Friday, November 25, 2016

Seven Free (and Cool) Things to Do in Rochester

It's the time of the year to count blessings and give thanks.  I have a great family, wonderful friends, awesome clients, good health and much, much more to be thankful for.  I'm also thankful for my adoptive hometown, Rochester, NY, and all that it offers.  Following are a few of my favorite things to do within city limits that are perfectly free.  Free is good, right?

1.   Warner Castle & Sunken Garden.  It's pretty cool that Rochester has a  replica Scottish Castle right off Mt. Hope Avenue, that is open to the public Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday 9 till 4, free of charge.  But even cooler, is the sunken garden located behind the castle that is available to view 7 days a week.   Somewhat of a hidden gem, it is not unusual to find yourself all alone in the garden.  (5 Castle Park, Rochester, NY  14620)

2.  Gardens at the George Eastman Museum.  While there is an admission fee to tour the museum that was the home of George Eastman, the founder of Eastman Kodak Company, much of the grounds and gardens are open to the public and they are gorgeous.   (900 East Avenue, Rochester, NY  14607)

3.  Turning Point Park.  While Rochester has many awesome parks, one of my favorites is Turning Point, mostly because it is so easy to forget that you are right smack in the middle of the city while you are there.  Located in the Charlotte neighborhood, it features 275 wooded acres along the Genesee River.  The boardwalk extends over the River and provides a great hiking and biking trail.  (260 Boxard Street, Rochester, NY  14612)

4.  Mount Hope Cemetery.  Yes, people are buried there but Mt Hope is so much more than a cemetery.  It features 196 acres of glacial hills and valleys, decorated with beautiful monuments and mausoleums.  It is thought of more as a peaceful park and it is not unusual to see people walking, bird-watching, biking or running along the trails.  Occasionally, there are even organized runs through the cemetery.   The cemetery is open 7 days a week, 7:30 am to sunset and visitors are asked to be respectful of services or individuals visiting loved ones.  (1133 Mount Hope Avenue, Rochester, NY  14620)

5.   Maplewood Rose Garden.  The rose garden features more than 3,000 rose bushes, and it is purely heaven to visit in the summer.  There are other flowers that bloom outside of the rose season, but nothing beats the blooming rose garden.  (Lake Avenue & Driving Park Avenue, Rochester, NY  14613)

6.  Charlotte Pier.  A perfect spot to catch a sunrise or sunset over Lake Ontario, the
Charlotte Pier is also great for a walk on a warm summer day.  In winter, it is often encased in ice and while beautiful, very dangerous to walk.  The pier is also popular for fisherman.  It is located in Ontario Beach Park, which has sandy beaches, beautiful gazebos and plenty of picnic tables.  (4650 Lake Ave, Rochester, NY  14612.)

7.  High Falls District.  Of course, the waterfall of High Falls is the main attraction but there is so much more to see in this historic part of the city.  The Pont De Rennes walking bridge provides gorgeous views of the falls.  The Center at High Falls is an interactive museum and welcome center that is open free of charge, June through August 11 am to 4 except Tuesdays and weekends in the spring and fall.  There are also factory ruins and remains from Rochester's milling past.  The area is lush with park benches and even picnic tables.  (60 Browns Race, Rochester, NY  14614.)

Did I forget to mention your favorite free thing to do in Rochester?  If so, please don't hesitate to share within a comment.  Thank you and Happy Thanksgiving.
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