Rural Canadians learn from U.S. region: Part 7

The tour of the Finger Lakes by rural small business owners from Norfolk County, Canada, continued. The two-day, one-night trip was organized by Norfolk County Tourism & Economic Development and sponsored by Ontario’s Southwest Tourism.

Seneca Lake

View of Seneca Lake from Watkins Glen Harbor Hotel / Photo: Clark Hoskin

After dinner on the first day, the group checked in at the Watkins Glen Harbor Hotel on Seneca Lake. Many of the group relaxed in the downstairs bar and traded thoughts and enthusiasm about the day. Christine Peacock of Watkins Glen Harbor Hotel was our group’s contact. She provided excellent service in the planning leading up to our trip, and during our stay. A few individuals visited the Crooked Rooster Brewpub in downtown Watkins Glen and spoke with the brew master there.

“Top-notch overnight accommodation” – comment from our group

The morning light exposed the remnants of various ice sculptures in the courtyard of the hotel overlooking the lake. We later learned that the hotel is the host of the annual Ice Bar fundraising event for the Finger Lakes Chapter of the American Red Cross. Here is article explaining the event and the hotel’s involvement:

Watkins Glen Ice Bar raises $20,000 for Red Cross


Post for the Ice Bar fundraiser

WATKINS GLEN (Star-Gazette) – The average temperature each night was in the high teens, but almost 2,500 people ignored the cold to attend a hot event: the fourth annual Watkins Glen Harbor Hotel Ice Bar in late January. The three-day outdoor and indoor party on the shore of Seneca Lake raised $20,000 for the Finger Lakes Chapter of the American Red Cross.

Last year’s event raised $15,000. The 2015 donation brings the Ice Bar total over four years to $50,000 for Red Cross projects in Schuyler County.

“It has become known as a fun party that benefits something very important,” Christine Peacock, hotel director of sales, said. Peacock said Ice Bar ticket-holders came from as far away as Denver and included a big contingent from Pennsylvania. Friday and Saturday nights both reached the 1,000-ticket maximum. Saturday night tickets sold out in two weeks, Peacock noted.

The donation will be used solely for programs and projects in Schuyler County. In the last year, the Red Cross has responded to a tornado, flash floods and multiple house fires in the county, he said.

The Ice Bar is organized by hotel staff, who, this year, secured 20 community sponsors.

This was just one of the stops along the way on the Norfolk County Finger Lakes Study Tour. Watch this blog for more chapters in the story. See photos of the trip on the Invest in Norfolk facebook page.

  • Read Part 1: New York State Wine & Culinary Centre, Cornell Agriculture & Food Technology Farm
  • Read Part 2: Winewagen Tours
  • Read Part 3: Weaverview Farms, Milly’s Pantry
  • Read Part 4: Yates County Arts Centre, Finger Lakes Economic Development Co.
  • Read Part 5: Climbing Bines Hop Yard & Brewery
  • Read Part 6: Wiemer and Glenora

(c) 2015 Clark Hoskin