Corning, New York, in the heart of the Finger Lakes, is filled with interesting nooks and crannies for the curious traveler. Of course, there is the requisite gorgeous scenery (lakes, hills, waterfalls) but we also have experience trails, world-class museums, and opportunities for hands-on fun and experiential learning. Visitors come here for the museums, but stay for the special events that can't be found anywhere else.
GlassFest, held May 26-29, 2011, will bring together amazingly talented glass artists from all over the world who will showcase their art on historic Market Street in Corning's Gaffer District. Visitors can spend Saturday and Sunday there for the FireArts Vendor Show. With the street closed to vehicle traffic, explore booths from dozens of regional glass, ceramics, jewelry and metal artists and watch live demonstrations at designated areas along the street. Sidewalk sales and special promotions from Gaffer District businesses will entice shoppers, as will alfresco dining at select Gaffer District restaurants. Nearby in Riverfront Centennial Park live music will fill the air from 7-10 p.m. at the free concert.
It's not just about glass. GlassFest is a celebration of art, creativity, imagination and vision. Each day visitors will be able to participate in activities like Corning's Gaffer District Historic Walking Tour (accessible on your phone), the Make Your Own Glass program at The Studio of The Corning Museum of Glass, and the Tiffany and Treasures Tour (a self-guided adventure for fire-arts lovers). Other GlassFest activities include Finger Lakes wine and craft beer sampling, featuring over 20 wineries and breweries from New York's Finger Lakes Region, complimentary limousine shuttles and collectible wine and beer glasses; and Light Up the Night, an opportunity for local glass artists to exhibit one-of-a-kind contemporary neon sculpture in Riverfront Centennial Park.
2300 Degrees is another wonderful - and free - event for families. These themed events presented throughout the year feature live glassmaking demonstrations by guest artists, live music and great regional fare.
The exciting events presented by the Corning Museum of Glass are merely the icing on the cake. The museum should be the first stop on any visitor's list. Besides their collection of glass art and artifacts (the largest in the world), they also have an Innovation Center where visitors can bend light, bend glass, create their own works of art, and learn about scientific breakthroughs that have changed the world.
Then move on to the Hands-On Glass Studio in Corning where Rodi Rovner, the woman who pioneered the hands-on movement in the U.S., shows visitors how to blow their own glass ornaments. The industrial setting and actual glass furnace setup are fascinating to visitors, and the opportunity to blow glass and watch it form into actual pieces of art is not to be missed.
The Rockwell Museum of Western Art is a must-see, even for those who profess that they "aren't into Western stuff". The paintings, sculptures and exhibits on display depict almost every aspect of the Old West, including works by world-renowned artist Charles Remington. In summer the Rockwell offers "Music, Margaritas and Sunsets on the Terrace". This program features popular musicians, libation and spectacular views from the rooftop terrace overlooking downtown Corning. It's a wonderful way to relax and enjoy the scenic downtown area.
Corning Community College welcomes everyone to the Corning Planetarium and the Eileen M. Collins Observatory. Learn about the spectacular night sky in the planetarium, then walk through the nature preserve to the observatory to identify the constellations through huge telescopes.
Outdoor classes for the adventurous can be taken through Ranger Outfitters.
Outdoor skills such as land navigation with a compass, the techniques of fly fishing, and terrain association and topography bring outdoor lovers to a whole new level of accomplishment.
One standout adventure visitors will love is the Chocolate Trail, the Gaffer District's epicurean delight that introduces chocolate lovers to a wide variety of treats at participating downtown businesses. Besides delicious fudge, pecan balls, brownies and cookies, visitors will also find cocoa butter massages, chocolate pipe tobacco, and chocolate keratin shampoo, among many other unusual chocolate offerings. And there's an app for that!
In addition to the history of how Corning became known as the Crystal City, visitors will enjoy the architectural diversity of the buildings, the unique shops and boutiques, the many restaurants that offer food experiences from around the world, and the arts and crafts aspect of thedowntown area.
Popular activities include:
. Workshops on stamping, card making and other crafts at The Crafting
. Unleashing the creativity inside by painting one of over 400
different pottery pieces at Earth Paint and Fire Studio, Corning.
. Working on jewelry and beading projects at SoulShine Studio.
. Checking out the locally made soaps, lotions and other goodies at
. Trying one's hand at the exquisite art of stained glass making at
Stained Glass Works and Antiques.
. Watching master craftsmen at work up close at Vitrix Hot Glass
Studio, where the glass ovens roar just a few feet from where you stand!
. Learning the secrets of making paella.or most anything.at the
Saturday culinary classes at 171 Cedar Arts Center.
One of the other reasons to love Corning is the chance to relax and play - your way. Whether it'sice skating at the Nasser Civic Center, playing golf at one of the area's great courses or creating a very personal piece of art, you'll find exactly what you were looking for. Call the getaway experts toll free in US and Canada at 1-866-946-3386. They will welcome you to Corning with a vacation you will never forget.
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Finger Lakes tourism & sightseeing