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Corning, NY and the Finger Lakes

We are actually in the Catskills today, but this guest post by Michele Hollow of PetNewsAndViews nicely complements our recent trek to the Finger Lakes.

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Locals have dubbed it, New York’s Wine Country. The Finger Lakes region is that and so much more. Filled with world class museums, family-friendly inns, quaint downtowns, and plenty of opportunities for outdoor adventures, the Finger Lakes region is an ideal family vacation – for all members of your family, even the four-legged kind.

We chose Corning as our base because it is a pedestrian-friendly town. Our hotel was a ten-minute walk to the Corning Museum of Glass, The Rockwell Museum of Western Art, and the historic downtown.

Pet-Friendly Hotels

There are seven hotels in the immediate Corning area where pets are allowed. We got a room at Staybridge Suites, which is walking distance to the Corning Museum of Glass and close to the downtown area. If you book ahead, you can arrange for pet sitting and dog walking services. The other area pet-friendly hotels are: Radisson Hotel Corning, Ramada Painted Post, America’s Best Value Lodge on the Green, Econ Lodge Painted Post, Budget Inn Painted Post, and Erwin Motel.

Kid-Friendly Museums

Unfortunately, the museums in Corning are not pet-friendly. Still, the Corning Museum of Glass should not be missed. As we entered, we overheard a concerned mom tell her children, “Don’t touch anything.”  Actually, children are encouraged to play with and – in one case – even break glass.

This family-friendly museum with more than 45,000 objects offers walk-in workshops for children, ages 5 and up, glass making demonstrations, a glass magic show where children can break glass, several interactive exhibits and a large assortment of glass art objects that are carefully placed inside glass cases. (Those, obviously, are NOT to be broken!)

Children can make glass picture frames and mirrors by gluing colorful pieces of glass onto a frame; staff sit closely by and assist. Teenagers and adults, ages 17 and up, can make flowers, ornaments or vases. Here, the glass gets as hot as molten lava, so there are professional glassblowers assisting every step of the way. Workshop fees are reasonable – under $25. Admission to the museum is free for those 19 and younger and $14.00 for those over 19.

Going to an art museum with a small child can be trying. Many adults often skip the experience and wait until their children are older. The Rockwell Museum of Western Art (no relation to Norman Rockwell) in downtown Corning has made going to art museums fun. At check-in, children are given a backpack with various themes to choose from; our son chose Cowboys. Inside the backpack was a small book with a handful of pictures from the museum. Our son’s mission was to scout out the pictures, giving my husband and me time to look over the Remington’s and other great American art.  The collection is quite impressive. Kids, 17 and under, are admitted free. Adult admission is $6.50.

Dog-Friendly Main Street

Market Street, the center of Corning’s downtown, is lined with quaint shops and restaurants. Right in the center is a public square and park. Often bands gather on weekend evenings to entertain small crowds of locals and tourists. The Old World Cafe, right on the square has an outdoor seating area, and dogs are welcome. It’s a turn-of-the-century building that serves sandwiches, salads, homemade ice cream and great desserts.

Dog-Friendly Wineries

We found four dog-friendly wineries. Bully Hill Vineyards has a lovely outdoor restaurant overlooking the vineyards.  About a mile down the road you’ll find Keuka Lake Vineyards, the youngest winery on Keuka Lake and one that has been making a name for itself (they entered eight wines in the 2009 Governor’s Cup and won seven awards). This is a winery with a full-time staff of only three, prefering to stay small and focus on quality small batch wines.

Ravines Wine Cellars is also a small boutique winery offering exceptional food-friendly dry wines made in the traditional French style. We spotted their little dog in and around the tasting room. And Chateau Renaissance Wine Cellars are very pet-friendly as they have two hounds on the premises. They specialize in fruit and sparkling wines.

For more information on Corning and its neighboring towns, contact the Steuben County Conference & Visitors Bureau.

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  • michelechollow says:

    Personally, I prefer red wine over white. However, Bully Hill and the other wineries here have great whites. Bully Hill also has apple juice tasting for kids.

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