Travel by Any Means Necessary

Tag: New York Page 1 of 3

2024 Travel Show

Rick Steves at the 2024 Travel & Adventure Show

In 2023, we went to our first Travel and Adventure Show in Chicago after seeing a billboard saying Samantha Brown would be speaking there. We had a lot of fun at the show exploring the exhibits from locations around the world and hearing talks from travel experts. We got a lot of tips that made our travels in 2023 as epic as they were. So, we were excited to visit the show again. We had train tickets and a hotel for the whole long weekend. Unfortunately, Mother Nature had other plans and a winter storm rolled in and canceled our train. We debated going a day earlier to still be able to enjoy the travel show, but I realized that if we couldn’t get to Chicago from 200 miles away, I’m sure some of the presenters we were looking forward to seeing would have the same issue.

So, we decided to do something crazy. We canceled all of our plans in Chicago (we did some tourism around home at the Motown Museum to make up for it), made our first claim against our annual travel insurance policy, and booked flights to the New York travel show just a few weeks later. We already had some plans at home that weekend so the whole trip was only about 30 hours. We didn’t have two full days to explore the show like we would have in Chicago, but we got to see Rick Steves and Phil Rosenthal which is what we were really looking forward to.

We loaded up our backpacks (because for only one night away what more do you need?) and took a cheap Spirit flight to New York. In the morning, we walked from our hotel, got some New York bagels, and walked to the Convention Center. The New York Travel show was much bigger than Chicago and had an additional stage for more speakers. We went right to the main stage when we got in to get a good seat to see Rick Steves. If you aren’t familiar with Rick Steves, he is the foremost expert on European travel and is probably the bestselling guidebook author of all time.

Us meeting Phil RosenthalLast year the experts hit home how important it is to travel light and be carry-on only. Rick Steves also talked about avoiding crowds when you travel by traveling off-season and when that is not possible, getting out early and late. Avoid being in the tourist areas in the middle of the day. He inspired me to plan a trip to some of those crowded European cities that I want to see, but have been avoiding because of the crowds. As he said, there is a reason everyone wants to go there. After his talk, I had him sign one of his books for me.

Phil Rosenthal is the host of the Netflix show, Somebody Feed Phil and his presentation was a Q&A format about his travels and his favorite foods. While I didn’t leave his presentation with a whole host of travel hacks, it was very enjoyable and he seemed just as genuine as he does on TV. After his presentation, we waited in a crazy long line to meet him and have him sign his book. It was worth waiting in line for this picture (left)!

Times Square

We spent a little time walking the exhibit booths after we met Phil, but it was so crowded you couldn’t even get close to most of them and they didn’t seem to be doing as many giveaways as last year. We ended up walking the whole floor and then leaving the show to get some lunch. This is the first time since we were in college that we really had time in New York (we did a cruise out of New York back in 2015, but we pretty much just went right to the ship and then drove home immediately after) so we wandered until we found a Dim Sum restaurant for lunch. We weren’t too far from Times Square so we wandered over there and found all of the people. Then, we pretty much took a taxi back to the airport and flew home. All in all, it was a crazy day but it was worth it! We will have to keep our eyes on flight prices to New York for the future because, with those prices, it’s not an unreasonable weekend getaway.

Thanks for stopping by! To read about some of our previous trips, visit my Trips Page. To read campground reviews check out my Michigan Campground Reviews page. If you like my photos be sure to “like” my Facebook Page and follow me on Instagram! For my list of gadgets to make your travels easier, click here. To see inside my camera bag, check out my Gear Page.

Flashback Friday: Verazzano Fog

Flashback Friday: Watkins Glen

Wordless Wednesday: New Glass Now

Wordless Wednesday: Cornell Birds

Wine Tasting in the Finger Lakes

Vineyard on Keuka Lake

The Finger Lakes was recently named the number 1 wine region in the country by It beat out Napa and Sonoma in California. Michigan’s Leelanau peninsula actually came in second, but more about that another time. The last time we were in the Finger Lakes, we mostly stayed on the east side of Seneca Lake and we weren’t impressed by what we tasted. This trip, we had more time in the area and we were able to explore more of the area.

Atwater Estates

As I mentioned before, coming down from Buffalo, we stopped at 3 wineries on the west side of Seneca Lake: Ravines, Billsboro, and Fox Run. On our way to Ithaca, we stopped at our favorite winery from our last time, Atwater Estates. We got there right after they opened and were their first customers of the day. As we remembered, all of the wines we tasted at Atwater were phenomenal and between us, we ended up buying a whole case. They have two force carbonated wines that are unlike anything I’ve had before and I highly recommend you give them a try if you are in the area. Atwater has the best view of any of the wineries we visited on Seneca Lake. I only wish we were there on a warm, sunny day to enjoy the outdoor patio.

On our final day, before heading home, we made our way out to a few wineries on Keuka Lake. The first one we tried was Pleasant Valley which had the biggest facility and a very large selection of wines, but they seemed to appeal to sweet wine drinkers. There weren’t a ton of dry wines available, but there prices were very reasonable so we ended up with a few bottles.

After Pleasant Valley, we stopped at Bully Hill. We were there early on their first day in their new tasting room so I don’t feel like we got a great feel for the experience as the employees were busy unpacking and getting the tasting room ready. All the wines we tried were good and the new tasting room has a great view out to the vineyards and the lake below. I will have to come back when they are more settled to get the full experience.

And our final stop was possibly the best of the whole trip! While in a wine store in Corning, we found bottles from a vineyard called Dr. Frank. I thought that was a funny name for a vineyard so I looked them up when we got back to the car. It turns out, Dr. Konstantin Frank was the man that brought winemaking to the Finger Lakes region and was the first one to use grafting to be able to grow European grapes in the United States. Dr. Frank currently has the second oldest vines in the country and their Old Vine Pinot Noir is probably one of the best wines I’ve ever had. We ended up buying a lot of wine there, but when we drink it all, I will probably be going online to order more. If you are in the area and like a good wine, definitely stop at Dr. Frank!

We bought more wine on this trip than I imagined we would but the wine was all so good! We have really gotten into wine traveling lately and the wines from the Finger Lakes are far and above the wine from other places we’ve recently been. This wine has totally spoiled me. I’m a wine snob now. No doubt about it. Grocery store wine will no longer do it for me. If you enjoy wine touring, definitely plan a trip to the Finger Lakes. You will not regret it.

Thanks for stopping by! To read about some of our previous trips, click here. If you like my photos be sure to “like” my Facebook Page, follow me on Instagram! You can purchase prints on Etsy and Fine Art America. To see inside my camera bag, check out my Gear Page. For information about our new Guided Photography Tours, visit

Glass Making: Corning Museum of Glass

My blown glass flower

After exploring Ithaca, we headed back to Corning to make our appointments for glass making at the Corning Museum of Glass. After our last time at the Corning Museum of Glass, we knew that if you want to try any of the glass blowing, you need to make reservations in advance. At the end of November, we looked on the website and decided what we wanted to make.

Part of the reason for this trip was an exhibit they had for the 50th Anniversary of the moonwalk called “How Glass Got Us to the Moon”. Because of the exhibit they had a special moon ornament that you could make. Chris and my mother in law both signed up for that. We didn’t need two moon ornaments so I signed up for the Blown Glass Flower (top).

Another thing I learned during our first trip to the museum is that a lot of the glass blowing experiences you don’t get to do much more than the blowing part. I assumed when booking our experiences that if preschoolers can do it, you probably don’t get to do too much. The blown glass flower is only for 14+ so I knew that you probably actually get to do a lot with that one.

Making my flower

After checking in, they gave me goggles, gloves, arm protection, and an apron. Then, the artist I was working with demonstrated the technique and explained how to use the tools. When my turn came, I sat on the bench and he brought the molten glass to me on the pipe. I rolled the pipe and pressed a piece of wood into the glass to flatten it. Then, after he reheated it in the furnace, I got to use some heavy-duty tweezers to form the petals. It was an awesome experience and it made me want to learn how to blow glass!

If you are planning to visit the Corning Museum of Glass, I highly recommend you book a glass making experience! They have activities for all ages! Young children can blow a glass ornament or if they would prefer to be more creative, they can try sandblasting or glass fusing. For adults, I recommend choosing something that is not for all ages, unless you are fine with someone else basically making your item for you. Last trip, we did flameworking and were able to use a hot torch to fuse colored glass into a pendant that I get complimented on anytime I wear it!

Thanks for stopping by! For more information about the Corning Museum of Glass visit, To read about some of our previous trips, click here. If you like my photos be sure to “like” my Facebook Page, follow me on Instagram! You can purchase prints on Etsy and Fine Art America. To see inside my camera bag, check out my Gear Page. For information about our new Guided Photography Tours, visit

Pin this:

Wordless Wednesday: Entrance Waterfall

Ithaca in the Winter

After our morning exploring Watkins Glen, we headed for Ithaca. We didn’t venture to Ithaca on our last trip to the Finger Lakes so this was something new for us. Our first stop in Ithaca was Ithaca Falls (top). This huge cascade was at the side of the road, across from an elementary school. We parked at the school and walked across the road to get a better look. We were able to get pretty close to the falls and being that it was winter, there weren’t very many other people around. I imagine this is a hot spot in the summer.

After admiring the falls, we decided to head to Cornell. There’s not a ton on the campus that we found that was opened to the public, but we did stop at the botanical gardens. Not much is blooming at the end of December. The visitor’s center (left) was even closed, but it was nice to get out and walk around. There was a “winter garden” which was basically a bunch of conifer trees. I can only imagine the gardens bursting with color in the spring and summer. I really wanted to see the arboretum, but it is closed in the winter.

From the Botanical Garden, we headed to the Cornell Ornithology Lab. This was a little way from the campus, but I guess it is a well-known place for birders and scientists. Once again, the Visitor Center closed between Christmas and New Years, but the hiking paths were open. We took a walk on this boardwalk through a swamp. We had to stop where the boardwalk ended because it was too muddy to continue. It was a beautiful day, though and it was nice to be outdoors listening to the birds. I am in no way a bird person, but I could enjoy spending some time on the trails and trying my hand at photographing birds.

All in all, it is always nice to explore new places, but not much was open during our visit to Ithaca. I would definitely enjoy returning when it is warmer, with proper footwear. From Ithaca, we headed back to Corning for our glass making appointments at the Corning Museum of Glass. Be sure to come back next week to hear about that!

Thanks for stopping by! To read about some of our previous trips, click here. If you like my photos be sure to “like” my Facebook Page, follow me on Instagram! You can purchase prints on Etsy and Fine Art America. To see inside my camera bag, check out my Gear Page. For information about our new Guided Photography Tours, visit

Wordless Wednesday: American Falls

Page 1 of 3

Powered by WordPress & Theme by Anders Norén