A Hidden Treasure in Western New York

Monday, August 31, 2009

We are planning to return for the fall event October 3.

Antique boats...one of the rides the boys enjoyed

My 2 silly ducks....waiting patiently for the gates to open

My favorite part--the Lakeview Village Shoppes!

I liked the cute little shops along the shore.

The carousel

Ben wasn't thrilled about the flowers. He wanted more rides!

Little ferris wheel

Having lived in upstate New York for every year of my life except one, I pretty much know about the quaint little towns and the sites to visit. Apparently, I missed one of the best little finds there is.

One of my Facebook friends, Elizabeth, mentioned taking her daughter to a little place called Olcott Beach earlier this summer. I had never heard of it. She explained that she found it on her way to Niagara Falls and that is was really a wonderful little place. She was right.

Ever since Elizabeth told me about Olcott Beach and posted some pictures, I have wanted to take the boys. I meant to take them sooner, but ended up taking them Friday. We've had a cold spell here in this part of the state. It's been rainy, a bit windy (a tornado touched down in Canandaigua on Saturday), and just downright cold. When we left Friday morning, it was in the low 60s and sunny. When we arrived in Olcott Beach, it was pretty cloudy and even a bit chillier than here in Irondequoit. I'm glad the boys had their sweatshirts on.

Olcott Beach is exactly 65 miles from our driveway. It's actually easy to get to. I took the Lake Ontario State Parkway all the way to its end and got on Route 18 West. I was there in about an hour and ten minutes. Olcott Beach is a tiny hamlet by the Town of Newfane. It's in Niagara County and is located about 25 minutes from Niagara Falls. After driving in such a rural area, I began to wonder if it's be worth it. I don't like rural areas--this was rural! We passed dozens of farms and were in the middle of nowhere. After passing through all of these little towns which don't even all appear on my atlas (yes, I use an atlas still!), we encountered a hidden gem.

We turned on a street that had a large, old-fashioned boat in the median. I quickly found the Lakeview Shoppes. These are small cottages by the lake all painted in pastel colors. I turned on Main Street and found the Olcott Beach Carousel Park. What a small amusement park! Do not get me wrong--small in a good way!

I parked the car right across the street from the park. It was a couple minutes before noon and the park doesn't open until noon. The boys and I waited and looked at the rides (only 6) and then one of the employees came over and opened the gate for us.

What I really found wonderful about the park is that it was built for children only. Kids need to be 52" tall or less and under 75 pounds to ride the rides. Parents are welcome to ride the carousel and are free with children under 5. The park is actually a not for profit company and is run entirely by volunteers who truly love what they do. Did I mention that rides are only 25 cents each?

I told the boys they could ride as much as they wanted to and I spent a total of $6 for the day of rides. You may be thinking, "There are only 6 rides, though." While that is true, this is ideal for small children and they were truly content with their choices. I know when I take them to our nearby parks, Sea Breeze and Darien Lake, that they are overwhelmed. First of all, both parks are full of teenagers running around unattended. The rides are typically built more for older "thrillseekers" with only a handful of kiddie rides. There's also the high admission fee. I don't necesarily mind the fee, but I do mind paying it when the little one says, "I'm tired and I want to go home right now!" after an hour of riding. I also have to say it's a plus to walk through the park without crowds of teens mumbling the F-bomb around my little ones!

The boys really had a ball. There were only about 25 or 30 other children there that day, most likely because it started raining. We took a break to walk next door to an Italian restaurant, Carmella's. I wish I could recommend it, but we didn't have the best experience. Aside from the flies hovering over our table (we ate indoors) and the hair in my spaghetti and meatballs, the options on the kids' menu were really terrible. They could have fried mozzarella sticks with a side of fries, fried chicken fingers with fries, etc....basically a fried entree with a fried side. I asked if they could have steamed veggies as a substitution and was told it was not an option.

I think next time we'll eat elsewhere. After our lunch, we walked just a few feet to Lakeview Village Shoppes, a collection of several shops along the boardwalk. The shops are right along the Lake Ontario shoreline and were just so quaint. Each shop was painted a different pastel hue. They had everything from a gift shop full of Crabtree & Evelyn products to a candy shop to a kite store. The stores were super tiny, so I really didn't get to look much because my boys are like bulls in a china shop.

One of the shopkeepers told me that if I liked his shop, I'd really love the shops in the nearby town (5 minutes away) to the west called Wilson. He said there were several gift and antiques shops that way as you get closer to Niagara Falls. He also recommended a restaurant for our next visit, Mariners Landing, and I think we'll go there. There really are lots of things to do if you want to spend the day away. You could even make a weekend of it by heading to the falls and staying over.

After a few hours of riding, the boys were chilly and tired. We headed back home and stopped at one of the several farm stands along the side of the road. Nearly all were un-manned and had a coffee can out for you to put your money honor system style. At Johnson's Farm on Route 18, I bought a some wonderful peaches and tomatoes larger than any I have ever seen before.

I think what I liked most about the day is that it reminded me of a simpler time. Kids weren't walking around with iPods and cell phones. There was no sense of urgency. Everything was just simple and funny. The people were all so relaxed and friendly. The park was a place I could picture from a whole other era. The boys and I had lots of fun--so much fun that we're going back for their fall festival the weekend of October 3 and 4. This time we'll take Tom with us...that way he can be with the boys while I enjoy the shops a little bit more and see creations from local artisans.

If you live in the Rochester area and have small children, check this place out. It really is a hidden gem in Western New York.

31 Days of Earrings: Day 31

I just adore these robin's egg blue copper enamel earrings made by Teka and Zoe! In fact, I like the earrings in this shop so much, I am going to show you a couple more pairs!

Robin's egg blue copper enamel earrings, $24

31 Days of Earrings: Day 30

Sunday, August 30, 2009

I have spoken of Beppie Murray before. I believe she creates the most gorgeous chunky necklaces on earth and I wear mine often. She also makes fabulous and affordable earrings for her Etsy shop.

These beauties are called "Pollock" and are $12.

August Giveaway--Deadline to Enter is Monday!

Greeting card from Blue Moose Art

Summery card from Bella Sera Designs

Update to original post: I am adding in another greeting card, too!

Chic & Green is giving away a seashell card from Bella Sera Designs this month and an assortment of great tarts from my tart bucket. I'll add some great soy tarts from Starring...! Fragrances to the card for one lucky winner. Tarts include: Wild Blueberry Vanilla, Brown Sugar Snickerdoodle Cookies, Vanilla Almond Crumble, and Caramel Drenched Apple Fritter.

I also am a customer of Blue Moose Art on 1000 Markets. She has some lovely cards and I have now ordered twice this month. She included an extra in my last order and I am going to give it to the winner of this giveaway.

To enter: simply comment on this post. The winner will be drawn September 1st.

31 Days of Earrings: Day 29

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Perfect for fall, these lovely red earrings are from Lee at Five to Nine Designs.


31 Days of Earrings: Day 28

Friday, August 28, 2009


I have 2 most favorite earring designers: Kristin Perkins and Ronnie Schultz. Both make earrings of the highest quality. Both make earrings that generate lots of compliments when I wear their creations. Both are completely unique.

Tonight I am featuring a great pair of earrings for fall from the exceptional Kristin Perkins. I just ordered a sweater in chocolate brown and these would go wonderfully with that color!

If you're a local reader, you can also shop at Craft Company #6 on University Avenue in the city of rochester or at Joolz on Main Street in Canandaigua for Kristin's jewelry.

Frugal Fridays: Back to School

Nicholas will begin first grade on Wednesday. It's so hard to believe. It seems like yesterday he was born. My big guy will also celebrate his sixth birthday one week from today. Where does the time go?

In honor of heading back to school, I found some great items for Frugal Friday. Enjoy!

Altered notebook from Salon D'Arte, $4.95

Set of 8 book plates from Vintage Paper Parade, $6

A fun paperweight for teacher's desk from Unicorn Kids Studios, $6

Great for the little ones...from Cute Munchkins, $4

No need for waste! Reusable sandwich bags from Country Life Naturals, $8

Pencil pouch from Creations by Rachel, $7.99

Lunch box notes from Life Events, $6.50

Altered crayon caddy from Caprice Creations, $8

Handmade apple cozy from Unravel Me, $8.50

Set of 2 notecards from Stories Divinations, $7.75

31 Days of Earrings: Day 27

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Today's pick is actually not a pair of earrings, but a really wonderful find if you collect earrings.

To say I enjoy earrings would be an understatement. I am running out of room. I have some earrings in my jewelry boxes and others hanging from china teacups on my dresser.

I purchased a lovely vintage-style dress form earring stand today from Diane Fergurson and know it will be put to great use. The one I chose will also fit into my shabby chic meets Paris Apartment-themed bedroom.

Diane Fergurson can be found right on 1000 Markets.


Summer's End Going on Now!

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

NY Festival, a great group of New York talent on 1000 Markets, is holding Summer's End. It is going on now through Saturday, August 29th.

Here are some promotions from participating merchants:

My Three Jewels is offering a free pair of shell pearl earrings valued at $29.99 with any purchase of $29.99 or more! What a wonderful time to try Ronnie's earrings!

KZM Facial Care Boutique is holding her Annual Gift event and with any purchase over $30, you will receive a 4 piece collection featuring a Goat's Milk Facial Cleanser, Carrot Seed & Chamomile Facial Mist, Vegan Night Cream (all deluxe travel sizes) and a full sized Rich Berries Lip & Cheek Tint. Gift has a value of $19.50.

Abby Horowitz Designs will be giving away beautiful Venetian Glass earrings with any purchase of over $25. If you have always wanted to try Abby's designs, now is the time!

Excessary has a free gift, too! If you spend $25, you will get a free pair of earrings. Colors will be selected at random. If you spend $40 or more, you will receive the free gift and free shipping to go along with your order.

Five to Nine Design is offering Buy 1, Get 1 Half Price in her Clearance Aisle section.

31 Days of Earrings: Day 26

Today's lovelies are from Abby Horowitz Designs. These earrings are handpainted and feature Chinese flowers beads and Bali silver beads.

Why buy these? Abby is participating in New York Fest's promotion called Summer's End and with any $25 purchase, Abby will be giving a fabulous free gift!

31 Days of Earrings: Day 25

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

How fun and colorful! Appropriately called "Kaleidoscope of Color," these colorful copper hoops are made by Ever so Dear.


Tea Lovers Must Read On!

I adore tea almost as much as coffee--although in the winter, I much prefer a cup of hot tea to coffee any day.

One day while I was reading City Girl's blog, she mentioned a tea trade on Melita's blog. I thought it was a fabulous idea! It is a great way for tea lovers to try new teas and to destash a bit. I immediately signed up. I asked Melita if I could share the details with you and she said more tea lovers are welcome!

Sharing Some Talent...

Washcloths and tags made by Beth

I have spoken of my friend from Michigan, Beth, before. She's a mom to two beautiful children, a talented graphic designer, photographer, and can do wonders with her needle and thread.

Beth has made sachet pillows, gift bags, and baseball "taggie" for Benjamin, and a fabulous dinosaur tooth pillow for Nicholas. Her talent is endless.

I received a beautiful package in the mail from Beth the other day and I just had to share it with you. I was telling her I was pondering including handmade washcloths as part of a large skin care set in my shop and asked her if she ever makes them. A few days later, this great package arrived. She sent several washcloths my way--some in terry, others in chenille. I have to tell you that the chenille ones are just amazing!

I am browsing fabrics to coordinate with my packaging and hope to offer these someday.

By the way, one thing I love about Beth's creations is her packaging. She included her handmade tags, all with inspirational quotes or lovely pictures. She doesn't sell online right now (she used to), but I am really hoping she offers her work on the net soon!

Birthday Girl

~Happy Birthday~

Today's my birthday and I found some really lovely birthday-inspired items from 1000 Markets and Etsy.


A fun birthday painting by the talented Jenni Adkins Horne of Artsy Orange, $12

Do you think this little birthday crown would stretch around me head?

2 dozen button cookies made by SweetAmbs, $6

Handmade wooden birthday party play box from The Enchanted Cupboard, $65

Beeswax birthday candles from Chicago Honey Co-op...I'll surely need more than one 12-pack, $7

Vintage-inspired birthday girl from Bed of Beads, $3.20

Some delicious birthday cakes...a gorgeous print by the talented Janet Hill Studio, $17

Oh how I adore these cupcake toppers from Joosy Card Co.!

Patchwork birthday banner from Earmark Gatherings, $12

Birthday card from Kards, $1.20

31 Days of Earrings: Day 24

Monday, August 24, 2009

Vanilla Fudge--Lee of Five to Nine Designs chose a great name for her creation! What a fabulous find!


Monday's Food: Honest Tea

Recipes and local recommendations usually fill my Monday's Food feature. Not today. I'd like to give a quick product rave for my favorite iced tea. If you're a local reader and see me in person, there is a 75% chance I'm holding a Tim Horton's Iced Coffee (medium French vanilla with a hint of milk) in one hand. I love my coffee.

On a hot summer's day, though, nothing is more thirst-quenching than iced tea. I make my own with my vanilla tea bags from Teaman on Etsy, Numi green tea and fresh mint leaves, or regular black tea.

When I am out and about, I always look for Honest Tea. I have two favorites--I used to drink only the Moroccan Mint Green Tea (17 calories), but when I met City Girl in Washington last week, I purchased the Pomegranate White Tea with Acai for the first time. I don't generally add sugar to my tea, but this is sweetened just a touch with organic cane sugar, has 40 calories and was really delicious. I've since purchased it 3 times at Wegmans since we returned home for vacation.

It's hard to choose which one I most enjoy, but if you have been to Teaism before, the Honest Tea Moroccan Mint is nearly identical to theirs. So refreshing!

Why do I like Honest Tea as opposed to some of the other brands on the market? There are no genetically modified organisms (non GMO), it's certified organic, gluten free, Fair Trade, and committed to bettering the earth.

31 Days of Earrings: Day 23

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Have you seen Green Amethyst before? Dal Mare has created these beautiful earrings and they are just stunning!

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