Five more things I’ll miss, and what You Should Check Out – in Rochester, N.Y.


I got a lot of great feedback from Monday’s post about the first five things on my list of what I’ll miss about Rochester.

Some of the things people added and commented to this list are not tangible things. For some, it’s more of the community mindedness of the place that you come to know once you’ve lived here for a while. There is a great sense of collaboration between government, businesses and grass roots organizations that create a wealth of cultural offerings here.

What are they, you ask? For one, there was last September’s Fringe Fest, the first time Rochester has hosted this festival celebrating all things creative.

Another development just in the last 12 months has been the collaboration between wo Rochester treasures: WXXI, our public radio and TV station, and The Little, a great indie movie theater. Over the last year, the two non-profit organizations have put together free and open to the public discussions on many thought-provoking films that don’t come to bigger commercial theatres. Don’t take my word for it, check out The Little while you are in town. From the great films to the REAL popcorn with REAL butter, find out more here.

But for those of you are purely visiting, or are planning a visit to Rochester and the area, here are some more must-sees:

  • Water – Okay, I know there will be water where I’m going.  Michigan is famous for its lakes big and small. But I will miss the variety of kinds of bodies of water within an hour’s drive from my home in Rochester. I’ll miss taking a stroll or a bicycle ride on the historical Erie Canal. Blogger Renee a. Schuls-Jacobson loves to have lunch along the canal on a summer afternoon at great restaurants like The Coal Tower in Pittsford (don’t miss their pumpkin soup in the fall) or Aladin’s Natural Eatery for great vegetarian and vegan cuisine as well as micro brewed and local beer.                                                                                                                                                                                                             I’ll miss taking a short 15 minute drive and taking a walk along the shore of Lake Ontario, flying a kite with my kids at Durant Beach or taking our end-of-the-summer outing to Rochester’s great local amusement park Sea Breeze and cooling off with a chocolate almond cone from Abbot’s Custard, more of Renee’s favorite things.  Hell, I’ll even miss the radio ad, “Come Get Your Summer!” that plays from Memorial Day until Labor Day.
  • Artisan Works – It’s an art gallery. It’s a working artists colony. It’s a great place to have a wedding or a Bar mitzvah. But if you are an art lover, you must visit this funky gallery tucked into a huge warehouse on Blossom Road off Winton Road (right near the new Wegmans!). Eclecticism does not begin to describe this place, which boasts over a million pieces of art;  a library with furniture from Frank Lloyd Wright to a fire house themed room with some naughty art (adults only in this section please).  I can say this place is loaded with paintings and sculptures, photos and films, but it wouldn’t do it justice. Just GO.
  • The National Museum of Play What started out as a bunch of toys collected by philanthropist Dorothy Strong has turned into one of the country’s leading children’s museums and home to the Toy Hall of Fame for playthings like The Hula Hoop and The Stick (yes, the stick, like the kind that falls off a tree, is in the Toy Hall of Fame).                                                                                      You don’t need a kid to have fun here (but if you do have a kid and they’ve pooped in their last clean diaper, they’ve got you covered with their own supply!).  Revisit your own childhood by taking a stroll down Sesame Street, “shop” for food at a kid sized Wegmans Market; twirl a hula hoop; make a craft with your kids and leave the scraps and glue sticks and other clean-up behind. Play in bins full of Leggos, play some retro video games like Pac Man and Space Invaders. Visit a Treasure Island, climb a beanstalk or explore a mysterious old house in Reading Adventure Land and then borrow a book from the museum’s library, which is connected to the Monroe County Library system.
  • The Finger Lakes – Need more reasons to visit Rochester now that I’m gone? Well, the Finger Lake Region, about an hour away from Rochester, has been voted one of the 10 best travel destinations in the world, people! While you are in Canandaigua strolling along the lake and checking out the cute stores and art galleries, dine at a great Mexican restaurant called Rio Tomatlan. Get the flan for dessert, you won’t be sorry.
  • Apples & Wine – okay, that’s two things. But a visit to this part of New York in the fall is not complete with either a trip to an apple picking farm, like The Apple Farm in Victor, NY or a Finger Lakes Winery like Fox Run. This year had a cold winter, no freak warm ups or frosts in the early spring, so the apple season this fall is supposed to yield a great crop.

1, 2, 3, 4, 5 – Okay, that’s five things. I can count! That’s all I’m going to add to this list, but what can YOU add to a list of must-sees in the Rochester area?

And Detroit – what have you got in store for me to see? In a few weeks, I’ll have nothing more to do than to explore, so tell me what I shouldn’t miss in the Motor City. I’m listening. I’m waiting.

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About stacylynngittleman

I have been a public relations professional and reporter -- and always thought I would live in the New York Metro area - before my husband took a job in Rochester, New York. Most in Metro New York can't find Rochester on a map,and neither could I before we moved. I am now a columnist and a freelance writer for Rochester's only daily newspaper, the Democrat & Chronicle. I also am passionate about gardening, fitness and most of all, Jewish education and Israel Advocacy. Here's my perspective on Western New York living - the good, the bad, and the snowy.

7 responses to “Five more things I’ll miss, and what You Should Check Out – in Rochester, N.Y.”

  1. renée a. schuls-jacobson says :

    Glad you liked a lot of my ideas! 🙂 I love Rochester. A lot. We’ll miss you.

  2. Liz Michael says :

    Stacy, I’ve loved reading your columns, esp. these last two. I would also add: Pittsford Dairy, Denzel Carousel at Ontario Beach, Avon Drive-in and Flea Market, Letchworth Park, Chimney Bluffs, Dryden Theatre, The Cinema Theatre, and The House of Guitars! Good luck moving and discovering cool stuff in Detroit!

    • stacylynngittleman says :

      thanks for your additions. Yes, I’ve written in the past about Lechworth Canyon, Chimney Bluffs, and let’s not forget Stonybrook State Park. Love House of Guitars but the guitarist in my house will have to learn to live without The Sound Source on Norris Dr.
      We have so much to offer in upstate NY, people should think outside the Big Apple for fun and destinations. Thanks for your good wishes.

  3. James Fields says :

    I grew up in San Diego in the 70’s and 80’s. Being that it is a Navy town, we had transplants from all over the country, and every time I heard the phrase “I miss the changing seasons!” I thought I was going to scream! I didn’t understand. Fast forward to 1994 – I was working in the SD branch of Paychex when I got the opportunity to move to Rochester to work at the corporate offices. Since it was a great career move, I went ahead and uprooted the family. The first winter I thought “what have I done!?!?” But during the five years I spent there, I came to accept it, and then to love it. Circumstances ended up requiring me to move back to San Diego, and not a week goes by that I don’t feel the overwhelming urge to go back. Everything that you have mentioned in these posts just stirs up those feelings. And to circle back to the opening of my post….now I understand…..

    • stacylynngittleman says :

      Dear James, I hope this reply finds you and your family safe and away from harm from those fires. Another thing about Western New York and Rochester – outside of the long, gray, cold snowy winters, our weather is quite safe and boring. No hurricanes, tornado warnings (like here in Michigan) and no FIRES. Now that is May, my first out of Rochester, I am painfully missing the lilacs. thanks for reading.

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