Archive for September, 2009


Foliage just starting to turn, apples being picked, grape pies being baked by the hundreds in mom and pop kitchens to be sold roadside, these are just a few of the offerings you’ll find on a beautiful drive about an hour south from Rochester to the Naples, NY and it’s annual Grape Festival. The family packed into the Subaru and we headed down to Naples for the highly anticipated Grape Fest, fantasizing along the way about what it would be like to give up suburban life for life in the country, nestled into beautiful tree and vineyard covered hills of the Finger Lakes region. I don’t get to explore the Finger Lakes nearly enough as I’d like to, so the Grape Fest is always a great excuse to take in some fresh air and a nice country drive. We saw deer and a few wild turkeys on our journey along with some red tailed hawks swooping overhead. You know you’re getting close once you see the roadside yard sale style stands offering homemade grape pies and sometimes even cookies and tarts along some other varieties including loganberry and the occasional apple pie. Once we got to the festival I didn’t see nearly as much grape stuff as I expected but more of a diverse sample of local products and wares. We did see Arbor Hill Winery’s many varieties of wine jellies, Naples brand and Nunda brand mustard (one my favs) along with many craft and artist booths selling there wares. We also enjoyed watching my 2 year get down to the reggae-ified jam tunes of the always excellent Buddahood band. There was also a wine tent beside the music tent which I didn’t remember from previous festivals. This festival is a great way to welcome fall and enjoy all the wonderful things fall offers in the Upstate. Our last stop of the trip before heading back to Rochester was the highly recommended Joseph’s Wayside Market at south end of Main Street. There you’ll find a wonderful bounty of local flowers, fruit, vegetables, local cheeses along with fresh baked goods and other miscellaneous items and gifts.

Joseph's Wayside Market

Joseph's Wayside Market

The dutch apple pie we picked up from Joseph’s to go along with our grape pie from the festival was still warm and both pies were some of the best we’ve had. My personal favorite is Joseph’s Extra Sharp NY Cheddar a standout as compared to what you’ll usually bring home from the grocery store. (What I consider to be an authentic New York extra sharp cheddar.) In addition we also brought home some mums, a bushel of honey crisp apples along with a jug of cider. So don’t let the changing of the seasons deter you from getting out and exploring or you’ll be missing out on some of the best things Upstate NY has to offer.


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