Santa has approved of a handful or North Pole Correspondence locations around Rochester. Some of these locations will send a letter in return while other will make a donation for each letter received. Some mailbox locations can be visited with some Christmas shopping and others include a light show!
Juniper Gift Shop
620 Titus Ave, Rochester, NY 14617
1985 Baird Rd #2, Penfield, NY 14526
Dog Eared Books
450 E Main St, Palmyra, NY 14522
Webster Parks and Recreation
1350 Chiyoda Dr, Webster, NY 14580
Spring Tree Ln in North Greece
âCheck out this residence for a light display and Santa's mailbox. Lights will be on as weather permits. Drop a letter in the mailbox- Santa will do his best to reply!
397 Greece Ridge Center Dr, Rochester, NY 14626
674 South Ave Rochester, NY 14620
Here is a continued list of businesses that have persevered during our country's most challenging time. This is a shout out to all the businesses that have opened their doors despite numerous challenges. To see Part I of this feature CLICK HERE.
912 Genesee Street Rochester, NY 14611
Molecular_Inc opened on November 17 after a few pushbacks and barriers from Covid 19. This is a dedicated gluten free bakery located in the city. They have ginormous calzones and a wide variety of baked goods - you would have no idea they are gluten free! Call ahead to check on their stock or order online. Open Tuesday-Saturday 8:00am - 8:00pm and Sunday 8:00am - 5:00 pm.
376 Goodman St N, Rochester, NY 14607
Embia Fit Stretch and Flow at Charlotte beach is the deep breath you need to click refresh on your week. Angelina Shimkus will make you feel welcome and included from the very moment you roll out your mat. The class was challenging yet manageable and she paired music that made it feel like a party. Ms. Shimkus is a positive and encouraging instructor who helps you find the reason you came to class in the first place. Experiencing this class while watching the sunset was a huge bonus. Although, I would happily take this class at any location because I left feeling stronger and rejuvenated. For the colder season, head to embiafit.com for unlimited month membership plans (virtual pre-recorded classes, live virtual classes, or both!) Embia Fit will also be moving Indoors with a “Parent + Me PiYo” class on Sundays at 10:30am within Ashford Dance Company (Village Gate).
Matilda Coffee House & Kitchen
696 University Ave, Rochester, NY 14607
This is a stylish coffee shop with a clean environment and friendly atmosphere. The establishment is often busy but it is well organized to manage the crowd. There are a variety of simple fresh food item, coffee, specialty drinks and alcoholic beverages available for order. and nice list of drinks. After you place your order you may be asked to sit at a table until your fob goes off or to stand outside.
The Barre Dance and Fitness
370 Elmridge Center Dr, Rochester, NY 14626
The Barre Dance and Fitness is a space where adults of all ages and experience levels can come together and experience the joy of dance as an adult. The classes offered are geared to fit any level including beginners. A lot of the students are either new to dance and just want to explore a new hobby or they have enjoyed dance as a kid or in college and just want to get back into it. Even if you’re not a “dancer” they have classes for everyone including fitness classes like Barre, Yoga and Zumba. At the Barre Dance and Fitness, it’s just about embracing a healthy active lifestyle and coming together as a community.
370 Elmridge Center Dr, Rochester, NY 14626
Gracious Dance (found within The Barre Dance and Fitness) has several class options for families. They offer Pre-Dance, Ballet, Tap, Jazz Funk, as well as adaptive dance and private lessons and much more! Similar to The Barre Dance and Fitness, they believe dance is for everyone. Gracious Dance works with all ages, experience levels, and abilities and believes in harnessing the benefits of dance and using it as a means of expression and healing in a nurturing, encouraging, noncompetitive environment. They strive to engage children in a fun, safe, and educational environment.
Grind-On Coffee Company
212 S Main St, Newark, NY 14513
Just a few minutes from the Perkins Park playground is Newark's newest coffee shop. Grind- On Coffee Company opened up in July 2020 after a delayed start up due to COVID. This relaxing coffee house and cafe offers a huge selection of hot and cold espresso coffee, tea drinks as well as smoothies and Italian sodas. With daily specials, soups, baked goods, and paninis this is sure to be your new favorite lunch spot. Enjoy eating in the cafe by the fire place, outside on the sunny deck, or even pick up take out! Be sure to follow their Facebook page to get the latest specials!
Fluffing Feathers and Flour Bakery
9 Main St. Manchester, NY
Lovely place and lovely people. The adjoining restaurant Jacks Kitchen are fellow family members of Fluffing. They have a good variety of delicious treats as well as Gluten Free. You can get the sampler pack for $20 and pick and chose your favorites or get a couple lovely items for a fantastic price!
Other New Local Businesses:
Bloom Wellness of Rochester, LLC, 48 S Main St, Churchville, NY 14428
OFC Creations Theatre Center, 3450 Winton Pl, Rochester, NY 14623
Jack's Kitchen, 11 S Main St Manchester, NY
Main Street Restaurant, 101 W Union St, Newark, NY 14513
Bistro at the Commons, 1166 NY-31, Macedon, NY 14502
Flower City Yoga, 4368 Culver Rd, Irondequoit, NY 14622
The Highline Rochester. 409 Alexander St, Rochester, NY 14607
Check out Part I of "Businesses that Opened During Covid-19" HERE
My children enjoy a great wooden playground! Check out some of these places where locally created BEARS Wooden playgrounds are located in and around Rochester. The BEARS playground company was established over 15 years ago and is located in Lima, NY. They are a family run business who wanted to create the best outdoor experience for children and has grown in popularity over the past couple of decades. Looking for other wooden playgrounds? Check out these Old School Castle Playgrounds and Natural Playgrounds!
Mark Tubbs Park
7384 Ziegler Dr, Lima, NY 14485
This beautiful park is a wonderful spot to get away and play. Along with the track around an open field there are hiking paths through the meadow with a beautiful view. There are two Bears Playground Structures (one wooden, one plastic) with swings including an adaptive swing. There is an open air pavilion and gazebos on site making this a wonderful spot for a gathering or birthday party.
214 N Main St, Honeoye Falls, NY 14472
This playground in unlike most other Bears playground you will come across. There is a fun tunnel rock for the climbers, swings for all ages and abilities and a plastic play structure. The play structure is great for all ages with various sized slides and a bridge! The Zebulon Norton hiking trail is also nearby.
Jack's Place, Rothfuss Park
1648 Five Mile Line Rd, Penfield, NY 14526
Jack's Place is a unique dinosaur-themed playground that features a large sandbox filled with shovels, brushes and other toys to dig for dinosaur bones. The Bears Structure here is very large and unique. There are many ladders and bridges making this a challenging yet fun playground to visit.
Jack's Place, Webster Park
Intersection of Lake Rd & Holt Rd, Webster, NY
There's another dinosaur theme Bears Playground in Webster! You will find that there is ample space even when this park gets busy. You can dig for large bones in the sandbox, and the best part? It’s actually rubber pieces not sand! There is a large set of swings, walking structures, slides and two bridges within this play structure. You will notice there are a few different levels to this one, so it is perfect for many different ages. The playground is near the lake, so it does have a nice breeze.
Avon Driving Park
350 Spring St, Avon, NY 14414
Avon Driving Park is a gem! With two Bears Playground structures (one for younger kids, one for older) and a natural play area, this park is unique and endlessly entertaining. It is surrounded with nature so kids can explore around the playground as well as hike through the woods, play in the creek and try out the fitness trail. On the playground, you will also find a digger, 4 person teeter totter and plenty of swings! The playground is away from the road and parking lot so kids can play and explore safely.
Letchworth Octagon Playground
1 Letchworth State Park, Castile, NY 14427
This is a beautiful playground to visit in the fall or anytime of year. It is also a great spot to pair a playground with a hike. To get here, we drove to the Castile Entrance to visit the lower falls area (which is a little over an hour from Rochester). After entering, turn right and drive until you see a sign for Lower Falls Rd. Take this down the hill and you will see the new playground behind the rec center! This playground is unique but my kids had more interest in the traditional playgrounds, one of which is right near by. After playing on both playgrounds we hiked the beautiful path to the lower falls. There are lots of stairs but overall it's a quick and simple hike. Along the way you will find the octagon playground (Bears playground pictured) which is shaded and great for climbers! Continue on the hike and eventually you will get to a set of descending stairs and soon a sharp left turn. Take that for the wide open views, bridges and lower falls view.
Sodus Elementary School
6264 NY-88, Sodus, NY 14551
This is a brand new wooden playground just established in the last year! (2019) This playground is amazing for all age groups and has so much imagination to it! It is great because its set back from the road and there are picnic tables in the shade to enjoy some respite from the sun. Bring a ball there is ample space to run around as well as a baseball field nearby.
Letchworth State Park
1 Letchworth State Park, Castile, NY 14427 (Mt. Morris Entrance)
Another Bears Playground can be found right after entering the Mt Morris Entrance at Letchworth State Park. This Playground can be found tucked behind the Highbanks Recreation Area. Despite being one of many Bears Playgrounds in the area, it has some fun and unique features including a little wooden "house", wooden ride on equipment and a disc swing! If you hike the paths directly behind the playground you will find beautiful overlooks of the gorge. The Harvey Swimming can be found right near by and is open to the public for swimming.
The small falls pictured can be found if you drive just a bit further into the park at 42°42'06.0" N, 77°56'17.1"W. It is a short but semi steep downhill hike to the creekside and falls.
Notes: There is a seasonal fee to enter the park and the playground has a sign indicating it is closed during the winter season.
Al Lorenz Park
Al Lorenz Dr, Mt Morris, NY 14510
This hidden gem is tucked away in Mount Morris right outside of Letchworth State Park. Al Lorenz Park boasts a huge Bears playground with year round restrooms and open air pavilions near by.
The park consists of several flat meandering trails that intertwined with one another which was perfect for wandering children. There is an impressive amount of bridges and a little island with bridge access. All this was walking (hiking) distance from the playground.
Notes: The park has various hours throughout the seasons. We were able to access the playground and hiking during the off-season without issue.
One of the best features around in and Rochester is the easy access to water pathways. Some of the best flat areas to use your stroller or ride a bike with friends and family is the Canal Path, many even have a nearby playground! Here are some great options to enjoy on a beautiful day.
Genesee Valley Park
Moore Road, Rochester, NY 14620
Genesee Valley Park is well loved by hikers and cyclists. There are many paved walking paths and fun pedestrian bridges. What makes this park a gem is that it is made up of The Genesee Riverway Trail, the Genesee Valley Greenway Trail AND the Erie Canalway Trail. From one of the pedestrian bridges you can see the Erie Canal meet the Genesee River!
The playground nearest the canal/river is found near the beautiful Roundhouse Pavilion (pictured). This playground is walking distance from the newer "Genesee Valley Playground for all Children." If you park in the parking lot nearest the tennis courts off of Genesee St (near the inspection of Genesee and Elmwood) you can easily walk to both playgrounds. Just follow the canal trail to the Roundhouse Shelter! There is also a parking lot off of Moore Rd if you are looking for a closer parking spot to this playground.
Meridian Centre Park
2025 Meridian Centre Blvd, Rochester, NY 14618
A brand new playground was just erected at Meridian Park in Brighton. This is right off the 590 but hidden behind a business complex. If you head through the business parking lot, you will find the playground right behind the building. Venture just a little further and there is a path leading to the Erie Canal Heritage Trail. You can follow this trail down to a path that leads to the woods and eventually back to the playground. It's a great central meeting point for a playground date and hike.
Schoen Pl Pittsford, NY 14534
Shop and sip along the canal landing located on the North side of the Erie Canal in Pittsford. This is a quaint place to stroll the canal, listen to live music and feed the ducks. There's duck food available for purchase, nearby ice cream stands and even a brewery along the water. Duck food: $1.00. Boat tours, Pittsford Dairy, and other vendors also available.
Butterfly Nature Trail
Canal Lock 30, Macedon, NY 14502
The Butterfly Nature Trail is a community project that started in 2012. The upkeep of this trail is maintained by a local group of devoted citizens. Here you can see the old canal entrance which splits into the new one! This is an adorable trail to bring children to explore- watch out some fairies live here!
Holley Canal Falls
1 Holley Falls Park Rd, Holley, NY 14470
Just outside of Brockport is the quaint town of Holley and within this town is the beautiful Holley Canal Falls. The wide gravel trail is wheel friendly and does a one mile loop to the top of the falls, follows along the canal and passes by a playground. There are shortcuts throughout that are not wheel friendly but get you closer to the falls and a more direct route back. You can stand at the top of the falls without a barricade between so tread cautiously. The waterfall was man made to remove access water from the canal so visitors are able to see water coming in from the canal and down to the falls.
Pal-Mac Aqueduct County Park
555 W. Main Street, Palmyra, NY 14522
The Pal-Mac Park is a lovely place to take a stroll. The area is approximately three acres to explore with kids and family. There are paths to follow around the aqueduct itself as well as down the sides of the canal. You can have an up front view of the waterfalls or go fishing or have fun on the exercise trail!
Palmyra Wetland Nature Trail
299-143 Church Street, Palmyra, NY 14522
The wetland trail is a fantastic low key walk with much to see and listen to. The wetlands are active with many different birds. The area is surrounded by the canal and wetlands on both sides and the walkway is very wide and flat for frequent stops to see the wildlife.
Greece Canal Park
Rotary Lodge, Greece Canal Park
There is a wheelchair and stroller friendly canal path from the parking lot to the overlook at the Canal at Greece Canal Park as well as a nearby playground! Use "Rotary Lodge, Greece Canal Park" in the GPS to find this playground. The playground that you will initially see when pulling into the park is not a quick walk to the canal but great for toddlers! There are picnic tables throughout the park but none close to this playground nearest the canal- pack a blanket to picnic!
99 O'Connor Rd, Fairport, NY 14450
We love going to Perinton Park to grill while enjoying the views along the canal. It's a great spot for a peaceful picnic with its bathroom facilities and large playground nearby. There's swing benches and a little library along the canal as well as a small boardwalk. If the kids can sit long enough, you will likely catch some kayakers floating by. Pack some food, and enjoy the fresh air (Feeding the ducks is not permitted at the location).
Thomas Creek Wetland Walk
43 Liftbridge Ln E, Fairport, NY 14450
The Wetland Walk is a short loop along a boardwalk, parallel to the canal path and right within the village of Fairport! The path is beautiful, easy and stroller friendly. If you finish the short wetland walk, you can follow the canal trail into the village and beyond! Stop by Fairpour for coffee, Created by Us for pottery painting or the many other shops in the village to extend the trip.
Pre-Pandemic, most Recreation Centers offered drop-in open gyms for preschoolers. The majority have canceled this program due to Covid-19 (the list of confirmed cancelled open gyms can be found at the bottom). Fortunately some are still open with slight modifications!
Total Sports Experience, East Rochester
435 W Commercial St, East Rochester, NY 14445
Kids and parents are invited to enjoy free play inside the TSE gyms. Kids can even bring their bikes and scooters! The East Rochester location is open Monday, Wednesday, & Friday, 9:00am-12:00pm
$6 per kid (parents free)
$10 for family (same household)
Total Sports Experience, Gates
880 Elmgrove Rd, Rochester, NY 14624
If you are on the Westside, the TSE in Gates opens up the gyms for free play Monday-Friday, 9:00am-12:00pm.
$6 per kid (parents free)
$10 for family (same household)
Perinton Community Center- Open Play
1350 Turk Hill Rd, Fairport, NY 14450
Greece Parks and Recreation