Tin Can Tourist’s Return to the Finger Lakes Region

Last September I was elated to go to my first Tin Can Tourist Rally to ogle over the most vintage campers that I’ve ever seen in one place at one time.  And as you might imagine, I didn’t miss my chance to ogle this year either. 

This weekend Sampson State Park in Seneca County is playing host to yet another Tin Can Tourist Rally.   Today was the open house where the proud owners of these campers opened their doors and shared glimpses of them with the public.  If you have a interest in anything vintage, enjoy camping, or love the Finger Lakes Region Region, I can almost guarantee that you would enjoy this event.

Here are some of the great campers and vehicles that caught my eye at the open house.  Check out my pictures and tell which one catches your eye the most.

Thank you TCT for opening your doors to those of us that admire your wheels.  Happy Camping! 

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Willard Asylum for the Insane – Suitcases

In 2011, I was lucky enough to take a public tour of the former Willard Asylum for the Insane in Seneca County, New York.  During that tour, I took a lot of photographs of both the interior and exterior of many of the buildings.  I later shared some of those pictures and my thoughts about the tour here on my blog.

Grandview Building – Willard, NY (2011)

Grandview

I never expected that my Willard post would create such a following.  It has been my number one post for two years running.    As a result of that post, I have received numerous emails from people looking for information on the former institution, suitcases, and the cemetery.  Many emails have come from people searching for information on family members who they believe were once patients there. I have personally responded to all of those inquiries, and hopefully have steered everyone in the right direction.

Recently, I found some information related to the Willard suitcases that I am eager to pass along.

Photographer Jon Crispin has been photographing the suitcases of former Willard patients that were found in an attic at Willard prior to it’s closing in 1995. The suitcases have been in the custody of the New York State Museum since they were located.

Crispin’s exhibit “The Changing Face of What is Normal” is slated to open on April 17th, 2013, at the Exploratorium in San Francisco, California. 

These photographs are very thought provoking,  This exhibit (in my opinion)  humanizes the patients who resided at Willard and is a great memorialization to them.  And when you consider some of the mundane reasons that people were institutionalized in the late 19th, and early part of the 20th century, the title of Crispin’s  exhibit couldn’t have been better named.

To read more about Jon Crispin’s photo project, follow the links below.

Slate Magazine (Article)

The Telegraph (Slide show)

The Telegraph (Article)

NPR Radio (Interview on Talk of the Nation)

The Museum of Ridiculously Interesting Things (Article)

 

Willard Asylum for the Insane – Updates

In May of 2011, the Willard Asylum for the Insane located in Willard, NY, Town of Ovid, opened its doors to the public for a one day guided tour of the grounds and some of the buildings that remain on the property.  The tour, conducted by some of the former employees of the institution and local historians allowed the curious, like myself, to take a rare glimpse at one of the most overlooked historical sites in Seneca County’s history, and one of New York State’s most notorious asylums for the insane.

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Grandview

Following the tour, I decided to share my photos and thoughts about Willard in a post titled A Day at Willard Asylum for the Insane.  That post has received a huge amount of (unexpected) daily traffic. I’ve had visitors who are searching  for information on relatives who were committed there, former employees, ghost enthusiasts, people looking for information on future tours, and people who have authored books on Willard leaving comments on my post.  Because of all this interest I’d like to share a couple of updates.

First, a news article published by the Seneca Daily News explains some of the plans being considered by local enthusiasts to rehabilitate the asylums severely neglected cemetery where 5776 patients were laid to rest.  There are obstacles concerning the HIPPA regulations that are slowing the project from moving forward but one task has been accomplished.  On September 21, 2011, a large sign was erected and now marks the location of the cemetery.  For more information on the cemetery project visit The Willard Cemetery Memorial Project.

Secondly, I’d like to share information about an upcoming presentation about Willard that is scheduled for December 14, 2011, 7PM – 8:30PM, at the Ovid Library.  “Craig Williams, curator and senior historian at the New York State Museum, will give an illustrated commentary on the Anna Hopkins scrapbooks, what they say about 19th century life and how they portray Willard Asylum. Anna was the spouse of a Willard physician and lived at the asylum from the mid-1800’s until 1894. Her scrapbooks contain original photographs, newspaper clippings and other ephemera giving an unparalleled view of life at Willard.”  If you’re interested in attending this event pre-registration is required. Visit the library’s link above for contact information.

If you’re interested in Willard updates stay tuned by subscribing to my blog, or follow @thejoyofcaking on twitter.  For information related to Seneca County subscribe to the Seneca Daily News.

Additional pictures I took during the May tour. 

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The Morgue

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Hadley Hall

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The Projection Room

If you have information on Willard please feel free to share it in the comments section.

2nd Annual Finger Lakes Cork & Fork Partners & Pairings

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Pictured above

1.) Beautiful autumn centerpieces brightened each guests table

2.) Cool Club of Hector Jazz Band entertained the crowd

3.) Guests mingled and tasted delicious Finger Lakes Foods & Wines

Stay tuned because Saturday is a whole new day of more adventures at the 2nd Annual Finger Lakes Cork & Fork!

Finger Lakes Cork & Fork, an Event to Remember

I was raised in a rural part of New York State where agriculture has been a primary source of income for many people, for many years. Aside from having a small garden, a few berry bushes, raising small flocks of free range chickens and ducks for their eggs,  and maple sugaring in the spring,  my personal hands-on experience in agriculture has been minimal.

My first experience in agriculture came at an early age when a friend of mine, whose parents owned a potato farm, offered me a job picking potatoes one weekend.  Eager to make money, I spent my entire day on my hands and knees, in the dirt, pulling potatoes out of acres of cultivated rows.  Needless to say, it was then, that I realized my fortunes wouldn’t be made working as farm laborer.  My experience picking grapes was slightly more enjoyable than potato picking, but not a lot.  The downside to grape picking, spending entire days out in cold, rainy weather, and having to contend with bees on the nice weather days.

I probably didn’t know it then, but those experiences  helped shape my views on the agriculture today.  I’ve come to realize that without our local farms, and  workers willing to put in the long hours and endure the unpleasant elements nature hands out, each our lives would be significantly different. 

This past weekend I decided to pay homage to New York State agriculture.  I was fortunate enough to attend the first annual Finger Lakes Cork & Fork event held in the Seneca County.   The concept of the Cork & Fork, to create a farm to feast event to promote  fresh, locally grown, raised, or farm made products and wine.  The products then make their way into the hands of some of the area’s best know chefs.  The chefs job; to prepare a epicurean adventure.  And that, they did. 

The friday night Partners & Pairings event featured a variety of tapas.  And of course, they were paired with some of the best wines from the Finger Lakes, and the excellent jazz tunes from the Johnny Russo Trio.

Chef Deb Whiting of Red Newt Bistro   offered a taste of her Apple Sausage Meatballs in a Creamy Apple Cider Sauce.  The meatballs were made with pork sausage from Autumn’s Harvest Farm , and cider from Red Jacket Orchards .  The meatballs were paired with a 2007 reserve Riesling from Red Newt Cellars.  If these didn’t bring  your taste buds alive, I’m not sure what would. 

Chef Sean Congdon of Greenside Grill prepared a Tea Scented Pork Belly with Brussel sprouts, Jerusalem Artichoke & Quince.  This dish was delicious, and was paired with a Riesling Ale from Three Brothers Wineries & Estates.

Chef William Cornelius offered a dish prepared just special for this event.  He named it Cheriyaki Chicken.  The chicken came from Perrine Farms of Lyons, NY, and the sauce, a creation by Chef Cornelius, made for Brick Village Gourmet.  This dish was calling me back for seconds.  It was paired with Barn Raisin’ Red from Americana Vineyards, one of my favorite local red wines.

One of the most tasteful dishes of the evening was one prepared by Chef Sean Agate of the Divine Kitchen & Bar at Hotel Clarence.  As Sean reminded us, it was a very popular dish in the 70’s.  Here’s to his Finger Lakes fondue, and to the 70’s!  The cheese used in the fondue came from Muranda Cheese Company, and was paired with yet another great  Riesling from Lamoreaux Landing Wine Cellars.

Don’t worry, there were plenty more excellent dishes and wines to be sampled, and they made for a room full  of very happy tasters.  And dessert?  Lucienne’s Chocolate offered a Port Infused Finger Lakes Black Currant Biscotti with Dark Chocolate & Sea Salt.  Out of this world…  It was paired with Finger Lakes Ruby Port from Knapp Winery.   Life’s So Sweet Chocolates offered Chocolate Chili Truffles paired with Gewürztraminer Ice Wine from Standing Stone Vineyards.  Not only did I eat my truffle, I ate my hubbies too.  Don’t tell anyone…  And lastly, Cayuga Lake Creamery offered their Homemade Black Raspberry, and Vanilla ice cream,  drizzled with Moonglorius from Eleven Lakes Winery.  A perfect ending to a great evening of tastings and pairing.

The second day of the event included cooking demonstrations offered by some of the same local chefs who prepared the dishes the evening before.   There was also more local food and wine to be sampled, and purchased.  It was nice to be able to chat with owners of the businesses, or their representatives.  I asked quite a few questions, and learned a lot.

Chef Sam Izzo of Simply Red Bistro of Sheldrake Point

As I wandered through the large barn that housed all of the vendors I realized there were  a lot of products that I wasn’t familiar with.  To name just a few,  Tom’s Bootleg BBQ Sauce, Finger Lakes Farmstead Cheese, Sunflower Oil by Stolor Organics, Stony Brook Squash Seed Oils, and wines made by Kings Garden Vineyard, among several others.  In all, there were 65 exhibitors representing  wineries, restaurants, foods & farms, specialty items and education. 

This was a great event.  A foodie, and wine lovers paradise.  It gave recognition to those who work  hard in the food and wine industry everyday, and I have to say, it left me with an even stronger appreciation for my life in the Finger Lakes.  If you didn’t attend this years Cork & Fork, you will want to catch next years, it can only get better.