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:

Photo credit: http://aicontent.agentinsight.net/f/content/254/7016bf4bc71d4c1f92d7f1ede18162eb/600×450.jpg

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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Fall Date: National Apple Harvest Festival

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We all know Fall is a wonderful time of year for picking pumpkins…

Corn mazes & hay rides…

and of course: Apples!

Photo credit: https://static.pexels.com/photos/4148/healthy-fruits-health-apples.jpg

Biglerville PA’s National Apple Harvest Festival is held during the first two full weekends in October with delicious foods, wonderful music, and more. The festival is a short drive from Gettysburg and Harrisburg, PA, located in the South Mountain Fairgrounds. They have a petting zoo, steam engine displays, orchard tours, car show, photo contests, and of course – all the apples you can eat! Even the Apple Queen will make her appearance.

Steam Engine Display

 

Car Show

For a reasonable admission fee you can spend all day with your loved one walking down the aisles of vendors and displays while eating your favorite apple dessert. One of my favorite parts of the event was the community photo contest. Something they do every year is encourage people to take artistic photos of the event and send them in to be chosen for their photo gallery. It’s amazing what some people can come up with and it’s a great activity to dive into your creative self to see what you can do also.

Some of my favorite foods at the Apple Festival were the apple chicken sausages, apple guacamole, apple pizza, and hot spiced apple cider of course! Stop by Hershey for MS, The Avocado Pit, and Boy Scout Troop stands for some of the foods listed. There are a lot of arts and crafts vendors as well. So if you like decorating for fall (who doesn’t?!) you can certainly find plenty of ideas and items.

Have a beautiful fall date with your loved one.

xoxo,

Crystal

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Fall Date: The Bloomsburg Fair

What better way to kick off the Fall season than to fill the air & your stomachs with delicious fair food?

Photo Credit: Bloomsburg Fair Facebook Page

Sept 23rd, 2017 kicks off this years 162nd Bloomsburg Fair in Bloomsburg, Pennsylvania. People from near and far come together to make this yearly 2 week event spectacular. Below, get an inside look at some of my favorite foods, drinks, and things to do at the fair!

Photo credit: https://i.pinimg.com/originals/9e/34/bc/9e34bc6f474355e21f1c2ee17fe23990.jpg

The first thing I do every year when I walk into the fairgrounds is set out in search of a Kohr’s drink stand. They have the best Orangeade! I can’t get enough of it. I can drink it all day long while I walk around the fair. Kohr’s has a stand in just about every corner of the fairgrounds so they aren’t too hard to find and refill.

Pennsylvania is the birthplace for Yuengling Lager and since you can’t buy beer at the fair, you may want to opt for ice cream instead! Yuengling features multiple (non-alcoholic) flavors such as traditional chocolate and vanilla as well as their Black & Tan (a chocolate, caramel mix).

Photo credit: https://c1.staticflickr.com/9/8459/8027099900_2a3bdc0ab8_b.jpg

Coming all the way from upstate New York is the Fried Specialties food truck. If you want something fried, they are your go-to. My favorite are the cheese curds! (Although they aren’t as good as the ones at the Minnesota State Fair of course!).

Photo credit: http://www.gary-pang.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/10/bissinger-peach-dumpling-01-1024×576.jpg

If you have a sweet tooth, stop by Bissinger’s. They have amazing peach and apple dumplings. Grab some to take home and enjoy the fair in the comfort of your own couch. Some other long time favorites include: Top of the Beef, Denny & Pearl’s Pizza, Hewlitt’s Sausage, John the Greek Gyros, and Benton Apple Cider.

I used to love the carnival area, but now that I’m no longer a little kid – I really don’t enjoy walking past all the carnie’s and being whistled or yelled at. So I tend to avoid that area as much as possible, but if you would like to head towards that area and don’t want to walk – you can catch the Sky Ride. The Sky Ride is the ski-lift operation that hovers about 25 feet off the ground and goes from Midway to the Kiddie Section and back. It’s only $5 one way, or $7 round trip. I just like to ride it for the scenery and picture taking! Other than the sky ride, they also offer helicopter rides and carriage rides periodically.

Photo credit: https://photos.smugmug.com/Events/Bloomsburg-MOA-Rally-Recon/2010-073/894597890_UwS2i-L-1.jpg

Every school and club in the surrounding area tend to have an exhibit to feature their work at the fair. These exhibits can be found within the different buildings such as the Arts & Crafts, Agriculture, and Horticulture buildings. You can also find animals such as horses and cattle to dogs and bunnies. I enjoy walking through all of these buildings, but the dog building makes me sad. Seeing all the dogs locked up in a cage and in an un-air-conditioned building isn’t my idea of enjoyment. Oh, and they also make you pay to see the dogs. As you can tell, I am totally against stepping foot in there!

Seether

Anyways, at the Bloomsburg Fair you can catch tons of concerts and shows throughout the week. Figure 8 races, demolition derbies, Dock Dogs, and more. You may see comedians, musicians, and other performers from all over the world come to this event every year. I saw my first concert here in 2009, Sick Puppies & Three Days Grace! Since then, I’ve seen even more such as Seether in the photo above.

What is your favorite thing to do or eat at the fair?! Comment below.

Thanks for reading. Best of Love,

Crystal

 

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Plant & Sip Event

Surely, a lot of you have probably attended a paint and wine event – but have you ever attended a Plant & Sip event? As many paint and wine events popularity are slowly declining, businesses are looking for more and more ways to bring customers in and build relationships. For a local floral and wine gift shop, Stoney Acres, I pitched an idea of a Plant & Sip event and we all ran with it. With about a month of planning, we were able to come up with a unique idea that only few across the nation have done before and it was a hit!

Stoney Acres’ Plant & Sip Event – Feat. Elk Mountain Winery

The Plant & Sip event consisted of a creative afternoon making a tabletop terrarium garden while tasting Elk Mountain wines. It was such a blast to see how popular the event became with mostly word of mouth, tickets sold out in a snap. Events such as this is a great date idea to do in your local hometown. It is also a great idea to do while traveling so you may act as a local and meet people. The people you meet may also help you discover what else in their town you should see and do.

A lot of events like these I tend to find on Facebook Events. I love looking up in the city I’m in to see what may interest me. You can find anything from free to cheap events such as local festivals, yoga classes, and small release parties. Instead of looking for a tourist activity to do, why not look for a local event to do? They tend to be cheaper and more fun anyways!

Side note: – “Facebook Events also helped me find a face painting event for

dia de los muertos at The Flwr Shop in Nashville!” See photo below, post to come soon.

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5 Small Northeast PA Towns to Visit

Northeast, PA may have some small towns, but they all have a lot to offer to visitors. Here are some small tips on what to do when you go:

5. Berwick, PA: 

Berwick, PA has had a rough time over the years with it’s reputation and crime rates, but within the last two they have certainly been changing their town in a big way. Many businesses have renovated as well as the town itself such as their parks and sidewalks. It doesn’t look as run down as it used to, making it more appealing to both visitors and residents.

First stop on your visit to Berwick should be Bill’s Old Bike Barn, a museum featuring a unique collection of motorcycles and Americana memorabilia. Even if you are not a huge motorcycle enthusiast, you MUST stop here at least once.

Inside Bill’s Old Bike Barn

PPL Riverlands, on the outskirts of Berwick heading towards Shickshinny, offers beautiful trails and is an important stop for all bird watchers alike. There is a smaller entrance coming from Berwick before the main entrance to the riverlands where you can walk a few designated trails throughout the swamp area. The main entrance has paved trails with a nice view where you can admire (or despise) the PPL Power Plant towers.

If you are looking for somewhere to eat in Berwick, my three favorite places are Bandits, Romeo’s, or May’s Family Restaurant (the family restaurant, not the ice cream one).

4. Shickshinny:

Shickshinny, PA is a very small town that has dealt with a few natural disasters. You may see some very run down abandoned homes, or you may see some brand new remolded homes all due to flooding. The town runs right along the Susquehanna River and is enclosed by mountains. Despite the town being so small, there is one thing I recommend doing there and that is why it has made it to this list, the Mocanaqua Loop trail. The trail stretches for 8 miles in total and has different colored marked trails. The green marked loop trail is a short loop that will take you to the very top of the bluff and give you a magnificent view of the Susquehanna River, Shickshinny, and the surrounding areas. It is a breathtaking view so make sure to bring your cameras and binoculars for some epic bird watching. Other than the green loop to the overlook, there is also another trail that will take you to the abandoned coal mines.

Photo: http://www.earthconservancy.org/recreation/mocanaqua-trails/

3. Danville, PA: 

Danville, PA is on the North Branch of the Susquehanna River and offers antiquing and shopping, hiking, lodging, and is the home of Geisinger Hospital. If you are in a shopping mood, take a walk down Mill Street. Here you will find small eateries, antique shops, as well as department stores and boutiques. If you are in a hiking mood, try the 3.5 mi loop of J. Manley Robbins Trail. The trail is about 2 mi from 180. You can park at Perkins for lunch and walk from there if you’d like. It is a fairly easy gravel trail that runs next to the old rail road.

Photo by: Anna Simpson http://www.alltrails.com/trail/us/pennsylvania/j-manley-robbins-trail–2

The outskirts of Danville offers another May’s Restaurant (similar to the Berwick one with the ice cream, not the family restaurant). Another locally known favorite is Old Forge Brewing Company. I personally haven’t eaten there, but I heard it’s fantastic.

2. Bloomsburg, PA:

Bloomsburg, PA may be a day trip in itself. Not only does Main Street offer a lot of shops and eateries, but nearby there is a beach, walking and biking trails, an almost abandoned mall, and fairgrounds offering yearly attractions. On the outskirts of Bloomsburg, there is also an amusement park.

You may be thinking, where would Bloomsburg have a beach and why? Well, it’s not an actual beach, it’s just something the locals refer to it as. It is a part of Fishing Creek and the Bloomsburg Rail Trail and it is more rock than sand, but hey, close enough! To find the beach, there is a small parking lot just off of Irondale Road and then you have to take a short walk down the trail to get to it. Bring an inner tube and float down the creek or just bring a comfy chair and lay out in the sun. The trail is also a perfect area to walk your dog or ride your bike. The one half of the trail, that offers the beach, stretches and ends at Steve Shannon’s. The other half of the trail, going the opposite direction, is a paved trail that runs along the former rail bed alongside Fishing Creek and comes to an end at Railroad Street.

Bloom Beach

The Bloomsburg Town Park offers a few trails, a disc golf course, basketball, tennis, and much more. It’s a nice place for a short date to bring a picnic and sit out overlooking the river or a peaceful, easy walk around the pond. Up the road from the park, you may also admire one of Pennsylvania’s infamous covered bridges.

Not far from the town park, there is the fairgrounds offering car shows, the huge Bloomsburg Fair, yard sales, dog shows, and more. Check their website for an up to date listing on special monthly events happening.

The Columbia Mall used to be a popular stop on anyone’s shopping list, and then the recession happened. Many businesses closed down and left the mall due to it’s increased rent prices. Now all that remain are about 10 stores, making it look like an abandoned ghost mall.

On the outskirts of Bloomsburg, there is a free admission amusement park, Knoebels. Take a romantic ride on the ferris wheel or snuggle up on the haunting horror ride.

My favorite places to eat in Bloomsburg (so many to choose from) is Marley’s and Turkey Hill Brewery. Both places brew their own craft beer and have a wide variety of delicious food.

1. Benton, PA: 

Benton’s Annual Water Battle/Parade

Benton, PA was off the grid for years up until recently. Now the town is known for it’s antique stores and Amish friendly community. As mentioned in my previous blog post, Ricketts Glen State Park is beautiful anytime of year to take a hike, spend a day at the beach, canoe on the lake, or camp. Another nice place to take a walk is the Benton Town Park with a short trail along Fishing Creek where you can take some beautiful photos of the Benton Dam.

Benton Dam

Benton has some surprisingly great restaurants to grab a bite to eat. Strevig’s Family Restaurant, The Old Filling Station, and Smokehouse BBQ to name a few. You may also take a stroll down Main Street, grab some ice cream at the Tastee Freeze or a sub at Hoboken, and spend a few hours in the antique and thrift stores. Want to try some hard cider or wine? You can drive or walk to Colonel Ricketts Hard Cider barn and Stoney Acres Winery.

Stoney Acres

On the outskirts of Benton, take a drive to Sullivan Falls off of Jamison City Rd, a road only recommended for off-road vehicles. The falls are part of the state game lands and is a town secret that many of the locals only know about. There is no real trail that will take you to the falls, you will spend about 80% of your time walking on rocks, leaves, or in mud. Wear durable hiking boots and do not go alone.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Ricketts Glen State Park-hiking/photography date

If you are looking to take a nice hike, go camping, or expand your photography portfolio, take a day trip or an overnight trip to Ricketts Glen State Park.

Ricketts Glen Falls Trail in December

Get back to nature and enjoy the beautiful picturesque views and wonderful sounds and smells Ricketts Glen has to offer. Drive up Red Rock mountain to the top of the state park and spend some time at the beach or bring a picnic and canoe Lake Jean. Here, you may also start at the top of the falls trail and work your way down to the bottom to Route 118. On this trail, you can find some impressive falls towering over 38 feet tall. If you are feeling adventurous enough, you may hike the whole trail (7.2 mi round trip) in one day, just make sure to bring plenty of water and food. The falls trail is only open in the winter for people with proper winter gear such as ice crampons, ice ax, rope, and proper winter attire. It is definitely worth it no matter what time of year, just be careful!

Falls trail-this print is available for purchase, please contact for more details and pricing

If you decide to not drive up the mountain, you may also access the bottom of the falls trail off of Route 118 and work your way up. This is what we typically do because there are less tourists and campers trying to get to the beach. It has very easy access and a brand new parking lot and entrance.

Other than hiking and camping, Ricketts Glen also offers great restaurants for date night. The one place I recommend is Ricketts Glen Hotel, with perfect outdoor seating to view the magnificent sunsets, and delicious seafood and prime rib.

Sunset at Ricketts Glen Hotel

Thank you all for reading and enjoy your trip to Ricketts Glen State Park

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