8 Places to Learn Something New

It's a new year and like many people do, it's a time for new goals and resolutions. What would you like to accomplish this year, where do you want to improve? If you're looking for change or something new and refreshing, why not learn something new? Our city is full of businesses and organizations dedicated to the arts and education.

Check out these 8 places to learn something new this year in ROC:

1. Flower City Arts Center

the Rochesteriat

the Rochesteriat

Formerly known as Genesee Center for the Arts & Education, the Flower City Arts Center is a great place for adults and kids alike to learn about the arts with hands-on classes. From letterpress, paper making and pottery, to photography, digital arts, book binding, there are a lot of options to improve a passion you already have or start a new one.

2. Hoopla, City Library

If you're a resident in a city neighborhood, you're in luck. Check out Hoopla, this service offered FREE through the Rochester Public Library (to city residents ONLY!) gives library card holders access to ebooks, audio books, movies and more, accessible right from your desktop browser, to your mobile phone through the Hoopla app. Check out our recent post on the service for more information: Hoopla for Snow Days & Lazy Days. We can say from experience we have already really enjoyed taking advantage of all of the audio books available.

And even if you don't have access to Hoopla, your local library is full of resources, books, and classes to take advantage of.

3. Amore by Wegmans

the Rochesteriat

the Rochesteriat

A great place to hone cooking skills is from a place that makes great food. Why not take a cooking class from a restaurant? In 2016, Amore Italian Restaurant & Wine Bar, located at the East Ave Wegmans, launched a series called Eat, Drink & Learn (check out our post). Keep an eye out for classes throughout the year including Pasta Making, Mozzarella Making, Gnocchi, Risotto and more. Check out the class schedule.

4. 540WMain Communiversity

540WMain is a grassroots non-profit (501(c)(3) community school and event space. They offer classes and programs focused around diversity & inclusion, historic preservation, sustainability and more. With their main location at 540 W. Main Street, they will be opening a second satellite location at The Yards in February focusing on the arts and wellness. Check out the website for a list of all of their classes and events.

5. Rochester Brainery

the Rochesteriat

the Rochesteriat

Don't have time to sign up for a series of classes? Try taking a class (or ten) at Rochester Brainery in NOTA. If you've got a few hours to spare the Brainery offers classes from business, to arts, gardening, cooking, history, photography, jewelry making, and more.

6. George Eastman Museum

If photography is your passion, why not improve and hone your skills at a place dedicated to the life and dreams of George Eastman and educating the community and world on photography, film and much more, the George Eastman Museum? Did you know that they offer photography workshops throughout the year, ranging from one day to five days in length? If you've ever wanted to learn more about the history of photography and difference methods of developing film, check it out.

7. Creative Workshop @ the MAG

the Rochesteriat

the Rochesteriat

Located at the Memorial Art Gallery, the Creative Workshop is another great place for adults and children to learn the arts. Ceramics, jewelry making, painting, sketching, weaving, there's even art appreciation classes. See all of the class offerings online.

8. Studio 34 Creative Arts Center & Gallery

Studio 34 is located on Elton Street in NOTA and offers classes at all levels in different areas of glass work, jewelry, photography, clay and more. Private lessons and group lessons are also available.

What places are we missing? Where do you head when you want to learn something new?

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2017 Holiday Guide: Shop LOCAL!

the Rochesteriat (pictured L>r: Cat Clay, More Fire Glass, Tom Pollard Designs)

the Rochesteriat (pictured L>r: Cat Clay, More Fire Glass, Tom Pollard Designs)

We're last minute shoppers, it's terrible, we know. There's just something about that deadline creeping up that really puts us into action. So this year we're getting ahead and starting our shopping in November (super early, we know)!

We're all about shopping local as much as possible and our city businesses have a lot to offer. So here's a quick guide to do more LOCAL gift giving this year:

Art Gallery/Museum Gifts or Memberships:

Give the gift of Art! For those art lovers in your life peruse the gift shops of local galleries or museums like the George Eastman Museum or the Memorial Art Gallery. They are full of unique treasures you often won't find anywhere else.

Know someone who will want to adore the art itself over and over? Buy a membership so they can keep going back throughout the year. Giving gifts to younger ones? Head to the Rochester Museum & Science Center, The Strong Museum of Play or the Seneca Park Zoo.

And don't forget those theater lovers! Consider subscriptions to one of our many theaters like Geva Theatre or Blackfriars Theatre.

For the Home:

The Rochesteriat | Peppermint

The Rochesteriat | Peppermint

Skip the big box stores and head to the small mom n'pop shops. Look for gifts at places like Abode Rochester, Stacy K Floral, AXOM Objects, More Fire Glass Studio and the Hub by Archimage. Even Peppermint and Fahsye have a great selections of local Rochester goodies!

The Gift of Learning:

We're life-long learners, we love to read, take classes and attend events where we'll walk away having learned something and been inspired. Give the gift of knowledge through gift cards and classes from Rochester Brainery, the Creative Workshop at the Memorial Art Gallery, Studio 34 Creative Arts Center & Gallery, Little Button Craft, or the Flower City Arts Center.

Clothing & Things:

Before you head to the mall or Target, stop at Archimage, Peppermint, Fahsye, or the new Statement Boutique on Park Ave. Shopping for an active friend? Try Fleet Feet, Rochester Running Co. or Rochester Parkour. And don't forget about stores like Little Button Craft, Zak's Avenue and Parkleigh, you never know what great (and random!) gifts you'll find.

Gift Cards!

the Rochesteriat

the Rochesteriat

Lastly, as much as we love that super thought-out perfect gift, we're also fans of gift cards! Do you have a favorite place you think your friend or family member needs to try, what better way to get them to go than with a giftcard? The list could be endless: McCann's, TRATA, Rocco, The Owl House, The Red Fern, Bitter Honey, Fiorella, all the Coffee Shops, The Little Theatre, all the theaters, and actually any of the places we've already listed in this post!

Whatever you may be shopping for, give city businesses a chance and shop local.

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7 Reasons why EAT, DRINK & LEARN is Wegmans' Best Kept Secret

Here in Rochester, most of us know that Wegmans is the best grocery store around. Those may be tough words to swallow for some of you who swear by Trader Joe's or Tops Friendly Markets (and by goodness, we hear ya!), but I am purely referring to the 2016 honor of being named the Best Grocery Chain in America.

It's certainly hard to argue against a distinction like that.

And we all know that when our friends and family come from out of town, one of the first things they want to do is "...go to Wegmans!" and we're happy to oblige thinking that we can get some our grocery shopping done at the same time. 

the Rochesteriat

the Rochesteriat

But did you know that the East Ave Wegmans, and more specifically, Amore Italian Restaurant and Wine Bar, offers classes on a range of subjects that combines eating, drinking, learning, and of course, the freshest of Wegmans' ingredients? 

Who knew!? Amore's EAT, DRINK & LEARN series is a well-kept secret, unintentionally, of course. The reason being is that most classes sell out in no time making it darn-near impossible to get a seat for the class. For those who do, you're in for a treat. 

Before we let you in on this secret and the 7 Reasons why Eat, Drink & Learn is Wegmans Best Kept Secret, we'd like to thank Wegmans and the amazing team at Amore for inviting us to take part in their recent Fresh Pasta Making class and for squeezing us in.

1. You Will Have Plenty To EAT...

the Rochesteriat

the Rochesteriat

A food related class would not be, well, anything, without something to munch on. That's just how this class started off, with plenty of delicious appetizers (and a glass of sparkling rosé to wash it down).

the Rochesteriat

the Rochesteriat

The eating, however, did not end there. With this being a pasta class we were happy to enjoy some delicious dishes made right in the class by our teacher, Head Chef at Amore, Chef Pasquale Sorrentino. 

2. You Will NOT Go Thirsty...

the Rochesteriat

the Rochesteriat

Not only was this a pasta making class, but also a pasta and wine pairings tasting. Each entree made in the class was paired up with a red or a white wine.

the Rochesteriat

the Rochesteriat

Amore Restaurant Manager Michael Posella shared a bit of his knowledge and experiences from the restaurant, and what made a good pairing to the Italian cuisine while the dishes were being prepared. 

3. You Will LEARN...

the Rochesteriat

the Rochesteriat

Naturally, if you're taking a class, you hope to walk away having learned something. We can tell you that's just what will happen here. We learned how temperature and humidity can affect your pasta, what it should look like and feel like as you're making it through its various stages, and how just how truly rewarding it is to make your own pasta by hand. 

One of the best things about these classes is that Amore makes a point to keep the ingredients simple and accessible, meaning that all ingredients can be found in Wegmans stores so you don't need to be a head chef to find them. 

the Rochesteriat

the Rochesteriat

While participants watch and take good class notes, of course, there were plenty of opportunities for volunteers to step up and put the apron on themselves. Chef Pasquale and Team encourage as much participation from the class as possible. 

4. You'll Take Food Home

the Rochesteriat

the Rochesteriat

All the fresh pasta and gnocchi made in the class was divided up for attendees to take home. We had enough to make dinner (and have leftovers) the next night.

5. You Will Meet Other Foodies...

the Rochesteriat

the Rochesteriat

Class sizes are relatively small, anywhere between 15-30 people, and unlike high school, your classmates all chose to be there. That means that you all share a love for food, for learning, and for good drink. If you can't get a conversation with a stranger started about any of those things, then get out of the kitchen. No, really, get out of the kitchen. 

6. Amore isn't just an East Ave Wegmans Eatery

the Rochesteriat

the Rochesteriat

The class may not have taken place in the restaurant (only steps away in the East Ave Wegmans' conference room), but it was certainly hosted and taught by Amore's Head Chef, Pasquale Sorrentino.

Chef Pasquale was born in Italy and lived there until 2003 when he moved here to marry his wife (a Webster native). Prior to Amore, he'd been a chef at both 2 Vine and Branca.

the Rochesteriat

the Rochesteriat

Now back to Amore, consider it a restaurant that just so happens to share a parking lot and entrance with a grocery store.

the Rochesteriat

the Rochesteriat

Did you know the pasta served in the restaurant is made fresh right in the kitchen? It is! Though, we are assuming that the gluten free pasta served is their Wegmans brand Gluten Free pasta, which we've heard is quite delicious too.

7. You'll Feel Special Being In-The-Know...

the Rochesteriat

the Rochesteriat

Just like the website says "Check back frequently for updates...." these classes fill so quickly you'll want to stay ahead of the game and make sure to reserve your spot once the classes are announced - do not hesitate!

You may even want to sign up for Wegmans Fresh News email to stay in-the-know.

It just so happens that Amore recently announced 2 more classes. Though we're sure by the time this is published they will already be sold out! #betterlucknexttime

More photos from the night:

Amore has also just launched a new summer menu so go check it out!

Amore by Wegmans:


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Stefanie is co-Founder of the Rochesteriat. She loves to learn and is excited to see what Amore comes up with in the future... a pizza class? Join the conversation on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.

ROCtheShot: taking our city by storm, one camera at a time


Our city is full of talented people following their passions. We see that in the recent endeavor of photographers and friends Rachel and Lindsay. Rachel, of Rachel Liz Photography, and Lindsay, of Lindsay Stephany Photography, have pooled their talent and resources for the greater good with ROCtheShot. ROC the Shot

Whether you're new to photography or an aspiring entrepreneur, they've got a workshop for you. From the basics in their [Light the Spark] workshop to those perusing photography further with [Ignite the Flame], there's something for everyone.

Don't believe us? Check out this video that was just produced by the talented Monarch Cinema Productions:


ROCtheShot Details: Website Facebook Instagram

Stefanie is co-Founder and Editor of the Rochesteriat. She loves taking pictures and would be perfectly content spending hours walking around the city doing just that. Find her with a camera & phone in hand, taking photos for @theRochesteriat on Instagram. Follow her on Twitter.

Rochester Civic Garden Center: a castle in the city


Tucked behind a hill on Mt. Hope across from the cemetery one may not expect to see a castle here in the city of Rochester, but you will definitely find one!

Warner Castle, Rochester Civic Garden Center

Built in 1854, Horatio Gates Warner designed his home to resemble the ancestral castle of the Clan Douglas he saw on a trip to Scotland. Built from native limestone from a local quarry, the castle originally had 22 rooms and 62 doors inside. The west tower vestibule floor is made from Vermont marbled quarried in the Lake Champlain area and if you look closely you can even find fossils in the tiles.

Fossils in the Marble at Rochester Civic Garden Center

There was a drawing room, a billiard room, a ladies sitting room, the children's nursery, library, bedrooms, bathrooms, wine cellar, kitchen, dining room and much more. But today, you'll find quite a different home.

Warner Castle Stairwell

In 1964 the Rochester Civic Garden Center became the tenant of this historic castle (for the full history a self-guided tour is definitely recommended). The RCGC is a not for profit horticultural education center. It's mission is “to improve the quality of life in the Genesee Region by fostering knowledge, providing information, increasing interest and promoting all aspects of gardening and horticulture.”

1926 Photo of Warner Castle

Over 200 classes a year are offered to the community, including certificate programs in basic gardening, landscape design, plant propagation, plant identification, pruning, and floral design, and a variety of individual gardening, horticulture, and floral design classes.

Landscape Design program at Rochester Civic Garden Center

Planning a wedding and want to do the flowers yourself? Take the "Make Your Wedding Magical" class in April!

Floral Design Classes

If you're looking to learn without taking a class right away, the horticultural library contains over 4,500 volumes on all aspects of horticulture and gardening, as well as many magazines and garden catalogs.

Library at Rochester Civic Garden Center
Library at Rochester Civic Garden Center

And we haven't even begun to discuss the Sunken Garden! The garden was designed by noted Landscape Architect Alling Stephen DeForest in 1932, who also designed the original landscape of the George Eastman House. The Sunken Garden can even be rented from the Monroe County Parks Department for wedding photos (click more information).

Warner Castle Grounds Map

So whether you take a class or 10, become a member and reap the benefits, volunteer, attend an event, or peruse the library, we hope you enjoy this city gem!

Volunteer Opportunities

Rochester Civic Garden Center:

Website: http://rcgc.org/
Hours: Tuesday-Thursday, 9am-4pm

Library Hours: Regular RCGC hours as well as 9:30-12:30 on the 3rd Saturdays of January through June. RCGC is open to the public. Reservations requested for groups of 8 or more. Children under 16 must be accompanied by an adult.