Nolan’s on Canandaigua Lake

May 6, 2011 by

Last Sunday, my girlfriend Ryan and I were coming back to Canandaigua from a weekend at her parents. It was kind of a special afternoon, being that we started dating a year ago to the day. We caught a matinee movie at Canandaigua Theatres and were looking for a place to enjoy a nice and quiet dinner. Anyone that dines out often knows that Sundays are tough. Most places are closed and the ones that are in fact open, you just don’t feel like going to! I heard about a new restaurant that just opened, Nolan’s on Canandaigua Lake… So I figured, let’s try it.

View from Lakeshore Drive

View from Lakeshore Drive

Nolan’s is on Lakeshore Drive in Canandaigua and for those that are familiar with the area, it is in the same building that once housed Kellogg’s Pan Tree Inn. When you walk in, you definitely feel the history of the place. If you aren’t familiar with Kellogg’s, it was a Canandaigua mainstay for years and years. I spent my summers as a child eating breakfast there almost every week with my family. The breakfasts were amazing, as were the cookies, but best of all were the homemade cinnamon rolls. Ask anyone who dined at Kellogg’s over the years, and they will tell you these cinnamon buns are the best they’ve ever had! But, enough about cinnamon rolls … for now.

Sometimes you go to a brand new restaurant and you experience what one may call “growing pains.” You know – the service is slow, the servers have no idea what is on the menu, the food comes out cold, etc. All too often I experience this scenario, but I assure you, I experienced no such thing at Nolan’s on Canandaigua Lake.

My first dinner at Nolan’s was exceptional. We started the evening off with a bottle of Heron Hill Riesling. In addition to Heron Hill, there are wines from Dr. Konstantin Frank and Hazlitt. They also have Naked Dove Brewing Company beers!

The menu is diverse, with seafood, steaks, pasta, chicken sautés and light fare like burgers and sandwiches. Figuring out what to order was no easy task. We pondered it for quite a while until I ended up with Asiago Scallops and Ryan went with the Chicken French. We’ll have to come back again soon because the Riesling Festival Chicken sounded delicious and we’ll have to try a steak, as all Nolan’s beef is certified angus and wet aged for 28 days.

I had a house salad to start and Ryan had a wedge salad, which was phenomenal. The Asiago Scallops were large, and served over a bed of tomato bruschetta and topped with melted Asiago. Let’s just say there were no leftovers from me! Ryan’s Chicken French was just as good and there was certainly no need for a knife, the chicken was so tender it was like cutting through butter.

At this point we were stuffed, and couldn’t even think about dessert. But, I figured we should at least hear what they have. Our server told us about the signature dessert, an original recipe Kellogg’s cinnamon roll served a la mode. I was sold! I later found out from Nick Violas, the owner of Nolan’s, that the Kellogg family was nice enough to give them the original recipe.

It was everything I remembered it to be and as soon as a tried it, I felt a bit of nostalgia that is hard to explain. I was brought back to being four years old, holding my mom’s hand as we walked into Kellogg’s. I was brought back to my summers swimming in Canandaigua Lake and boating with my father. It’s quite amazing how tastes, sights and sounds can trigger memories. For me, the cinnamon roll and Nolan’s was a subtle reminder of what I love so much about the Finger Lakes.

Nolan’s on Canandaigua Lake is brand new, but its unique nod to Finger Lakes history makes it feel like it’s been here forever. I walked out of the restaurant and directly to my left was Canandaigua Lake. It was then I came to the conclusion that I couldn’t have asked for a better Sunday night dinner in the Finger Lakes. We’ll certainly be heading back soon.

Spring’s Wild Water Derby

April 28, 2011 by

It’s true.

Wild Water Derby pirates

It’s happening.

Spring is coming to the Finger Lakes. The buds are popping, the grass is now really, really green and growing and we have had our fair share of April Showers*.  Looking for one more sure sign of spring? That would have to be the Shortsville/Manchester Wild Water Derby – one of the largest paddling events in the northeast.

The Wild Water Derby is a local tradition in the spring. It all takes place along the Canandaigua Outlet  which flows north from the outlet of Canandaigua Lake all of the way to the Erie Canal. [get directions to the event]

The Wild Water Derby includes two days of (cold) water, racing, food, music, paddling, kayaks, rafts, some pirates and having a ton of fun. Teams can put in hours planning and constructing their rafts, because many ‘water vehicles’ at this race are home-made.  The homemade raft portion of the weekend is where the teams get “extra” points for creativity and humor, and it is a spectator favorite. Although it is considered a “racing” event, the number one priority is having a good time.

* SPECIAL NOTE: The Wild Water Derby is RESCHEDULED for MAY 21 & 22, 2011 – in the interest of participant and spectator safety.

Click here to see a short video created two years ago at the Wild Water Derby. “AJ checks out Manchester and interviews some of the teams before and some after ‘the Run’.”

Canadice – a Pristine Little Lake

April 5, 2011 by

We just got the Spring Issue of  Life in the Finger Lakes at the office. It is always a good read and we really love looking through it and learning that little extra tidbit about something familiar and sometimes something new.

This quarter, the magazine is celebrating their 10th year and the ‘A Look Back’ section highlights a page from their premier issue in the Summer of 2001. The article is titled “Finger Lakes Facts” and includes a map and some stats on each of the eleven Finger Lakes. See page 14. As an example, did you know that the elevation of Canadice Lake is the highest of all the Finger Lakes (1099 feet) or that the volume is 11 billion gallons?

These stats actually left me just a little high and dry. I felt like the stat should have read 11 billion gallons of pristine, crystal blue water…

Canadice Lake in the Finger Lakes

Canadice Lake looking to the north

The history of the Finger Lakes Region is equally appealing.  According to Native American legend, the lakes are the divine handprints of the Great Spirit. In blessing the land, the spirits outstretched hands were placed over the region leaving each finger-shaped impression. The hollows that were left quickly filled with crystal-clear water – thus the Finger Lakes were formed. And then there is also the glacial effect to be considered in the formation of these truly unique lakes. Click here to read more about the Lakes.

Perhaps named with a bit of humor, the Native American translation for Canadice is “Long Lake” and while the lake is quite tiny, it has some of the most natural beauty of all the Finger Lakes. As one of the water supply sources for area residents, this lake is restricted to car top boats only and limited to 10 hp motors. It is easy to imagine Canadice Lake in its original, natural state while gliding the lake in a kayak or canoe and just listening to the dip of your paddle into the water. This is my idea of ahhh…

Submitted by Meg Colombo

Maple Sugar Weekends in the Finger Lakes

March 27, 2011 by

Spring is here (well, according to the calendar) and that means the sap is flowing! Every year, two weekends in March are proclaimed “Maple Weekend” by the NYS Maple Producers. Maple producers around the state open their facilities to the public for tours, tastings, pancake breakfasts and more!
We decided to visit the newest member in our area – Wohlschlegel’s Naples Maple Farm at 8064 Coates Road, high atop the hills surrounding Naples. Their maple syrup is made in a new barn-style building, and the view from there is absolutely spectacular. It’s a family business, with three generations lending a hand, along with friends and neighbors. We sampled maple syrup and maple cream, and toured the production facility. I learned that they collect sap from 4200 taps, and that it takes 40 gallons of sap to make ONE gallon of syrup. There were lots of people there, young and older, families and couples – everyone enjoying the outdoors. We bought a bottle of syrup, and headed for home – taking the scenic route, of course!

Submitted by Rebecca Donovan

Red Dove Tavern in Geneva, NY

February 11, 2011 by

A group of us met at The Red Dove Tavern in Geneva last week.  Although I had heard great things, I had not been there before.  We had the best winter weather lunch! I had a field green salad, followed by an excellent beef stew served over horseradish smashed potatoes – delish!

The restaurant is cozy and casual, with a chalkboard menu that changes daily.  We talked with the owner, Rune Hilt, who says he gets his menu inspirations from the abundance of locally available foods. Rune, originally from the Philadelphia area, told us about his first visit to the Finger Lakes – it was a “scenic detour” on a trip from Philadelphia to Buffalo. Rune and his partner came back to visit the Finger Lakes several times, and when they were ready to open their own restaurant, they immediately thought of Geneva.

Seneca Lake and Hobart and William Smith Colleges were two pluses, along with the availability of local food and wine. Rune talked about his great relationships with Normal Bread, Red Jacket Orchards, Billsboro Winery and White Springs Winery. The Red Dove Tavern has installed a wine-on-tap system – a new innovation. Only a few local wineries are putting wine in kegs, but Rune is hoping that more will follow.  I, for one, am very happy that Rune and his partner chose Geneva as home for The Red Dove Tavern!

Submitted by Rebecca Donovan

2011 Checklist: Night Skiing

January 7, 2011 by

Last winter, my friends and I, with all the snow, decided to go cross-country skiing on the new groomed trails at Bristol Mountain. A couple of them had been before, but I had never been so it was my first experience. It was so easy and so comfortable and so much fun that definitely, with this year’s new snowfall, it’s on my top 2 things to do in the upcoming weekends.

Nordic Center at the Summit, Bristol Mountain

To access the top-of-the-mountain Nordic Trails, you don’t go to the Route 64 main entrance as you normally would. You actually drive up South Hill, which is the back of the mountain. It’s a real quick walk to the lodge, where you can rent the equipment that you need to cross-country ski or you can bring your own. They give you a trail map and there are all kinds of trails there. Because it is on the mountain, many people may think it’s too downhill, but it is really flat at the top with some small inclines. You can go through the woods and weave your way back and end up at the lodge for some hot chocolate.  We actually did go at night and the trails are lighted trails.

It was just a great time and I am definitely going to head back there this season. They also have an event called Full Moon Nordic Ski. Just imagine the shadows, the snow falling lightly, the mix of colors, and giggling in the dark. I’d love to go when it is a full moon… Now that would be a lot of fun!  Upcoming dates are January 19th and February 18th. Call 585-374-6000 for more information or to sign up.

Submitted by Valerie Knoblauch

Family Christmas Shopping

December 20, 2010 by

This year, I will be going to my girlfriend’s family’s house for Christmas. Her sister lives in Philadelphia and we are all going there.  I have been trying to figure out what to get her sister and brother-in-law for Christmas and I figure what better than to bring the Finger Lakes to Philadelphia?

F. Olivers Olive Oil

I am thinking about going to Naked Dove Brewery and getting a growler of their new beer for her brother-in-law; then some olive oils and vinegars from F. Oliver’s on Main Street in Canandaigua; and possibly taking a trip to Artizanns in Naples to buy some locally made gifts.  Those really embody the spirit of the Finger Lakes. Maybe I’ll also make a stop at the Wizard of Clay for some nice dishware for the kitchen. Actually, we could even use it later in the day on Christmas when we eat dinner.  I was also thinking of Inspire Moore Winery, which has a wine called “Joy” -  perfect for the holiday season.  What more could you want than to inspire Joy during the Christmas holidays?  With my shopping complete, I will head to Sweet Expressions and have Denise put it all into a nice gift basket, along with some locally made chocolates, and present that to the family at Christmas.

Another great idea is to buy local products and bunch them as a breakfast.

Bringing the Finger Lakes to Philly

Grab some buckwheat pancake mix, maple syrup, Hartmann’s sausage, Finger Lakes Coffee Roasters coffee and literally create a breakfast.  Add some Healthy Purple grape juice and that completes another great gift from the Finger Lakes.

Submitted by AJ Shear

Tea Party Birthday

November 23, 2010 by

Historic Dryer House Emporium

I took my girlfriend, Ryan, and her mother and father last Thursday night to the new location of  Grandma Hattie’s Tea Parties.  Ryan and I had had lunch there and decided it would be a perfect “unique” idea for her Mom’s birthday. We talked with Kathy Houser of Victor,  and she agreed to make it a very special birthday celebration.  We had scones, two different soup choices, butternut squash and Italian wedding, and finger sandwiches. The special touch was that Kathy had asked us ahead of time about Ryan’s mom’s favorite things and we told her kitchen is decorated with a watermelon theme.  Kathy then proceeded to make it very special by making dessert cupcakes that were decorated with watermelon designs, complete with a candle in each cupcake and also served tea in a special Happy Birthday Teacups.  A really big WOW factor, it was such a unique experience for someone to have who had never been to a “Tea Party” before.

A Unique Experience

It was a great event for Ryan’s mom and for those curious minds who want to know, “No, I did not wear a hat.”

I would definitely recommend this to someone looking for a special, unique event.

Submitted by AJ Shear

“Off Season” Golfing at Bristol Harbour

October 29, 2010 by

Sunday afternoon my fiancée says to me, “why don’t you go golfing”, gotta love this girl!  So I texted my buddy from high school and asked if he wanted to play a round of golf at Bristol Harbour.  His first response was that was too expensive, but when we checked we were pleasantly surprised to find out it was only $25 for 18 holes AND a cart!

Off we went and even more to our delight we found that there were hardly any other players there.  The greens had been “punched” for the winter, but we were still able to play.  The greens at Bristol are second to none and the entire course is very high caliber.  I had a fairly decent game shooting mid 80s.

End of season golf is available at Bristol Harbour

'Off Season' Golf among the Golden Leaves

I’ve been asked what my favorite hole is at BH and I have to say probably hole number six (Par 5 downhill and lots of water) or 13 because of the drive and the drop after you turn the corner (about 60 degrees).  The course is beautiful and was not busy at all in the off season.  The golfers we ran into were mostly members who were just playing or jumping around the course to play their favorite holes. Great, great course.  I did hit 11 sand traps, almost one on every hole!  Keep in mind the off season prices you can get for a great course–$25 for 18 holes and a cart with GPS.

Submitted by David Lee, Finger Lakes Visitors Connection

Ravenwood “Meets” MPI

October 26, 2010 by

Meeting Room at Ravenwood

Last Thursday night was my monthly Meeting Professionals International (MPI) meeting and it was held at Ravenwood Golf Course. Because I am now scheduling all the monthly meetings and events for MPI, I took the opportunity to get them into Ontario County.  Ravenwood graciously agreed to work with me on price and menu selections to work in something local.  Jennifer, Ravenwood Event Manager, was great helping me present ideas to the chef (who just happens to be her brother).

Chicken served with Arbor Hill Finishing Sauce

The chef was totally agreeable.  He used the Arbor Hill Lemon Caper Chardonnay finishing sauce to make a wonderful chicken French.  He suggested a butternut squash soup made with locally grown squash and for dessert it was grape pie from Naples! The connections were amazing here as the pies were made by Jennifer’s mother, who is from Naples and members learned she had baked 1,000 pies this year for the Naples Grape Festival!  MPI members were totally impressed!  It was interesting that when I had announced our October meeting location at my meeting the month before the members thought Ravenwood was a private club and reminded me that meetings could only be held at places where MPI could book their meetings.  I quickly cleared up this misconception and also I realized that of the 10 (5 suppliers and 5 planners) members attending the meeting no one had ever been to Ravenwood before. They were all pleasantly surprised and were extremely impressed with Ravenwood.  Mike Roeder, general manager, who was only going to meet and greet with our group, joined us for dinner and stayed to hear our guest speaker who was Hugh Lee, President of Fusion Productions, a company from Webster. His most informative presentation was on What to Do 3.0– Do’s and Don’ts. Hugh is a deeply involved with MPI, a past chairman of the International Board and he is also an avid golfer, so he and Mike hit it off well. I’m sure there are some future golfing excursions in the works. This was one great MEET-ing!

Submitted by Sue Schmidt, CMP


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