Finger Lakes Typewriters, Baseball, Socks and Wine, Plus New Fiction by Local Writers

by Rosemarie Palmer Tucker
Arcadia Publishing, 2009
Softcover $21.99
15 historic postcards $7.99

The 150th anniversary of the village of Groton in northeast Tompkins County, and the 145th anniversary of the First National Bank of Groton prompted Tucker, town historian, to celebrate these milestones in print. She has painstakingly selected 200 photographs from both public and private collections to support this pictorial history, part of the Images of America series by Arcadia Publishing.

Short captions with dates identify the images thematically organized by Village Scenes, Hamlets (Groton City, McLean, Peruville and West Groton), Schools and Churches, Houses around Town, Business and Manufacturing, and People.

Readers will be interesting to learn how typewriter manufacturing was once a mainstay of the local economy. The Smith-Corona Company employed hundreds of people for 70 years until its factory in Groton was closed in 1984.

Tucker has written extensively on local history and is a member of the Association of Published Historians of New York State. She hopes readers will find this publication “a way to reminisce about Groton’s days gone by.”

Seneca Falls
by Frances T. Barbieri and Kathy Jans-Duffy
Arcadia Publishing,, 2009
Softcover, $21.99; 15 historic postcards $7.99

Incorporated in 1831, Seneca Falls is perhaps best known as the birthplace of Women’s Rights. A single chapter of this pictorial collection is devoted to “Women and Other Radicals.” The abolition and anti-slavery movements spreading across the region in the 1840s were also part of Seneca Falls’ history.

Another chapter reminds the reader “Not Just the Women Made Seneca Falls Famous.” “After the commotion caused by the women’s rights convention, Seneca Falls stayed in the forefront of the national scene with manufacturing and farm produce during the Civil War,” write the authors, who work at the Seneca Falls Historical Society. The village, linked to the Erie Canal by the Cayuga-Seneca Canal, became a bustling mill town with factories located on islands formed by the Seneca River and the canal. Its knitting mills were second only to New York City’s in the production of socks worn by Union soldiers. Pumps and fire engines manufactured there were widely sold.

The historical society’s archives provide many of the book’s 200 images. Frances T. Barbieri is the longtime education director, and Kathy Jans-Duffy, former society volunteer, is now collections manager.

Spectacular Wineries of New York
by Panache Partners, 2009
Hardback, $40

The lavish photographs in this book focus on more than 50 estate and boutique wineries throughout New York State’s five official wine-growing regions: Niagara, Long Island, Hudson Valley, Finger Lakes and Erie. It is notable that over half of the book’s featured wineries are located in the Finger Lakes region.

The summaries of these significant wineries include their histories, settings and the unique character of each. Many are multigenerational establishments, some dating back to the 1800s. “A visual journey through New York’s viticultural industry,” is how Jim Trezise, president of the New York Wine & Grape Foundation, describes the book in its introduction. Owners, winemakers and vintners share their varied establishments. This coffee-table volume is sure to please locals as well as wine collectors and aficionados around the country. For residents of the Finger Lakes it offers the opportunity to look inside the state’s other wine growing regions.

Connoisseurs will enjoy the “Wine and Fare” sections where each winery offers ideas for pairings. For instance, Dr. Konstantin Frank’s Vinifera Wine Cellars of Hammondsport pairs its Dr. Frank Dry Riesling with grilled shrimp and lemon pepper seafood. This attractive book will be equally useful in trip planning and as a reference for oenophiles.

by Cynthia DeFelice
Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2009
Author website:
Soft cover, $16.99

This young readers novel of science fiction and suspense is set in the Finger Lakes region. After moving to the area, 12-year-old Owen McGuire, whose mother died over a year earlier, rarely sees his workaholic father. He passes the summer with his dog, Josie, until he happens on a strange girl named Cam. Her glittery green eyes offer credence to her claim that she is from another planet. Owen befriends the mysterious girl-alien, provides her with food and shelter, and shields her from a threatening man who is pursuing her. A lot of action takes place on the trail between Penn Yan and Dresden.

Owen helps Cam build a signal visible to her parents so they can return in a spaceship to rescue her. He wrestles with whether to go to her planet called “Home,” which is like Earth but better. “Except for Josie, I am alone,” says Owen. “My mother’s gone and I can’t even remember her face clearly anymore. My father is in his own world and seems happy to stay there. I don’t know any kids here, except Cam. And she’s leaving.”

Readers 10 years old and up will enjoy this well-paced, satisfying story of how two youngsters cope with the isolation of their individual worlds.

Geneva resident Cynthia DeFelice is an award-winning author of novels and picture books for young readers.

Persons, Places, and Things Of the Finger Lakes Region
by Emerson Klees
Friends of the Finger Lakes Publishing, 2009
Soft cover, $19.95

Emerson Klees loves the Finger Lakes region, as evidenced by the many books he has written on its people, places, legends and stories. This newest one combines and updates two previous books on the subject.

In this one volume are a myriad of in-depth background details that describe the fascinating history and biographies of places and people. Maps and black-and-white photographs add to the book’s appeal.

Yes, searching the Internet for operating hours and locations of various attractions is a common practice, but Klees has put together this portable 543-page book with an inordinate amount of diverse information that can be easily accessed by travelers. Individual chapters highlight the six major lakes – Canandaigua, Keuka, Seneca, Cayuga, Owasco and Skaneateles –and their legends and stories, parks, forests and trails, shows and festivals, waterfalls, historic sites, colleges and universities, municipalities, museums, biographies and other items of interest. Separate chapters on areas to the east, south, west and north of the major lakes cover the five minor lakes. Gateway cities like Syracuse, Rochester, Corning and Elmira are featured.

Silver Seasons and a New Frontier
by Jim Mandelaro and Scott Pitoniak
Friends of the Finger Lakes Publishing, 2009
soft cover, $19.95; cloth limited edition, $29.95

Summertime is perfect for a baseball story, and what’s more appropriate than a book on our local minor league baseball team, the Rochester Red Wings.

This book is an important updated version of Silver Seasons: The Story of the Rochester Red Wings published in 1996. Three new chapters cover such milestones as the team’s record-setting 10th International League championship, being named top minor-league franchise by Baseball America, and the close of Silver Stadium and the opening of Frontier Field. Also included is a description of how the team came to sever its ties with the Baltimore Orioles and begin a new affiliation with the Minnesota Twins.

Readers will find familiar names like Stan Musial, Cal Ripkin, Jr., Bob Gibson, and Justin Morneau, among others. Their stay with the Wings may have been brief, but they are forever a part of the team’s colorful history.

This is an absorbing play-by-play account by writer Jim Mandelaro who has covered the Rochester Red Wings for the Democrat and Chronicle since 1991. Co-author Scott Pitoniak is the author of 10 books including Memories of Yankee Stadium. A special section, Rochester Year-by-Year Standings, is an indispensable index that adds value and will satisfy any baseball fan.

by Aaron Paul Lazar
Twilight Times Books, 2009
author website:
soft cover, $16.95

Mazurka is the fourth in the author’s series of Gus LeGarde mysteries. Double Forte, reviewed here last summer, introduced readers to the classical music professor, widower, grandfather, gardener, chef and nature lover who lives in the Genesee Valley. Not exactly your average tough-guy hero, LeGarde plays Chopin and is described as a “Renaissance man caught in the 21st century.”

On the eve of LeGarde’s European honeymoon with his new wife Camille, plans are altered to include Siegfried, LeGarde’s socially challenged brother-in-law who is unable to travel alone but has been summoned to visit a German relative.

Suspense builds immediately as the trio experiences unexpected turbulence on their flight to Europe. The plane averts tragedy, but an unsettling encounter with another passenger, a neo-Nazi, is a sure sign of things to come. After the leader of a Nazi group in Paris is accidentally killed, LeGarde and his travel companions are targeted and must fight for their lives. The newlyweds are left for dead in the underground catacombs in Paris while Siegfried discovers a link to the family that could change classical music history.

LeGarde is bound to face more danger in Firesong, the next in the series to be released in the fall.

by Laurel C. Wemett
Laurel C. Wemett lives in Canandaigua where she owns a gift shop, Cats in the Kitchen. She is a correspondent for the Messenger Post Newspapers and a frequent contributor to Life in the Finger Lakes magazine.

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