Cobbs Hill Park is a large Urban Park with softball, basketball, hiking, running, and everything in between. This is a high elevation point in the park where one gets great views from any point. To the North is the city and Lake Ontario on the horizon and to the South is the Bristol Hills. A lot of people go here to exercise and relax. Very common to see people kicking back with a beer or two or on the weekends seeing wedding parties taking pictures. Absolute hidden gem of the city where the resovoir is up top.
Rochester had a subway for about 10-20 years that ran under the city with its heyday in the sixites. Also the Erie Canal ran through parts of the city, but long ago was moved. This has left some interesting aquaducts around the city that date back about 120 years. You can look at them from the outside when you are on the Broad Street and Court Street bridges. Many folks got a real look at them during the World Canal Conference hosted in Rochester. Some really good graffiti - could be more of an attraction or even a fantastic bar, but the city does not know what to do with the spaces.
Buffalo Bills Professional Football team has training camp at St. John Fisher College in Rochester, NY beginning in July every year.
You can come and watch them practice; scout out the new talent and see how they size up; get autographs and pictures of your favorite players; buy souveniers like teeshirts and towels.
See the website below for training camp schedules.
to get there:
I-490 to the Linden Avenue/route 441 exit. go west one block on Linden Avenue to connect to route 96 (East Ave/Fairport Road). go south on route 96 and see signs for college.
The Rochester Riverway Trail links 11 parks in Monroe County and the Genesee River and the Erie Canal and the Port of Rochester. It ranges from a foot-path to gravel off-road track to paved bike path. Identification markers and wayside signs are posted often enough so that finding your way and your current position are relatively easy.
The total trail is now about 20 miles long and is used by joggers, hikers, walkers, bikers. There are even stops for loading/unloading kayaks and canoes.
The city, state and county are helping to maintain the trail so that interest in the natural beauty that is Monroe county is kept alive.
The north end is at Turning Point Park in Charlotte; the present south end is near Genesee Valley Park in Brighton
to get a brochure on the trail and all its marker spots, just call the telephone number below.
a part of the brochure is online at the website below.
Visit the Rhorbach Brewery off Railroad Street close to downtown. They have a brewery on the west side of the city in Gates and just opened this new brewery downtown. The brewery is in an old building where they sandblasted the wood on the ceiling so it looks really cool.
This is a small brewery, but they do offer tours where generally your party is the only group on the tour. Excellent beer there and the people doing the tasting are always friendly and knowledgeable about what is going on. Support your local brewery and buy some growlers to take home!
Follow the signs to the Public Market off Goodman, East Main Street and Railroad street. Turn onto Railroad Street and you will see the brewery once you pass Station 55 on your left. They open at 10:00AM for tastings (I don't know about Sundays - assume later).
Rochester has a very nice Polish festival in August. Crafts, Polish Polka Band, good Food and of course piwo (Polish beer) usually same time as Park Ave Festival. Just follow 104, get off at Hudson Ave and its a few blocks from there.
Home Acres is a neighborhood between Elmwood Avenue and Highland Avenue where the first trolley cars ran in Rochester in the early 1900. The homes of that era are still here and many have fine gardens that are open for viewing through the Landmark Society.
from the ads:
"Ten private homes in this historic subdivision open their doors for the Landmark Society House and Garden Tour (usually conducted in early June). On display will be an unusually wide variety of architectural styles, from handsome Tudor and Colonial revival-style houses to a rare English Regency Revival house". Along with the homes themselves, the gardens of each home are on display to show the varied species of flowers, plants and shrubs that are native to Western New York.
Tickets are $25 and can be purchased at Parkleigh, 215 Park Avenue, or Borders Bookstore, across from Marketplace Mall. The event is all day. Pomodoro Grill and Wine Bar, at 1290 University Avenue, provides an excellent example of adaptive reuse of an historic structure and this restaurant opens for lunch exclusively for the tour goers.
This small private garden (less than an acre) is one of the historical sites (150 years old) that the Landmark Society has on its list of must-see venues. It is open during Lilac and Peony seasons (May-June) and by special appointment through the Landmark Society.
It was originally started and maintained by the Ellwanger family who eventually endowed it the city organization.
The garden includes areas of perennials, trees, and shrubs native to Western New York. It has some Lilac bushes that rival Highland Park and Peony bushes whose aroma permeates the neighborhood.
If you join the Friends of Ellwanger, you can get an annual pass that allows entry into the garden at normally closed times of the year. Otherwise see the website below for opening times and dates or call the phone number listed. Visits are free but donations are encouraged and needed for the continued maintenance of the gardens.
to get there:
625 Mount Hope Avenue
In the Spring...watch the baby swans. Across the street is Lake Ontario (Durand Eastman). Our favorite waterhole in Rochester. (although thanks to the new mayor many are not too happy with the new take over by the city) This is located directly to haunted castle.....BOOO!!!!!!
If, one dark night, you find yourself careening around the S curves of Irondequoit's Kings Highway, beware. Durand-Eastman Park is famously haunted by the White Lady who, according to town historian Patricia Wayne, is desperately searching for her lost daughter. The ultimate legend of the White Lady? In an age when the mentally ill were hidden away, she, the insane wife of the influential Dr. Durand, was cloistered in their vacation home on the lake. Abandoned and embarrassed by a philandering husband, she torched the house. The charred bodies of her nurse and orderly were found in the rubble (now known as The White Lady Castle) but Mrs. Durand had disappeared. Lady Durand roams the park, hunting unwitting young men who, she believes, take advantage of the young women who accompany them to watch the nightly submarine races. Just a myth? Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned. Park entrances are on Lakeshore Boulevard or St. Paul Boulevard and Kings Highway.
The road along the lake just north of Durand Eastman Park is turned into a raceway once a year for two days in June. It is the annual Soap Box Derby event where kids who have hand built their own wooden cars leave the ramp and race down the hill at 6mph and try to get to the finish line first.
It is great fun for the contestants and the audience too. We usually pick different cars and make side bets ("You cut the lawn this week if my car wins") on the results.
Besides the honors and the trophies, the kids who win their age and weight classes win cash scholarships to local colleges and a chance to enter the national event in Akron, OH.
Refreshment tents will be selling beverages but it is more convenient to bring your own water bottle.
Traffic in the area is rerouted for the event so you need to be aware of detours in the area.
to get there:
take St.Paul Blvd or Culver Road to the lake road that runs through Durand Eastman Park.
Take the park road to the event but be cautious of pedestrian and detours.
(In 2007 a drunk driver careened through the area and damaged equipment and derby cars.)
See the local Rochester Democrat and Chronicle newspaper in early June to get info on the schedule of the event.
This park is one of the city's smaller parks with only 80 acres of land. It is in the Laurelton neighborhood, adjacent to I-590.
The highlighted areas in the accompanying map show the extent of the park; it is almost all undeveloped than with rudimentary trails that hikers and birders have forged.
There are no facilities at the park and the city is leaving alone to maintain its natural beauty.
The park overlooks the creeks and marshes that feed the Irondequoit Bay. There are a lot of wildlife (deer, raccoons, groundhogs and the like) that reside here.
Some caution should be used when walking in the area to protect yourself from deer ticks which might carry Lyme disease. (Blouse the pants at the shoes; buttons the shirt sleeves at the wrist).
to get there:
enter the park from the west via Tryon Road; off North Winton Road (between Browncroft Blvd and Empire Blvd)
Inside this park you'll find Red Creek and the Genesee River and the Barge Canal (extensions to the Erie Canal). It is a well developed park with eight pavilions that can be rented for group gatherings and many picnic benches and standing grills for individuals or families.
River and canal trails are provided; some are good for hiking and birding, others are paved for jogging and biking. Several ball fields are available for baseball or soccer and one end of the park is set aside for a golf course.
Restrooms and playgrounds are near the picnic and parking areas. And canoe/rowboat access is allowed at two launch sites; fishing is allowed if you have a proper license.
to get there:
take I-390 south to route 383 (Scottsville Road). go north on route 383 to Elmwood Avenue and enter park
take I-390 south to the route 15 exit and go west on East River Road to the park enterance
College athletics is as big in Rochester as the cities interest in pro sports. RIT (Rochester Institute of Technology) is one of the predominant college sports centers in the area.
Fall, Winter and Spring, there is something going on at the college that involves team play.
Men and women athletes compete in Baseball, Basketball, Hockey, Lacrosse, Soccer, Track and Field, and Crew(boating).
The track events, soccer, tennis and volleyball tournaments are free.
Also Wrestling and swimming competitons are open-door.
All of the spring-time sports are free.
Come early though because the bleachers tend to fill quickly especially during championship rounds.
Hockey and basketball have ticket prices under $10 per person.
see the website below for schedules of the various sport, directions to each event and general information about the college athletic department.
With camera in hand and binoculars hanging at your side, you quietly (should I say steathily) walk the path towards the chirping/cawing/tweetering you hear.
If this sounds familiar then you are into bird watching like I am.
Rochester is a great place to do this; not so much right in the city but in the nearby suburbs.
As a hobby, bird watching has two things going for it: its cheap and its great exercise.
Some of the best areas near Rochester to ornivisualize are:
Hamlin Beach State Park
Mendon Ponds Park
Cranberry, Long and Buck Ponds
Island Cottage Woods
Durand Eastman Park
The city of Rochester also has a birdcam focused on their adopted family of Peregrin Falcons at http://www.kodak.com/go/birdcam Falcons.
A good source for general birding in western NY is: http://www.camacdonald.com/birding/usnewyork.htm Upstate Birding
Go to my Rochester Page to see the weblinks for this page if they are hidden by the VT software.