Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Free bowling and shoe rental all summer long!

Students in grades k-12 can bowl 1 free game of bowling every day this summer, from May 1 through August 31 at Bowl-A-Roll Lanes (1560 Jefferson Rd, Henrietta). This includes shoe rental as well, so there is no "catch" that you have to pay for, unless you choose to stay and bowl an extra game or two. In past years, though I have not verified it for this year, teachers are also allowed to bowl a free game. This program is part of their "Say No to Drugs, Say Yes to Bowling" initiative, encouraging students to bowl instead of choosing drugs for their recreation.

Also, be sure to stop by on August 10, 2010 from 1:00PM-3:00PM to participate in the Kops and Kids Family Day. Students will be able to meet local public safety officers, developing friendships in a fun way. At the end of the event, a free bowling ball will be given away to one student (must be present to win) and every attendee will receive a free hot dog and soda from Bowl-A-Roll Lanes.

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Rochester Public Market

Going to the Public Market has become a favorite activity of our family. The Public Market is open every Tuesday and Thursday from 6AM-1PM and Saturdays from 5AM-3PM. Whichever day you go, I suggest arriving early to get the best selection. Crowds tend to be lighter during the week, but there tends to be more vendors on Saturdays, especially in the slower months (winter-early spring). You will also find the Public Market is open extended hours and days on special occasions and around the holidays. A few well-know special events they are home to are Community Garage Sales and Flower Days at the Market. The market is located at 280 North Union St, in northeast Rochester. It is about 3 blocks north of East Main St. Free parking is available at the market and across the street from the market. If you are there during a busy time, it is unlikely you will get a parking spot in the market itself and it is often difficult to maneuver a vehicle through with all the people walking through it. I highly suggest not even looking for a spot there and just parking across the street. There is often a police officer there to direct traffic at the crosswalk so it is really no big deal to cross the street.

I also want to clear up any misconceptions for those who have never been to the Public Market. This is not just a farmer's market! It is true there are many farmers who sell their freshly harvested produce, but there are also baked goods, jewelry, knitted items, homemade soaps and lotions, spices, crafts and so much more. Also, if you have been to the suburban farm markets and have been scared away by their prices (based on personal experiences), rest assured that the vendors at the Public Market charge very fair prices (at least the majority of them do). I find I can usually buy my produce there at a fraction of the price of the grocery stores, plus I know the items are fresh and there is a peace of mind when you can deal directly with those who work the farms. For those who receive food assistance, you can use your EBT card to purchase tokens that can be exchanged for food at the various vendors.

I love shopping at the Public Market (can you tell?). Here are a few tips to keep in mind before heading out:
- If you are bringing a young child, I highly recommend bringing a stroller as you will be walking a lot. However, on the busier days, you will want to use as small of a stroller as possible as it can get difficult to get through the crowds with a large stroller.
- If you do not want a lot of plastic grocery bags floating around, be sure to bring your own reusable bags.
- To make shopping as quick and easy as possible, bring plenty of smaller bills so you can pay with exact change.
- If you are there during a mealtime, there are plenty of restaurants and hot food vendors in the vicinity and within the market (though they are not under the awning nor in the building).
- Be sure to visit the enclosed building as well as the outside vendors. Sometimes the building gets overlooked, but there are several great vendors in there as well.
- Don't be afraid to ask questions. The farmers can tell you about their farming practices (pesticides used/not used, fertilization methods, etc) and they can also tell you how to grow your own produce, how to know when an item is ready to eat, and ways to prepare their produce.

Those of you who visit the Public Market, what tips can you share? Do you have any favorite vendors? Any to avoid?

Also, be sure to visit www.farmland.org/vote to vote for the Rochester Public Market to win the title of number one farmer's market in the country.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

The Hill Cumorah Pageant

Every summer, hundreds of Latter-day Saints, better known as "Mormons", arrive in Palmyra to help with the performance of the Hill Cumorah Pageant. This 75 minute (approximately) performance has everything a person could want in a presentation, from beautiful music, an erupting volcano, realistic costumes, battle scenes, and an interpretation of Christ descending from the heavens to greet the people. The storyline is a recreation of scriptural stories from both the Bible and the Book of Mormon. For those who believe in Christ as the Savior, this is a deeply spiritual show, but even for those who are not of the Christian faith, will enjoy the Hill Cumorah Pageant for its entertaining events.

This year, the Hill Cumorah pageant will be held on July 9-10 and 13-17 at the Hill Cumorah, which is on Rte 21 between Manchester and Palmyra. This is a FREE event and no reservations or tickets are required. It is an outdoor amphitheater with 9,000 chairs and plenty of lawn space for additional seating. You may bring food in with you (no alcohol) or you may purchase it there from the local Rotary and Lions Organizations with all proceeds going to local organizations. The performance starts at dusk, around 9:15PM and lasts for about 75 minutes. You will want to arrive a little early to get settled in. Spanish and ASL interpretation is available. For more information, you can visit the official Hill Cumorah Pageant website.

I also want to note that there is often a large billboard van driving around and people across the street from the pageant entrance that are not participants in the pageant. They are a group of volunteers who do not share the Mormon beliefs. For information on what members of the Church of Latter-day Saints believe you can visit their website or stop in at the visitor's center located next to the Hill Cumorah. The visitor center and other local church sites are open year-round. You can view their schedule here.

Monday, May 3, 2010

Clean Sweep

This past Saturday, May 1st, kicked off the first Clean Sweep Saturday for 2010. Clean Sweep is a program run by the city of Rochester to get citizens involved with keeping their city clean. In 2009, over 100 tons of debris was removed from the city streets. Volunteers work alongside city workers, including the mayor, to help beautify the area. They pick up and remove debris, plant flowers, prune trees, and other beautification projects. The city is divided into quadrants and each Saturday in May, these groups work in one quadrant. May 1st was the southwest quadrant. Next Saturday, May 8th, they will be working in the northeast quadrant. The northwest quadrant will be worked on May 15th and on May 22nd, they will be in the southeast quadrant. These are a great way to meet your neighbors, work as a family or a team, and to do something to beautify our city at the same time. If you are unable to volunteer, be sure to work on your own yard and bring your debris and bulk refuse to the curb for the trucks to come by and pick up.

If you are interested in volunteering, call 311 to sign up or visit the city's website. Volunteers will receive a t-shirt, coffee and donuts in the morning and a picnic lunch afterwards. Tools are provided, but you are encouraged to bring your own if you have them. My family and I have signed up for the 15th and the 22nd, but I am not sure we will be able to make it on the 15th. If you do sign up, let me know and hopefully we will have the chance to meet then.

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Charcoal Corral and the Silver Lake Drive-In Theater

My family and I always look forward to the warmer weather for many reasons, but one of our favorite activities is heading out to Silver Lake for the drive-in. I know this is not technically in Rochester, but since there are no drive-in theaters in Rochester, and Perry is close enough for most Rochesterians to get to in a reasonable amount of time, I decided to write about them today.

Going to the drive-in is more than just going to the movies, especially when you go to Charcoal Corral and Silver Lake Drive-In. It is an experience that you will likely want to repeat many times. Before the movies begin, you can play miniature golf on the Old West-themed mini-golf course or video games in the arcade. Then swing over to the Charcoal Corral for dinner. The menu includes hot dogs, burgers, chicken sandwiches, salads, soup, wings, and a variety of fried snacks like fries, mushrooms, and cheese sticks. Kids meals are also available. Are you more of a pizza person? Not a problem, as there is a pizzeria attached to the Charcoal Corral. For dessert, stop by the attached ice cream parlor for yummy soft serve or scooped ice cream. Then head over to the screens and the kiddies can play on the play grounds while you wait for the movies to start.

On top of all that, they have special activities most nights of the week. Mondays (starting June 14) is Country Line Dancing. Tuesdays (starting June 8) are their Summer Concerts night. Wednesdays they also have an all-you-can-eat pizza buffet and (starting June 16) Karaoke night. On Thursday evenings (starting May 13) you can see all the souped-up cars as this is Cruise Night. Saturday nights (starting May 22) they have a Chicken Barbecue available.

At dusk, the first of two movies begins. You can either sit in your vehicle and tune in the radio for sound or you can throw a blanket or lawn chairs out on the expansive lawn and listen through the large outdoor speakers that are provided. Personally, we like to dress the kids in their pajamas and remove the van seats so they can sit on them in front of the van. We also bring along a wireless speaker that hooks up to our van stereo so they can hear. The concession stand is and restrooms are centrally located for each screen (there are 2) and are clean and well maintained. The concession stand offers typical movie theater fare including popcorn, soda, hot dogs, candy, ice cream, and nachos. After the movie is over, exiting is fairly quick and easy.

I also want to be sure to comment on the prices, as this is one reason we are able to attend as often as we do. The price to see two new movies here is less expensive than seeing one new movie at a traditional theater. Each adult admission is $7, children 10 and under are $3 each and children under 4 are free. For my family of 6 (2 adults, 2 children under 10 and 2 under 4), that is $20, much less than most family activities cost. The food and concession stand prices are also reasonable.

So if you are looking for a fun family activity, a good-natured night out with friends, or even a date activity, be sure to check out Charcoal Corral and Silver Lake Drive-In Theater. It promises to be a night you will not forget.

***This review was written on my own accord and no compensation was received.***

Monday, March 29, 2010

Stand Up and Be Counted

By now, you should have received your 2010 Census form. I encourage each and every one of you to take a few minutes and fill it out, ensuring you count each and every person in your home. Federal and state funds (of about 300 billion dollars) are divided up depending on the number of people that live in each area. This data is used for the next 10 years of financial disbursements. In order to ensure that the Rochester area gets the money it needs, we need to make sure that every child and adult, male and female, legal or not, and every race gets counted. The money received goes to help with educational and health resources as well as transportation and public safety. The form only takes a few minutes to fill out and consists of 10 questions per person (mostly age, gender, name, etc). It is not only our civic duty, but by law we need to be counted every 10 years (though I do not know what exactly will happen if you do not fill out the form). It is also important for future generations who may want to research their family history. Census data is an invaluable resource for genealogists. For more information, you can visit the census page on the city's website, NY state's census website or the federal census website.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Rochester's Sister Cities

Did you know that Rochester has 11 sister cities according to Sister Cities International. The purpose of sister cities is to "promote peace through mutual respect, understanding, & cooperation — one individual, one community at a time." (Sister Cities International) Here are the 11 cities we are sisters of:
Rennes, France (1958) <---The year we became sister cities
Wurzburg, Germany (1964)
Caltanissetta, Italy (1965)
Rehovot, Israel (1972)
Krakow, Poland (1973)
Bamako, Mali (1975)
Waterford, Ireland (1983)
Novgorod, Russia (1990)
Hamamatsu, Japan (1996)
Puerto Plata, Dominican Republic (1997)
Xianyang, China (2008)

I tried to find websites that you could visit to learn more about these cities. Most of the above links are in English and very informative, but some I was unable to locate an English site and I could not locate any site for Caltanissetta, so it is simply a link to view the city on Mapquest. If any of you have first hand knowledge of any of these cities, please post a comment and tell us a little bite about the city.

Friday, March 19, 2010

Crazy Dog T-shirts...a Rochester based business

I want to introduce you to a locally-owned business, Crazy Dog t-shirts. The story behind Crazy Dog is an interesting one, as they began as a result of a college project in the dorms of Ithaca College. The company owner, Bill, started the e-store for an eCommerce class and then forgot to take it down. The orders continued to come in and Bill continued to fill them. He worked out of his mothers basement for 2 years and then began to lease space in the Village Gate. (side note- it is strongly encouraged that you shop online, as they are more of a warehouse setting, than a retail store). They have continued to grow since then and currently have a good-size national following with over 4500 facebook fans and 1200+ Twitter followers.

Now you know their history, how about I tell you what they sell? Crazy Dog t-shirts sells, well, t-shirts, but not your everyday plain Jane t-shirts. They have vintage shirts, funny shirts, offensive shirts, sarcastic shirts, and everything else in between. They also do custom orders for those in the Rochester area, so feel free to contact them if that is something you need. There are also a few doggy outfits and some sets of pajamas. Their designs are a mix of original and some by other companies such as David+Goliath. When I contacted them for permission to use their pictures for this post, I was offered the awesome opportunity to review some of their shirts as well. Here are the two I chose:

The shirts arrived very quickly and are excellent quality. The fabric is soft and the pictures are accurate, both with a vintage look, but not cracked and peeling like some of the shirts you will find. I also love that they offer such a range of t-shirts, including the original 1980's Rainbow Brite. Also, both shirts I chose are ladies styles, so they are not big and boxy, but slightly tapered to better fit the female curves. They carry shirts for men, ladies and kids though I will warn you, it is probably best to view the site without little ones (at least those of a reading age) around, as some of the shirts have naughty words and some are rather sexually explicit in language. Having said that, you can probably find a shirt here for everyone you know. Crazy Dog t-shirts are fun and if you cannot find what you like on that site, you can check out their sister site (also based in Rochester), NachoMama Tees. I promise, you will definitely have a good laugh as you peruse their sites and you will not regret any purchase you make. If you do regret your purchase, all sales are guaranteed to meet your satisfaction, so just let them know what you are unhappy about.

I hope that all of you will take the opportunity to check out Crazy Dog t-shirts and NachoMama Tees. Be sure to fan Crazy Dog on facebook as well to get yourself a 10% off coupon for your first purchase.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

311: Easier than Google

Did you know there is a phone number that has live operators available 24 hours a day to help answer your questions regarding the City government and all the services and amenities offered by the City? Those who live within the Rochester city limits, simply need to dial 311 to reach an operator. Those who live outside the city limits can call (585) 428-5990. There is also a TTY number for those who are hard-of-hearing (585) 428-7600. Translators are also available for those who do not speak English. Generally, the operators are able to answer your questions or guide you through whatever process you are calling about. If they are unable to answer your question themselves, they usually can at least guide you in the right direction. Personally, my husband and I have used the 311 service to find out the zoning and building laws regarding our home, to request an additional recycling box, to request a duplicate water bill, and to find out why our garbage was not picked up one day. Regarding the garbage, it turned out our can was too heavy that week and the operator scheduled a new pick up for the following day.

Although there are operators available 24 hours, please be aware that they are some what restricted in the services offered outside of normal business hours and you may be asked to call back during the day.

This is a free service and there is no charge for calling or for receiving assistance. The call is not free to pay phone users and your cell phone company will still charge you minutes, but Rochester does not charge.