Archive | January, 2022

When there’s nothing going on, go to Sea Breeze!

21 Jan

I’m in one of those blog droughts, when good ideas are few and far between. But I really don’t like letting the blog sit fallow for several days on end. So here’s my back-up plan: another East Extra Afterthoughts installment.

Afterthoughts is a new, completely separate blog, where I’m reposting some of my favorite columns from when I was the Our Towns East Extra columnist for the Democrat and Chronicle.

I came up with this particular column idea when I had to find SOMETHING about Irondequoit to write about. Since I don’t often get up into the Sea Breeze area, even during the summer, I decided it would be fun to check out what the area is like in the winter … if, actually, anything much happens when Seabreeze Amusement Park is closed.

The original column was published Jan. 10, 2014, in the middle of winter, so I thought it would be appropriate to revisit it today.


Seeing a surprising side of Sea Breeze

I’ll wager that most of us think we know Sea Breeze pretty well. At least summertime Sea Breeze, anyway.

But life’s a whole lot different this time of year up there, where Culver Road meets the lake.

The constant clatter of roller coasters has quieted, the patio tables and chairs at Vic and Irv’s are stacked in a corner, and the warm summer breezes have been replaced by stinging winter winds.

But don’t think for a second that when Seabreeze Amusement Park closes up for the winter, the Sea Breeze neighborhood turns into a ghost town. That was my thinking when I visited there a few weeks ago. I actually wondered if any of the neighborhood’s businesses would even be open. I figured that when winter hits, they roll up their sidewalks and hibernate for a few months.

But then I walked into the Parkside Diner, and realized I was very wrong.

Click here to go to Afterthoughts and read the rest of the post.

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Webster community mailbag

19 Jan

I ripped many of these items from the Town of Webster’s weekly newsletter. If you don’t get this emailed to you or check it out on the website regularly, you might want to to that, because it’s always packed with great information.

Try a winter hike

Winter is one of the most beautiful times of year to take a hike. The Friends of Webster Trails got you covered.

The Friends’ first hike of the year will take place this coming Saturday Jan. 22, at 9 a.m. at Whiting Rd. Nature Preserve. It will be about 3 miles long and is rated “moderate,” with some rolling hills. You’ll want to RSVP by signing up for the Meetup.com event, so you can get more details and updates. It will be held in snow, rain or shine, so make sure to dress appropriately!

P.S. The hike is absolutely free.

What events would you like to see in the village?

You know the Webster Business Improvement District … or at least you know their events. This is the group behind a lot of the special events we have here in the Village of Webster, including the Trick or Treat Trail, Wine Walks and Family Game Nights. It’s an organization comprised of village business owners, dedicated to promoting village businesses.

If you’re a village resident or business owner, would like to find out more about the BID and perhaps put in your two cents about the events you’ve seen or would like to see, here’s your chance: the first BID meeting of the year will be held Monday Jan. 24, from 6 to 8 p.m. at Webster Interiors, 975 Ebner Drive.

The meeting will be more a social gathering than anything else. It’s a great chance for village residents and business owners to get to know more about the organization and exchange ideas on how best to help promote village businesses. Food and drink will be provided.

And … here’s a teaser … I know that the BID will be announcing a really neat new event at this meeting, so it will be a great one to attend!

Please RSVP by Friday Jan. 21, by emailing info@websterbid.com. And if you’d like to find out more about the BID visit www.websterbid.com.

Grab your sweetheart and dance the night away

Challenger Miracle Field is hosting “A Night to Shine” Valentine’s Prom for children and adults with special needs on Friday Feb. 11 at 6 p.m. It’s a chance to gather with old friends and meet new ones. Singles and couples are welcome.

Suggested donation is $20 and includes a buffet dinner, dancing, a photo booth and more. Registration is required by Feb. 1. Click here for more information and to register.

When will more test kits be distributed?

Yes, the Town of Webster will be distributing more COVID tests kits, but they don’t know when.

A new supply is expected, but there are no specifics right now as to when that might be or how many the town will be getting. You can sign up for Town of Webster email alerts here to stay up to date.

Remember, however, that as of yesterday, every household in the U.S. can order 4 FREE tests from the government, delivered in the mail. Here’s the link to sign up.

A reminder from the Town

Finally, some important things to remember now that we have a lot of snow on the ground:

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You can also get email notifications every time I post a new blog by using the “Follow Me” link on the right side of this page.

C’mon on in, the snow’s fine!

17 Jan

It’s beautiful out today, and if you don’t have anywhere to go, it’s a great opportunity to just cozy up with a good blanket and some junky TV and take some time off from life.

I know a good many teachers who are lamenting the fact that, given this is Martin Luther King, Jr. Day and already a holiday from school, today’s storm is a waste of a perfectly good snow day. BUt on the plus side, knowing that it was coming gave us all a chance to plan ahead to how we might spend it.

For me, of course, it meant a barefoot snow walk. For those of you not familiar with this craziness I do every year, it was a tradition started by my grandmother more than 75 years ago and has been handed down through the generations. My Gia Gia would have been 120 years old this month, so today’s snow walk was done in her memory.

This isn’t the first snow walk I’ve done this winter. That was Dec. 24, when we got our first measurable snow on Christmas Eve. I gave a little more background in this blog into how we’ve carried on this tradition through the years, if you’re interested.

Thinking of my Gia Gia has also motivated me to drag down some of our old records and photo albums from the attic and get them organized today. Seems like a great day to do that.

All this snow is definitely an annoyance, especially if you don’t have the day off of work or school. But we live in Upstate New York. Let’s have fun with that! Make a snow angel! Make a snowman! Have a snowball fight! Then send me photos I can post in my blog.

Or better yet, strip off your socks, run outside and get a little crazy.

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email me  at missyblog@gmail.com“Like” this blog on Facebook and follow me on Twitter and Instagram (@missyblog)

You can also get email notifications every time I post a new blog by using the “Follow Me” link on the right side of this page.

Happy news from the Webster BID

14 Jan

You might think that when the Village’s Business Improvement District holds special events like the Wine Walk and Beer Walk, it’s all just for fun and games.

There’s a lot of fun involved, definitely. But rest assured, the money that you’re plunking down for these events is always earmarked for donation to a local charitable organization. There’s just not a whole lot of hoopla when the check is handed over.

That was not the case on Thursday, however, when Mike Grenier, president of the Webster Community Chest, received a very large (literally) check for $900, representing the proceeds from the BID’s first-ever “Hops and Stops” Beer Walk held at the end of November. (It was a terrific event; you can read about it in my blog here.)

Grenier was presented the check by Kevin Finn (of Finn’s Garage) and Laurie Read (of Woodland Silkscreen & Embroidery).

Based on the event’s success, organizers are planning a second Hops & Stops later this year. They’re looking at maybe doing it a little earlier, however, like during October. Perhaps they can combine it with the village’s Oktoberfest?

What events would you like to see in the village?

The BID, which put on the Beer Walk, is the group behind a lot of the special events we have here in the Village of Webster, including the Trick or Treat Trail, Wine Walks and Family Game Nights. It’s an organization comprised of Village of Webster business owners, and dedicated to promoting village businesses.

If you’re a village resident or business owner, would like to find out more about the BID and perhaps put in your two cents about the events you’ve seen or would like to see, here’s your chance: the first BID meeting of the year will be held Monday Jan. 24, from 6 to 8 p.m. at Webster Interiors, 975 Ebner Drive.

The meeting will be more a social gathering than anything else. It’s a great chance for village residents and business owners to get to know more about the organization and exchange ideas on how best to help promote village businesses. Food and drink will be provided.

Please RSVP by Friday Jan. 21, by emailing info@websterbid.com. And if you’d like to find out more about the BID visit www.websterbid.com.

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email me  at missyblog@gmail.com“Like” this blog on Facebook and follow me on Twitter and Instagram (@missyblog)

You can also get email notifications every time I post a new blog by using the “Follow Me” link on the right side of this page.

It’s Girl Scout cookie time!

13 Jan

Hooo boy, this is going to be dangerous.

The Girl Scouts are going all-in with their online sales this year, thanks in large part (I’m sure) to this never-ending pandemic. I don’t know about you, but I’m going to find it much easier to pull out a credit card for my cookie order than try to scrounge up cash. Which, of course, facilitates the purchase of more Girl Scout cookies than a normal body needs. (AND you can get them delivered right to your house in just about a week.)

I’ve had a regular cookie connection for many years, ever since we lived in North Penfield across the street from Annalise, who sold us cookies every year before we moved to the village.

But even though we weren’t neighbors anymore, I knew where she lived, so I still tracked her down when cookie time rolled around. This year it’s so much easier — all I have to do is visit her personal cookie-selling website to get my fix of Thin Mints and Shortbreads. Anna’s little sister Adelia is a Brownie now as well, so I’m going to have to split my order … or maybe just buy more.

The Scouts are being encouraged to record promotional videos this year as well. I think that’s pretty neat in that it gives these young ladies a little public speaking experience. If you’re at all interested, here’s Anna’s video, and here’s Adelia’s.

I hope you also have a regular Girl Scout cookie connection. Or perhaps you wait until you can grab some boxes in March when they’ve set up tables outside local businesses. But if you can’t wait and really need a source, feel free to visit Adelia’s or Anna’s cookie ordering sites.

And if you really DON’T like Girl Scout cookies, there’s still a way you can support the organization’s goals and the opportunities they provide for the girls. It’s a program called “Cookie Share,” where you can purchase some boxes to be donated. Usually these go to local military organizations.

Thin Mint fan or not, I encourage everyone to support the Girl Scouts. They do so many neat things with these young ladies. Adelia’s mom Jess told me the trips her daughter’s been on already include visits to the Planetarium, Ginna and the George Eastman Museum. Plus, she’s taken an engineering class at the U or R and sampled karate and yoga.

I don’t remember having anywhere near that much fun when I was a Camp Fire Girls Bluebird back in the day.

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email me  at missyblog@gmail.com“Like” this blog on Facebook and follow me on Twitter and Instagram (@missyblog)

You can also get email notifications every time I post a new blog by using the “Follow Me” link on the right side of this page.

Happy birthday Daniel Webster!

12 Jan

Daniel Webster, the man after whom our town was named, turns 240 years old on January 18. It’s a benchmark that should be noted (if not celebrated with a 240-candle cake). He’s pictured above, in a photo provided by the Webster Museum along with news of his fast-approaching birthday. Looking at the photo, I’m not sure he would consider celebrating the occasion a valuable use of our time, however.

The Museum folks also remind us that Daniel Webster never actually visited Webster during his 70 years on Earth. However, he did speak in Rochester at a fortuitous time, around 1840, just when North Penfield was looking for a new name. Several North Penfield residents attended the speech, and were so inspired by his message and eloquence that they decided to propose his name for the new town. The Town of Webster was born and named in 1840.

A year later, Daniel resigned as a U.S. Senator and became Secretary of State for the first time, resolving some long-standing disputes with England that facilitated westward expansion. He would continue this work as well as domestic and trade issues through a second term as Secretary of State.

Webster died in office in 1852. Our town, his namesake, continues to grow and thrive bearing his name.

The Webster Museum will actually be open on January 18, Daniel Webster’s birthday, so that would be a great day to visit. While you’re there, check out the museum’s winter exhibit, which highlights many of the fun ways we’ve found to actually enjoy the cold winter months.

I remember stories being told by some of our told-timers about sledding on the village streets east of four corners, and even on North Ave. itself. I’m looking forward to hopefully learning more about that on my next visit to the museum.

The Webster Museum is located at 18 Lapham Park in the Village of Webster, and is open Tuedays, Thursdays and Saturdays from 2 to 4:30 p.m. Admission is free but donations are always greratly appreciated.

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email me  at missyblog@gmail.com“Like” this blog on Facebook and follow me on Twitter and Instagram (@missyblog)

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The ice rink is open! (And other Rec news)

11 Jan

For all of you ice skating fans out there, here’s a phone number you’ll want to put up on your fridge:

585-872-7103 (option 3)

That’s the number to call for an update on the conditions at the Webster Parks and Recreation ice rink. I checked it yesterday and the good news is, thanks to the recent cold weather, the rink is finally open!

The community ice rink is located in front of the Webster Recreation Center, 1350 Chiyoda Drive, off of Phillips Rd. just north of the village. It’s a nice size, 52 ft. by 104 ft., fully lined, and is totally FREE for anyone to use. You don’t even have to be a member of the Rec Center. There’s even a warming shed where you can sit to put on your skates. You’ll want to bring your own skates, though, because there rentals are not available.

Make sure you call that number before you go, however, to make sure that our capricious winter weather hasn’t turned the ice surface into mush.


Since we’re talking about Webster Parks and Recreation, here are a few other fun events they’re running which I wanted to pass along.

The first is the Four by Four Community Art Project. Basically this is a fun way to get your whole family crafting, and help decorate the Rec Center at the same time.

Here’s the deal: for $2 each, you pick up a 4×4″ canvas square anytime between Jan. 1 and Feb. 1. Take it home and design it any way you’d like. Once it’s complete, return your square to the Rec Center by Tuesday March 1, and all the squares will be hung side-by-side to create one huge art piece.

For more information and a few more instructions, visit the Webster Parks and Recreration Center website.

And this looks like something I’m going to want to try myself: the Clovers and Clues Scavenger Hunt.

From March 1 through March 17, families are encouraged to participate in a self-guided scavenger hunt, co-sponsored by the Webster Heath and Education Network (WHEN). Visit the WHEN website beginning March 1, and from there you’ll visit multiple spots throughout the Town of Webster, gathering letters at each location which will ultimately decode a final message promoting healthy choices.

Once decoded, the message can be submitted to Webster Parks and Recreation for a chance to win a prize.

Good luck!

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email me  at missyblog@gmail.com“Like” this blog on Facebook and follow me on Twitter and Instagram (@missyblog)

You can also get email notifications every time I post a new blog by using the “Follow Me” link on the right side of this page.

Fairport, Ohio? Webster, Mass.?

10 Jan

Today I invite you all to check out the latest installment of my East Extra Afterthoughts blog.

Afterthoughts is a new, completely separate blog, where I’m reposting some of my favorite columns from when I was the Our Towns East Extra columnist for the Democrat and Chronicle.

The column I’ve chosen today was one I came up with in desperation. I had no idea what I was going to write that week, so I had to get creative. It was a fun little research project which I hoped would interest my readers no matter where they lived.

Game with town names yields results

Have you ever searched the Internet for your name? It’s fun to see how many of you there are in the world.

I did that for our towns. I wondered if there are more Brightons in the United States (lots). If Irondequoit, with its Iroquois-inspired name, is the only one in existence (yes).

It was an entertaining exercise. Here (with help from Google, Mapquest and Wikipedia) is what I found out.

Click here to go to Afterthoughts and read the rest of the post.

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email me  at missyblog@gmail.com“Like” this blog on Facebook and follow me on Twitter and Instagram (@missyblog)

You can also get email notifications every time I post a new blog by using the “Follow Me” link on the right side of this page.

Woodland Silkscreen & Embroidery a spicy addition to Webster business scene

9 Jan

One of the Village of Webster’s newest businesses is also one of its oldest.

Woodland Silkscreen & Embroidery joined the village’s West Main St. business corridor less than a year ago, but the shop at 5 West Main (lower level) is only the newest location for a business which has been around for more than 70 years.

You might recognize the Woodland name from its many years on Rt. 104 in Ontario. Owner Laurie Read operated the business there — in three separate locations near the Ontario Animal Hospital — for 30 years. But Woodland Printing was founded well before that, when her father Arnie started the business in his home on Shoemaker Rd. more than 70 years ago.

Laurie took over part of the business when she left Kodak, and got even more involved when Arnie decided to retire. She built the business through the years, including moving it out of the house to Ontario 20 years ago.

Her most recent relocation into Webster last March wasn’t her decision (her landlord in Ontario decided he needed the space for something else), but the move has turned out to be one of the best she’s made to date. Not only did it mean coming back to her hometown, but her highly visible, smack-dab-in-the-middle-of-the-village location facing Gazebo Park has been great for business.

“I love it here,” she said.  “I was mad that I was being booted from my other place. I had fears, but since I’ve been here, it’s been great. Everyone is so nice and friendly, I love being part of the BID, I’m part of the Chamber now. I love being back here.”

The spicy side of Woodland

Visitors to Woodland will also discover a surprising, spicy side to the shop. When Laurie moved to her new location, she brought her OHHH, LORDEE! Everything Sauces with her.

Laurie can also thank her father Arnie for introducing her to homemade hot sauce — it’s his original recipe, which she’s been making on her own for years. But for a while now, Laurie and her best friend Denise Jones have been bottling the sauces, following a chance phone conversation they had one day when Laurie was cooking up a batch. Denise was immediately intrigued. When she eventually had a chance to try the sauce, she fell in love.

“She immediately said, ‘Oh my god, we’re bottling it,'” Laurie remembered. “We’re doing it, nothing’s stopping us.” With that, OHHH, LORDEE! was born.

The friends currently have five sauce varieties, ranging from mild (“Cloud 9”) to killer hot (“Devil’s Ecstasy”). Laurie describes the sauces as “different from anything out there,” with flavors that complement everything from chili and scrambled eggs to macaroni and cheese and Hawaiian pizza.

The sauces are available at Woodland Silkscreen, but also can be purchased at several locations in the area, including Hegedorn’s, Costanzas, Joe’s Meat Market in Ontario, Breens in Palmyra and Williamson, and others. To see a whole list and find out more, click here.

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email me  at missyblog@gmail.com“Like” this blog on Facebook and follow me on Twitter and Instagram (@missyblog)

You can also get email notifications every time I post a new blog by using the “Follow Me” link on the right side of this page.

Revisiting the old neighborhood

6 Jan

Since Facebook began, it’s been a place where people can reconnect with old friends, old classmates and extended relatives. For those who long ago moved away from the towns where they grew up, as I have, there are plenty of Facebook groups to join where you can reminisce about old times.

My main “memories” group is called “Growing up OWEGO.” I don’t visit it too often, since I’ve found that most of the discussions involve people I never knew and years I was never there.

That definitely was not the case last week, however, when — thanks to Facebook — I reconnected with almost a dozen old friends and neighbors from the street where I grew up, and relived countless memories of the fun we had and friendships we shared.

It all began when my old neighbor and friend Ann Hartman Buckley posted on her Facebook page a blog I had written. It’s titled “We All Have a Story — This is Mine,” and it recalls how one of my high school English teachers, Linda Yanchus, said four simple words one day which changed the direction of my life.

That one post prompted more than 70 comments, just about every one of them from old friends and neighbors who lived on my street in Owego, NY back in the 1970s.

It was a delightful walk through memory lane — or down McMaster Street, I should say. Here are some of the memories we shared (I’m sure many are much like the things you remember growing up in simpler times):

  • “Remember making Laurie puke?”
  • “Your parents always let me take care of your pets when you went away on vacation. That $10 bought me a lot of candy at Mullens!”
  • “I do remember the night you, Janie, and I snuck out to watch the Pumelly house burn down. Your Dad ripped us a new one! We deserved it.”
  • To Mindy, my sister: “I have countless fond memories of you guys. The first time I met you, I walked by your house and you and Missy were using magnifying glass and the sunlight to burn holes through newspaper. I knew then that I was gonna hang out there more.”

We remembered playing “Go Go Go,” dodgeball, football and baseball in the neighbor’s spacious back yards, watching the Joie Chitwood Thrill Show at the fair, the community pool and sledding at the high school.

My brother Greg summed up a lot of it with one of his posts:

Our parents divorced just before we came to Owego and you guys and the neighborhood crew were a needed constant in our lives. I remember basketball in Richie, Ricky and little sis Mary Dee’s driveway, my first girlfriend, Karen, yard games behind Little Richie’s barn, cross country (Wayne), our bike gang, causing mischief each Halloween, baseball at Nick Raftis Park, adventures in the fire department’s hook and ladder company with Chris, fishing for suckers and anything else that would bite at the “crick” and Susquehanna River, Joie Chitwood at the fair, swimming at the pool, watching the Chiefs handle the Vikings with big Richie, Super Bowl 1970, and tackle football at Stackmore’s lot. (I thought I was tough until faced with tackling my good friend Paul).

A few people even remembered my mother fondly, and also recalled also taking English from Ms.Yanchus.

I lived in a handful of towns when I was young: Cedar Rapids, IA; Raytown, MO; Lake Zurich, IL. But when people ask me “Where did you grow up?” the answer is simple: I grew up on McMaster Street in Owego, NY, and I have the friends and memories to prove it.

Click here to read that original blog post.

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email me  at missyblog@gmail.com“Like” this blog on Facebook and follow me on Twitter and Instagram (@missyblog)

You can also get email notifications every time I post a new blog by using the “Follow Me” link on the right side of this page.