60 Fun Things (Within 60 Miles) with Connie Herrera

Searching for Spring

As I look out my window and see the snow flying (in mid-April!) I tell myself that spring will arrive … eventually.  The daffodil and tulip bulbs are poking up, snowdrops are in view, and my thoughts flit ahead to garden shows and trips that are coming up this spring.  If you love flowers and gardens like I do, here are some events to put on your calendar.

Upstate Gardeners Odyssey to Ithaca Day Trip
My first stop every year is the website for Upstate Gardeners Journal to see what events are going on in the area. Last year was my first time taking their annual Odyssey to Ithaca Day Trip, and it was so much fun I want to do it again. This year it’s on Saturday, June 2. (Space is limited, so sign up soon!) Here’s the description:
A wonderful spring tradition—inspiring gardens shopping at great nurseries—unusual plants—gorgeous scenery—a delicious Herbal Lunch and…a surprise treat. Highlights of the itinerary on this day-long luxury motorcoach tour include:

– Cornell Botanic Garden, truly one of the most inspiring gardens in New York State
– Delicious Herbal Lunch and shopping at Bakers’ Acres—they have an incredible, vast array of perennials
– Cayuga Landscape, a large garden center with a wide selection of plants and garden art, and much more.

Linwood Garden Tree Peony Festival
Linwood Gardens  is a private garden that opens only once each year. Located in Linwood, New York, 35 miles southwest of Rochester in the Genesee Valley, the gardens include a collection of Japanese and American tree peonies that are on view each spring at Tree Peony Festival of FlowersTours are available during the Festival without reservation.
2018 Dates:
May 19 – 20
May 26 – 27
June 2 – 3
9:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m.
$10 donation is suggested and a $15 dollar donation includes a historical tour. Cash and personal checks only.

Ellwanger Garden Peony Weekend
Ellwanger Garden is a “living museum” located off Mt. Hope Avenue. Originally a private garden owned by the 19th century horticulturist, George Ellwanger (Ellwanger-Barry nursery was his), it opens for visitors during the Lilac Festival and in June for Peony Weekend.  Today it is maintained by volunteers from the Landmark Society.

Lilac Festival weekends
May 12 – 13, and 19 – 20 (weather permitting)
10:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m.
Free admission, donations accepted

Peony Weekend
June 2 – 3 (weather permitting)
10:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m.
Free admission, donations accepted

Twilight Visiting Hours
Tuesday Evenings, June – September
5:00 p.m. – 7:00 p.m.

If you can’t make these special dates, you can visit these beautiful gardens all spring and summer:

Sonnenberg Gardens are open 7 days a week, rain or shine, May 1 through October 31. It’s not just one garden; it’s eleven, including a Japanese Garden, a Blue and White Garden, a Moonlight Garden, and a Secret Garden. For gardeners, strolling the grounds is inspiring. For history lovers, exploring the 50-acre estate and 40-room Victorian mansion is an adventure. Take a guided tour or just walk for hours in the gardens and grassy lawns and you’ll sleep well at night.
Hours: 9:30 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.
Extended Summer Hours (Memorial Day – Labor Day): 9:30 a.m. –  5:30 p.m.

Cornell Botanic Gardens features an arboretum with breath-taking blooms from spring to fall. 70,000 New Bulbs Will Emerge this Spring outside the Nevin Welcome Center and in the F. R. Newman Arboretum. Visitors to this spectacular botanic garden can learn about and enjoy native species, as well as species imported from similar climate zones around the world—including nut trees, crabapples, oaks, maples, shrubs, and urban trees. One of the best times to visit is during azalea and rhododendron bloom times, where the hillsides are a mass of color and the arboretums’ overlooks and benches provide panoramic views of the Ithaca area.

Connie Herrera is the author of 60 Fun Things to Do Within 60 Miles of Rochester, 60 Great Places to Go With Kids Within 60 Miles of Rochester, and her newest book 60 Fun Things to Do When You’re Retired – Within 60 Miles of Rochester. “My goal is to help people rediscover where they live and see it with new eyes. So, if you’re new to the area, I want you to be astounded at your luck in moving here. If you’re here for a visit, I hope you’ll want to come back again to do more. And, if you’ve lived here all your life, I hope you’ll be surprised at how many places you haven’t yet explored and how many you want to visit again!” You can find out more at my website: 60funthingstodo

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