Go See Do Photography

A Lot of Travel, A Little Bit of History, and a Whole Bunch of Photos

Category: Travel (Page 2 of 23)

Wine Tasting in the Finger Lakes

Vineyard on Keuka Lake

The Finger Lakes was recently named the number 1 wine region in the country by 10best.com. It beat out Napa and Sonoma in California. Michigan’s Leelanau peninsula actually came in second, but more about that another time. The last time we were in the Finger Lakes, we mostly stayed on the east side of Seneca Lake and we weren’t impressed by what we tasted. This trip, we had more time in the area and we were able to explore more of the area.

Atwater Estates

As I mentioned before, coming down from Buffalo, we stopped at 3 wineries on the west side of Seneca Lake: Ravines, Billsboro, and Fox Run. On our way to Ithaca, we stopped at our favorite winery from our last time, Atwater Estates. We got there right after they opened and were their first customers of the day. As we remembered, all of the wines we tasted at Atwater were phenomenal and between us, we ended up buying a whole case. They have two force carbonated wines that are unlike anything I’ve had before and I highly recommend you give them a try if you are in the area. Atwater has the best view of any of the wineries we visited on Seneca Lake. I only wish we were there on a warm, sunny day to enjoy the outdoor patio.

On our final day, before heading home, we made our way out to a few wineries on Keuka Lake. The first one we tried was Pleasant Valley which had the biggest facility and a very large selection of wines, but they seemed to appeal to sweet wine drinkers. There weren’t a ton of dry wines available, but there prices were very reasonable so we ended up with a few bottles.

After Pleasant Valley, we stopped at Bully Hill. We were there early on their first day in their new tasting room so I don’t feel like we got a great feel for the experience as the employees were busy unpacking and getting the tasting room ready. All the wines we tried were good and the new tasting room has a great view out to the vineyards and the lake below. I will have to come back when they are more settled to get the full experience.

And our final stop was possibly the best of the whole trip! While in a wine store in Corning, we found bottles from a vineyard called Dr. Frank. I thought that was a funny name for a vineyard so I looked them up when we got back to the car. It turns out, Dr. Konstantin Frank was the man that brought winemaking to the Finger Lakes region and was the first one to use grafting to be able to grow European grapes in the United States. Dr. Frank currently has the second oldest vines in the country and their Old Vine Pinot Noir is probably one of the best wines I’ve ever had. We ended up buying a lot of wine there, but when we drink it all, I will probably be going online to order more. If you are in the area and like a good wine, definitely stop at Dr. Frank!

We bought more wine on this trip than I imagined we would but the wine was all so good! We have really gotten into wine traveling lately and the wines from the Finger Lakes are far and above the wine from other places we’ve recently been. This wine has totally spoiled me. I’m a wine snob now. No doubt about it. Grocery store wine will no longer do it for me. If you enjoy wine touring, definitely plan a trip to the Finger Lakes. You will not regret it.

Thanks for stopping by! To read about some of our previous trips, click here. If you like my photos be sure to “like” my Facebook Page, follow me on Instagram! You can purchase prints on Etsy and Fine Art America. To see inside my camera bag, check out my Gear Page. For information about our new Guided Photography Tours, visit GuidedPhoto.com.

Glass Making: Corning Museum of Glass

My blown glass flower

After exploring Ithaca, we headed back to Corning to make our appointments for glass making at the Corning Museum of Glass. After our last time at the Corning Museum of Glass, we knew that if you want to try any of the glass blowing, you need to make reservations in advance. At the end of November, we looked on the website and decided what we wanted to make.

Part of the reason for this trip was an exhibit they had for the 50th Anniversary of the moonwalk called “How Glass Got Us to the Moon”. Because of the exhibit they had a special moon ornament that you could make. Chris and my mother in law both signed up for that. We didn’t need two moon ornaments so I signed up for the Blown Glass Flower (top).

Another thing I learned during our first trip to the museum is that a lot of the glass blowing experiences you don’t get to do much more than the blowing part. I assumed when booking our experiences that if preschoolers can do it, you probably don’t get to do too much. The blown glass flower is only for 14+ so I knew that you probably actually get to do a lot with that one.

Making my flower

After checking in, they gave me goggles, gloves, arm protection, and an apron. Then, the artist I was working with demonstrated the technique and explained how to use the tools. When my turn came, I sat on the bench and he brought the molten glass to me on the pipe. I rolled the pipe and pressed a piece of wood into the glass to flatten it. Then, after he reheated it in the furnace, I got to use some heavy-duty tweezers to form the petals. It was an awesome experience and it made me want to learn how to blow glass!

If you are planning to visit the Corning Museum of Glass, I highly recommend you book a glass making experience! They have activities for all ages! Young children can blow a glass ornament or if they would prefer to be more creative, they can try sandblasting or glass fusing. For adults, I recommend choosing something that is not for all ages, unless you are fine with someone else basically making your item for you. Last trip, we did flameworking and were able to use a hot torch to fuse colored glass into a pendant that I get complimented on anytime I wear it!

Thanks for stopping by! For more information about the Corning Museum of Glass visit CMOG.org, To read about some of our previous trips, click here. If you like my photos be sure to “like” my Facebook Page, follow me on Instagram! You can purchase prints on Etsy and Fine Art America. To see inside my camera bag, check out my Gear Page. For information about our new Guided Photography Tours, visit GuidedPhoto.com.

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Wordless Wednesday: Entrance Waterfall

Ithaca in the Winter

After our morning exploring Watkins Glen, we headed for Ithaca. We didn’t venture to Ithaca on our last trip to the Finger Lakes so this was something new for us. Our first stop in Ithaca was Ithaca Falls (top). This huge cascade was at the side of the road, across from an elementary school. We parked at the school and walked across the road to get a better look. We were able to get pretty close to the falls and being that it was winter, there weren’t very many other people around. I imagine this is a hot spot in the summer.

After admiring the falls, we decided to head to Cornell. There’s not a ton on the campus that we found that was opened to the public, but we did stop at the botanical gardens. Not much is blooming at the end of December. The visitor’s center (left) was even closed, but it was nice to get out and walk around. There was a “winter garden” which was basically a bunch of conifer trees. I can only imagine the gardens bursting with color in the spring and summer. I really wanted to see the arboretum, but it is closed in the winter.

From the Botanical Garden, we headed to the Cornell Ornithology Lab. This was a little way from the campus, but I guess it is a well-known place for birders and scientists. Once again, the Visitor Center closed between Christmas and New Years, but the hiking paths were open. We took a walk on this boardwalk through a swamp. We had to stop where the boardwalk ended because it was too muddy to continue. It was a beautiful day, though and it was nice to be outdoors listening to the birds. I am in no way a bird person, but I could enjoy spending some time on the trails and trying my hand at photographing birds.

All in all, it is always nice to explore new places, but not much was open during our visit to Ithaca. I would definitely enjoy returning when it is warmer, with proper footwear. From Ithaca, we headed back to Corning for our glass making appointments at the Corning Museum of Glass. Be sure to come back next week to hear about that!

Thanks for stopping by! To read about some of our previous trips, click here. If you like my photos be sure to “like” my Facebook Page, follow me on Instagram! You can purchase prints on Etsy and Fine Art America. To see inside my camera bag, check out my Gear Page. For information about our new Guided Photography Tours, visit GuidedPhoto.com.

Wordless Wednesday: American Falls

Watkins Glen in Winter

Gorge Trail seen from the bridge

While planning our winter Finger Lakes adventure, we knew we wanted to go back to Watkins Glen State Park. We had read that the Gorge Trail is closed for the winter, but it was hard to find out much else. First off, I assumed that the gorge trail closed for the winter because the icy conditions make it a fall hazard, but after visiting, I think the bigger concern is falling ice. It was in the 40s and 50s when we visited and there wasn’t much ice on the ground, but there was still quite a bit hanging from the rock faces.

In winter (November -April), the Gorge Trail and parts of the Indian Trail are closed to visitors for safety reasons, but from my understanding, the South Rim Trail and Finger Lakes Trail remain open through the winter. We parked at the south entrance and walked the short, muddy walk towards the gorge trail where a bridge (below) to some of the other trails was open. From the bridge, we got a breathtaking view of the gorge and the gorge trail (above). From there, we were able to walk part of the Indian Trail that took us a little into the gorge. The steps were a little slippery, but view of the rushing water and the ice was totally worth it. Not to mention, we saw two other families while we were down there. It felt like we had the place to ourselves! Compared to when we visited in the summer with hoards of tourists, I much preferred the cold and ice!
Thanks for stopping by! Be sure to check back next week as we head to Ithaca! To read about some of our previous trips, click here. If you like my photos be sure to “like” my Facebook Page, follow me on Instagram! You can purchase prints on Etsy and Fine Art America. To see inside my camera bag, check out my Gear Page. For information about our new Guided Photography Tours, visit GuidedPhoto.com.

Wordless Wednesday: Niagara Water

Niagara Falls in Winter

Mist over the falls from the Canadian side.

Bright and early, a few days after Christmas, we headed off to the Finger Lakes area of New York. We decided to drive through Canada on the way there to be able to stop at Niagara Falls. Shortly after we arrived in Niagara Falls, dark clouds rolled in. As we walked along the path at the falls viewing area rain began to fall. It was hard to tell if this was just mist from the falls or if it was really raining. One thing I know for sure is that it made for some really spooky looking photos!

American Falls from Niagara Falls State Park

I had been to the falls once before, back in 2003. We only had a short time to view the Canadian falls from the Canadian side. It was much more crowded this time. I don’t know if it is always this crowded nowadays or if it was just because it was the week between Christmas and New Years, but it was a madhouse. It was hard to get pictures of the falls without getting other people in them. We didn’t stay on the Canadian side too long before getting in the car and crossing the Rainbow Bridge back to the U.S.

The border crossings took a lot less time than we budgeted for so we decided to check out the State Park on the New York side. I was really happy we did because it was much less crowded! I was always told you could only see the American Falls from New York, but that is not true at all! The state park puts you right on top of Horseshoe Falls and gives you a totally different perspective from the Canadian side. In the summer, you can walk practically to the top of Horseshoe Falls. Many paths close to the water close for winter, but it was still worth stopping! I would love to come back to the New York side when it’s warmer and you can get closer to the water!

Photo by Sally MowersAfter leaving Niagara, we headed to Buffalo for lunch at The Anchor Bar (left), the birthplace of Buffalo Wings. The last time we were in the area, we tried Duff’s because we didn’t have to drive too far off of the freeway to get there, but coming from Canada, it didn’t take us too far out of the way to go to the original in downtown Buffalo. Chris is kind of obsessed with wings, so this was a pilgrimage of sorts. Of course, the wings were delicious and I learned that there is an Anchor Bar in Rochester Hills, Michigan that we may have to visit sometime.

Photo by Sally Mowers

After lunch, we continued to our final destination. We took a route that took us down the west side of Seneca Lake and allowed us to stop at a few wineries on our way to Corning. This day, we stopped at Ravines, Billsboro, and Fox Run before heading to our AirBNB in Corning. I think I will talk about our experience with Finger Lakes wineries in an upcoming post. Be sure to stop back in the next few weeks to hear more about this trip!

Thanks for stopping by! To read about some of our previous trips, click here. If you like my photos be sure to “like” my Facebook Page, follow me on Instagram! You can purchase prints on Etsy and Fine Art America. To see inside my camera bag, check out my Gear Page. For information about our new Guided Photography Tours, visit GuidedPhoto.com.

2020 Travel Goals

Chris photographing the Grand Canyon

In 2019 we went on a cruise that we had initially booked back on our last cruise in 2015. I had literally been looking forward to that trip for 4 years. Before we took that trip, we booked our Maine trip. Shortly after that trip, we booked our winter Finger Lakes escape (more on that trip to come). Now, we are home with no travel plans for 2020 and with nothing planned, I go stir crazy.

Last year, our Phoenix trip really helped break up the cold, Michigan winter. So, on New Years Eve we began searching for flight deals in February. We found a ridiculous deal on a flight to Austin, Texas so we will be spending a few days there next month! I have never spent any time in Texas, unless you count our 3 hour layover in Dallas early last year. So, I’m excited to explore a new place and I hope it will be warm (unlike Phoenix). We will only be there for a couple of days, but if you have any Austin must-dos, please let me know!

We are also planning to visit Chris’ family in the Tampa area for Spring Break. I haven’t spent much time in that part of Florida. I’m hoping to spend some time on the beach, but to also see the sites. It looks like there are a few interesting museums over there as well as some natural sites to explore.

We don’t have any plans yet for a summer trip, but I’m kind of hoping for something epic. It has been 15 years since I’ve been to Europe and I would love to explore more places over there. But, honestly, I would be happy with more time to see the Upper Peninsula, especially the Western UP. Of course, we feel the pull to return to Maine as well. Who knows where we will end up, but I’m sure I will update you when we have something booked!

Of course, I’m also hoping to do some more Michigan camping trips this summer. Spending time in the Great Outdoors really helps to center me and give me perspective. I would love to revisit some of our favorite campground, whether it be Wilderness State Park, Straits, or D.H. Day. There is also talk of re-visiting the Finger Lakes area next fall, which I can’t get enough of that place so I am definitely up for it! You’ll have to come back here to find out where we end up!

Thanks for stopping by! To read about some of our previous trips, click here. If you like my photos be sure to “like” my Facebook Page, follow me on Instagram! You can purchase prints on Etsy and Fine Art America. To see inside my camera bag, check out my Gear Page. For information about our new Guided Photography Tours, visit GuidedPhoto.com.

Wordless Wednesday: South Bubble Summit

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