Naples Grape Festival, Revisited

Well, as promised earlier today, I am entering some photos of vendors that seemed to have large draws and were offering some interesting goods.

My own first stop was right here at Nordic Farms Jams and Jellies. I already was familiar with this family-run business, as I had purchased some jellies last spring at a Farmer’s Market.  I had to replenish my “Turbo Jelly”. This is a combination of pineapple and habanero peppers. It is enough to make one stand at attention, or at least clear your sinuses. It is very hot, but placed on a cracker with a bit of cream cheese, it tastes like dessert!

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Some of the beautiful jellies with the sunlight highlighting their gemlike colors!

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I came across a young chainsaw artist who created some unusual and beautiful pieces from wood…

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I photographed the Tie-Dye vendor from the backside. The colors were so pretty, and this area had a large draw of lookers.

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Of course, the chocolatiers were drawing some attention!

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As well as the folks selling African Shea Butter.

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Lots of folks were drawn to the alluring amber of maple syrup. (another one of my favorites!)

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Undeniably, one of the busiest tents was the wine-tasting tent. Too bad for me. I never drink wine. I do partake of sparkling grape juice, though.  Ah well, they didn’t seem to have a Pepsi-tasting tent….

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This fellow had beautiful wooden auto-harps for sale and he demonstrated the music right here. The music was very nice!

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Hmmm….the nature photography tent didn’t seem lacking for attention.

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Nor was this photographer who offered every one of his photos in sepia!

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Well, what would a grape festival be without grapes?

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Wow, these smoked beef dog bones were beginning to make me feel a bit hungry!

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As were all of these vendors selling food that smelled so tempting, my poor mouth was watering.

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But alas! I had a plan…It just happens that during the festival each year, the senior class at the high school sponsors a delicious chicken barbeque. And at this point, my feet were beginning to feel abused and I also happened to know that in purchasing a meal, I could sit comfortably inside the school cafeteria to eat!

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What a satisfying meal this was!

Once out on the street again, I was quite drawn to the kettle corn maker. This fellow stirred a HUGE cauldron in which popcorn was added.  As the popcorn was added, pieces flew out every now and then from the kettle!

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And who could resist a picture of these grapes with the sun shining on them?

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And, speaking of grapes, there were half barrels filled with grapes and kids were allowed to “stomp” on the grapes, Italian-style!  A little boy was having so much fun and the little toddler girl came over to peak in to see what exactly he was doing!

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There were so many, many dogs at the festival. I think I must have seen nearly a dozen little chihuahuas. Then there was this large beagle patiently awaiting his or her master who was inside a local bagel shop.

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There were so many motorcycles. Bikers from all over seem to favor a drive to this area for the festival. Who could blame them as they pass through some of the most scenic places in all of New York state?

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The Sherriff’s office had a large presence at the festival, as well as New York State Troopers.

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Along Main Street, this little gem seemed to call out for everyone’s attention.

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It is a custom build for sale for a mere $41,000.00.  I think we will be sticking with our trucks, although this is really unique!

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As I sauntered along the sidewalk, I came across a couple called Celtic Spirit.  Their music was quite lovely, indeed.

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Did I mention that this festival draws more than 100,000 people each year? For a tiny village, that is a lot of people! (and cars!)

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Wow, there was a vendor selling sweaters and yarns made with alpaca yarns, and these lucky alpacas got to come along to experience the grape festival! They seemed so placid and content.

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At this point, my feet were developing blisters on the bottoms! I had (foolishly) worn a pair of flip flops because I didn’t want to wear sneakers, as my feet would get too hot walking around.

I passed Cindy’s house as I went back to the car. Wow! A line of people waiting to buy pies and goodies!

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And just look at all of those juicy grapes just waiting to be made into Cindy’s filling!

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I saw both sherriff deputies and state troopers riding on bicycles. These two are troopers’ bikes.

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I walked back to the car to rest my weary feet. As I passed the purple fire hydrants, I couldn’t help but muse whether Naples is the only town with such amenities.

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Once back at the car, I came to the realization that there were several Eastern Bluebirds flitting about around me! I climbed out of the car, feet screaming out and blazing, with camera in hand. I mounted the long lens on the camera and only hoped I could get one decent shot. Living in the woods, we don’t have these birds nearby.

I was thrilled beyond imagination when I saw these pictures. The little Bluebird perched itself so wonderfully in front of this dead area on the tree, making focussing much easier!

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I sincerely hope that my glimpse into this festival gave you a good sense of “being there” along with me!

Naples Grape Festival

Yesterday morning, I leaned out of our bedroom window and took a picture of this pretty maple tree that is showing some serious fall color! It is rather strange how most trees are remaining green, but with small patches of color scattered here and there.

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Michelle had to go down to Naples in the morning, so I wandered around a little with camera in hand to give an idea of the festivities.

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Everyone along Main Street must offer up their lawn between the sidewalk and road for vendors.  The whole street becomes a sea of tents offering all sorts of items for sale….many hand-crafted, many imported.

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And, as with any festival, there is a generous offering of all varieties of food. (didn’t see any Haggis offered, though!)

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Even the local ski mountain gets a little unmanned advertising!

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Because hot air balloons are an integral part of life in the Finger Lakes region, even little balloons are offered up for sale. I love the bright colors here…

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As an aside, we had to make a trip to Canandaigua last night after we left Naples.  As we sat eating some fast food, we spotted a balloon hovering above Canandaigua. Night was fast approaching…by the time we were done eating, the balloon was no longer afloat, so I have no picture.

As I walked about the festival, my eyes became riveted on a vendor selling clothing from India. I LOVE many of the styles, as they are “softer…..more flowing and feminine”.  I don’t wear slacks or jeans very often, as I love skirts and feel more comfortable in them.

As I browsed around in the clothing, I found a couple of blouses and a skirt. I took them to the table to pay.  I was standing there, awaiting my receipt, when my eyes fell  upon a box with what looked like a stuffed animal in it! But no! It was a real little doggie! I asked the woman about it, and she told me they were from Florida. The dog is 18 years old, and they couldn’t leave her behind with their other three dogs!

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Walking along the sidewalks, one is always assured to see unique things. This little car was one such curiosity! I am not sure what the “theme” is…perhaps cartoons?

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Once again, I only wish I could send a bit more of the “essence” over cyberspace. As you can see, most of these pictures were taken from a distance. Today, I am heading down with the kids…I am hoping to have some more pictures, spotlighting some of the vendors I found to be interesting!

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Photo Hunters…Original

Anyone who knows me knows how important my Scotties are to me! I also love making things. Yes, my hands are frequently busy making something.

One day, as I was with my kids in the Dollar Tree, I saw some cute little bells for Christmas decorating.  Suddenly, I imagined one of those bells with a wee little Scottie on top of it!

I began seeking a medium and found it in Sculpey polymer clay! Thus, my “Scottie Bell” was born….

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And why stop with one? So, I began making little Scottie “fronts” and “backs” whenever I sat down for a few minutes!

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I had to shape the Scotties, bake them, then paint them. And, of course, I decided to even paint some of the bells to give them an “antique” appearance!

My hobby sort of turned into an addiction!

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Yes, I now have about 200 Scotties looking for homes!  I have a Scottie Christmas tree and a couple more tins with MORE Scotties!

And that is my original!

Behind the Curtain?

The weather today was like a seesaw. This morning, it was bright and sunny, then dark and gloomy.  After a little while, the sun came out and the blue skies reigned.  Then this afternoon, it became dark and cloudy once again. Even though it was dark, the sky didn’t look especially threatening, so when Ben said he wanted to ride his bike, I told him I would take him to the bike trail.

 As we were climbing the hill to the bike path, the fog began to suddenly rise up. I was a bit reluctant, but Ben assured me that all the trees in the woods would be giving off so much oxygen, the fog would be minimal. I laughed at his explanation, wondering if today might be a repeat of yesterday’s misadventure!  I wouldn’t be quite as cheerful if I had to travel in a mist so thick one could cut it, though…

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Yes, the above photo is of the pine trees across the road from where we parked the car! That was probably less than 20 feet away!

Ben hopped right out of the car and was ready to ride in a flash. I got out and began to follow.  Before I got very far, I saw this pretty Autumn leaf staring up at me! 

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 That was the last of the photos! I only hesitated a few seconds to take the picture when I heard Ben call out to me.

I am totally unsure if he was afraid I might get lost or not, but today, Ben stuck very near me! The atmospheric pressure was such that I found myself swallowing hard to pop my ears. As a result of the thickened air,  the woods was almost eerily still and quiet. The slightest snapping of a branch on the path sounded like gunshot.  As I walked in the woods, I was surprised that Ben was correct in that the dense fog was not present at all. It was as though we had stepped behind the curtain

The path is really beautiful and nicely done for walking, but a bicyclist must have some skill and agility, as there are roots and embedded rocks along the way.  We bought Ben a mountain bike so he could specifically ride such trails and it is rewarding to see that he is able to do so well!

As we progressed, Ben said he knew exactly where I made my mistake yesterday. We approached the area, and sure enough, he was right.  The sign states that the bike path runs left and right.  Since I figured Ben wanted to maximize the experience, he would go left. And, he did! However, he soon figured out that the path was NOT the bike path, as the markers went from the yellow for bikes to orange for hikers. The  real stinker was, though, there were two trees clearly marked at the beginning, designating it as a bike path.  So, I wasn’t totally at fault yesterday, nor was my Nikon! haha!

We began our return trip back, and I encouraged Ben to go ahead on the downhill sections because I know how much fun it is to glide down hills. He never did get too far ahead of me before he would stop and wait.

Near the end of the path,  he told me he would meet me at the car, and I told him that was fine. I passed a large growth of berry bushes and caught sight of a little chickadee. I walked closely near the bush and called out to the little bird. To my utter amazement, the little bird hopped onto a branch within about 2 feet of me! I talked to my little feathered friend and it appeared to listen. However, when I pulled the camera up near my face, it immediately flew away. Too bad…it was such an unusual moment.

As I finished the last leg, I bounced along the path feeling somewhat a mix of Doctor Doolittle and Pocahontas. Ah yes, that little influx of Algonquin blood coursing through my veins causes me to love nature so much.  It was just then that I heard Ben calling out to me from a fog more intense than when we had begun. I shamefully hung my head and called back, telling Ben I had taken the wrong path, but was only a few yards from the car which was totally invisible.  When I made it to the car, Ben merely shook his head….

A Case for GPS

or….lost in the woods!

I had promised our son that I would take him to a nearby bike trail so he could ride today. He was so happy and so was I as I thought perhaps I might get to take some pictures.

We loaded in the bike and were on our merry way. When we arrived at our destination, Ben unloaded and began to ride. Since we were familiar with the path, he said if I walked the path, he would catch up with me as he would travel around it much faster than I. I agreed.

I sat in the Explorer for a few minutes,  looking at blogs on my cell phone. I wanted to just spend a few minutes relaxing.  It wasn’t long before I grabbed my (heavy) camera bag and hopped out of the car. I locked the doors, dropped the keys into the camera bag, and I was off.

I hadn’t traveled far before I began to take pictures. There was so much to photograph… I walked along the path, feeling great contentment as I snapped a photo here and there. As I walked, I could hear the sound of the brakes squawking on the bicycle so I knew that Ben wasn’t far off.

I was enjoying the sights and scents of the wood when I came to a sign that showed the path running left or right. Hmmm….I figured Ben would want to get the most for his money, so  took the path to the left. Oops.

As I walked about, taking more photos and just enjoying the peacefulness, I realized I didn’t hear the braking noise.  As  I looked up, I thought I saw a yellow marking on a tree, reassuring me that I was still on the correct trail. As I approached the tree, however, I came to the profound realization that what I had seen was actually sunlight creating a mirage to my eyes! As I looked about, I could see I was on a hiking trail.

Since I had passed several crossroads, I decided it would be better to press on than turn back. If I were to go back, I was afraid I might take yet another wrong turn and end up miles from  where I was supposed to be! I picked up my pace a bit, and walking briskly, my eyes sought out anything that might be a clue….

After walking for what seemed like forever, I came to a road. I was so thrilled to see the light of day, although the walk in the woods was so enchanting! The road I was on was really a very long driveway that leads to an observatory.  I walked along the road, thinking I was more than a mile from the bike trail.  I finally came to the main road and I just lifted up a prayer that Ben would be safe and protected and not worrying about me.

I walked, I ran….I was so happy I had replaced my flip flops for a pair of sneakers. As I walked,  my heart kept crying out, as I had no idea exactly how far I was from the bike trail.  As I entered a familiar area, knowing I was almost back, I looked up and saw Ben riding across the road. I called out to him and he came right over to me, asking where I had wandered off to!

We loaded the bike back into the Explorer and  I drove Ben back down the road to where the long driveway met the main road. It was 7/10 of a mile.  I figure I must have walked a good 4 or 5 miles today.

When Mark heard about my little (mis)adventure, he advised me that I might want to grab a handheld GPS.  Methinks I cannot agree more! After this little exercise in craziness, I know a GPS system could have shown me the correct path to get right back where I started.

I am so proud of Ben. He said he wasn’t worried at all, figuring I was off somewhere taking photos! Smart kid, he really knows his mom!

So, here is a sampling of what I shot today. Oh, and by the way, as I was walking briskly back to the car,  I passed so very many opportunities  for some fantastic shots. I just ignored the urge to stop, as I felt an urgency to get back on track!

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Ontario County Park

Today, the calendar announced that this is the first day of Autumn. Our temperatures, however, clearly call out, “Summer”! Although the mercury rose up to near 80 degrees, the day was rather clear and the sky, well, it was just a marvelous blue!

I looked at my camera sitting in the Explorer beside me and thought about how nice it would be to take some pictures from Ontario County Park. This park is located in the Town of South Bristol and is known for being the highest elevation in Ontario County at 2,256 feet above sea level.  I looked on the web, and discovered the prerequisite for a “mountain”, as defined by Encyclopaedia Britannica, is that the height must be over 2,000 feet.  With that definition in mind, Ontario County Park is located at the top of Gannett Hill Road.

As I walked away from the car, I understood why Mark had told me several times that I really should take photos from this park! The views are breathtaking! I don’t know just how far we could see, but it just might well be into the next county!

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There is a baseball diamond located in the park. These are the rather “humble” bleachers available to onlookers, but with the view in the distance, I know I would be hard-pressed to concentrate on the game!

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This is the view from the bleachers….

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There are two heated pavilions that I believe are available for gatherings year-round. You can see the large tower behind one of them.

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And a closeup of the red light that flashes atop the tower at night, warning aircraft not to get too close!

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There are several open pavilions available for picnics.

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Doesn’t this look like a fabulous spot to have a picnic on a chilly Autumn day? I think one of these days when it cools down, we will put together a picnic and just go and enjoy the fresh air!

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Another glorious view. Everywhere one turns in this park, there is just more beauty!

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There are also hiking trails and bike trails located at this park. I decided to venture down the path to the “lookout”….

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The lookout offers a spectacular view from the other side of this “mountain”. I took a photo looking down into the valley below. The house in the photo is not a small one! It is actually quite large. If you click on the photo and enlarge it, you can see how the telephone poles even look like “toothpicks”!

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In looking over towards the southwest, one can see a ski area.  This was a private ski club and I am unsure if it is still operational.

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As I was leaving the park,  I passed by another beautiful area in the form of a picture-perfect pond!

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Looking northeast across the pond,  there is an area visible for camping. The sites are very nice and the price is very reasonable.  There is a building with restrooms and showers for campers.  Today, there was only one fifth wheel parked in the camping area.

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As I walked back to get into the Explorer, I loved the way this tree was reflected in the windows!  Ah, just another beautiful day, in and out of the Bristolwood!

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And the Moon

Even the Full Moon graced the Bristolwood, casting shadows in the woodland and washing the meadows in its muted luminescence. The tree frogs chirped, and the sounds of insects added to the nocturnal orchestration and all was well as yet another day came to a close……

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If You Attend the Naples Grape Festival this Weekend

You will probably be tempted to pick up a grape pie. Being quite a “grape addict” myself, I literally drool at the thought of one of these tasty pastries! And, it just so happens a dear friend of mine (whom I think of as a sister!) makes some of the best grape pies in Naples!

If you have attended the Grape Festival in past years, you might have noticed the large yellow sign parked near the Naples High School.  The sign directs you to Cindy’s Grape Pies. If you follow that sign, you will end up here…..

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Yup, this is where Cindy lives with her husband, Jon, and their sweet little “furkid”, Jack. They live in the brown house with the beautiful lush garden of flowers surrounding the house. And, as you walk up to the front door, you will be greeted here at the double Dutch door…

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Chances are, Cindy won’t answer the door, as she is chief pie-maker and will be very busy making even more pies!  But I am pretty sure if you look over the Dutch door, you will see her at her craft, as her workstation is in line with the door!

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If you are anything like me, making a pie involves a great deal of work. There is the decision to make the pie….then, one must hunt for a recipe for the pastry.  Of course, yet another recipe must be secured  for the filling. Then, all the ingredients must be gathered together and so on and so on. By the time I am finished with my one *meager* pie, an entire day has passed and I feel so successful as my family gingerly downs the labor of my hands!

 And then, there is Cindy…………..

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Yes, this is what she would consider a small amount of dough!  And, do you see the size of the bowl of grape filling?

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I cannot believe the ease with which Cindy rolls out the crust! She just flops a piece of dough down, rolls it out, and flips it into an awaiting tin! And, the most amazing thing about Cindy is that she can talk and visit as she works!

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I met Cindy about nine years ago at church. She is one most delightful individuals  I have ever met! Always a smile on her face, and a friendly word,  it is so much fun to visit with Cindy!

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Such a dear and humble piemaker!

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Goodness, I think I am going into pie withdrawal just looking at these photos!

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Cindy makes large grape pies, small grape pies, grape tarts, grape bread, grape coffee cake, and grape-filled cookies. (if grape pie is too much grape for you, try the cookies….they are delicious!!!)

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 And, where you find Cindy, you will certainly see her sidekick, Jack!

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