine & Culinary Center’s Upstairs Bistro. Hang out by the bar and partake of New York State beverages or grab a bite to eat while you enjoy the performance. Performances are scheduled for April 7, 14, 21, and 28 from 6 to 9 pm each day! The New York Wine & Culinary Center, 800 South Main Street, Canandaigua, 14424. For more information call (585) 394‐7070 or visit www.nywcc.com.
On Saturdays bask in live local music at Brew & Brats! The lineup currently calls for Secondhand Sidekicks on April 1, Meyer & McGuire on April 8, Bob Dugan on April 15, and Men Behaving Badly on April 22. All performances start at 6 pm. Grab a savory brat or rich local beer while you take in the show. Brew & Brats at Arbor Hill, 6461 BB State Route 64, Naples, 14512. For more information call (585) 531‐4113 or go online to www.brewandbrats.com.
Take a moonlight stroll through Sonnenberg Gardens and Mansion and enjoy a wonderful stay at the 1795 Acorn Inn. Sounds pretty romantic to me…
Festively lit historic garden paths coupled with live music on a balmy summer’s evening make for one of the Finger Lakes’ most unique experiences as Sonnenberg Gardens & Mansion State Historic Park kicks off its popular Moonlight Stroll Concert Series on Friday, July 1. These 2-hour concerts will take place every Friday night July 1 through August 5 from 8:00 – 10:00 PM. Guests are encouraged to bring lawn chairs and blankets as well as family, friends or that special someone for an evening out under the stars and strolls through beautiful gardens as live music floats in the air.
These concerts give guests a rare opportunity to partake of the beauty of Sonnenberg’s gardens at night – for this is the one time each year that the gardens are lit and showcased at night. Evening strolls in Sonnenberg’s gardens are a rare treat for the gardens take on a completely different demeanor when the sun drops – shadows grow long, hues deepen, and the fragrance of roses and other blooms become more pronounced in the cool evening air.
Sonnenberg will be bringing a variety of talented musical performers to its grounds for this concert series. The series begins on July 1st with the 4-piece rock band, Nightfall After Dark, that covers tunes from the 60’s and beyond. The second concert on July 8th promises to be a magical evening with the Tullamore Celtic Band whose traditional tunes will make guests feel as though they’ve been transported across the ocean to the Emerald Isle herself. On July 15th, enjoy the Rochester Metropolitan Jazz Orchestra which is a 19-piece ensemble performing jazz in the tradition of the Count Basie Orchestra. The very popular country band, Flint Creek, will be performing on July 22nd. The Panloco Steel Band on July 29th will heat up the night with smooth melodies and rhythms of the Caribbean. The concert series finishes on August 5th with classic oldies and pop rock of Dan Elliot and the Monterey’s.
Sonnenberg’s own Finger Lakes Wine Center will offer wine by the glass for sale each evening. Beer and light refreshments will also be available for purchase. All performances will be held on the Mansion veranda. Chairs will be setup on the lawn for seating but guests are also encouraged to bring their own chairs and blankets to setup on the lawn.
Admission at the door for each Moonlight Series concert will be $10/adults, $8/Sonnenberg members, $5/youth 6-17, and 5 and under are free. Reservations are not necessary and all admission will be at the gate. The gates will open at 7:30 PM and all concerts will be held rain or shine. Event series sponsored by Lyons National Bank, Ryan’s Wine & Spirits, and Finger Lakes Community Arts Grant thru Auburn Public Theater.
Why not help with a good cause and learn a thing or two as well? The Iroquois White Corn Project needs volunteers from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Saturday, March 5 for a Shucking Bee! Volunteers will shuck Iroquois white corn, a dietary staple of the Iroquois people dating back over 1,400 years. Help shuck the corn harvest and learn the many uses of this unique agricultural product. Iroquois White Corn Project, 7191 County Road 41 Victor 14564. For more information contact the project manager at (585) 742-1361 or visit online.
Sip and stroll at the Canandaigua Wine Walk, Saturday, March 5 from 4 to 8 p.m. Start at 143 South Main Street and purchase your glass for $8, from there visit various stores for tastings and samples from local wineries and restaurants. This month features the wineries of the Canandaigua Wine Trail! Find something truly enjoyable and perhaps bring some home with you. 143 South Main Street, Canandaigua 14424.
Catch a free film screening at the Main Street Arts Gallery. Thursday, March 10 from 7 to 9 p.m. Main Street Arts will be showing the Oscar-nominated film; Finding Vivian Maier. Learn about this mysterious nanny who secretly took over 100,000 photos and kept them hidden. Discovered decades later, she is now among the 20th century’s greatest photographers. Main Street Arts, 20 West Main Street, Clifton Springs 14432. For more information call (315) 462-0210 or visit online.
GAËL Brewing, the only Irish-American microbrewery in upstate New York, invites you to stop in to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day, Thursday, March 17. Open from 11 a.m. until the last person leaves, drop by for a pint or two of their Templederry Irish Stout or Liam’s Irish Red. They’ll also be introducing the Crafty GAËL, a collaboration beer produced with Crafty Ales and Lagers in nearby Phelps. GAËL Brewing , 4180 State Route 14, Geneva, 14456. For more information call (315) 220-0190 or visit online.
Gear up for Maple Weekend in New York State. This state-wide event celebrates the production of all things maple. Visit Cumming Nature Center from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. on March 12, 13, 19, and 20 to learn about maple syrup production and enjoy a pancake breakfast. Stop by the Wohlschlegel’s Maple Farm from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. on March 19 & 20 and April 2 & 3 for a pancake breakfast, walk through the woods to see the sap gathering process, or to take a tour of the sugarhouse! The New York Wine and Culinary Center invites you to take a tour of Kettle Ridge Farm on Saturday, March 19 at 9 a.m., after stop by the center for one of their many maple themed cooking classes!
Your Innkeeper doesn’t get a chance to get out on the weekends too often but yesterday was an exception. Beth and Lydia were taking care of guests at breakfast. There were no new guests checking in. So, your Innkeeper had a free Saturday and it just happened that it is the weekend of the Naples Grape Festival in upstate New York’s Finger Lakes. I had been one other time in the past 11 years and it was cold and wet that year. This year, the weather could not have been more perfect… a cool 70 degrees and sunny, perfect fall weather.
Naples is a quaint town on the South end of Canandaigua Lake. Home to Inspire Moore Winery, Artizanns (a local Gallery), Joseph’s Wayside Market, Roots Cafe, Naples, NY and a few other shops and restaurants. It’s generally a sleepy town. But, one weekend a year, the tiny town is crowded beyond belief by visitors that want to experience all things grape. Grape pie, frozen grape custard, wine, concord grapes, Niagra grapes and more grapes. And even purple fire hydrants. There are tons of food options, music and many vendors and artists. Your Innkeeper even got a henna tattoo.
For at least a mile or more, vendors line the street, even before you get to the Festival, selling anything and everything… crafts, yard sale items, baked goods. It’s hard to walk as there are so many people. I don’t know where they all come from, but they come from miles to experience this Festival and it couldn’t be set in a more picturesque valley in the Finger Lakes.
Of course, a visit to the Naples Grape Festival wouldn’t be complete without a grape pie and some grapes. This year, I purchased Jeni’s grape pie and some grapes from Jerome’s U-Pick. Both were served at this morning’s breakfast much to the delight of our guests who had never tasted grape pie before. A grape day was had by all.
This year, the Ontario County Tourism office is celebrating our 30th anniversary of Tourism Promotion, but we are not alone! Below is an exciting list of area attractions who are also celebrating anniveraries!
The Ontario County Fair will be kicking off their 171st year of operation this month starting on July 22! Attractions include a demolition derby, horse shows, rides and more family fun! 2820 County Rd 10, Canandaigua, 585-394-4987. For a full list of attractions, prices and detailed event schedule visit www.ontariocountyfair.org.
Whether you like to enjoy the outdoors, championship golf or lakeview dining Bristol Harbour Resort can offer all of these luxurious options to you. The Lodge at Bristol Harbour is entering its 15th year of providing you with locally sourced dining and luxurious accommodations overlooking Canandaigua Lake. 5410 Seneca Point Rd. Canandaigua, 585-396-0060.
Located within the community of Naples, Artizanns: Gifts from the Finger Lakes is home to unique creations from over 200 Finger Lakes artisans. Join them for their 10th anniversary celebration on Saturday, July 26, 10am-5pm. The celebration will include live music, BBQ, wine, beer, and coffee tastings (all local), and door prizes. The grand prize is a $100 dollar gift card to Artizanns. 118 N. Main St. Naples, 585-374-6740.
A night of theatre! Bristol Valley Theatre is celebrating their 50th anniversary of rich theatre history. Visiting Bristol Valley Theatre is a must do for all theatre goers with two productions in July including “Deathtrap” and “Les Miserables”! 151 S. Main St. Naples 585-374-6318. For a complete schedule visit www.bvtnaples.org.
This year marks the 100th anniversary of the Ontario County Historical Museum building. The landmark on Main Street, Canandaigua is a Georgian Revival building designed by famous architect Claude Bragdon in 1914. Today, the museum currently displays two exhibits, “Tying the Knot: 200 Years of Wedding Traditions in Ontario County”, and “Desires, Opportunities, and Change”. 55 N. Main St. Canandaigua, 585-394-4575.
In the midst of its 120th year of operation, the Smith Opera House is recognized as one of the oldest operating opera houses in the United States! Current shows this month include “The Drowsy Chaperone” and “The Magic Flute”. Stop by and enjoy the show! 82 Seneca St. Geneva, 315-781-5483 For ticket availability and more information visit www.thesmith.org.
Naples, NY is nestled on the southwest side of Canandaigua Lake. Naples will be celebrating their 120th birthday this year! Home of one of the best grape pies and award winning wineries, Naples is a must visit! With a vast History, Restaurants, Lakes, Art and outdoor adventures, Naples is a destination that can cater to all varieties of visitors!