Geneva: From The Edge Of The Lake To The Verge Of Greatness

By ArianDavidPhotography

Preface

For my 7th stop on my Small Cities Tour across New York State, I spent a sunny Friday in beautiful Geneva New York, well known as the gateway to the Seneca Wine Trail.

As has been the trend lately, I decided to leave my professional photography equipment behind in favor of my iPhone 6.  While I love to take “perfect pictures,” I have come to realize that carrying heavy gear around and changing lenses for every shot can sometimes be a barrier between myself and a fun, free-flowing adventure.  The truly important component of doing what I do is embracing the total experience, not taking award winning shots.  It’s about telling a story with words and photos that compliment the journey.

Geneva:  “Uniquely Urban”

Many of us New Yorkers have indulged in a day trip around one of our glorious Finger Lakes to taste the vast array of delicious wines our region has to offer.  As the sun sets and we return home from our vino adventures, we stop into towns like Geneva New York to fill our stomachs after a long day of alcoholic consumption.  We eat, maybe enjoy one more drink and head back to wherever we are from.

But what do we know about Geneva?  What is the culture like, what makes their community special?  How is local government helping local businesses and grassroots organizations revitalize the city’s now thriving downtown?  I set out to find answers to these questions the only way I know how.  I parked my car and walked/biked around Geneva’s streets, talking to residents, visiting businesses and of course, sampling the local eateries.

My very first stop was Geneva Bicycle Center, a place I saw on the map but didn’t fully appreciate until I entered.  A massive two-floor inventory stood before me with workers and customers moving about.  Matt was kind enough to speak with me.Photo Apr 18, 6 47 48 PM

“The current owner has been here for about twenty years, and the staff as it is now has been here about ten years together.  People come in here for tours and to check out the area, we support lots of cycling events and just try to have fun.”

“Geneva is growing, but I would say our average customer comes from Buffalo, Syracuse, Ithaca, Rochester… people come that far when they are looking for service, selection and people that know what their talking about!”

“Here in Geneva, the obvious thing is storefronts are being filled, restaurants are booming as the city is becoming a little bit of a foodie Mecca.  I think those are all good barometers for the rest of the economy.”

I love cycling.  The Geneva Bicycle Center was unlike any other bike shop I’d visited.  Massive inventory and people who knew their stuff… but there was no feeling of intimidation.  I know I will surely be back in the near future!

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Having skipped my morning coffee(s) I walked across the street to Opus Espresso and Food Bar.  This small but cozy space was perfect.  I was so happy I chose this as my caffeine-charging station.

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I spoke to Heather behind the coffee bar.

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“Seven years ago we were kind of the first small business downtown.  We were trying to bring people back down here.  I still know people that don’t come downtown, which is crazy to me.  They think it’s scary I guess, I don’t know.”

For the record, downtown Geneva is the furthest thing from scary.

“The people that are traveling, they come downtown for sure.  We definitely have tourism here, and we want to get them off [routes] 5 & 20, so that they stop here in Geneva.  That’s something I think all small cities are trying to do.”

Heather touched on a topic that comes up quite often in emerging communities.  While it may only take a few years for storefronts to fill, restaurants to flourish and apartments to appear, it often takes longer for the perceptions of that area to shift.  Even residents living close by to these neighborhoods may rest on their previous impressions rather than embrace change.  It takes time.

After enjoying a delicious cup of java I walked outside and explored Exchange Street.  Geneva’s tagline is one I love… “Uniquely Urban.”  It was perfect, as the colorful historic buildings and bustling streets and sidewalks blended seamlessly with small town comfort.  And the knowledge that Seneca Lake was just a stones throw away gave me a sense that, if ever I wanted to get away from the excitement, a short walk east to the shore would cure all my troubles.

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The downtown streets were lined with parking spaces with additional parking conveniently hidden behind the rows of storefronts and out of view.  It was so easy to leave my vehicle and walk (or in my case bike) everywhere… and I mean everywhere.  Everywhere I wanted to go involved just a few minutes of good old fashioned urban hiking!

The next stop I made was a place I didn’t see on any Google map, but the cheery window display brought me in.  Welcome to Quilty Pleasures.

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Valerie Pierce greeted me as I walked in the door and introduced me to her store which she ran with her stepdaughter.  I didn’t know much about quilting, but I could honestly say this store was a quilters dream.

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As I spoke with Valerie, other ladies wandering around the store joyfully interacted with her, asking her questions and opinions on colors and patterns.  They all seemed to know each other, and all of them were genuinely excited about their craft.  It made me smile.

“There’s nothing in the area close to what we do.  I lost the job I was at for 15 years and knew it was time to change.  So we did this and never looked back.  It was the kick in the butt we needed to do it.”

“Geneva has cleaned up a lot over the last few years.  They’ve really revitalized downtown, it’s coming back.  The Business Improvement District (BID) has had a lot to do with it.  Mary would know more about that than I would…”

Valerie called out to another lady shopping in he store.  I made my way through the racks of quilting material to find Mary.

“It’s a group of people working to revitalize downtown,” Mary said.  “It’s a community based initiative and it’s doing great things… like this place, it used to be an empty storefront.  Now it’s a place with a friendly staff that always welcomes you, and it’s a destination for people who love to quilt!”

Valerie and Mary told me all about “shop-hopping,” where quilters actually spend a day together, traveling around the state to different quilt shops in different cities.  It made me realize how a small, innocently sweet shop like this could be an economic force, bringing business into Geneva from potentially hundreds of miles away.  Often, it’s the local businesses you don’t expect that help bolster a local economy.

I could have spent all day with these ladies.  They were so much fun, and so excited to talk about their craft and their town.  But alas, I had to move on.

Next door to Quilty Pleasures was The Yarn Shop.

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I asked the owner for her thoughts on the direction of downtown Geneva from the perspective of a shop owner since 1999.

“I think there’s a little too much focus on construction, on apartments, and not enough on retail,” she said.  “I think they have lost the focus of downtown as a retail center.  We’re a little town in the middle of a lot of other little towns and if people can’t come and park their car on our block, they’re gonna keep going.  Good ideas are great, but you have to keep an eye on the long term impact.”

Her words were an important voice of caution in our ever-emerging sense of urban optimism.  As we continue to take what we believe are the appropriate steps to improve our communities, it’s crucial to listen to those that have been the anchors of our communities for long periods of time.

My next visit was across the street at One Franklin Square, which housed the Geneva Chamber of Commerce.

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Once inside this magnificent old commercial building, I spoke to Miranda Odell, the Executive Director and Vice President of the Geneva Area Chamber of Commerce.

Photo Apr 18, 2 59 54 PM“#TeamGeneva was born in early 2015 as an opportunity to get all these community-based and civic organizations together and try to tell the stories of what we do,” she said.  “Some of us are very limited with our resources, whether it’s budget or staff, but we all work toward similar goals.  The concept of #TeamGeneva was a way to get our four key groups to work together, which included the Chamber of Commerce, The Geneva Business Improvement District (BID), and then a couple different programs under the city of Geneva.  So what you would see would be the directors from the Chamber, the BID and the city working together whether we were hosting networking events or doing offsite trips to visit the local businesses, it even resulted in a #TeamGeneva softball club.  You have a team that is literally working on the softball field, on the streets and every day in our offices.  It’s a way to not only show collaboration and cooperation, but also communication.  As a result, we’ve seen an increase in awareness and interest in our events and programs.”

I was beginning to understand and fully appreciate the level of planning that was going into Geneva’s rebirth.  It was exciting to hear just how deep the collaborative efforts ran.  As the day went on, I could see all that Miranda spoke to everywhere I went throughout the city.

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Smiling after my stop at the C of C, I made a right on Seneca Street and wandered into Don’s Own Flower Shop.

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Colorful displays packed with gifts, creative ideas, and of course flower arrangements happily greeted me.  I made my way to the back where I found a group of women cranking out bouquets, smiling and laughing with each other all the while.

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One of those women was owner Vicky Munson.  With a refreshing calm in the face of what I gathered was a tremendous amount of work, Vicky took the time to talk with me.

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“I’m not from here actually,” Vicky said with a smile.  “When I moved here, I was excited about it… it was a small community but there is a lot going on.”

“I’ve owned the shop since 1998 (with Johanna Davids) and I’ve just seen huge growth, especially with the wineries coming into the region.  Also all the destination weddings that happen around here bring a lot of people in here that aren’t from the area and might not normally come to the Finger Lakes.  Then there’s all the artsy things going on like Geneva Night Out once a month, where businesses will connect with (and feature) an artist one night a month.  That’s a really nice thing.  We have Linden Street, they have little events there… so it’s all happening downtown.  In the past, you wouldn’t have seen all these but today we’re sort of reviving it.  We used to be in a different location but when we bought this new space, we did so because we wanted to be downtown, we wanted to be part of the action.”

It was great to get a perspective of someone that wasn’t from Geneva, rather she embraced the good things within the community and was genuinely excited to see where it was going.

Continuing my march up Seneca Street, I walked across Linden Street, which Vicky had mentioned just minutes before.  Rope lights hung between the buildings, dangling over the pavement, waiting for nightfall to show off their glow.  A colorful mural blazed in the late morning sun.

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For now, I crossed Linen and stepped into Finger Lakes Gifts and Lounge, a wonderfully unique combination gift store and cafe.  The inviting feel of an old ice cream parlor and a nice array of coffee and food blended with a multitude of cards and gifts for any taste.

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Caitlin was behind the bar, serving up coffee and preparing people’s orders, seemingly doing the work of 3 people!  She talked to me as she moved about the bar area.

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“Our overall theme is everything local,” she said while wiping down the counter. “We incorporate local foods, local wine and beer, even ice cream which is big in the summer.  Then there’s the local gifts.  We try to keep the assortment of cards and gifts local and of course unique, which is nice.  People can get things here they can’t get anywhere else.  We have a nice wide variety from books to cards to jewelry, candles and soap!

“We just got approval for Linden Street to be open only to pedestrian traffic only on Friday, Saturday and Sunday nights… with the lights up there, it’s really a great experience.  It’s going to be a great place for events.”

I stepped back outside and looked at Linden Street again, thinking about how neat it was going to look with no traffic and a herd of people under the lights at night during the summer.  Closing off roads and creating a walkable space is something happening in cities all over the country for events or simply to give residents a chance to enjoy walking their streets again.

My attention snapped away from Linden as I heard music across the street.  There was a young, spiky-haired guy singing and playing guitar on the other side of Seneca.  A small town busker!  This was something I had to check out.

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“It’s especially nice out today, so I thought I would take advantage of the nice day and play out,” said an enthusiastic Aaron.  “My artist name is Hiccup.”

I asked him how he got the name.

“It’s pretty much about making mistakes and learning from them.  I also kind of feel like I can relate to the character Hiccup from the movie How To Train Your Dragon.”

Hiccup continued.  “I love it here.  As a musician, I mean I’ve got Area Records (which I would visit later!), and it’s just a good town.  It’s got a lot going on for itself… Every first Friday they have Geneva Night Out and stuff like that… there’s lots of good things.”

I asked Hiccup if he would rock out for me… and he did.  It was awesome.  That wouldn’t be the last time I would see him that day either. 😉

On Hiccup’s urging, I crossed Seneca once again and stopped into Area Records.  A chill fortress of musical awesomeness, this store had the classic feel of the corner record shop.

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I spoke briefly with the owner, Michael.

“This is our 39th year of business.  The idea is catering to the market area, so you have to watch your price points.  We try to keep the needs filled and just groove along with it!”

“Music is good, it’s a way of growing, it’s good for the brain. We give lessons here, and we work with the various teachers in the area who need supplies and books and that type of thing.”

“Geneva is so much more upbeat than it was 15-20 years ago.  We hit down on the bottom, industries left, and then we bounced back up and there’s been some better attitudes and government grants… it’s been an upward movement which is positive.  We have so many more specialty shops which is good for the local economy versus the bigger box stores.”

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After walking around the store for a few moments, I spoke to a wise store employee who spoke to the special place a shop like Area Records has in a community.

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“That feeling like you can walk into a place, feeling like you belong there, that’s really only available at independent shops like this.  If you’re corporate, you can’t have the conversations we have in here.  Michael and us guys, we know the people that come in here.  The decisions we make in the store aren’t coming from a thousand miles away where they’re just looking at the bottom line… they come from here because it’s what people want.”

Almost next door to Area Records was the historic Smith Opera House, one of the oldest operating performing arts centers in the country!  Opening in 1894, the Smith Opera House has continued to be an anchor for the arts and culture in the Finger Lakes region, drawing crowds for musical and theater events, as well as acting as a community center.

While I would have loved to photograph the inside, the powers that be were understandably swamped that day and unable give me access.  Next time for sure!  In the meantime, check out all the great things SOH offers at thesmith.org

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Seneca Street was really adorable.  A decent incline from the lake, the street was lined with color and old world brick.  Hanging signage, unique architecture and a general sense of history and home overcame me as I reached the top of the street and turned right on Main.

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Main Street yielded even more eye catching structures.

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I was getting hungry, and while it was a bit of an off-hour for food, I stopped in to Beef and Brew to refuel.  The restaurant and bar had a very classic, unchanged look to it while having some delightfully curious features like several “hideaway” booths for 4-6 people.

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I had a really good turkey sandwich… just look at the size of this thing.

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After my delicious lunch and a quick chat with the kind staff, moved on to Castle Street.  As I made my way down the last “side” of this downtown Geneva block, I was again delighted by the uniquely urban vibe.  I just loved the blend of old buildings and new life.  While historical, I didn’t get the drab sense of “the good old days.”  Instead, I truly felt the excitement that the people I had spoken to thus far had for a colorful community, re-embracing the possibilities of a better tomorrow.

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I loved this mural.,  I could have stared at it forever.

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Even the old post office looked regal in the emerging sun.

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And speaking of beautiful historic buildings, City Hall was so interesting, standing tall against the blue sky.  Look closely at the picture below… you might catch up a glimpse of Hiccup once again, rocking out on the steps of this architectural monument.

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I went inside City Hall, not looking for anyone in particular.  It wasn’t long before I heard “Arian!”  I looked to my left to see Julie Coleman, Director of Marketing and Communications for the City of Geneva.  Julie and I had exchanged messages a few weeks before when I was doing my information gathering prior to my Geneva visit.

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“In about 2010 we did a neighborhood study… that’s what broke Geneva up into eleven different neighborhoods.  The neighborhood revitalization is a grassroots, resident-driven initiative.  It’s not a ‘what can your city do for you,’ but rather ‘what can the city help you do’ to accomplish what you see as goals and to overcome challenges you see in your neighborhood.  The neighborhood revitalization and the lakefront revitalization are what is really kicking off this city.  We are the only All-American City in the Finger Lakes.”

“Our tagline is ‘Uniquely Urban.’  We have that large city feel without the noise and the hassle.  We have all the large amenities… 13 public parks, 8 playgrounds and such a vivid downtown but at the same time we have that small town feel when you walk down the street.  Everyone’s gonna say hi to you, shake your hand and smile at you.  You really have the best of both worlds here.”

The quotes you see from Julie don’t accurately reflect her enthusiasm for Geneva.  She was so excited to share her love of her town and what was happening there with me, and it showed in her electric personality.  From an outsiders perspective, the thing that most often influences my view of a community is how the people within that community speak of it.  I think we all need to remember that from time to time.  The change comes from all of us changing the conversation ourselves, and sharing that with the people around us with enthusiasm.

As important once again was the mention of well thought out plans and initiatives by local government and organizations to maximize grassroots potential, giving residents the tools and the guides needed to improve the community in which they live.  The best way for local governments to change the tide of their communities is to empower citizens to make the changes for themselves, giving them the guidance they need when they need it.

Powered by a great conversation with Julie, I stepped across the street to a different kind of shop with an amazing name… welcome to Vaping Bad.

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Rachel, the owner, was kind enough to talk with me about her business on Castle Street

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“We just moved to this location 3 weeks ago, but we have been open for two years.  We wanted to expand and needed a bigger spot and this happened to fall in our lap!”

“Our main focus is the e-cigs, and whether or not they want to admit it, most people who are smoking need to quit, and this is a great alternative.  We do different nicotine levels, so you can work down to where you’re not even vaping.  We’ve had a whole array of age groups that have come in… it’s nice when you have a 65 year old in here who has smoked for years, and this has really helped them, we give them the tools to do it.”

“Vaping is a big community, it’s a big thing going on right now.  There are so many different flavors, so many different devices you can use… for some people, they more or less make it a hobby.  So people can come together here and talk about those things and it really creates a sort of community of people who enjoy it.”

I thanked Rachel for her time and moved on.  My next stop was perhaps my favorite place in Geneva, Stomping Grounds.  Where else can you buy gifts while getting something printed or framed?  Where else can you do all of these things while grabbing a coffee and purchasing a book?

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Stomping Grounds owner James took time out of his work to talk to me.

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“My wife and I own the shop, we’ve been open for a little over 5 years.  We moved to Geneva before opening the shop.  I really waned to move somewhere else, and one day I happened to drive through Geneva… there was a lot of traffic, but I didn’t smell the traffic, I smelled the lake.  I was just walking around and it was a beautiful day… I remember thinking that it was just 25 minutes from where I was and yet it felt so much more awesome.  I needed to live here.  Then I had to convince Beth (his wife) to move here, which she did at first begrudgingly but then she fell in love with the place.”

“After a few years, we wanted to open up a place… it grew out of a used and rare bookshop, but we wanted to produce a lot of cool paper items, which led to having to print them, which led to us being able to do large format printing.  Then that led to realizing people might want to frame what we print, so we got into framing.  So a bunch of stuff kind of lumped on until now, and I think we have a good idea of who we are, even if I can’t always give a 5-second elevator pitch on who we are!”

“I love Geneva.  I’m dedicated to it.”

Just then, James flipped over his right arm and I laughed in amazement!

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He had a Geneva tattoo.

“I got this when we opened the shop, because even though Geneva is a city, it’s really a small town.  I grew up in a small town, and I know from that that if you’re not born there, you’ll never be from there.  So I got this as some kind of proof that, while I’m not from here, this shows my commitment to Geneva.”

“The resurgence here is coming from either people like us who moved here because they loved it, or from people who grew up here, went to see the world only to realize ‘hey that place I kind of wanted to escape when I was a kid was actually pretty awesome.'”

As much as this place had on the bottom floor, there was even more upstairs.

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It was there I found Morgan, a student at Hobart and William Smith Colleges.

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“I’m from a really small farming town in New Jersey… Geneva is a city, but it’s also very small and agriculturally based.  So I can connect to that from my experience in my home town.  They have all these adorable small businesses here that just thrive.. the whole community is really thriving.  And they are willing to be unconventional to create a better livelihood for residents.”

I took one more pass around the shop before heading out the door and up toward Linden Street.  On the way, I passed a group of young guys just hanging out and enjoying the sunshine.

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“It’s easy here, you can walk around, don’t need no transportation, you don’t have to worry about crime, it ain’t that bad.  And it’s getting to be that time where everybody hits the basketball courts… there’s a lot of athletes around here, a lot of people don’t know about that, but they’re here.  It’s so small here, people don’t really know about Geneva you know?  But the people here, they can show you better than anyone else, they can tell you about how it is here, you just gotta be around and say hey.”

Good advice for all of us!  I made my way to Linden Street.

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One of the places I was told I had to go was Cebo, a relatively new culinary sensation in Geneva.  Lucky for me, they had just received their liquor license earlier in the week.  I sat down at the bar and marveled at the blend of modern chic, eclectic charm with a hint of country farm.

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Even the restroom was cool.

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But the cocktails were cooler.

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And the food was absolutely out of this world.  I would make a special trip to go back in a heartbeat!!!

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General manager Sharon Blanton was running around behind the bar as she talked about the restaurant.

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“Our entire restaurant is local.  Our food is sourced local, and we do the same thing on the bar… with the exception of the spiced rum and the tequila, everything else is sourced locally.  We’re always looking for new and innovative things… the food menu is very innovative, and so is the cocktail menu.  For example, the candied ginger is just finishing up out back right now.”

“A lot of people are coming from Rochester and Canandaigua because Geneva is offering something different, something really fun and interesting.  Great food too, obviously!”

And the food was amazing in Geneva, but for me, Cebo was tops.  Elegantly prepared with thought and a personal touch, and the taste was unbelievable.  As a “foodie” I can honestly say this place was the amazing.

After consuming more food than I really should have, it was time to work it off.  I rode my Dahon Vybe folding bike down to the lake shore for a little sunshine-guided ride along Seneca.  Some of the shore was closed due to the lakefront revitalization project (which is going to be gorgeous by the way)…

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But my ride east was still unbelievably gorgeous.  I stopped many times to snap photos.

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My always dependable and extremely portable ride. 😉

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And who can resist a lakeside selfie?

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On my way back toward downtown, I encountered a young man playing guitar along the lakefront.

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“I used to do farming, and I owned my own motorcycle shop.  My dad got sick, he was diagnosed with ALS, so I ended up closing my shop to take care of him.  A year after that I had my farming accident… I’ve been fightin’ through it ever since, going to college now.”  Things like that really make you find how much strength you got.  You gotta dig down and find it.  You can either sit on your ass or you can fight… you only got one chance.”

I loved talking with this gentleman.  Such inspiring words from a man who had obviously been through so much and was truly focused on trying to improve his life and not let the barriers he’d faced get him down.

In between the lake shore and downtown Geneva, I came across what looked like an old service station.  Turns out, it was Lake Street Station Winery.  I had to check this out.

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Once inside I spoke with Alyssa (on the right… her parents owned the winery).

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“In the 1920s this place was a Texico gas station.  We wanted to keep the historic value of the building by doing our label series with hot rods and things like that.  We also turned it into a liquor store, there’s a full bar over there and a gift shop and cafe.”

The young lady on the left, Kira, spoke up at this point.

“We are also the only walkable winery in this area.  Most of the wineries are along the lake in the country, but we are right here in Geneva which makes it nice for the locals, as well as the people staying at the Hampton Inn and the Ramada, they’re right next door so people come from there as well.  We are open late as well for that reason”

“Geneva itself is becoming more of a college town.  They’ve been renovating the buildings downtown, there’s a scene there now.  Alyssa’s parents own a lot of places in downtown, and they’re restoring a lot of those old buildings and turning them into apartments again.  When you have people living downtown, it means they can walk across the street and go to this business, or this restaurant… it helps the businesses and it’s easy for the people living in the apartments because they’re right there in the middle of it all.”

Of course, I had to have a wine tasting.  I may or may not have bought a bottle to take home with me… and that bottle may or may not have been consumed in a couple of days.  Awesome fun wine!

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Continuing my route back downtown, I stopped into Lake Drum Brewing, and boy was that a treat.  I had a tasting of two beers and two ciders and was beyond satisfied with all four!  As great as the beer was, I loved that this place was as much an eclectic home to spend time and chat with friends or strangers as it was a brewery.

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I sat across from a Judy, a delightful young lady at the bar and talked to her about Geneva for probably 30 minutes.  She had a wonderfully positive and intelligent view of Geneva and of life.

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“The beauty of the folks here who are coming in from outside and bringing fresh new ideas is this… they know the fresh idea have to happen!  All the new eating and drinking places that have opened here recently, every single one is different.  They have a different slant, a different feel… there are no copycats here.  That’s where the vibrancy happens.  And the businesses that have been here, I think they have really done this too, and fed into this vibrancy.”

After my lovely conversation with Judy, I rode my bike around downtown, just taking it all in.  Once again, I found a familiar face, this time on Exchange Street.

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I headed back up Castle Street for dinner.  On the way, I passed Foster, another Geneva resident with his own take on life.  Oh and just like me, he was from Chicago, so we had plenty to talk about!

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“The world ain’t like it used to be.  People used to look out for one another.  My family didn’t eat until we made sure the family down the road had enough to eat.  Now everybody’s me me me… it’s not a hard problem to solve, but people gotta do it for themselves.  You can tell them all you want.  They have to look into their heart and see who they really are.  You gotta go back to the basics.  Life ain’t hard, people make it hard!”

“I love the water here in Geneva.  I meet a lot of interesting people too.  People here got good ideas, they got a lot to say.  It’s a good feeling.”

Finally, I reached my dinner destination, the delicious Red Dove Tavern.

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My steak was not just pretty to look at, it was mouthwateringly delicious.  I just made up a descriptor, that’s how good it was.

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The gentleman behind the bar talked with me while filling orders for the huge and steadily growing crowd

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“People my age who went to college, we left… we left for school, we left for work.  I graduated in 2008, eventually I got a software job, didn’t like it, didn’t like the office.  So I ended up moving back to my hometown here, and I think a lot of people have done the same thing.  I think we young professionals, we got our taste of places that were a little more cosmopolitan, but I think so many of us have come back and fallen in love with our hometown again.”

“We’re sick of the old guard.  I don’t mean that directed to any individual, but sometimes when you try to open a business, there are people that are afraid of change, especially in smaller towns.  But the city manager Matt Horn has done a great job helping foster new businesses, so that’s been great for us.  When you have people in the right positions, you see what kind of a difference that can make.  It’s amazing how much these people can help with business and things like that.  My dad always said, the most important politics are local politics.  I think the good things happening here are perfect examples of that.  Because of that, Geneva can become a destination.”

I left Red Dove Tavern after a great conversation and an extremely full stomach.

I finished off the night at Microclimate, recently rated one of New York’s best wine bars.  You can see from the pictures alone, it didn’t disappoint.  The wine was delicious, the service was wonderful, and the open atmosphere welcomed conversations with strangers, which I indulged in heavily.  Microclimate is a must visit if you’re anywhere near Geneva.

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With my day tour of Geneva over, I snapped one last photo of Linden Street, now all lit up. While the photo doesn’t show it, the surrounding streets became busy with people, walking, laughing and enjoying the now-vibrant Geneva nightlife.  I realized something beautiful this day as spoke to some wonderful people, visited some delightful businesses and ate some amazing food… I realized that the tagline for this city could not be more perfect.  With the feel of a close-knit community and the vibrancy of a larger city, Geneva was indeed “Uniquely Urban.”

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