Capturing Memories

When I was in my early 20s, I had an opportunity to visit Europe, which was always an interesting part of the world to me. Just before I departed, a friend of mine gave me a gift of a writing journal. I never really thought much about writing my thoughts down on paper, but I’m glad I had that journal. Every day I would write my thoughts, and by the end of the trip the entire book was almost filled. Even today, I still enjoy leafing through the pages and thinking about those fond memories.

Writing things down is almost becoming a lost art. Generations ago people would often communicate through letters received in the mail. If that person kept some of those letters, we of future generations have some insight into what that person was thinking. These days, a lot of communication is through a phone, or an e-mail, or texting. Many of those thoughts, although sometimes profound, are fleeting and a record typically is not kept of those conversations.

You may say, “Yes, that’s interesting, but what does that have to do with traveling and sight-seeing in the Finger Lakes?” I don’t know about you, but when we travel we capture our memories in typical ways: digital photos and souvenirs. That’s all well and good, but in addition I think there’s something special and unique when people share their ideas on paper. Even sketching is a form of record-keeping and expressing yourself. I take a sketchbook with me when on vacation, especially during warmer weather. It’s good for my soul to draw, but when I look back at a sketchbook a year or two later, I realize it also serves as a journal of our vacation and family time together. Nothing can replace that. I encourage anyone who’s slightly interested in writing or drawing to take a journal with you on your travels this year. You may be surprised at how fulfilling an activity this can be. We’ve even provided a small space for you to get started on page 48 – an open page to write and sketch.

This page is on the tail end of our new 2010 Travel Directory. The directory is a fantastic guide for all things related to traveling and tourism in the Finger Lakes. Page 25 starts out with categories such as attractions, and under each category communities are listed in alphabetical order along with businesses that fit within that category. Once you find a business of interest, you can turn to the business listings on page 32 and find the location and contact information for that business. This printed directory is really an extension and enhancement of the one on our website,

Some people may say “What is there to do and see in the Finger Lakes?” When my wife and I moved to the region, our curiosity to learn about the area drove us to visit many parks, historic sites, cities and villages, and just about everything in between. We looked with fresh eyes upon a landscape new to us and appreciated what we saw.

If statistics and numbers may encourage you to travel more, read on. According to Finger Lakes Tourism Alliance, the official tourism promotion agency of the Finger Lakes, there are around 100 wineries, 135 museums, 80 art galleries, 400 registered historic sites and landmarks, 14 professional theatre companies, 45 community theatre groups, 1,063 waterfalls, 20 tour boats, 650 miles of shoreline, 300 B&Bs, and at least 100 restaurants with waterside views. And I’ve only mentioned about half of what you can see and do. Plus, we’ve provided a calendar of events that spans May through October. Not every event is listed, so please refer to for more listings.

by Mark Stash

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