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Vintage wheels to roll into town for Nash car show July 22

By Joanne Beck
Nash Car Club when in Batavia 2013
Nash Car Club vehicle during a 2013 visit to Batavia area during a club event. Photo from club website.

If you happen to be out and about for a nosh next weekend, you may also want to check out the Nash that will be in town.

Nash Car Club of America that is. Some 100 cars circa 1918 to 1957 are expected to roll into Batavia on July 18 and stay through the week, with a car show on July 22 at Quality Inn and Suites, 8250 Park Road, Batavia.

As much as Genesee County’s Chamber of Commerce boasts good food and restaurants on its website, so too does the agency promote car clubs that apparently enjoy visiting this area, from early Ford V-8 Club and ’66 Chevrolet Impala to a WNY motorcycle rally and NYS Motor Truck Association.

The Nash Car Club first traveled this way in 2009 and made its last stop in 2013. Led by organizer Ken Day, the group is heading here again with approximately 200 people driving in from various points throughout the region and from out of state, hosted by Nash Car Clubs of the Niagara Frontier, Mid-Atlantic and Ohio Penn regions, Kelly Rapone, the chamber’s tourism director, said

“The Chamber will be providing an area visitor guide, dining guide and suggested area attractions to visit,” she said. “We will also be right next door and open for their guests for recommendations.”

Day has been involved in the organization for 23 years and has served as club president for the past nine of those, he said. He became involved after he found his first Nash — a 1937 Ambassador 6.

“I had no idea about Nashes, but it was a pretty cool car. I joined the club for parts and information sources,” he said. “I then started meeting people who were in the club. One fellow in particular, John Palese from Naples, became a very dear friend and invited us to local events and eventually to the national event. 

“I have met so many people who have become a very important part of my life, friends who I only get to see maybe once a year but are closer to me than people I have known a lifetime. It’s crazy what a common interest will do to draw people together,” he said. “My wife Derah and I became officers in the Club to help promote the Club and for the sheer enjoyment of being involved.

This is the 52nd annual gathering, and because the 1954 Nash and Hudson merged to become American Motors, organizers also invited the Hudson and MAC clubs to join in for the event, Day said. 

“Anyone with a car, not a member, is also welcome; the more, the merrier. It is a free event to the public and we welcome all spectators. There will be parts vending as well,” he said. “During the week, we will be traveling through Western New York and enjoying various sights and sounds. We are expecting upwards of 100 vehicles, but as is with any car show, weather plays a huge factor.”

So why might one want to visit the event in Batavia on July 22?
“People will want to visit because these are not your everyday car show vehicles. In fact, I would be surprised if any show up at local events, certainly not in the variety we will showcase. Our members are very willing to talk about their vehicles and the history involved. The story of Charles Nash (Nash Motors founder) is truly an American rags to riches success story,” Day said. “In years past we have had members offer rides around the parking lot to people who were interested. I cannot promise that for this event, but it could happen.”

For more information about the club, go to Nash Car Club.

A 1929 Nash that was part of the 2013 Nash Car Club event in Batavia in 2013. 
Photo from the club's website.
Nash Car Club vehicles during an event in 2013 in the Batavia area. 
Photo from the club website.

Chamber of Commerce announces expanded Barn Quilt Trail of Le Roy

By Press Release


Press release:

The Genesee County Chamber of Commerce is pleased to announce that it has updated and expanded the Barn Quilt Trail of Le Roy, in cooperation with Le Roy Historian Lynne Belluscio and the Le Roy Historical Society, by launching a new website and new self-guided trail brochure.

The original 2012 Barn Quilt Trail began as a bicentennial project for the Town of Le Roy, with the first being painted in 2011 at the annual Oatka Festival. In the following 10 months, the trail surpassed its goal of 25, with over 70 barn quilts being painted and erected.

Today, the trail features a collection of over 100 hand-painted barn quilts along four driving tours in and around LeR oy. Explore the scenic countryside while spotting each unique barn quilt that’s displayed on an array of barns, garages, homes and other outbuildings. Each quilt pattern has a story to tell, and these stories, along with full size images, can be found on the new website.

Barn Quilts are known to drive heritage tourism for rural communities as visitors search out authentic experiences that represent the stories and people, past and present, of the area. For Genesee County, the barn quilts have come to represent the pride shared by the people of LeRoy, a town with a rich agricultural heritage, deep appreciation of its history and immense pride in family heritage.

The Barn Quilt Trail expansion is supported through the Tourism Matching Funds program, administered by Empire State Development and I LOVE NY, New York State's Division of Tourism. 

The Chamber invites everyone to explore the trail and discover the beauty and history of the area. The brochure can be requested online at or picked up at the Chamber’s Visitor Center at 8276 Park Road in Batavia. This, and other local brochures, can be found in our vestibule, which is open 24 hours a day, seven days a week. It will also be available in LeRoy this spring at the Town Hall, Village Hall, McDonald’s, The D&R Depot Restaurant, JELL-O Gallery Museum and the Woodward Memorial Library. Watch for special Barn Quilts programming at the Woodward Memorial Library this spring.

Fairfield Inn hosts grand opening for Federal Drive location

By Howard B. Owens


Genesee County Chamber of Commerce helped the new Fairfield Inn by Marriott celebrate its opening Thursday with a ribbon-cutting outside of the new hotel.

The project was pursued by the Chase Hotel Group with assistance from local investors and project managers. Planning started four years ago but was often delayed by issues related to the pandemic. 

The hotel, at 4333 Federal Drive, Batavia, is designed to offer slightly more upscale accommodations to travelers.

The four-story hotel contains sixty-four rooms, including king and queen suites and double rooms for families. Amenities include an indoor pool, breakfast area, and fitness room.

Photos and information courtesy of the Genesee County Chamber of Commerce.


Chamber announces new tourism website

By Press Release

Press release:

The Genesee County Chamber of Commerce, acting as the official Tourism Promotion Agency for Genesee County, is pleased to announce the completion of a new Genesee County tourism website. is the “go-to” online resource for all things tourism, hospitality, recreation and special events in Genesee County.

 The well-established site provides a digital presence for nearly 400 tourism-related businesses in Genesee County.  Each business has a landing page including business contact information, hours of operation, a description of goods or services and image gallery.  The site curates the content, so if a business is included in a blog, has events on the calendar or offers packages, the information is also displayed on the landing page – tying together all of the information that is displayed in various sections of the website. A requested custom feature on all business pages is the “What’s Nearby” filtering capability.   Users can see by distance, tourism-related businesses and filter to display the results based on type of attractions, restaurants and/or lodging.

The Chamber maintains an extensive county-wide (tourism-related) events calendar, which features over 400 events year-round, ranging from theater and arts workshops, outdoor nature programs, history-related or agritourism events, live racing and more.  A submission button is provided for area event coordinators to add their events as they become finalized.   In the coming days, the Chamber will also be announcing information on the live music section of the website (which can be easily found at

The site also includes information for event planners, tour operators, an in-depth collection of county-wide sports venues and more.  It was designed by Chamber member Corporate Communications located in Rochester, and replaces the 2017 site which they also created.

We encourage you to use bookmark as a resource for area businesses, as well as for year-round things to do with family and friends.

Chamber announces release of new tourism guide for 2022

By Press Release


Press Release:

The Genesee County Chamber of Commerce is pleased to announce today’s release of the 2022 Genesee County Visitors Guide. In total 80,000 guides will be distributed throughout New York State, Ontario Canada, and neighboring states, highlighting all Genesee County has to offer.

The tourism industry was hit hard by the pandemic, but the Chamber is confident that Genesee County’s 2nd leading industry will have a strong return in 2022.  “This year’s visitor guide is a reflection of what we’ve experienced these past 24 months as a destination marketing organization,” said Kelly Rapone, Tourism Director at the Chamber. “Because of pandemic limitations and temporary closures of major attractions and large events, our messaging naturally shifted to highlighting opportunities to explore our quaint communities, experience our outdoor dining, nature parks & recreation,” she said. You’ll see this reflected on this year’s cover, which beautifully captures the essence of one of our welcoming communities - Le Roy. The main image features Farmer’s Creekside Tavern & Inn and depicts a relaxing experience that awaits in Genesee County.  Elyse VanZile is credited with capturing this beautiful picture. 

This cover is going to appeal to a broader travel market segment than what has historically been presented. To further compliment that, the Chamber will be shining a bright spotlight on our live music scene. Featured inside, you will see a page highlighting, a new webpage that will launch in the coming weeks as part of an overall tourism website redesign.  From restaurants that feature acoustic artists, to bars and taverns with live music, local outdoor concert series and more, Genesee is in fact jamming!  The Chamber tourism staff has been working with local destinations, and area bands to promote nearly 100 live music events this year.   

Additional features this year include:

  • Six Flags Darien Lake is investing in the park again this year with the addition of a massive new water attraction, Wahoo Wave, an adrenaline-packed adventure sending riders into near vertical motions to experience extended hang times and zero g-forces. Also new the park’s lodging is offering flexible stay options, with park admission being sold separately. Go from “room to zoom” at their rustic Lodge on the Lake Hotel, cabins, guest houses, RV’s or campsites. 
  • A feature on Ely S. Parker’s commemoration by the United States Mint to be featured on the 2022 Native American Dollar Coin.
  • Six pages highlighting our top outdoor nature assets, from the Iroquois National Wildlife Refuge, The Bergen Swamp and more.

The digital version of the visitor guide can be viewed here.  Visitors may request a free copy of the brochure on our website. Area residents that would like a copy can stop by the Chamber’s Visitor Center at 8276 Park Road in Batavia beginning Tuesday, March 2nd.  This, and other local brochures can be found in our vestibule, which is open 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

GLOW tourism: New regional 'Fresh Air Adventures' program will showcase NY's Falls to Finger Lakes

By Press Release

Press release:

Warsaw -- Genesee, Livingston, Orleans and Wyoming counties are excited to launch a new regional tourism program – “Fresh Air Adventures – New York’s Falls to the Finger Lakes.”

This is a refresh of the successful long-running Country Byways of Greater Niagara and the Finger Lakes program, which has existed for more than 25 years and has given the GLOW counties collaborative capabilities to leverage our unique rural towns and villages, collective attractions and prime location between Niagara Falls and the Finger Lakes.

The goals of Fresh Air Adventures are to encourage travel to our world-class attractions, discover our quaint towns and villages, and experience all that our great region has to offer.

The initiative includes a new comprehensive website ( designed by Corporate Communications based out of Rochester, as well as Facebook and Instagram (@FreshAirAdventuresNY) platforms.

Each of these digital tools will provide tourists a wealth of valuable information, including outdoor recreation experiences, culinary and craft beverage fare, overnight accommodations, events, adventure ideas/itineraries, interactive maps and trip-planning capabilities.

Fresh Air Adventures, as part of New York Empire State Development’s I LOVE NY program, will continue Country Byways work of marketing approximately 1,000 GLOW tourism businesses.

As we navigate the COVID-19 pandemic, our marketing will shift to NYS travelers and once the pandemic is over, we will resume marketing to national and international leisure and group tour travelers and those passing along major routes traveling to Buffalo, Niagara Falls USA/Canada and the Finger Lakes from places like New York City, Toronto, Canada and elsewhere within a six-hour drive.

This visitation is critical to our area economy and the sustainability of our small business community. Tourists spend more than $238 million in the GLOW region each year, which translates to $28 million in sales tax dollars, over $15 million of which remains local so the GLOW counties can improve the quality of life for residents.

Along with the Fresh Air Adventures moniker, includes a new logo that features earth-tone colors, adventurous fonts, the profile of New York State to give visitors a sense of location/place, and clever touches like a bird in flight and a waypoint marker dotting the “i” in AIR – adding to the explorative nature of the brand.

The tagline, “New York’s Falls to Finger Lakes” adds to the intrigue, playing on internationally renowned outdoor landmarks like Niagara Falls, the major waterfalls in Letchworth State Park and the Finger Lakes.

“Fresh Air Adventures tells tourists exactly what they can expect when they visit our region,” said Eric Szucs, Wyoming County Tourism director. “We have a spacious, safe, and beautiful natural setting, so the GLOW Counties collaborated to build this incredible program supported by a comprehensive website and social media platforms.

"In doing so, we can share the outdoor experiences and uniqueness of our rural villages and the small businesses that make up our communities. It’s an incredible way to connect so many outdoor landmarks like Lake Ontario, Letchworth State Park and the Finger Lakes.” 

“In 2020 people were forced to rethink their travel plans,” said Dawn L. Borchert, Orleans County Tourism director. “Many had to forfeit air travel to exotic locations and be creative with road trips.

"Fresh Air Adventures is a great tool to plot out a stimulating excursion off the ‘beaten path’, especially while driving from the metropolitan area of New York City to Niagara Falls. They will be pleasantly surprised as to the family friendly towns and villages along the route, as well as the wide open spaces that Letchworth State Park, the Erie Canal and Lake Ontario have to offer.”

“The Genesee County Chamber of Commerce is pleased to continue the long-standing collaboration between our tourism offices in promoting our great region." said Kelly Rapone, Genesee County Tourism Marketing director.

"Each county has a unique set of offerings that once packaged together offer visitors a wide range of activities to experience all within a one-hour radius. Working together, we are also able to enhance our individual marketing reach.”

“A regional collaboration connecting ‘Falls to the Finger Lakes’ stands to benefit the hundreds of small businesses through the region that cater to and delight tourists year-round,” said Laura Lane, president & CEO of the Livingston County Chamber of Commerce.

“Travelers looking for Fresh Air Adventures will surely delight as they make their way throughout the GLOW region counties and enjoy the multitude of experiences coupled with an array of complementary shopping, dining and indoor explorations. Livingston County appreciates working with our neighboring counties to truly connect New York’s Falls to Finger Lakes -- creating a memorable vacation experience.”

Fresh Air Adventures is a regional tourism program between Genesee, Livingston, Orleans and Wyoming counties official tourism promotion agencies, dedicated to promoting our rich tourism assets, while working collaboratively to create an environment that leads to the success and economic prosperity of the GLOW Region through visitor spending.

For more information, please call (800) 622-2686 or visit the website at:

NY Sea Grant offers 'for-hire' boating industry with decals to encourage clean & safe practices during COVID-19

By Billie Owens

Submitted image and press release:

Oswego -- New York Sea Grant (NYSG) is providing New York State's freshwater marine industry for-hire boating sector with a series of six decals to encourage public compliance with boating-specific COVID-19 safety precautions.

The outreach is part of the 2020 edition of NYSG's nationally recognized Discover Clean and Safe Boating campaign. 

The decals will adhere to boat surfaces to note "Mask Required," "Use Sanitizer," "Wear It" with a life jacket symbol, and "Keep Personal Belongings Personal"; others have a blank line to write a name with an erasable marker to designate person-specific areas aboard the vessel for each individual's fishing pole or diving gear.

There is no cost for the decals for qualified for-hire boating businesses.

The captains or business owners of charter services, boat rentals, tour boats, and boats for-hire for leisure cruising, fishing, or diving in New York State may request decals by emailing business name, postal address, and telephone number to Details will be returned on the number of each style of decal available while supplies last.

Printable templates of the decals are available to download for print-on-demand  

"This new outreach for 2020 is aimed at maintaining the opportunity to be on New York's fabulous boating waters for both the public and the marine industry that is an essential economic driver for our coastal communities," said New York Sea Grant Coastal Recreation and Tourism specialist Dave White. "This project draws inspiration from a marine industry theme from the 1990s that fits today: 'Boating in New York is good, clean fun... let's keep it that way.' "

For additional information on boating in New York in 2020, with CDC and New York State COVID-19 guidelines, and a link to the Marine Retailers Association of the Americas' Guide to Operating Your Boat Business Safely during COVID-19, visit

Six Flags Darien Lake hiring for 1,000 jobs as it prepares to reopen

By Billie Owens

Press release:

Darien Center -- In anticipation of safely reopening at the appropriately deemed time, and following the direction outlined by civic leaders, State Officials, health professionals, epidemiologists, and industry experts around the world, Six Flags Darien Lake, the Thrill Capital of New York, is currently seeking qualified individuals to fill more than 1,000 positions in various departments as it prepares to reopen for the 2020 season.

An official reopening date for Six Flags Darien Lake is to be determined.

Six Flags Darien Lake has established cleanliness, health, and safety standards that meet federal, state, and local guidelines.

“We have taken necessary precautions to ensure everyone who comes to work this season can feel safe while providing the thrills and joy families have come to love here at the park,” said Park President Chris Thorpe. “We have made many changes to our operation to reduce touch points, ensure social distancing and reduce risk of contamination or transmission.”  

Team Member Care & Health Screenings

  • Each employee will receive a health screening before entering the park, including temperature checks and individuals will be asked if they are healthy and will be required to acknowledge the company’s health policies;
  • Frontline team members will go through extensive COVID-19 training;
  • All employees will be issued Team Member Action Packs which will include: a safety face mask, safety glasses, and disposable gloves;
  • Regular cleaning and wiping down of team members workspaces.

The above procedures will be constantly evaluated to ensure compliance with state recommendations.

The park will be conducting virtual interviews with qualified candidates. You must be at least 14 years old to apply.

Candidates can apply online at to schedule an interview.

Available positions include:

  • Admissions & Guest Relations
  • Food Services
  • Ride Operators
  • Human Resources
  • Park Services
  • Games
  • Retail
  • Marketing & Sales
  • Accommodations/Lodging
  • Lifeguards
  • Emergency Medical Technicians (EMT)
  • Maintenance
  • Security
  • Warehouse
  • Cash Control

One of the largest employers in Western New York, Six Flags Darien Lake offers competitive pay, free admission with your employee ID, free tickets for friends and family and more

About Six Flags Darien Lake

Six Flags Darien Lake’s wide variety of entertainment and top-notch thrill rides has made it the Coaster Capital of New York since 1964. Located 45 minutes from Niagara Falls between Buffalo and Rochester, today the park boasts more than 50 rides, including seven world-class roller coasters, dozens of family rides, the region’s largest water park and a 20,000-seat amphitheater operated by Live Nation.

About Six Flags Entertainment Corporation

Six Flags Entertainment Corporation is the world’s largest regional theme park company and the largest operator of waterparks in North America, with 26 parks across the United States, Mexico and Canada. For 58 years, Six Flags has entertained millions of families with world-class coasters, themed rides, thrilling waterparks and unique attractions. For more information, visit

Drop in Chinese tourism takes a small toll on local revenue

By Howard B. Owens


First, it was the trade war, now it's novel coronavirus knocking down tourism dollars just a bit in Genesee County.

It's not a huge impact, but Chinese tourists passing through the area as they travel between New York City and Niagara Falls have helped fill up hotel rooms and generate local dining and shopping revenue. 

In 2019, that changed as the trade war meant fewer travel visas were issued to Chinese citizens. In April, there were 5.4 percent fewer rooms booked in local hotels. In May, there was a 7.4 percent drop, 12.3 percent in June, and a little less than 2 percent in July and August. In September, there were 14.1 percent fewer rooms booked.

Many tour companies consider Batavia an attractive location for an overnight stay because the room rates are lower than closer to Niagara Falls, said Kelly Rapone, director of tourism for the Chamber of Commerce.

With fewer visas issued, there were a lot fewer buses stopping outside the Chinese restaurants in Valu Plaza and the BJ's plaza.  

There was also a drop in guests at the visitors center on Park Road.

"We did not see as many Chinese taking pictures in our yard," Rapone told the Ways and Means Committee on Wednesday during a department review.

In February, hotel bookings are already projected to be down 20 percent as tour cancellations mount because of the outbreak of coronavirus in China.

"It's funny how something on the other side of the world, such as this coronavirus, could affect us in little old Genesee County," said Chamber President Tom Turnbull.

It's too soon to say how much revenue from the bed tax will drop for 2019, but Rapone said today it could be from 1 to 3 percent.

One wild card is hotel and cabin stays at Darien Lake, which accounts for a third of the county's bed tax. But Darien Lake isn't part of the national industry reporting system the Chamber uses to track hotel occupancy (which is a leading indicator for projected bed tax because that revenue won't be collected and tabulated for a couple of months yet).

"(2018) was so high that a small drop (in 2019) isn't going to seem that bad," Rapone said.

Only once in the past 20 years, Turnbull said, has the county failed to hit its bed tax target.

The drop in Chinese tourists could have an even bigger economic impact throughout the state. Chinese tourists tend to say longer and spend more than many other international travelers. Turnbull noted that the Chinese are only allowed to bring $10,000 in U.S. currency and they are intent on spending every last penny of that money during their visit.

April's hotel occupancy rate was also hurt when a weekend soccer tournament was rained out.

In other tourism developments:

  • The state is reducing "I Love New York" grants to local tourism bureaus by $500,000, which will mean about $9,000 less for Genesee County. 
  • The restoration of the Thompson Rocket Car is nearing completion. The Chamber continues to work on trying to find a temporary and a permanent home for it once the work is done. Rapone expects it to be a tourist attraction for auto enthusiasts. There are plans in the works to take it to an auto show in Syracuse this summer.
  • The chamber's golf package continues to sell well, with Canadians buying more than 90 percent of the golf packages. The new hotel at Batavia Downs has become popular with golfers. Batavia Downs offers free shuttles to golfers to all of their golf courses. It's a good deal for Batavia Downs, Turnbull said. "Think about it -- the sun has to go down sometime and they have the restaurants, the racing, and the casino right there."

Photo: Kelly Rapone shows members of the County Legislature a mock-up of the next edition of the tourism guide.

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Blue Knights Tri-State Conference to be held in Batavia Columbus Day Weekend

By Billie Owens

Press release:

Genesee County is set to welcome 150 members of Blue Knights New York IV, who will converge on Batavia over the Columbus Day weekend to attend the Blue Knights International Convention and the Tri-State Conference.

While in the area the group is working with area businesses to provide food, drink and entertainment to the attendees. They are returning to Batavia for the first time since 2014 and their event will leave an estimated $40,000 economic impact to the area.

Blue Knights New York IV was founded in 1986 by a small group of NYS Corrections officers from Groveland Correctional Facility in Sonyea in Livingston County. Since that time, NY IV has grown to become a vibrant part of the Blue Knights organization.  

The current members come from all facets of the law enforcement community consisting of active and retired members from city, town and village police, county sheriffs, New York State Police (including BCI), New York State Parole and State Corrections. These officers have ranks all the way from chief of oolice to entry level officer.  

With a general 50-mile radius of the original Groveland -- Sonyea Charter address, NY IV stretches along the Interstate 390 corridor from the shores of Lake Ontario to the Southern Tier. Their area covers Allegany, Genesee, Livingston, Monroe, Orleans, Ontario, Stueben, Wayne, and Wyoming counties.

Their activities and accomplishments equal that of much larger chapters. Throughout Blue Knights lifetime, New York IV has organized or participated in charity events for the American Cancer Society, United Cerebral Palsey, the Kali Poulton Research Foundation, Ronald McDonald House, the Association for Retarded Citizens (ARC), Strong Memorial Hospital's Children's Center, and for Lifetime Assistance Inc. 

NY IV was also a sponsoring chapter of the Attica -- 9/11 Memorial Ride conducted by NY 8 for five years, which memorializes those slain corrections officers from the 1971 Attica Prison riot and all those officers killed in the line of duty throughout the country and in particular at the Sept. 11th tragedy in NYC. 

Following the termination of the Attica Ride event, NY IV was then a sponsoring club for several years of Operation Patriot. This event honored all law enforcement, firefighters, EMS and military and was held on the 9/11 Weekend. In the past, they have supported the Genesee Valley Chapter of C.O.P.S. and a Christmas in July Toy Ride to benefit the Golisano Children's Center at Strong Memorial Hospital. This event brings hundreds of toys to the hospitalized children at a time of year when many are forgotten.

Genesee County Chamber of Commerce earns two Tourism Excellence awards

By Billie Owens

Pictured: Kelly Rapone, GC Chamber of Commerce Tourism Marketing director and Lauren Humphrey, Tourism Program liaison.

Submitted photos and press release:

AUBURN -- The Genesee County Chamber of Commerce is pleased to announce that their tourism staff and programs have earned Tourism Excellence awards at this year’s New York State Travel Industry Association (NYSTIA), annual Tourism Excellence Awards held in Auburn Sept. 26-27th

The New York State Tourism Industry Association recognizes leaders in New York State's tourism industry who have achieved a high level of excellence and accomplishment with the Tourism Excellence Awards.

Individuals and organizations are selected from nominees that have demonstrated commitment, leadership, and accomplishment in the travel and tourism sector from Jan. 1, 2018 to May 31, 2019.

Kelly Rapone, Tourism Marketing director, was selected to be the inaugural recipient of the NYSTA Leadership Award, which is intended to recognize a NYSTIA member whose achievements as a tourism professional are matched by both their personal stewardship and leadership on behalf of both New York State Tourism in general and the membership of NYSTIA in particular. 

“Kelly’s tourism marketing efforts have earned numerous awards, and she is quick to think outside the box to develop initiatives like the Haunted History Trail that engage and benefit many other New York State destinations," said Christine Hoffer, NYSTIA’s chief operating officer.

"At the same time, she dedicates countless hours of her personal time and motivates others to follow her example through her leadership of the NYSTIA’s DONY scholarship auction committee, involving dozens of members and contributors.

"In addition, during 2018 and 2019, Kelly’s personal commitment was vital to the successful documentation and report preparation for NYSTIA’s Market NY grants, which benefited the over 30 NYSTIA members who participated in the BrandUSA campaign."

The Chamber also received a Niche Marketing Excellence Award for their popular golf packaging program.

Developed in 2006 to bridge the “booking gap” for consumers, the Chamber partnered with several courses and hotels to build packages which were then promoted primarily in Southern Ontario. In 2017 the tourism office launched a social media ad campaign to increase their reach.

By May 2018 the program had already booked more than double it had done in the 12-year program history and increased their new customer bookings by 60 percent.

“This year’s Tourism Excellence Award winners have and will continue to take New York State’s tourism industry to new levels of success, driving economic growth across the state," Bob Provost, NYSTIA president and CEO. "These awards recognize tourism professionals not only for their creative marketing programs, but also for their passion and commitment to their communities."

Le Roy and Batavia residents get free admission to GV Country Village & Museum in Mumford this weekend

By Billie Owens

Submitted photos and press release:

Over the this coming Labor Day weekend, Aug. 31 through Sept. 2, Genesee Country Village & Museum in Mumford will offer its neighbors a sweet deal: free admission for residents of Le Roy and Batavia (as well as Caledonia, Mumford, Scottsville and Avon).

Residents of those communities need only show proof of residency (i.e. ZIP Code) to get in for free, including on Labor Day when the Museum celebrates its Hop Harvest Festival.

In addition, a shuttle bus will run from Buffalo and Batavia to the Museum and back on Monday, offering a safe and convenient way for people to enjoy the day.

The bus will stop at the Williamsville AAA office and Batavia Downs Gaming & Hotel before heading to GCV&M in the morning, then return on the same route for afternoon drop-offs.

Bus reservations are required and there is a $10 fee for bus tickets, allowing visitors to relax and enjoy Hop Harvest and all the tastings on offer. Details can be found on the Museum’s website,

As one of New York State’s original cash crops, hops are enjoying a revival with the burgeoning craft beer industry that’s been thriving locally. During the Hop Harvest Festival on Labor Day, the Museum will take visitors on a tour of hop history, and provide a taste of the present day with their own signature craft brews, created from historical recipes and brewed locally by CB Craft Brewers.

Visitors to the Museum can tour the only working 19th-century brewery in the United States and see the hops being harvested on site. In addition to the signature Fat Ox and Intrepid Ales on tap, there will be beer-inspired food tastings on hand throughout the village, as well as demonstrations and crafts all related to the theme of hops and history.

For families, games and sack races make for a fun day for all ages, plus a walk down to visit the farm animals is always a popular option. In the John L. Wehle Gallery, two exhibits are currently running, the popular "Victoria’s Closet" and the engaging "Working Like a Dog."

Genesee Country Village & Museum is open from 10 a.m. – 4 p.m. Tuesday-Sunday, plus Labor Day.

Presale tickets for Hop Harvest are discounted $2 each when purchased through the Museum website for a reduced cost of $20 adults/$17 seniors/$17 college students/$12 youth/free for children 3 and under. GCV&M members receive free admission.

Support for the Hop Harvest Festival provided by Market NY through I LOVE NY/New York State’s Division of Tourism as a part of the Regional Economic Development Council awards. This event is also generously sponsored by Tomkins Bank of Castile.

About GCV&M

It is the largest living history museum in New York State with the largest collection of historic buildings in the Northeast. The Museum, with its John L. Wehle Gallery, working brewery, vintage baseball park, and Nature Center, is located in Mumford, 20 miles southwest of Rochester and 45 miles east of Buffalo. Visit for more information.

Top photo: Grieves Brewery at work, courtesy of Loyd Heath.

Bottom photo: Visitors at the farm, courtesy of Ruby Foote.

'I Love NY' selfie sign may offer a new photo op for Genesee County visitors

By Lauren Leone

A new proposal was brought before the Ways & Means Committee on Wednesday for an I Love New York selfie sign on the lawn outside the Genesee County Chamber of Commerce & Visitors Center at 8276 Park Road, Batavia.

It's one of the most recognizable logos of New York State. The iconic “I Love New York” letters and bright red heart are frequently seen on tourist souvenirs and apparel.

But its $47,000 price tag raised eyebrows at the meeting.

It would be paid for with bed tax reserves -- not by local taxpayers, according to Chamber President Tom Turnbull, who presented the preliminary design of the selfie sign to the Ways & Means Committee.

He sought the initial reactions of committee members as he spoke about the proposed I Love New York sign, which would showcase the logo with a semi-transparent background and backlighting.

The goal of the selfie sign is to attract visitors to Genesee County and draw tourists to the Visitor Center once they stop for a photo opportunity next to the sign. Similar selfie signs are currently featured at popular destinations like the Finger Lakes and the Adirondacks.

“We think this will be a big hit for people … People are into taking pictures at places like that. We hope it will attract people to come inside our visitor center,” Turnbull said.

The chamber worked with Batavia-based companies like smartDESIGN Architecture and John’s Studio in the engineering and design processes.

The price includes design, construction and installation costs.

The bed tax revenue that would pay for it comes from a 5-percent administrative fee that is added to the price of a hotel room in Genesee County and collected annually by the county Treasurer’s Office.

Each year, bed tax revenue is capped at $420,000, and surplus funds are placed in a reserve.

The expected surplus total for 2019 is approximately $100,000, and $47,000 for the proposed sign would come from this surplus.

“The money is there," Turnbull said. "It’s dedicated for tourism, and we think this is a good use of some of that money. We can spruce up our property a little bit more and attract even more tourism to Genesee County.”

Legislators Andrew Young and Shelly Stein opined that $47,000 is a high price for this potential investment. Stein questioned the life expectancy of both the selfie-sign trend and the durability of the design in winter weather.

Turnbull said he is confident that the sign and its popularity will last well into the future.

Legislator Marianne Clattenburg said that the sign would most likely see a good amount of traffic in that area due to hotels, restaurants, shopping centers and Batavia Downs casino.

“I think we’ve got the funds," Clattenburg said to Turnbull. "And if your board is saying that this is something that is advantageous and you’ll see results from it, then I would support it."

The Chamber of Commerce received tentative permission from NYS Empire State Development to use its trademark logo. Approval of the project can occur once a finalized design has been agreed upon by the chamber and the legislature.

Now the chamber has a better sense of the legislators' thoughts on the project before it drafts a resolution asking for a portion of bed tax money to pay for it.

Big year for local tourism in 2018

By Howard B. Owens


Spring sports, golf, and bus tours, filled mostly with visitors from China seeing the sights in NYC and Niagara Falls, continue to drive tourism dollars to Genesee County, members of the County's Ways and Means Committee were told Wednesday.

Tom Turnbull, president of the Chamber of Commerce, and Kelly Rapone, tourism marketing director, provided the committee with an annual review of tourism activity.

For 2018, bed tax revenue was up 10 percent. It was up 15 percent in the second quarter, which is the quarter that sports teams from throughout the region travel here for softball and soccer tournaments. 

Hotel rooms during that period, especially on weekends, tend to be sold out.

The bed tax was revenue was $498,000 in 2018. 

Total related revenue flowing into the county was about $176 million.

The tourism department also sold out of its annual local golf packages. The packages brought in 600 golfers to the county over the course of the season.

Niagara Falls continues to be an attractive destination for Chinese tourists and their tourist buses during the summer have become a frequent sight in Batavia. The tour companies have figured out that Batavia is both close to Niagara Falls and hotel rooms are less expensive than those in Niagara County, Rapone said.

Tourism representatives attended 39 trade and consumer shows last year where they promote Genesee County as a tourism destination, including an annual golf show in Toronto, Canada, which is proven fruitful in promoting golf packages.

There are also more interest groups coming to Genesee County, Rapone said, such as a writers' group in 2018, and more car clubs.

Car clubs are an interesting niche the county might be able to attract, Rapone said, because of the restoration project locally of the Thomas Rocket Car. She is working on arranging tours at Dick McClurg's shop on West Main Street.

Genesee Tourism: Put the 'win' in winter with a staycation

By Genesee County Chamber of Commerce & Visitor Center

Winter activities may call to mind snuggling up on the couch with a good book or movie and a hot drink, but there’s so much more to enjoy from this snowy season. Cabin fever? Winter Blues? Not in Genesee County! Activities and fun abound -- indoors and out. With so much to do, there’s no need to go anywhere else for entertainment. So, let the staycation begin!

Think Family Fun

Let the kids burn off steam at the Falleti Ice Arena, with a Sunday family special package of just $25 for admission and rentals. Put your reasoning and detective skills to work at Six Senses Escape Rooms as you work together to find hidden objects and clues to earn your freedom. Need to warm up from the inside out? A day at Palm Island Indoor Water Park may be in order, where it’s always 85 degrees and sunny. Hit the waterslides, let the little ones splash around before going head-to-head in the arcade room. Complete the staycation with an overnight at the hotel with packages starting at just $185.

Think Lanes and Games

A classic sport for family fun! Genesee County has several bowling alleys sure to deliver an afternoon full of fun and friendly competition. Whether you put your skills to the test at Mancuso Bowling Center, Scopano's Paradise Lanes, Rose Garden Bowl, or Le Roy Legion Lanes, nothing says excitement like bowling that first strike -- or the ninth one! 

Think of Treating Yourself

Experience big city luxury with local convenience. The Spa at Artemis is the perfect way to relax and unwind. Bring some friends and make a day out of their manis/pedis and facials or enjoy alone time with massages and peels. Whatever service you come for, you’ll leave feeling brand new.

Think Mindfulness & Mediation

Re-center yourself with time to breathe and be present with a class at Blue Pearl Yoga. Their January schedule is full of classes for all skill levels, as well as unique workshops. Try a foundations class, a series in restoration, a guided meditation, or Reiki healing. 

Think of Unleashing Your Inner Artist

Get hands-on, get messy – just get creative! Stop by Fired Up for ready-to-paint ceramics whenever you’re in the mood. You can paint a squirrel, elephant, plate – or whatever strikes your fancy. Paint in house or take it home with you and use your own supplies. For a more guided setting, take a class at Art Ah La Carte. Enjoy a paint and sip class, kids group painting, adult group painting, camp and more.

Think Nature and the Great Outdoors  

Winter doesn’t mean you have to stay indoors! With guided hikes and explorations at the Iroquois National Wildlife Refuge and Genesee County Park & Forest Interpretive Center, winter adventures have never been easier. Enjoy guided snowshoe hikes, moonlight walks, bird watching, and more. These events are free of charge with only a reservation required. Perfect for all ages!

Make this winter a “win” all around! Seek out more activities and events at:

Genesee County Tourism: Seven stellar New Year’s resolutions

By Genesee County Chamber of Commerce & Visitor Center

You made the promise -- 2019 is the year to do it all and do it right. And in Genesee County, we’re here to help. We’ve rounded up seven stellar New Year’s Resolutions and shared our solution – GC style.

Whether it’s a new food, new skill, or renewed commitment to kicking back, we wish you good vibes and great times all year long!

  1. Eat Healthy – Go to Eden’s! Newly opened in 2018, this vegan restaurant features all your pub favorites with a twist. You can have your buffalo wings -- cauliflower style. Your “hot dogs” are in carrot form, but still smoky, sizzling and savory. Your nachos are still complete with the good stuff, and also good for your waistline. If 2019 is your year to try something new, Eden’s is the way to go.

    Also try: Yume Asian Bistro or Fab Fajitas & Pita for other fit foodie options.
  2. Exercise More – Snowshoe at Genesee County Park & Forest. A total of 431 acres encompass 12 miles of trails at Genesee County Park & Forest. And with $5 snowshoe rentals available all winter long, we can’t think of a better way to start your move more, get fit, exercise goal then getting out of the gym and into the fresh air. Visit on Thursdays and Fridays from 10 a.m. - 3 p.m. and Saturdays and Sundays from 12-3 p.m. to explore forests, meadows, and more. Ages 3 and up are welcome – so you can get up and go with the whole family in tow.  

    Also try: DeWitt Recreation Area and Iroquois National Wildlife Refuge.
  3. Save Some Dough – Dig into the History of JELL-O. With $5 admission for adults and $1.50 for kids over 5, you can dive into the history of Genesee County’s claim to fame – JELL-O! Known as “America’s Most Famous Dessert,” you eat up the fascinating facts and comical commercials that got Jell-O where it is today. In fact, many of our historical sites and museums are free or accept small donations for admittance. Maybe 2019 is the excuse you needed to dive into past, without spending the dough.

    Also try: Holland Land Office Museum (donation only), Historic Le Roy House (free), and Batavia Peace Garden (free).
  4. Learn a New Skill – with Mandy! Draw, paint, pull out the camera, learn calligraphy and more! At The Art of Mandy, classes are offered weekly and vary based on the skill that interests you. She gives individual attention to each student, young or old, and will have you creating art like the pros in no time. Once you master one skill, try another! There’s no limit to what you can create.

    Also try: Ready to paint ceramics at Fired Up or perfecting your driving technique at Plum Creek Driving Range (April-November).  
  5. Spend Time with Family – Indoors and at 85 Degrees. Palm Island Indoor Waterpark is the perfect family day/getaway. Good for the kids and kids at heart, this 10,000-square-foot waterpark has fun for all ages. Little ones can have their run of the place with the Monsoon Lagoon. Older kids will be thrilled with the Paradise Plunge and Crazy Cobra enclosed slides. Most importantly, the day will be enjoyed together – soaking, splashing and spending time with the family.

    Also try: Genesee Country Village & Museum (year-round)
  6. Get More Sleep – Snuggle in at the Hotel at Batavia Downs. Upscale amenities, on-site gaming, and delicious, complementary breakfast are calling with the hotel at Batavia Downs. Choose from one of 84 guest rooms and suites to ly your head and get that much needed downtime from the hustle and bustle of 2019. With so many options available for entertainment, dining and activities, you’ll never have to leave the building to get the getaway you need. And once your head hits those Pacific Coast feather down pillows – you may not even choose to leave your bed.

    Also try: Genesee Country Inn Bed & Breakfast or Farmer’s Creekside Tavern & Inn.
  7. Travel More – From Romantic Retreats to Golf Getaways! We’ve got it all. Our travel packages will help you get the most for your money, see and do it all, and set yourself up for a stellar 2019! The Palm Island Indoor Waterpark Package is great for families (starting at $125), while River Spring Lodge’s Pheasant Hunting Package suits those looking to connect with the great outdoors (deluxe or standard options available).

Also… it’s our resolution to keep the offerings coming – so visit for the latest, all year-round.

Genesee Tourism: Warm up and brush up on local history with these 10 museums

By Genesee County Chamber of Commerce & Visitor Center

The snowy season is the perfect time to explore a museum (or two, or three). And Genesee County is the perfect place to find interesting information and interactive fun just waiting to be discovered. From surprising local history to immersive experiences to a whole gallery dedicated to the dessert that changed the world, we’ve rounded up a few great museums to set your sights on.

Get ready to warm up while you brush up on your local historical knowledge. The hardest part is deciding where to start!

Holland Land Office Museum

What better place to begin your journey than in Batavia, NY – called “the birthplace of Western New York?” Step into the Holland Land Office Museum, an 1810 stone building bursting with artifacts and information that tell the story of the area and those notable people who impacted it in a major way. See the Medal of Honor earned by Charles F. Rand, a Batavian who was to first soldier in the nation to volunteer for the Civil War. View an original gibbet used in hangings up until 1881. Combine your visit with a stop at the Batavia Peace Garden, located right next door.

In the spirit of the holidays, the museum currently has a tree wonderland exhibit where visitors can explore nearly 50 well-decorated trees, pictures and festive displays. The 2018 theme is “Favorite Holiday Movie,” so get ready for a trip down memory lane! The museum also hosts monthly trivia nights on the second Thursday of the month.

JELL-O Gallery Museum

Did you know JELL-O was invented right here in Genesee County in 1897? Follow the JELL-O brick road and see where it all began! Explore the history of “America’s Most Famous Dessert” while you enjoy old TV commercials and ads, famous JELL-O works of art, and lots of wiggly, jiggly fun facts. A stop at the museum isn’t complete until you browse the gift store and take home a souvenir in every color.

Rolling Hills Asylum

No plated glass, no guard rails, no barriers. Just pure unfiltered history at Rolling Hills Asylum. Once housing the Genesee County Poor Farm, the addition of the infirmary in 1938 sealed the fate of poor unfortunate souls who were sent there. This unusual museum provides a more hands-on experience for guests, allowing them to get up close and personal with its past. Take a history tour, a flashlight tour, join a guided ghost hunt, or spend several hours exploring during an overnight lock-in. Special events like painting parties, movie showings, and dinners are also offered year-round.

Genesee Country Village & Museum

Centuries of American history come to life (literally) in this living history complex of more than 600 acress in Wheatland (Monroe County). Sixty-eight authentic, historic buildings dot the charming Genesee Country Village, with thousands of artifacts housed throughout. Find yourself immersed in 18th and 19th century life, as you browse homes from early settlers in the 1800s up to affluent members of society in the 1900s. Visit with farm animals, interact with costumed interpreters, attend a special event -- and don’t forget to swing by the on-site brewery for a swig.

Harford House Barn & Livery

The Harford House Barn & Livery museum resides in the former 1880 Harford Hotels Livery Stables in Downtown Bergen. Inside the barn, guests can browse interesting, life-size tableaux depicting a blacksmith shop, a general store, school classroom and more. Presentations are also available by village Historian Raymond MacConnell for those curious to learn more.

Historic Le Roy House

More than 100 years of unique history can be found in this mansion-turned-museum! Built in 1822, the home was once owned by the Chancellor of Ingham University -- the first female university in the United States to grant a four-year degree. As you tour three floors of period-designed rooms, learn about local abolitionists, see a real open-hearth kitchen, and enjoy hands-on activities for the kids. The building itself is a sight to behold – listed on the National Register of Historical Places!

Medina Railroad Museum

The Medina Railroad Museum (in Orleans County) is the largest freight depot in the country, with the largest collection of train artifacts and memorabilia housed under one roof. Browse the exhibits before hopping on a scenic train ride or themed seasonal excursion. Throughout the year you’ll find rides that travel along the Erie Canal, zip past fall foliage, take you to the North Pole to meet Santa and his reindeer – or allow you to hop aboard an Easter Express and meet the big bunny himself.

Tonawanda Indian Reservation Historical Society

Immerse yourself in the lives of local Native Americans. The history of the Tonawanda Band of Seneca Indians is celebrated throughout the hallways of the Tonawanda Indian Community House. Wander the halls as you explore large-scale photographs and illustrations that display the history and heritage of the Reservation. Learn about the tribe and the history of the Seven Nations, and don’t forget to see the chief’s headdress on the second floor.

Le Roy Barn Quilt Trail

Who says a museum has to be enclosed? Barn Quilts of Le Roy began as a bicentennial project for the town and has grown to feature more than 100 handmade quilts on display on barns throughout the area. Step-on bus tours are offered by appointment or you can hop in a car with some friends or your family and take the driving tour yourself! The quilts represent the pride of Le Roy, a town rich with heritage.

Alabama Museum

Local history can hold some surprising secrets…did you know that the town of Alabama, NY used to have three-gun manufacturers in town? The Alabama Museum resides in an old schoolhouse and features everything from a hammered dulcimer to an old doctor’s buggy. Browse the artifacts and get an understanding of a little local history, dating back to the mid-1800s. You can also grab a copy of the Alabama Cookbook for your home or as a gift. The 70-page cookbook includes cooking tips, favorite recipes from the locals, and some recipes from the 1895 Alabama Cookbook.

History buffs need not stop there! See all of the local museums within Genesee County and find more fascinating facts here.

Genesee Tourism: Eat, drink, and be merry with winter festivities & fun

By Genesee County Chamber of Commerce & Visitor Center

Sleigh bells ring, children sing, and winter is all around us. The holiday season has arrived, and celebrations and festivities abound in Genesee County.

From a one-man Christmas Carol show to a train ride that takes you straight to the North Pole, there are so many ways to celebrate. So, bundle up for tree lighting, ready your camera for pictures with Santa, and put on those dancing shoes -- we’ve rounded up enough events to keep you busy until 2019!

Village of Bergen Tree Lighting

Bergen Annual Tree Lighting Ceremony, Dec. 3

Join the festivities! Starting from Hickory Park, carolers will lead the way to Ward park where the tree lighting ceremony will take place. Enjoy the company of your friends, neighbors and Mr. & Mrs. Claus.

Winter Wonderland of Lights at Red Osier, Dec. 3 & 10

The Original Red Osier Landmark Restaurant is rapidly becoming the largest holiday display in Genesee County! With over 2 million lights on display, Red Osier pulls out all the stops to celebrate the season. On Dec. 3 & 10, come out for pictures with Santa, horse and carriage rides, food from the Red Osier trailer, and homemade Christmas cookies.

DIY Evergreen Centerpieces, Dec. 5, 8 & 14

Decorations are all part of the holiday fun – and you can make your own with Pudgie's. Join a DIY class and create your own evergreen centerpiece. Materials and instruction are provided. Four workshops will be taking place in December!

Snowshoeing at Iroquois National Wildlife Refuge, Dec. 8

Don't let winter make you blue, grab some friends and come snowshoe at the Iroquois National Wildlife Refuge. This free event is perfect for snowshoe enthusiasts and beginners alike -- you can even borrow snowshoes at no extra cost. Spend the morning exploring the Kanyoo Trail on Route 77.

Christmas in the Park, Dec. 8

The holiday season is all about family, and this lighted tree ceremony in Veterans Memorial Park is no different. Join the Elba Betterment Committee to honor and remember loved ones in a celebration of the season. Members of the Elba Central School music department will lead Christmas caroling, cookies and cocoa will be provided, and Santa himself will join to read "‘Twas the Night Before Christmas" to children of all ages.

GSO Holiday Celebration, Dec. 9

The Genesee Symphony Orchestra knows exactly how to celebrate in the spirit of the holidays. Grab your ticket and enjoy a program that incorporates music spanning from “A Charlie Brown Christmas” to “Sleigh Ride” and “Christmas Festival” by Leroy Anderson. Founded in 1947, GSO is one of the oldest civic orchestras in New York State.

DIY Holiday Wreaths, Dec. 10 & 12

Is your door really complete without a wreath to adorn it? Come out to Pudgie's on three dates in December to make your own holiday wreath – complete with all of the trimmings and extras you could ever want.

Christmas at Hillcrest, Dec. 15

Hillcrest Estate transforms into a winter wonderland befitting of the big man himself! Gather by a crackling fire and get a rare peek inside the grand ballroom, where local vendors offer Christmas goodies, holiday cookies call for decorations, and Santa waits with his elves to welcome good girls and boys. Picturesque backdrops will be found throughout the property – the perfect place to grab a family photo for the Christmas card.

'A Christmas Carol starring' Mike Randall, Dec. 21

'A Christmas Carol' like you’ve never seen it before! Join Mike Randall and as he shares the festive and heart-warming story of "A Christmas Carol." Enjoy Randall's acting talents as he performs the story through distinguishing voices for each unique character, while in costume as Charles Dickens himself. You won't want to miss this one-of-a-kind performance.

Santa & Reindeer Train Ride, Dec. 22

On the Santa & Reindeer train, everyone rides with Santa! In just half an hour, the train magically reaches the North Pole where everyone gets to visit Santa’s reindeer. All tickets include admission into the Medina Railroad Museum, hot cocoa, a cookie and a reindeer toy for children.

Le Roy's "First Night," Dec. 31

Join locals in welcoming the New Year in Le Roy. Shops will be open to browse, purchase warm drinks, enjoy entertainment and “ooo” and “ahhh” at the fireworks starting at 9 p.m. Main Street Bridge provides the best view for this family-friendly event – but get there early to secure your spot!

Countdown at the Downs—New Year’s Eve Party! Dec. 31

Don't miss the New Year's Eve Party going down at The Downs! Ring in 2019 with delicious food and drinks, plenty of dancing, and, of course, free play at the casino. The countdown to midnight will be celebrated with fireworks and a champagne toast. Package rates for hotel nights are also available. 

New Year’s Eve Party, Dec. 31

Oakfield is ready to welcome 2019 with a bang – and a party of their own! Join the celebration with family, friends, and fun from 7 p.m. – 2 a.m. There’s plenty of party to go around.

The fun continues straight into 2019. Visit the events page here to find out more.

Genesee Tourism: Stock the tree, stuff the stockings, and save: 'Shop Local' this holiday season

By Genesee County Chamber of Commerce & Visitor Center

The holiday season is filled with family, friends, great food… and lots of shopping. This year, skip the big box stores and crowded malls – because Genesee County has something for everyone on your list. When you shop local you can save money and support your neighbors, a win-win for everyone.

We’ve got so many great options, where do you start? Well, nothing says the holidays like toys. From classics like board games and bikes, to new trends like fidget spinners, there’s no better feeling than watching a child unwrap that must-have toy. And there’s no better place to shop for those toys than at Adam Miller Toy and Bicycle.

For 100 years, Adam Miller has been the go-to toy store for all of Genesee County. Reminiscent of a bygone area, walk in and you’ll feel transported back to 1918. The original owning family requested the storefront always look the way it did then -- a request the subsequent two owners have happily honored. Inside, the store only stocks those toys that don’t require batteries – and there are plenty of them.

Kids will stay entertained for hours with puzzles, brain teasers, coloring books, Slinkys, puppets, plushies and more -- all without the aid of electronics, lights, or noise, and with minimal assembly (making it the perfect gift for parents, too!).

Ditch the remote controls and leave the batteries in the box -- you won’t need them this holiday season!

More, more, more!

We know Adam Miller Toy and Bicycle can keep you captivated for hours – but there are so many more stores to explore. Try out these local favorites and start checking items off your list:

Batavia Bootery, 210 Main St., Batavia

Handcrafted with love and care by professionals, Batavia Bootery is the perfect place to stock up on seasonal footwear or pick up a gift that will last for years to come.

Country Cottage, 10448 Harper Road, Darien Center

Have a hard-to-shop-for person on your list? Stop by Country Cottage. With unique gifts, rustic home décor, fresh baked goodies, and unusual crafts, you’re sure to find a hidden gem.

Country Hill Home Accessories & Gifts, 11119 W. Park St., Pavilion

Treasures abound around every corner at Country Hill Home! Shop brands such as Vera Bradley, Crabtree & Evelyn, Byer’s Choice Carolers, and more.

Craft Supplies Unlimited, 70 S. Lake Ave., Bergen

Whether you’re helping someone restock their crafting room, or inspire a first-time crafter, Craft Supplies makes it easy to pick out everything you need – for every kind of craft.

Foxprowl Collectables, 440 Ellicott St., Batavia

Your one-stop shop for everything the collector in your life could want. Browse hundreds of figures, comics, and pop culture items from the 1960s, '70s, '80s, '90s and more, online or in-store.

Hidden Door & Pollyanna & Dot, 202 E. Main St., Batavia

What's better than one boutique shop? Two! Shop homewares, decor and more, or browse the vintage-inspired frocks.

Karen's Yarn Paper Scissors, 220 E. Main St., Batavia

For the knitters and crochet-lovers, Karen’s is stocked with yarn beyond your wildest dreams. Or give the gift of a new hobby with Karen’s how-to classes on crocheting, wreathes, painting and more.

Northwoods Alpacas, 6499 N. Lake Road, Bergen

While you likely can’t give the gift of an alpaca (which is too bad, since they are oh, so soft!), you can give alpaca gear, gifts and accessories -- like socks, sweaters, scarves and more. Browse a wide selection at Northwoods – and don’t forget to visit the farm while there!

Oliver's Candies, 211 W. Main St., Batavia

There’s no sweeter gift than a goodie that comes from Oliver’s! Award-winning candies and chocolates make the perfect stocking stuffer, hostess gift or centerpiece. The holidays also bring out the best in colorful, handcrafted ribbon candy.

One World Projects, 56 Harvester Ave., Batavia

If sustainability is on your mind, One World Projects is the place to shop. Their products are fair trade, compassionate trade, eco-positive, recycled materials, animal-friendly and organic. No matter the selection, you can feel good about this gift!

Sweet Life Country Store, 100 Main St., Elba

Sweet Life is a “sweet” find along any local shopping trip. This little country store sells locally made products – jam, honey, syrup, cards and decorations, quilts and blankets, artist creations – even treats for the pups! You can also find Oliver’s Candies products, along with custom-blend coffees -- a pick-me-up after a long day out.

The Divine Tree, 19 Main St., Le Roy

Unique and tasty gourmet goodies are the focus of The Divine Tree. From olive oils and vinegars to honey products – they even have a tasting bar for you to try before you buy! Also find Stonewall Kitchen products, Woodwick candles, leather jewelry and more.

Vinyl Record Revival, 220 E. Main St., Batavia

If you’re looking to “just take those old records off the shelf,” stop by Vinyl Record Revival for a large selection of new and gently used vinyl albums – and don’t miss the $1 clearance room. Used CDs and stereo equipment can also be found here!

For even more great retailers in Genesee County, click here.

Genesee Tourism: Life in luxury at River Spring Lodge

By Genesee County Chamber of Commerce & Visitor Center

Imagine the perfect weekend getaway. It’s comfortable, secluded, and your every need is anticipated and cared for. Most importantly, it’s easy to get to. In fact, it may even be in your backyard. Welcome to River Spring Lodge, located at 1961A Church Road in Darien Center.

About the Lodge & the Hamers

An executive retreat and country inn, River Spring Lodge is known for providing a high-end, luxury experience to its guests. Opened in 2016, the Lodge is owned by locals Dave and Carolyn Hamer. After working in hospitality around the world for 15 years, the Hamers returned to Western New York to bring their passion for good food and great lodging to this area.

Seven modern and comfortable rooms, a fully equipped conference room, and large dining room make up this beautiful country estate.  

Deeply influenced by French cuisine as a student at the Culinary Institute of America, Chef Dave is world-renowned and has cooked for an impressive list of A-listers and celebrities. Carolyn complements the team with touches that make the River Spring Lodge experience unique – greeting each guest with a warm welcome as they arrive and sending them off with her favorite treat, a chocolate chunk cookie, when they depart.

A Romantic Escape

Surrounded by the colors of autumn, the deep chill of winter snow, or the sights and sounds of spring – River Spring Lodge is a romantic escape year-round. Named as one of the "top 10 most romantic inns in the country" by, they offer a couple's escape that’s sure to keep the fires burning or reignite the spark. Relax, refresh and enjoy each other’s company while your every need is tended to. The package includes a four-course dinner, three-course breakfast, and a room of unrivaled luxury. 

Meals are crafted by Chef Dave himself, and meant to be savored -- never rushed. When you dine at the lodge, the table is yours for the evening. Decide to retire, and you’ll find goose down duvets, European shower rooms, heated floors for the colder months, and woodland or pond-side views from your private balcony or alcove. Wi-Fi and boosted cell phone coverage allow you to stay connected with the outside world, but why would you want to?

A Sportman’s Paradise

Romance isn’t the only package River Spring Lodge specializes in. The Sportsman Suite is a completely private space for hunters and fisherman, offering an exclusive steelhead fishing trip, as well as whitetail, turkey and pheasant hunts. Boasting four bedrooms and two full bathrooms along with a gun safe, poker table and darts, it’s truly a man’s world wrapped in a wilderness retreat. And man’s best friend is welcome to join the fun, as hunting dogs are allowed in the suite. All-inclusive packages are available in the warmer months.

Drop By & Dine In

If an incredible food experience is simply what you seek, you don’t have to stay the night to get it. The dining room serves four-course dinners from 5 until 8 p.m. Tuesday through Sunday to lodge guests and local diners alike. While it’s open for reservations, we recommend you make one early. Dave and Carolyn take comfort seriously, so your table is yours for the evening, or however long you wish.

Once you’re booked for the evening, start perusing the menu. Guests are requested to pre-order their meal 24 hours in advance – all part of the personalized experience – on a menu that changes regularly. Local produce is used in season, keeping fresh foods and first quality always top-of-mind.

Large groups (8-18) can make reservations for the Chef’s Table, located in an adjacent room for a completely immersive dining experience – or sometimes even in the kitchen itself.

Whether you’re looking for your next hunting adventure, board retreat, romantic getaway, or just a weekend away from it all, River Spring Lodge is the ultimate in luxury and comfort. Stop by, and let Dave and Carolyn welcome you to an experience you won’t soon forget.

For more information visit

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