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Petals & Blooms - Garden Tour

Suggested Group Tour Itinerary

Rochester, NY

Welcome to New York State's "Flower City" -- so named in the late 1860's.  The local climate and fertile soils here encouraged the development of renowned horticultural activities.  Entrepreneurs built lavish private estates with formal and informal gardens typical of the early 20th century also known as the era of the American Renaissance.  Your tour can include restored gardens maintained in the fine horticultural traditions of the past two centuries, and historic sites enhanced by beautiful gardens. Be sure to check out schedule dates for the many colorful festivals celebrated in Rochester throughout the season.

Day 1

Upon arrival, enjoy a guided city tour of Rochester including the High Falls Historic District -- site of Rochester's 96ft urban waterfall - & the Cornhill District, known for its concentration of Victorian architecture.  Visit the Ellwanger Garden, once the private garden of famed horticulturist George Ellwanger.  Your next stop is to the Memory Garden at Monroe Community Hospital.  Established by the Alzheimer's Association, this garden provides a sanctuary that cultivates outdoor experiences and activities that contribute to enhancing quality of life.  After checking into your hotel, you will have an early evening departure for the Port of Rochester.  Here you will visit the Bicentennial Peace Garden at the Charlotte Genesee Light House.  This garden is located at an historic site established to commemorate the activities there during the War of 1812.

Next, depart for dinner and winetasting at Mayer's Lake Ontario Winery. The winery is also the site of a Bicentennial Peace Garden.

Day 2

If you plan to visit during Lilac Festival in May, arrive at Highland Park and enjoy a guided tour of the lilac groves including 500 varieties of lilac flowers on more than 12,000 bushes.  The Rochester Lilac Festival is a lavish array of flowers & entertainment that delights visitors of all ages.   Your tour includes a visit to the Lamberton Conservatory, originally constructed in 1911.  Open year around, the arboretum was designed by Frederic Law Olmsted and has expanded over time to become a tranquil destination and tropical respite for visitors.   A visit to Highland Park would not be complete without a stop at Rochester's Vietnam Memorial.  This memorial is a tribute to all branches of the military and a truly moving memorial to the fallen soldiers of this region.  After lunch, you will visit the George Eastman House International Museum of Photography and Film.  Built in the 1905, the mansion and formal gardens are beautifully preserved and maintained, enhanced by the newly constructed addition, the International Museum of Photography & Film.

Travel a short distance to the Finger Lakes region to visit the lavish Thompson family estate known as Sonnenberg Gardens and Mansion.  This 50 acre estate features nine elegantly restored gardens, a greenhouse complex and a handsome 1887 Victorian mansion.  There are many special events hosted throughout the season (May through October) at Sonnenberg.  Check out their calendar online. 

Be sure to include a visit to the Granger Homestead and Bicentennial Peace Garden.  This lovely home and garden reflects the bygone era of the early 1800s. 

Dinner:   While in Canandaigua you may opt for dinner at the New York Wine and Culinary Center, near the lakeshore.  Your group will enjoy a dinner and cooking demonstration prepared and presented by one of the Center's well known chefs.     

Day 3

Following breakfast at your hotel, depart for the National Museum of Play at The Strong in Rochester.  The museum features a Butterfly Garden and a Children's Garden.  It is also home to the National Toy Hall of Fame, featuring more than 40 toys that have stood the test of time. New toys are inducted in the hall each November.    

On your route home, stop at one of the many farm market and gift shops dotted throughout the region.  Depending on the direction you are traveling, you might want to include a visit to one of the other Bicentennial Peace Gardens on the Peace Garden Trail.  There are 21 in total in New York State alone, each with its own history and unique design.  

Other area special events that will complement a visit during your garden tour include:

June - Maplewood Rose Festival

September - Oktoberfest

September - Hilton Apple Festival

September - Purple Foot Festival

July - Cornhill Arts Festival

September - Clothesline Festival

Enjoy your journey!!