Go See Do Photography

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

Tag: Upstate

Wordless Wednesday: New Glass Now

Wordless Wednesday: Cornell Birds

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: Waterfall Profile

Exploring Seneca Lake


After leaving the Corning Museum of Glass, we made a quick stop at the Rockwell Museum. Corning’s Rockwell Museum is a Smithsonian Affiliate with a focus on American Art. Housed in the old Corning City Hall, the collection was a gift of Bob and Hertha Rockwell. Its a small museum and didn’t take long to see the whole collection. If you have extra time in the Finger Lakes or you’re looking for something to do on a rainy day, The Rockwell Museum wouldn’t be a bad choice.

At the museum, I grabbed a guide for the Seneca Lake Wine Trail, so we headed back north to check it out. The Finger Lakes was just voted the best wine region by 10best.com and being in the area, I was looking forward to seeing what the big deal is. With over 30 wineries on the trail, it is much bigger than the Michigan wine trails. Obviously, we couldn’t visit all of them in one afternoon, so we stuck to the ones closest to Watkins Glen.

We visited Catharine Valley (above), J.R. Dill, and Atwater Estates. Located on the shore of Seneca Lake, all of the wineries had beautiful views. Much like in Michigan, Riesling is the king in Seneca Lake and our favorite was a forced carbonated Riesling from Atwater Estates. It was unlike anything I’ve ever had before.  Doing a winery tour was a relaxing way to end our final day of this trip and a way to bring back the perfect Finger Lakes souvenir.

Thanks for stopping by! To plan your visit to the Seneca Lake Wine Trail, visit SenecaLakeWine.com.If you like my photos be sure to “like” my Facebook Page, follow me on Instagram, and Flickr! 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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Watkins Glen State Park

Watkins Glen State Park has been on my bucket list since I first saw a picture of it when I first got on Flickr, about ten years ago. A picture very similar to the one on the left inspired my wanderlust. Looking at this picture, I would assume this was Costa Rica, or Hawaii, but no, this amazing glen of water and rock is actually in western New York. When I discovered this beautiful place is less than 8 hours away, I began planning a long weekend to explore it. Finally, the time came when it made sense to visit.

After visiting several Maine lighthouses, we made our way to Keane, New Hampshire for the night. I didn’t have much planned on the way from New Hampshire to Watkins Glen, but we did stop at the Albany Museum of Art and History to get out of the car and stretch our legs. Before long, we arrived at Watkins Glen and set up camp.

In the summer, the park offers shuttles from the Main Entrance to the upper entrance of the park. This allows you to hike down the 1 1/2 mile Gorge trail instead of having to go up 800 steps.  This made of a pretty leisurely, hike. It is definitely one of the most scenic of my life. If we had more time to explore, it would have been nice to hike some of the other trails in the park and get a different view of the gorge. As it was, I’m sure we got to see the best part.

From the moment we left the parking lot, I knew this was going to be like no other place I had ever seen. It seemed like every few feet there were beautiful stone bridges high above cascading falls. It reminded me a lot of Hocking Hills, but much more compact. The whole time I was amazed at the beauty, only to go down a few more steps, make a turn and get an even more breathtaking view.

While the top photo is the most iconic one of the park, the whole Gorge Trail blew my mind. I have never seen such a beautiful place. I have a really hard time reconciling it with New York state. This is not what I think when I think of New York. I’ve been told that some of the other parks in the Finger Lakes are just as beautiful. I will have to go back sometime to see for myself.

To plan your visit to Watkins Glen, visit parks.ny.gov. Be sure to come back next week when we visit the Corning Museum of Glass. If you like my photos be sure to “like” my Facebook Page, follow me on Instagram, and Flickr! 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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