August presents a good stretch of summer still to enjoy — and lots of ways to enjoy a good stretch. With outdoor activities for all the senses, this week's events give us a chance to explore our area and expand appreciation and connection through physical — and social — movements.
Now is a good time to stretch into nature, literally, with outdoor yoga. Offerings are as numerous as the varied fresh-air locations — several each week, including Yoga in the Pines at Rochester Museum & Science Center's Cumming Nature Center. Participants can immerse themselves in the tranquility of the red pine grove while the breeze blows with an audible swish far above. Choose between two sessions on Sunday, August 9, from 10:30 a.m. to noon or 1 to 2:30 p.m. Tickets are $18, and proceeds benefit the center's conservation efforts. Be sure to pack a mat or blanket (and a mask) for any outdoor yoga event in the area, which may include sessions on the grounds of the Memorial Art Gallery, Helmer Nature Center, Chimney Bluffs, and others.
For some, meditating on one's surroundings produces something tangible. Plein air artists practice this as they transpose sweeping landscapes to stretched canvas. The vistas of the Finger Lakes — and the artists who channel them — have been celebrated in Canandaigua every summer since 2011, during the Finger Lakes Plein Air Competition & Festival. This year, while the festival has had to go the way of most things in 2020, Pat Rini Rohrer Gallery will host the aptly named Spirit of Plein Air group exhibition through September 6. Light refreshments will be served at the opening on Saturday, August 8, from 2 to 6 p.m. Special CDC guidelines will be in place (hint: wear a mask).
For east side commuters, Ellison Park is a scenic route to bypass rush-hour traffic on 590. But how well do we know the park itself? On Saturday, the Penfield Trails Committee will host a two-hour guided hike at 9 a.m., meeting at the south entrance at 1008 Penfield Road. The hike is free, and participants are asked to pre-register with Penfield Recreation: 340-8655, option 6. Masks and physical distancing are required.
For a slightly later, shorter option on Saturday, Henrietta's Tinker Nature Park is hosting a Guided Nature Walk from 10 to 11 a.m. If you can't make it this time around, there will be more coming up: August 22, September 12 & 26, and October 10. The park's Hansen Nature Center is open to visitors as well. Masks and physical distancing will be required on the hike and in the nature center.
Also on Sunday at 1:30 p.m., get to know the town of Perinton a little better with Crescent Trail Hiking Association's Guided Hike on Horizon Hill. Those who travel on 490 through Bushnell's Basin zip right by the hill, maybe catching a glimpse of the Woodcliff Hotel, but here's a chance to slow down for an even better view. Hikers are to meet at the Garnsey Road trailhead, and, like at all the other hikes, masks and physical distancing will be required.
The Crescent Trail system includes about 38 miles in footpaths, connecting to both the RS&E Trolley Trail (the bed of the original Rochester, Syracuse, & Eastern Rapid Railroad, which operated from 1906 to 1917), and the Erie Canal Heritage Trail. Along the canal in Pittsford, kids and adults can celebrate A Froggy Birthday Party Scavenger Hunt at A Frog House on Sunday, from 1 to 5 p.m. The mission of A Frog House is part conservation, part education, and part arts — centering on anything amphibian. The scavenger hunt will blend it all together throughout Schoen Place and Northfield Common, complete with ice cream and birthday cake for founder Margot Fass. Tickets are $5-$10, and virtual participation is an option.
The nation's summer of social justice actions continues, with with the need to keep pushing on persistent issues we have in common with other Americans. This week's focus keeps racial justice in the forefront, as well as imminent eviction crisis.
As the state's eviction moratorium is lifted, we're bracing for an anticipated wave of pandemic-related evictions that mirror a national concern and compound the existing housing crisis. Social action groups are gearing up to support vulnerable Rochesterians with both legal support and direct action with eviction blockades. On Thursday, August 6, you can join Rochester Housing Justice Alliance's Eviction Resistance Kickoff, at 5 p.m. at the Hall of Justice (99 Exchange Boulevard). The courthouse gathering is meant to announce the group's intention to physically prevent evictions of community members from being carried through. Show up to learn more and show solidarity.
A Black Lives Matter March and Rally Against Systemic Racism will be held in Irondequoit on Saturday, beginning at 11 a.m. at the West Irondequoit School Administration Building (321 List Avenue). The rally, which will shed light on racism in the neighborhood, schools, social media, and the police force, is organized by Eliminating Racism and Seeking Equity (E.R.A.S.E.) and co-sponsored by Black Lives Matter Irondequoit.
After all of that stretching and activity, it's time for a treat. Genesee Country Village & Museum's Celebrating Chocolate Weekend lets us dip into a sweeter aspect of history and experience bygone treats, historic cooking demos, and vintage recipes. Each attendee will receive a "tasting box of chocolate foods," which includes Shaker chocolate pound cake, sweetmeats, sausages of Marchpane, and more. Presale tickets purchased online receive $2 off the general admission price of $10 to $16.
What's more, every Thursday through August is Kids-are-Free Day, so you can keep the $12 for each kid under the age 12, and spend it on Desserts & Diversions, an historic dining experiences with a dessert course served in the village's Pavilion Garden, on certain Friday and Saturday evenings. Reservations are required ($22-$25). Another Friday option at the GCV is the free Summer Sunset Series, featuring concerts on the Grand Meadow by local musicians. Scenic and spacious. This Friday: Stone Age Romeos.
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