The Spirit Room – Rochester, NY

Friday, October 13th:

Shane and I thought it would be a fun idea to check out this new bar that had just opened in downtown Rochester. We parked in an empty lot that only cost $3 and we took a romantic stroll down a darkened alleyway. No one was around, almost something out of a horror movie. We come upon a doorway that was opened into a purple lighted room – the bar. As we walked in, we noticed old photos hanging, skulls on shelves and voodoo dolls strewn about the room. The music drowned out the voices to only a small whisper as you heard the clinking of glasses against the bar. We took a seat on the side of the room as we watched the tarot card reader go from table to table. Glancing at the menu, it was pork taco night. My favorite, but not Shane’s – so we decided to settle and order a nice tall banana pudding and a few drinks to pass the time.

The Spirit Room is probably one of the coolest bars I’ve ever been to in the United States. I had never seen anything like it. It had a haunted, American Horror Story vibe with a hint of New Orleans history. I felt right at home. The bar tenders were so polite and friendly – I believe one of them were the owner of the bar who I’ve heard is the best new bartender in town! Just saying…

I also enjoyed that they have a different menu every night. So, one night may be pork taco night – another might be Nashville Hot Chicken night. The menu is constantly changing with the seasons and the days of the week. So if you are looking for a haunting good time any time of the year – check out the Spirit Room. You will not be disappointed!

xoxo,

Crystal & Shane

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Farm Market Hoppin’

No matter what time of year it is, a trip to a Farmer’s Market can always be a great date idea. Whether your going just for fun or to grab some ingredients for something you two want to make, it is a nice way to spend time together. In this post, I wanted to include some Farmer’s Markets worth stopping at across the United States with a focus on western Upstate New York. I’m sure you have one you’d like to add, so feel free to post in the comments section below!

 

Schutt’s Apple Mill – Webster, NY:

Photo credit: http://1.bp.blogspot.com/-4jq0ad9LnKE/UIw1cMw1laI/AAAAAAAAAUc/HjyzU5gOevA/s1600/download8.jpg

Schutt’s Apple Mill is the best place for (you guessed it!)…apples! Every kind of apple you could possibly imagine is sold here year round. You can pick and choose your own in the many barrels on display OR buy them by the bushel. They also sell fresh pressed apple cider AND hard cider. Not only is it full of apples, but it is a very large gift shop, too. Handmade and specialty gifts, spices and teas, jams and honey, everything you can think of.

Bauman’s Farm Market – Webster, NY:

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On our first trip to Bauman’s, we were expecting a typical run of the mill family owned farm market. We were surprised to find a fun place that actually kept us occupied for a while. Not only looking at all the different produce and products they sell, but we went during the fall season to find their homemade haunted house! It was small, but it was a nice and creative touch to give their customers something else to do while they are shopping.

Aman’s Farm & Market – Irondequoit, NY:

Photo credit: https://www.facebook.com/965WCMF/

Aman’s doesn’t just sell flowers and produce, they sell beer! Yes, over 100 different kinds of beer in fact. This place can be your one stop shop on the weekends.

Wickham Farms – Penfield, NY:

Every year Wickham Farms has a “Sunflower Festival” where you can stroll through 1000’s of sunflowers. From Red Velvet Sunflowers to the REALLY BIG ones, they have them all. This farm market also has a café and ice cream shop, kid activities, petting zoos, and so much more throughout the year. You can easily spend a few hours here if you really want to.

City of Rochester Public Market – Rochester, NY:

Photo credit: http://www.cityofrochester.gov/

The Rochester Public Market is of course the go-to place in downtown. You can try different foods from all ethnicities and purchase produce from all the local farmers in the nearby area. They have special events each month and many food truck rodeos (my favorite!).

Nashville Farmers Market at Bicentennial Park – Nashville, TN:

When we lived in Nashville, I just loved coming here for lunch and to stroll around the park. Inside the market, there are many restaurants you can grab a bite to eat and there is also a food truck or two sitting outside for visitors (I miss the Grilled Cheeserie!). My favorite part of this farmers market was the garden center where you could make your own terrariums. I loved looking at all the different plants and ideas for my own future garden. Read more on my previous post: http://www.datesinthestates.com/2016/12/11/nashville-tn-parthenon/

Midtown Global Market – Minneapolis, MN:

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In the last place of Minneapolis you’d expect a farmers market, there is the Midtown Global Market. The building also has offices and other businesses in it, but the lower level is full of different vendors. The vendors sell many different ethnic foods and crafts, even clothing. When I lived in Minneapolis, this was a popular weekend stop for me.

Maplewood Produce & Greenhouse – Shippensburg, PA:

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In this area of Pennsylvania, you will find many different Amish and Mennonite farm markets. This one in particular is one of my favorites. Their prices were great and it was a large store with amazing homemade fudge, pies, bread, and produce.

Comment below and let us know of your favorite Farm Markets in your area! We may just stop by! 🙂

Peace & Love.

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A Day Trip in Letchworth State Park

On the first day of Fall, we headed an hour out to visit Letchworth State Park in the hopes of seeing some Fall colors and enjoying the nice weather while we could. Even though it was the first day of Fall, it felt like one of the hottest days of the year in New York. We were boiling, but that wouldn’t stop us from taking in the sights – even if we stayed mostly in the car!

 

Mount Morris Dam Overlook

We drove to the Mount Morris entrance and as we arrived to the park, there was a line of cars anxiously waiting to pay the $10 car fee and explore the area. We drove to the first picnic area to eat the lunch we had brought at the Mount Morris Dam Overlook. It was a pretty busy area – not the most relaxing spot for a picnic. The overlook had a nice view though of the Dam, although I was surprised by how dry it looked with all the rain we’ve had this summer.

 

The Gardeau Overlook

We packed up the remnants of our lunch (it is a carry in/out park) and drove to the next overlook – The Gardeau Overlook. The overlook itself was blocked by a lot of bushes and trees, but still had a nice view of a little fall color starting. At this overlook there are a few trails, but we decided to get back into our car and look for a better spot.

 

Tea Table – Wolf Creek

We stopped at the Tea Table area which was a busy spot for visitors. There were even more trails here as well as an ice cream/grille stop. From here we could see the river more clearly and begin to get a nice look at Big Bend. If you’d like, you can walk to Wolf Creek from here – a beautiful spot to stop and cool off.

A photoshoot I did for my cousin at Wolf Creek a few years ago – isn’t she beautiful?!

 

Big Bend

Big Bend was one of my favorite stops. We watched some of the rafters set out on their grand white water rafting adventure. Big Bend is known for its steep cliffs and jagged rocks. It was as beautiful as I had imagined it would be.

 

Lower Falls

Next, we drove to Lower Falls. We parked and walked down the couple hundred steps to get to the viewing area of the falls. If you prefer not to hike the stairs – there is an easier viewing spot, but we wanted to get as close to it as we could. As we climbed back up the stairs, my legs were burning – a fantastic workout!

 

Inspiration Point

Finally we drove to Inspiration Point – the stop I had waited for the entire drive. I saw photos of this place on Pinterest and was excited to see this spectacular view in person. It was just as beautiful as it was in the photos of online. I could have spent all day in this place.

 

Middle & Upper Falls – Glen Iris Inn

Our last stop included both the Middle Falls and the Upper Falls. We also stopped to see the gift shop at Glen Iris Inn. At this point after hiking the falls, we were exhausted from the heat and decided it was time to say goodbye to the park. It was a beautiful day and Letchworth is the perfect park to not only hike the 50 miles of trails, but to just drive through. It surely is the Grand Canyon of the East.

 

The Beachcomber – Conesus Lake

After leaving the park, we wanted to cool off and see Conesus Lake – somewhere I spent every Summer when I was younger. We stopped at the Beachcomber for some refreshing drinks and to have dinner at the waters edge. It was a wonderful ending to our day.

All the Love,

Crystal & Shane

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Dinner at D & R Depot – Le Roy, NY

About to meet a friend from Nashville who was visiting her parents in Warsaw, I quickly looked up a place that we could meet half way. Noticing Le Roy was about the same distance for both of us, I researched restaurants online and came upon D & R Depot. Quickly reading that D & R was an old train depot turned restaurant, it intrigued me. We met for dinner and I was very pleased with my choice.

Photo credit: http://media-cdn.tripadvisor.com/media/photo-s/01/1d/6c/0e/le-roy.jpg

D & R Depot used to be the local train depot placing Le Roy on the map – before Jell-O of course! (Side note: Le Roy is the birthplace of Jello-O complete with a Jell-O museum now.) The depot resides right next to the train tracks and as you walk inside, they have pictures and memorabilia from long ago. They decorated the place as to keep that era alive; even the music is old fashioned. I also heard that if a train goes by while you’re there, you will get a free token for dessert! Sadly, we weren’t able to see that happen.

The Depot from the 1910’s. Photo credit: www.dandrdepot.com

The food was great, just like the reviews said. The price was a little high for the amount of food you got, but the quality makes up for it. This restaurant has a menu specifically for vegans, vegetarians, and those that are gluten free. This was a match made in heaven for my paleo self – they even had saltless salt! No matter what your diet may be, their menu is very accommodating and they also provide substitution ideas such as pot pie with no breading.

As we slowly left the depot, we signed the map in the entranceway to show where we were visiting from – my friend is currently the only one signed from Nashville!

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Hiking Chimney Bluffs State Park

Photo taken by yours truly: Crystal Rock Photography

A beautiful Sunday afternoon hiking Chimney Bluffs was a usually lazy Sunday well spent. Chimney Bluffs was on our “travel goal list” that we created in the beginning of this year during our Storm Stella snowed-in-day  – read post here.
It was an easy hour drive for us to the state park. FYI – if you park at the main entrance you must pay a $5 parking fee during the busy season. Before we chose which direction to hike, we studied a map located at the entrance showing the different hiking trails and how many miles each trail was.

Photo credit: https://emilyberkson.files.wordpress.com/2015/06/chimneybluffsparkmap-web.jpg

We decided to hike the whole loop starting at Garner Point Trail to follow the Bluff Trail along the edge of the lake’s coast. The Bluff trail gives you incredible views of the bluffs and allows you to walk up above them. You may also choose to walk along the coast line down by the water to see the bluffs from below as we saw some people doing although it is not recommended.

Once we approached the end of the Bluff Trail, we turned onto Drumlin Trail. Drumlin Trail takes you through the woods (and mud). We were actually the only people around – no one else in sight – which made it seem as though we were lost. Thankfully when we got to an intersection, we noticed a small sign (facing the wrong direction) showing we had made it to the East-West Trail.  We turned onto the East-West Trail and eventually to our delight we made it back to the parking lot.

Our Old English Bulldog Nova came along with us. She loves to hike and explore. Although, I think she was happy for the hike to be over as she was exhausted!

After our long hike, we stopped at Orbakers along the way for some food and ice cream. We had Buffalo Chicken Burgers (so messy, but so good!) and some ice cream. Even Nova had a doggie sundae. P.S. – Their pistachio ice cream was amazing!!!

Photo credit: http://s7d2.scene7.com/is/image/TWCNews/orbakers_gag_3917jpg?wid=640

Thank you for reading!

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Rochester Lilac Fest 2017

The first few beautiful weeks of Spring always smell so nice. Pause for a moment and take a deep breath. What do you smell? Grass clippings, budding trees, blooming flowers…

One of my favorite smells of Spring are Lilac’s. At Rochester’s Lilac Festival, you can walk the paths smelling the Lilac’s fragrant smells. At the end of the paths you reach a smorgasbord of food trucks and vendor stands. Grab a carnitas taco or a sushi garbage plate while you watch the band of the night play over the noises of the roaring crowd.

Photo found on: http://keywordsuggest.org/gallery/830729.html

 

Photo credit: https://www.rochesterevents.com/lilac-festival/current-lineup/

Lilac Festival is one of the largest free festivals in North America. You won’t find another one like it in our country. Many of the festivals’ Lilacs reside in Highland Park, a park that has about 150 aces of rolling hills and botanical delights. The first lilacs planted here date back to about 1890 when several thousand shrubs were planted. 8 years later, a random festival broke out and around 3,000 people traveled to Highland Park to see these magnificent flowers. Today, the Rochester Lilac Festival draws in about 500,000 people annually to this ten-day FREE event.

Thank you for reading and I hope you enjoy the beauty and smells of Spring.

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Take a Hike at Corbett’s Glen

Upstate New York is full of beautiful state and local parks featuring different terrains (plains, hills, rocks, water…) and I want to try them all! Moving here has opened up my mind to so many possibilities and new areas we could travel to and I am so pumped as the weather is finally starting to become Spring!


This past weekend we took a very short drive to Corbett’s Glen and spent a few hours hiking the main trail through the woods and to the glen. It was a beautiful, sunny, and crisp Spring day. We were able to get up close and personal to a small Doe who didn’t seem to mind people as well as see some flowers starting to bloom. As we hiked through the woods, the sound of the rushing glen was starting to become more apparent. Before we knew it, we arrived at a clearing near a house and a tunnel where the glen came to meet us.

Above the tunnel lies the train tracks – while we were there we saw a train whiz by.

Down a little further from the tunnel resides a small, but beautiful waterfall. This area also acts as a swimming hole for many locals.

The park itself consists of 52 acres with about 2 miles of hiking trails – I believe we did all of them this past weekend! The trails are wide – mostly dirt until you get to the viewing area of the waterfalls where it is pavement and gravel. There are multiple entrances to the park – we parked at the end off of Penfield Road, but the main entrance is on Glen Road near the tunnel.

Throughout the woods you will find a fort made out of branches – not sure if there is any history behind this. We also found a little gnome hidden near a tree along the trail. We kept our eyes peeled for more that may be hiding throughout the park – if you find any be sure to let us know!

Photo credit: https://www.ahealthierupstate.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/01/Corbetts-Glen1.jpg

All in all, this state park was the perfect way to spend a Saturday with the love – the terrain made it for a great workout, yet I had so much fun I didn’t realize how many miles we actually walked. Can’t wait to hike the next park on our list!

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