Friday, October 24, 2014

Photo Tour: Visiting MacKenzie-Childs in Aurora, N.Y.

Photo Tour: Visiting MacKenzie-Childs in Aurora, N.Y. - Style Jaunt by Katarina Kovacevic

Even if you've never heard of the name MacKenzie-Childs, you'd probably be able to recognize some of the brand's bold patterned pottery, especially if you're fond of certain E! and Bravo reality shows. Pieces are handmade in Aurora on a sprawling 65-acre estate, which was once a dairy farm. You can shop the store, stroll some beautiful gardens and even tour the family's old farmhouse.

MacKenzie-Childs isn't exactly my personal style, but I still appreciate the craftsmanship. And, as a person who also appreciates design...and, well, pretty things...I really loved touring the grounds and getting a peek into the farmhouse. Photo opps everywhere! I'd definitely recommend a visit if you're in the Finger Lakes area. It's a fun detour.

Photo Tour: Visiting MacKenzie-Childs in Aurora, N.Y. - Style Jaunt by Katarina Kovacevic

Photo Tour: Visiting MacKenzie-Childs in Aurora, N.Y. - Style Jaunt by Katarina Kovacevic

Photo Tour: Visiting MacKenzie-Childs in Aurora, N.Y. - Style Jaunt by Katarina Kovacevic

Photo Tour: Visiting MacKenzie-Childs in Aurora, N.Y. - Style Jaunt by Katarina Kovacevic

Photo Tour: Visiting MacKenzie-Childs in Aurora, N.Y. - Style Jaunt by Katarina Kovacevic

Photo Tour: Visiting MacKenzie-Childs in Aurora, N.Y. - Style Jaunt by Katarina Kovacevic

Photo Tour: Visiting MacKenzie-Childs in Aurora, N.Y. - Style Jaunt by Katarina Kovacevic

Photo Tour: Visiting MacKenzie-Childs in Aurora, N.Y. - Style Jaunt by Katarina Kovacevic

PHOTOS BY: Stjepan Alaupovic
MORE INFO: MacKenzie-Childs
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Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Destinations: Finger Lakes Sweet Treat Trails

Destinations: Finger Lakes Sweet Treat Trails - Style Jaunt by Katarina Kovacevic

There are a lot of foodie trails in the Finger Lakes - wine, cheese, chocolate, beer. Did I forget one? Probably! But one of my favorites is the Sweet Treat Trail, which is based in Cayuga County (Auburn, Aurora, Fair Haven, et al) and takes you to some of the smaller, more off-the-beaten-path places. Many of the farms and stands we visited are women-owned and operated businesses, and you know how that makes my little heart sing.

We kicked things off with breakfast at New Hope Mills - homemade pancakes! (OK, OK, and a donut) - and then headed to Bee Attitudes Honey, where I learned more than I ever thought I would about bees from owner Stephanie Williams. Years back, Stephanie received an empty bee hive as a Christmas gift and now she's operating her own 3-acre farm with 23 hives and fields of some of the most beautiful, most deliciously smelling French lavender. Besides honey, she makes and sells tonics, essential oils and salt scrubs from her crops.

Oh, and she does it all from her family's garage. Her kids are learning all about the trade and her daughter even does some of the company's design work. It's all very adorable and inspirational. I loved chatting with Stephanie. She's extremely passionate about the role bees play in nature and about healthy living in general.

Destinations: Finger Lakes Sweet Treat Trails - Style Jaunt by Katarina Kovacevic

Destinations: Finger Lakes Sweet Treat Trails - Style Jaunt by Katarina Kovacevic

Next it was on to Strawberry Fields Hydroponic Farm, where I fell in love with the mother-daughter duo who run the roadside operation. Yes, you read that correctly: A hydroponic strawberry farm. Linda's strawberries were the sweetest I've ever tasted. You can pick them fresh or buy jam, honey and olive oil made from the fruit. The barn store was decked top-to-bottom in Halloween decorations and full of great gift items like wine, cheese and handmade jewelry.

Destinations: Finger Lakes Sweet Treat Trails - Style Jaunt by Katarina Kovacevic

Destinations: Finger Lakes Sweet Treat Trails - Style Jaunt by Katarina Kovacevic

Destinations: Finger Lakes Sweet Treat Trails - Style Jaunt by Katarina Kovacevic

The tour de desserts ended at Owen Orchards with some homemade cider donuts. (More donuts!) Besides being an apple orchard, Owen's is also a farm stand where you can pick up fresh eggs, cheese and produce. We toured the grounds on a tractor and went home with a bushel full (I think? What's a bushel, any way?) of Empires, Cortlands and Jonagolds. It was a quintessential fall experience...I'll honestly never forget it.

Two other places I want to mention that aren't technically a part of the Sweet Treat Trail, but are in the area and absolutely something I'd recommend: Long Point Winery for its attentive tasting room staff and unforgettable vineyard views of Cayuga Lake (I think you can even do a guided boat tour of it and other nearby wineries!), and Springside Inn as a place to stay. Springside is another one of those really special family-owned places where hospitality just courses through the owners' veins. Its grounds are mesmerizing at sunset and the restaurant, Oak & Vine, is delicious and so cozy.

Destinations: Finger Lakes Sweet Treat Trails - Style Jaunt by Katarina Kovacevic

Destinations: Finger Lakes Sweet Treat Trails - Style Jaunt by Katarina Kovacevic

Destinations: Finger Lakes Sweet Treat Trails - Style Jaunt by Katarina Kovacevic

PHOTOS BY: Stjepan Alaupovic
MORE INFO: Tour Cayuga

Monday, October 20, 2014

Where to Stay in Ithaca: Argos Inn

Where to Stay in Ithaca: Argos Inn - Style Jaunt by Katarina Kovacevic

On our quick overnight in Ithaca last year we stayed at Argos Inn, which remains one of my all-time favorite hotels.

The building itself has been a number of things over the years, including the mayor's mansion and an old Duncan Hines headquarters, before owner Avi Smith took it over and meticulously restored its wood, stone and glass details to create a LEED-certified inn. Avi was born and raised in the area, worked in tech on the West Coast, and then returned to Ithaca to develop a couple of local projects.

He hand-picked every piece you see at Argos Inn, from the doorknobs and sink fixtures to the decorative typewriters and color-coded antique books. Working with all local craftsmen and vendors, he breathed new life into flea market furniture, creating an aesthetic that somehow perfectly balances out old timey accents with modern hues and patterns. I love, love, love Argos Inn. Everything here - the vibe, the design - feels intentional, but not forced. A lot of thought and love went into the inn's development and it really shows!

Where to Stay in Ithaca: Argos Inn - Style Jaunt by Katarina Kovacevic

Where to Stay in Ithaca: Argos Inn - Style Jaunt by Katarina Kovacevic

Where to Stay in Ithaca: Argos Inn - Style Jaunt by Katarina Kovacevic

Where to Stay in Ithaca: Argos Inn - Style Jaunt by Katarina Kovacevic

There are 10 guest rooms, each unique in design but fitting into a handful of themes, as well as a bar and lounge that's open to the public. We visited a couple of weeks before Argos' big grand opening fete, so the bar was still in its final planning stages but it seems as though Avi and crew have beautifully carried out their plans for a local, craft cocktail-focused hangout.

We stayed in the King Slate Room, which I loved (of course) for its sunny closed-in porch with the writer's desk. I'm not one to typically gush about things like bathroom design, but my husband and I still talk about the shower in this room as the prototype to our dream, "someday" home. Every room at Argos has some kind of "wow factor," but two of my other favorites are the Glass Porch Room for its floor-to-ceiling windows and the White Peacock Room because THAT WALLPAPER! (Photo below is of the Grey Peacock Room.)

Where to Stay in Ithaca: Argos Inn - Style Jaunt by Katarina Kovacevic

Where to Stay in Ithaca: Argos Inn - Style Jaunt by Katarina Kovacevic

Where to Stay in Ithaca: Argos Inn - Style Jaunt by Katarina Kovacevic

Where to Stay in Ithaca: Argos Inn - Style Jaunt by Katarina Kovacevic

Where to Stay in Ithaca: Argos Inn - Style Jaunt by Katarina Kovacevic

Where to Stay in Ithaca: Argos Inn - Style Jaunt by Katarina Kovacevic

You get free continental breakfast in the sun-drenched dining room with your stay and Argos Inn is also within walking distance of Ithaca's main drag, which is full of great bars and restaurants. (It's a college town, of course, with Ithaca College and Cornell University close by.) We took a short drive to Buttermilk Falls for a glorious fall foliage hike, but you can also visit the famous Cascadilla Gorge if you have a little more time.

PHOTOS BY: Stjepan Alaupovic
MORE INFO: Argos Inn

Friday, October 17, 2014

Photo Tour: Farm Fun in Tioga County, N.Y.

Photo Tour: Farm Fun in Tioga County, N.Y.

I'm the kind of person who thinks it's completely rational to visit multiple U-pick pumpkin patches in a single day.

What, you didn't get enough golden gourds at farm #5? 

Nope.


A table can never have too many miniature squashes, in my opinion.

The drive from Owego to Ithaca has plenty of visitor-friendly farms and we checked out two that I thought were particularly worth a stop: Stoughton Farm for raspberries, peppers, fall mums and a corn maze if you're into that sort of thing. (Grab a bag of homemade kettle corn before you venture in!) Then, Iron Kettle Farm to check out the quirky pumpkin displays and Grandma's Barn gift shop. If you have kids, you'll also love the games and rides...scooters, tractors, a train, "pumpkin sling shot" and more.

Photo Tour: Farm Fun in Tioga County, N.Y.

Photo Tour: Farm Fun in Tioga County, N.Y.

Photo Tour: Farm Fun in Tioga County, N.Y.

Photo Tour: Farm Fun in Tioga County, N.Y.

Photo Tour: Farm Fun in Tioga County, N.Y.

Photo Tour: Farm Fun in Tioga County, N.Y.

Photo Tour: Farm Fun in Tioga County, N.Y.

Photo Tour: Farm Fun in Tioga County, N.Y.

Photo Tour: Farm Fun in Tioga County, N.Y.

Photo Tour: Farm Fun in Tioga County, N.Y.

PHOTOS BY: Stjepan Alaupovic
MORE INFO: Visit Tioga County

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Destinations: Downtown Owego, N.Y.

Destinations: Downtown Owego, N.Y. - Style Jaunt by Katarina Kovacevic

The first stop on our fall Finger Lakes tour brought us to Owego, a small town on the Susquehanna River that makes a great "gateway" to New York's Finger Lakes region when you're driving in from the city. Owego's downtown is small but charming and full of the kind of shops you'd hope to find in a place like this...

For example, Hand of Man. It looks fairly unassuming from the front window but inside is a cavernous collection of Halloween, Christmas and other holiday trinkets. I live for these kind of places, but I know at least a handful of my friends who would cringe at the thought of such a massive compilation of kitsch.

BUT! I have to say, the store is extremely well organized and easy to navigate...it makes roaming and getting lost in the season fun. Plus, they really do stock things you'll actually want to buy - from high end and fancy to understated, minimalist gems. Altogether, during the Christmas season, Hand of Man stocks 10,000+ ornaments and 100 decorated trees. They also have a cafe that overlooks the river, but we didn't get a chance to check it out. Looks great, though, and had a good crowd!

I really, really loved it! One of my favorite finds on this trip.

Destinations: Downtown Owego, N.Y. - Style Jaunt by Katarina Kovacevic

Destinations: Downtown Owego, N.Y. - Style Jaunt by Katarina Kovacevic

Destinations: Downtown Owego, N.Y. - Style Jaunt by Katarina Kovacevic

Destinations: Downtown Owego, N.Y. - Style Jaunt by Katarina Kovacevic

Across the street is Riverow Bookshop, another store that turned "I'll just take a quick peek" into an hour-long visit. You can pick up a cup of tea or glass of wine and browse three stories of new and old books. I spent a lot of time in the local section and then left with a handful of antique postcards that I'll...do something with, someday, when I don't live in a shoebox.

Destinations: Downtown Owego, N.Y. - Style Jaunt by Katarina Kovacevic

Before heading off to some of Owego's surrounding farms, we stopped in for brunch at The Cellar Restaurant, which has great views of the river and really delicious seafood crepes. It's owned by a husband and wife, and everything the restaurant serves is made from scratch, so it's especially a great pick if you have any dietary restrictions. I don't, so I went to town on the aforementioned crepes smothered in lobster sauce. Yum.

They're also known for their homemade danishes, salad dressings and other desserts, which you can pick up to-go. Oh, and, Nerd Alert! The bar pictured below was reclaimed from an old 1900s speakeasy. Really cool.

Destinations: Downtown Owego, N.Y. - Style Jaunt by Katarina Kovacevic

Destinations: Downtown Owego, N.Y. - Style Jaunt by Katarina Kovacevic

Destinations: Downtown Owego, N.Y. - Style Jaunt by Katarina Kovacevic

Destinations: Downtown Owego, N.Y. - Style Jaunt by Katarina Kovacevic

Destinations: Downtown Owego, N.Y. - Style Jaunt by Katarina Kovacevic

PHOTOS BY: Stjepan Alaupovic
MORE INFO: Finger Lakes Travel NY