As part of our Snap Poll a week ago, we posed this question: If an out-of-town visitor asked you what's the No. 1 thing to see or do in Greater Rochester, what would your answer be?
The responses poured in. And as expected, the different answers were nearly as numerous as the readers who responded. More than a few said "visit Wegmans' Pittsford store"; same thing for George Eastman House and the Strong National Museum of Play (especially if the visitors were families with children). But the answers ranged widely, from attending a Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra concert and the jazz festival to strolling Highland Park and going wine tasting in the Finger Lakes.
This diversity of opinion reflects how much our area has to offer. Yet at times it seems the quality of life here does not get the recognition it deserves-from out-of-towners who know little about the area, but also from local residents who fail to discover all that's around them.
For nearly a decade, we've been trying to help change this view of Rochester and the surrounding region. Starting in 2003, we have published annual editions of "Explore Greater Rochester," a comprehensive guide to Rochester and the Finger Lakes region. It is designed to appeal to visitors and residents alike with chapters covering local history, museums, arts and entertainment, sports and recreation, parks and gardens, special events, easy day trips and wineries. Also included are recommendations for dining and shopping.
We supply local hotels with copies of "Explore Greater Rochester" for their guest rooms. And it has been available for purchase at local bookstores, museum gift shops and other retailers. But there's one audience it barely reached: you.
Until now. For this year's 10th edition, we decided to make some changes that would allow all Rochester Business Journal subscribers to receive "Explore Greater Rochester." Your copy arrived with this issue of the paper.
To make it possible to distribute "Explore Greater Rochester" as a supplement to the newspaper, we did a separate press run in magazine format-with exactly the same features and photographs as the book version. With the 10th edition we also have considerably expanded the contents with many more articles and a new section on industry and innovation-another attribute that distinguishes our region.
"Explore Greater Rochester" is not just a print publication. It also lives online at ExploreGreaterRochester.com, where you can find the listings and features contained in the guidebook but also weekly tips from our Time Out page and e-newsletter. That's also where you now can read readers' answers to the question about the No. 1 thing to see or do in Greater Rochester. Just go to the site and look in the Readers' Rochester section.
To be honest, I would have a hard time picking only one thing to recommend to an out-of-town visitor. But as I've written before, one of the great things about Rochester is how much it offers for little or no cost. Last Friday, my wife and I had an excellent (and very moderately priced) dinner sitting outside at one of the restaurants along Park Avenue. After that, we went to the free performance of Beethoven's "Missa Solemnis" by the Eastman-Rochester Chorus, Eastman Chorale and Eastman School Symphony Orchestra at Kodak Hall at the Eastman Theatre. On Sunday, we biked the Downtown Loop Trail from Genesee Valley Park to downtown and back. The need to get a few things done on Saturday prevented me from heading to Rochester Institute of Technology for Imagine RIT: Innovation and Creativity Festival-again free.
So I hope "Explore Greater Rochester" inspires you to look with fresh eyes at Rochester and the surrounding region. If you're an employer who recruits job prospects from out of town, it could help you close the deal.
If nothing else, the next time someone complains there's nothing to do around here, you'll be ready with a glossy, 120-page rebuttal.
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