Heritage venues add value in Rochester, NY

By Myscha Theriault / McClatchy-Tribune News Service

From flour milling and the suffrage movement to the birth of the film industry, Rochester’s history runs the gamut. The city’s heritage also makes it an interesting getaway. Factor in ample, affordable parking, a thriving cultural scene and numerous hip little pocket neighborhoods, and it’s easy to see why the area’s 80,000 college students love to call it home.

Rochester was home to George Eastman, founder of the famed Eastman Kodak Company. His former home and estate now serve as a museum and research center for film and photography. The period home is an attraction in its own right, while the rotating film and photography exhibits provide an engaging distraction for visitors and locals alike. The venue is also home to the Dryden Theater, which hosts a variety of quirky movie offerings for $8 per person, according to the museum’s website.

The city was also home to Susan B. Anthony, whose house is now a museum accessible to the public. Visitors can view a number of exhibits, and see the living room where she was arrested for voting illegally in 1872. Across the street is a mid-sized park featuring a bronze statue of Anthony and her good friend Frederick Douglass.

For pub grub on a budget, head to the Genesee Brew House. Located next to a brewery of the same name, this eatery is a full-on attraction. Not only does it offer historical exhibits based on the company’s history and a fun gift shop, it’s actually housed in the original brick building where the company first manufactured its beverage product. Located on the water with a view of the falls, the restaurant has a walking bridge to the other side of the river and an ample parking lot for those arriving by car.

If you’re looking for fancier fare, make your way to Richardson’s Canal House. Offering waterfront dining along the Erie Canal, this nearly 200-year-old structure is on the National Register of Historic Places. With the majority of its gourmet entrees ringing in at less than $30 and starters for less than $10, the menu represents an affordable splurge. The menu rotates from day to day, but typically includes full-flavored vegetarian risottos, savory salmon and numerous beef offerings.

If you’re looking to take a break from business and celebrate your inner child, head over to The Strong to check out the National Museum of Play and the National Toy Hall of Fame. Traveling with the family? Even better. This museum offers an entire day of fun with access to interactive exhibits honoring everything from classic video arcade machines and board games to beloved children’s books and television programs. Hall of Fame honorees feature everything from movie action figures to the humble cardboard box.

Is scenic sipping more your cup of tea? Just outside of the city you’ll find the Casa Larga vineyards and winery. Located along the Lake Ontario Wine Trail, this venue boasts affordable $2 tasting sessions with a view of the vines.