Located four miles south of Canandaigua Lake, Naples is one of the smallest communities in the state, yet it has so much to offer. Although it’s best known as the grape pie capital of the world (it is estimated that nearly 70,000 grape pies are sold in Naples each year), one will also find shops, restaurants, theatre, wineries and gorgeous scenery in this quaint town among the hills.
A unique geographic location and fertile land make Naples an ideal spot for growing grapes. Get a taste of what the area has to offer at Widmer Wine Cellars, Arbor Hill Winery or the brand new Imagine Moore Winery on North Main Street. After touring these, grab a bite to eat at one of the local restaurants, such as The Naples Hotel, Bob & Ruth’s, The Grainery, Luigi’s Italian Cuisine, Middletown Tavern, The Redwood Restaurant, China City or Monica’s Pies.
Athletic types will find plenty to do in Naples, including skiing and snowboarding at Bristol Mountain or Hunt Hollow to hiking at Grimes Glen, golf at Reservoir Creek, and biking, hunting and horseback riding at the Hi Tor Wildlife Management Area, which encompasses about 7,000 acres of state land. If shopping is more your thing, find original artwork, unique gifts and home accessories at Artizanns, or fresh produce, flowers and baked goods at Joseph’s Wayside Market.
After a day of activity, sit back, relax and enjoy an evening performance at the Bristol Valley Theatre. Professional artists from throughout the region and the New York City area provide a variety of entertainment, from comedy to dance to family programming.
Founded in: 1789
A little bit of history: Naples was once the site of an ancient Seneca Indian Nation named “Nundawao.” Because it was so barren and mountainous, the area was not a desirable territory, and the first settlers purchased land for only $.12 an acre.
The big event: The Naples Grape Festival will be held this year on September 29 and 30. Over 80,000 visitors will attend the annual celebration, which features juried arts and crafts, local and national entertainment, and the World’s Greatest Grape Pie Contest, where over 20 Naples pie bakers compete for the coveted title.
The Grape Festival is the place to find everything grape, jellies, kuchens, cookies, ice cream, sauces, tarts and fresh picked grapes. This year for the first time, the fesstival will feature a wine tent where people can sample Finger Lakes wine
The first Grape Festival took place in 1961, when grape growers and community members decided they wanted to celebrate the bountiful grape harvests. About 15,000 visitors showed up for the festival, which included a two-hour parade and street dancing.
The grape pie queen: In the fall of 1959, Irene Bouchard began a bakery out of her home in Naples selling Concord grape pies and other goodies. Since then she has sold about 300,000 grape pies and helped Naples earn the title of grape pie capital of the world.
For more information: naplesvalleyny.com
by Stacy Majewicz