The winter air is quiet. Peaceful. Trees in the Finger Lakes are blanketed in white, fields of fresh clean snow glisten in the (sometimes rare) sunlight.
Who doesn't smile when reminiscing about the gift of snow days, fort-building or catching that elusive snowflake on your tongue? Sure, it gets a little chilly, but it's nothing we can’t handle. For those who enjoy winter, but also love being warm, here are several ideas on how you can get out of the house, yet still stay warm in Ontario County this winter.
The Weekend Getaway
Imagine a cozier scenario than this: Curling up by a crackling fire with a glass filled with a full-bodied red wine. Or mulled cider, or one of my favorites, hot cocoa topped with whipped cream.
This winter, consider treating yourself to a vacation close to home and shake off those winter blues.
Belhurst Castle in Geneva has all the ingredients for relaxation. Book a room in the Vinifera Inn and indulge in a two-person jacuzzi tub overlooking Seneca Lake. Afterward, wrap yourself in a decadent robe and enjoy a bottle of wine by the fireplace. For the ultimate winter experience, why not visit Belhurst’s on-site spa — Isabella — for a special seasonal treatment.
Looking for something a little more secluded? Head to Another World Bed & Breakfast in Naples. With four luxurious rooms to choose from, including the Garden Suite with a private, ensuite bathroom with double jacuzzi tub and spa-quality robes. Not to mention there are plenty of cozy fireplaces to curl up with a fresh baked snack and cup of tea or glass of wine from the snack nook. During your stay, make sure to get to know your innkeepers — Carol, John, Martina and David — they have a fascinating story.
So Much Art, So Little Winter
Can't spend the night? Hit up one of Ontario County’s many art galleries and gift shops. Follow the Yellow Brick Road to the magic at the Wizard of Clay in Bloomfield and watch Jamie Kozlowski create masterpieces from blocks of clay right in front of your eyes. Kozlowski's work is proof beautiful art can also be functional.
Then there’s Artizanns in Naples. A spot everyone should visit, Artizanns is much more than an art gallery and features pottery, hand-blown glass, paintings and incredibly intricate woodwork. Oh, and jewelry. Amazing jewelry (someone, please tell my husband). The Artizanns experience also includes room after room of one-of-kind-wares, and even local food specialties.
At Main Street Arts in Clifton Springs you can expect an expansive, and bright gallery showcasing contemporary art and fine crafts from artists across Upstate New York. The gallery hosts exhibitions and workshops.
Fun for the Family
Snow day? Winter Vacation? A weekend? If you’re looking for ways to keep your kids entertained and your family time fun and indoors, then why not try some of my favorite (year-round) spots that are always fun no matter what the weather outside is doing! Roseland Bowl and Family Fun Center. Let’s talk about a place that couldn’t possibly be more perfectly named … and yet doesn’t entirely capture what you can expect. Bowling – always fun and a tried and true crowd-pleaser.
But, try this, go on Friday or Saturday night when the overhead lights are replaced by a laser light show and today’s most popular music. Friday from 9 to 11 p.m. is $12 a person, and Saturday from 10 p.m. to 12:30 a.m. is $15 a person and includes shoe rental.
Plan to spend time in the Fun Zone where you’ll find a game called “Time Freak.” Kind of hard to explain, but prepare to spend 90 seconds intensely focused and laughing as you try to hit as many of your targets as you can. There’s more you’ll find in the Fun Zone including an arcade packed with games and challenges, bumper cars with a surprise twist, and a zombie apocalypse themed laser tag arena. If you’re looking for a great way to celebrate a special occasion, be it a birthday, anniversary, or a reunion check out “The Eight” – Roseland’s VIP bowling experience. Eight lanes in a private setting with comfortable couch seating, black lights and lasers, and new house balls and shoes.
Is mini-golf more your vibe? Ontario County has that too! At Eastview Mall in Victor you’ll find Glowgolf, not your average mini-golf experience. Thirty-six holes of glow-in-the-dark, black-light fun at a cost of $10 for adults, $8 for children ages 5 to 12 years old, and $5 for children under 4 years old and seniors. Perfect for a night out with the family.
After you’ve dominated the mini-golf course, test your reflexes and agility in the laser maze. It can be great practice if you decide to audition for Mission Impossible 65 … I mean … the kids will love it.
Considerably less warm, but still indoors, channel your inner Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir and take to the ice at the Geneva Recreation Complex or the Greater Canandaigua Civic Center during the open public skating hours. Call for pricing and hours – Geneva Recreation Complex, (315) 789-2277 ext. 1; for the GCCC call (585) 396-7230 or visit gccc.org.
Heat it up
Sharpen your knives and culinary prowess by taking a cooking class in the New York Kitchen’s hands-on kitchen. From a cheesecake-making workshop to California Dreaming, where you’ll learn how to create some of California’s authentic cuisine, it’s an educational and entertaining time. So, bring a friend or go solo and make some there. You’ll leave feeling empowered and capable of competing on Food Network’s Next Top Chef. Well, you’ll at least feel more capable of making dinner at home. Plus, you’ll take home all the recipes of the day to show off your new skills to friends and family.
All photos provided courtesy of VisitFingerLakes.com.