There’s no doubt that the pandemic has severely impacted the way we live. From how we run errands to the way we work and learn, the threat of COVID-19 remains constant. And while the average American life expectancy is 78 years, our current national crisis indicates that if we don’t get things under control, we could experience thousands — if not millions — of lives being cut short.
But aside from the coronavirus’s impact on our survival rates, it’s also had major effects on the way we socialize and have fun. With the continued need to wear masks, practice social distancing, and reduce the inherent risks associated with public places, it’s no wonder that many of us are wondering whether we’ll ever really be permitted to have fun in a worry-free way again. Although Florida attracts more than 100 million visitors each year, the majority of New Yorkers need to stay put (and away from national hot spots) in order to reduce their risks.
With that in mind, you might be stuck in the area for the foreseeable future. And as the seasons change, what exactly can you do for fun? You might be pleasantly surprised with the fall activities that are still going on — with restrictions in place — in the greater Rochester area.
Apple and Pumpkin Picking
In the Empire State, apples reign supreme — and the fall wouldn’t feel quite so fall-ish without the ability to pick your own. Fortunately, there are still ways to support u-pick farms in the area — but these agricultural businesses are subject to stricter guidelines from the state. Pick-your-own fruit farms have to operate with reduced capacity, require face coverings, and maintain social distancing between individuals. It’s a good idea to bring your own reusable bag or container and to consider attending on a weekday to beat the crowds. Farms will have to sanitize high-touch areas frequently and do their part to reduce crowding in any stores they operate. Farms that also have corn mazes, hayrides, or haunted houses will be subject to additional regulations. While two of the biggest haunted hayrides in the area have already canceled their festivities for the year, those that continue to operate will have to follow all the aforementioned rules and clean between hayrides. Agritourism businesses that operate petting zoos will not be allowed to open those animal-friendly facilities to the public. Many farms are already making adjustments — and even increasing their offerings — that will allow guests to spread out safely. Before you go, be sure to check the farm’s website or social media page for pertinent updates.
Nature Walks and Leaf-Peeping
The fall foliage doesn’t get much more spectacular than it does in this region and there are plenty of ways to appreciate it in a way that doesn’t pose an inherent risk. You can take a drive to one of the area’s many locales to appreciate the changing leaves or take a walk on one of our many nature trails to get some exercise and feast your eyes on fall. There are even guided nature walks being held at Tinker Nature Park in Henrietta on select Saturdays. Make sure to bring your mask and hand sanitizer along and maintain distance between yourself and others.
The Key Bank Rochester Fringe Festival, now in its ninth year, has embodied the mentality, “the show must go on” — but with a virtual twist. Instead of canceling like the Jazz Festival did, Fringe is still offering 10 days of wild, wacky, and whimsical entertainment. But this year, there’ll be over 170 productions accessible through a screen. Although conventional event venues have experienced a lot of grief from the state, Fringe has gotten around that issue by presenting its shows digitally. The Spiegeltent might be absent, but the jaw-dropping feats won’t be. Many events are free, while others are more affordable than in years past to make some much-needed laughter and amazement accessible to all.
Of course, this list is far from exhaustive. In 2019, there were 5.8 billion Google searches performed each day — and if you want to stay on top of what’s happening in our region, you might not need to do much more than conduct an internet search. Just make sure to confirm that the results are current for 2020 and that whoever is hosting the event is taking proper pandemic precautions.
The summer festival season in Rochester continues this weekend with the 43rd edition of the Park Ave Summer Art Fest on Saturday, Aug 3 from 10a.m. to 6 p.m. and Sunday, Aug 4. from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. This annual celebration of arts and culture stretches for a mile and a quarter along Park Avenue from Alexander Street to Culver Road. Every year, this part of the picturesque Park Avenue neighborhood transforms into a mecca of shopping and entertainment. Better yet, admission is completely free.
Even though most people know Rochester for Kodak or its signature garbage plate, more people have started to take note of Rochester’s thriving arts scene. From new featured art at the Memorial Art Gallery to the local artists showcasing their skills at its countless festivals each year, folks from across the state have indulged in the local art for which Rochester is known.
Many of you have noticed our extended hiatus and have begun asking if this is the end for RocSubway. I didn’t think it would be necessary to say anything about it. But for those of you who had followed this blog like religion for so long, you deserve some closure.
A little while ago I lost my job and decided to start my own web design business instead of going back to work for someone else. That was the best decision I ever made for myself. But it also means I now work pretty much nonstop with little time for anything else. What extra time I do have, I put into growing Reconnect Rochester . Reconnect is a nonprofit organization doing amazing work to change the way transportation is viewed in Monroe County. It’s something I’m very proud of. And it began with a seed planted right here.
So I’m not going away, really. I just won’t be posting much here for the foreseeable future. In the meantime you’re welcome to join me over at Reconnect . Or perhaps I’ll run into you somewhere else, helping to make our community better in your own way.
Before I sign off, I want to say thank you.
I’ve gained much more from every RocSubway reader I’ve met (virtually and in person) than what I’ve given on these pages. Always remember there are important lessons for the future buried deep within our past. Everywhere you look in this city—behind every wall and within every person—you will find a beautiful story. We’ve only scraped the surface.
On a recent trip to New York City (my previous home) I came across a poem in the subway by former U.S. Poet Laureate, Billy Collins. I cannot think of better words to close with…
As you fly swiftly underground
with a song in your ears
or lost in the maze of a book,
remember the ones who descended here
into the mire of bedrock
to bore a hole through this granite,
to clear a passage for you
where there was only darkness and stone.
Remember as you come up into the light.
Somewhat unexpectedly, a fifth proposal for Midtown Parcel 5 was submitted. Spoiler alert, it’s, how to be polite about this, different. Ok, fine, it’s terrible. It’s bad. It’s terribad. It might even be a false flag operation to make the submitted proposals look better. I don’t know, but inexplicably it’s being taken seriously by parts of the city which is creating unrest with other parts of the city. I’d be calling for the popcorn if this weren’t the future of the middle of our town on the line.
I don’t know of anyone in the world who loves parking—except maybe Lorraine Baines—but that’s not exactly the kind of parking I’m talking about here…
I’m talking about the hassle of cruising up and down the rows of a Wegmans parking lot, trying to squeeze in next to the hummer who decided he needed an extra couple of spaces, fighting the nine other drivers who won’t even entertain the thought of walking an extra twenty feet to pay $5 for a bottle of water.
Do me a favor. If you’re at home, step outside for a moment and take a good, long look at your driveway and garage (Don’t worry, the Internet will still be here when you get back). If you don’t have a driveway or garage, step outside and catch me a Charmander!
Did you do it? Did you stare intently at your driveway/garage situation? Great! Now, think about it for a moment and answer honestly: Does your car have a bigger bedroom than you do? Seriously. What percentage of the space that you own/rent/occupy is dedicated solely to vehicular storage? Your car isn’t paying rent. Why does it get the biggest room in the house?!
What else could you do with that space the garage sits on? A jam space for your band? Art studio? Game room? Greenhouse? The possibilities are many…
Rochester Makerspace is hosting a Sunday Artists and Makers Expo on May 22 from 2 PM to 5 PM. Bring your friends or family and enjoy live music, plenty of refreshments, and an eclectic collection of artwork, crafts, and maker projects on display…
Holloway, who studied at Rochester’s School of the Arts, plays Amir Snow, the first black police officer in a small American town. The subject matter is highly relevant for these racially charged times, but it’s handled in a pretty hilarious way.
Searching for the perfect stocking stuffer this holiday season? How about an itty bitty version of Kodak tower? ReplicaBuildings.com manufactures replica scale models of famous buildings from around the globe. And two of them have been plucked right from Rochester’s skyline…
Last week a Facebook message came in from RocSubway reader, Nate Sengillo. Nate wanted to share photos from his recent trip to Frontier Town. I’ve never been there myself, but I know I’ve heard of this place before as my family has spent more than a few summer vacations at nearby Lake George. But now seeing Nate’s photos, I wish I had…
After the Erie Canal was rerouted south of downtown Rochester, the Rochester
Industrial & Rapid Transit Railway (the subway) was built in
its place as a link between the five different railroads and interurban trolley
lines that served the Rochester area. As the industrial landscape of Rochester
changed, and highways replaced the railroads, the Rochester subway gradually
became a relic of a bygone era. In 1956 the subway was abandoned and much of
its route was converted into Interstate 490 built to connect Rochester
with the New York State Thruway (I-90). Read more about the history of the Rochester Subway.
RochesterSubway.com exists to help spark
public dialogue around how we can better connect the neighborhoods of Rochester
NY, surrounding communities, and their cultural offerings. Rochesters
future is written in her past. Let's rediscover it.