Tag Archives: The Rabbit Room

Looking Back and Looking Forward

30 Apr

On this wet, last day of April in upstate NY,  I’m pleased to recall an assortment of fun recent events and to forget snow for now, while enjoying the blossoming wild flowers.  Crimson and white trillium brightened my morning last week at a favorite hiking spot.

Trillium bud.

Trillium bud.

Mother Nature offered a bit of warmth and sunshine before many April showers. The peepers came out to close our Saturday barbeque with song, while a hazy moon sat high above our campfire and wooded pond.  We shook off our social skills like our warmer weather clothes, only to retreat once again indoors.

One wet morning I happened upon the Montezuma Audubon Center on Rte. 89 north of Savannah.  My pup and I explored a new hiking trail that looped around north of the center.  Our curiosity was heightened as we looked around each bend, through the trees, at the forest floor and up at the sky.  Our impromptu visit was so refreshing that the center and its grounds may be one of my new favorite places! This Saturday, May 3, a Wildlife Festival will be held at the Montezuma Audubon Center.  Live animals including a Bald Eagle named Liberty will help attendees learn more about wildlife. Find out more details here.

My tolerance for weather may be much greater than many others.  Winter hikes and rainy treks are a reality for some, for others such experiences are far from fun.  Plans for a beach cleanup, 4OG,  along the shore of Lake Ontario were postponed due to rain.  Hopefully a bit of sun and warmer weather will make our event more fun for the little ones and their parents.  Many thanks to GreenStar Co-op for their financial support! It only seems natural to feed volunteers who come together to clean our shores.  GreenStar is committed to sustainability and our local food system.  Apples from Little Tree Orchard in Newfield, filled my basket and I was awarded 2 wooden nickels for bringing my own bags.  I tossed the tokens in bins marked with the names of local charities.  I know the Cayuga Dog Rescue scored 5 cents that trip.

Excursions around the region have offered as much variety as the weather patterns.  “Lean Forward,” a digital art show at The Mill Art Center and Gallery, entranced me with the breadth of techniques and subjects.  Long-time fans of digital art will appreciate the advanced techniques and sentiments expressed via digital media in this show.  A second and third visit are high on my list of things to do.  Dinner at The Rabbit Room made this show’s opening reception even more rewarding.  The Parisienne gnocchi is one of my favorite dishes anywhere.

Ryan William Vineyard was also an unexpected stop yet I am quite thankful to have visited this farm winery on the south-eastern side of Seneca Lake.  The wines offer complexity and flavor that hint at the care given to both the grapes and wine production process. The Late Harvest Riesling amazed with apricot flavor and residual sugar near 17%!  This wine does well in the bottle, making it a wise choice for special occasions.

There is so much to be enjoyed in the Finger Lakes! What are you looking forward to as summer nears?


Tea Time at The Rabbit Room, Annual Mad Hatter Tea Party Mania

16 Feb
James DeMarco striking a pose in his handmade hat.

James DeMarco striking a pose in his handmade hat.

Tamara Stopinksi knows how to throw a tea party! This past Sunday, I entered The Lower Mill in Honeoye Falls, with a feeling of wonder, after following a queen bedecked in black and red with very high silver heels, from the parking area.  Inside, costumes ranged from ridiculous to traditional brunch attire.  The bartender’s ears were ten inches long, the hostess wore a mustache and lime green pants while others were dressed as specific characters from Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis C. Carroll. Alison DeMarco was stunning as the Snow Princess, reigning over a court of Mad Hatters.

Brunch at The Rabbit Room surpassed my many Sunday excursions into breakfast at lunch time.  This annual event infused the cold February morning with zaniness and flavor.  My weakness for French Toast didn’t stand a chance with the Wonderland French Toast! Made with chocolate chip bread and donned in maple syrup, the toast had a slight chipotle kick that balanced perfectly with the accompanying strawberries and pineapple.  A spicy bloody Mary complimented the meal while The Ghost Peppers played nearby, in full costume.

Loose-leaf teas were sipped from fine china tea cups before visiting the upstairs.  At this point, I felt a bit like Alice, with few assumptions, and no idea what I might encounter next.

Artisans had arranged their creations in a crescent shape around the outer walls of the gallery.  Featured artists included Amy Brand, Pam Nakoski of Vintage Soul, Amy Borelli and Janet Zorhorsky. Tamara, the owner of Talulah’s Fancy and Friends, was cheerfully moving about her shop and the gallery as she helped guests and greeted friends.  This Sunday was the 4th Annual Mad Hatter Tea Party and marked the anniversary of her store opening.  The first party was documented beautifully in the Autumn 2012 issue of the national magazine, “Where Women Create” with photographs of Nancy Wiley’s Wonderland inspired creations and the acclaimed doll artist’s

Little Red Riding Hood. By The Brothers Grimm, Illustrated by Nancy Wiley

Little Red Riding Hood. By The Brothers Grimm, Illustrated by Nancy Wiley

interpretation of Little Red Riding Hood.  Mrs. Stopinski looks forward to the appearance of Ms. Wiley’s Cinderella next year at the 5th Annual Tea Party.

Amy Brand’s felt creations, Sweet Pea Felts, continue to steal many hearts! Her interpretations of animals melt away winter blues and conjure images of bliss and wonder.  Her scenes seem to capture moments in the lives of her characters, be it a chipmunk with his acorn or a fox busy painting at his easel.  Cards, characters and 2 dimensional pieces offer a variety of options for her fans, new and old.  Like Ms. Wiley, Amy Brand’s passion for her craft and creations nearly guarantees we will see more from her.

As The Mill Art Center and Gallery and the inhabitants of The Lower Mill attract artists and patrons alike, events like the annual Mad Hatter Tea Party will amaze and inspire.  Many thanks to Talulah’s Fancy for providing a fun, festive family friendly activity during this cold and gray time of year in upstate New York!

Eagle Crest Vineyards, A Destination to Discover

5 Jun

A recent trip to Eagle Crest Vineyards was a bounty for the senses.  My GPS made the journey more difficult than necessary, taking me on winding gravel roads, rather than the direct main route.  Oftentimes, the indirect route is much more interesting than “the right way.”  It certainly made my arrival at the winery even more exciting.

Lisa was my gracious hostess.  We concentrated on the important business at hand, otherwise, the day may easily have slipped away in the picturesque setting high above Hemlock Lake.

Questions are the mainstay of conversations in tasting rooms throughout the region.  Climate, topography, travel information, tasting notes and history are all details requested of vineyard staff.  We covered all of those familiar topics and moved deeper into hydrofracking politics and possibilities in the area around the vineyard especially.

Eagle Crest recently had their largest event yet, a “Wine and Wood Fired Pizza Letter-Writing Party,” culminating in 350 hand written letters being sent to NY State authorities.  Their aim? “…to send a voluminous and clear message to the State to PROTECT and PRESERVE the Hemlock-Canadice Lake Watershed.”

As Eagle Crest draws awareness to the need to preserve the pristine lakes beside them, they also pay homage to their history, as one of the oldest vineyards in the Finger Lakes.  Originally founded by a Bishop, the Oh-Neda label began 140 years ago! To celebrate this anniversary, Eagle Crest Vineyards has recently released a Premiere Reserve Cabernet Franc, with the Oh-Neda label.

It all comes together at Eagle Crest.  Not far from the tasting room, The Nature Conservancy’s bright yellow-orange signs announce a nature preserve.  Perched above Hemlock Lake, 2 of New York’s oldest pairs of bald eagles nest.

Not only is this vineyard and winery a special place, but the owners are friendly and generous. Keep in mind the bottles of Semi- Dry Riesling and Premiere Reserve Cabernet Franc as our silent auction and opening reception draw near.

Eagle Crest Vineyards will be in Clayton, NY the evening of June 13th but the tasting room is usually open Monday -Friday 12-5 but it is always a good idea to check their event calendar.

June 22nd will be the first of 3 Grape Jamm events this summer.  Eagle Crest will host an open jam for musicians, offer featured guests, free wine tastings and bottle sales.  Area artists and craftspersons will be on hand with unique items for sale. “Thirst for Art” painting classes will also be available for a fee. Reserve your chance to paint on records in an outdoor classroom setting in the western Finger Lakes.