From the history of glass to to the history of flight, there is plenty to keep you and the children occupied in this pleasant upstate New York town.
Even if you’re never been to an outlet mall, the brand name Corningware certainly rings a bell. Did you realize the family that made all those casserole dishes oven-proof really has a passion for the art of glass-making? Their museum, a collection of historic and contemporary glass arts, as well as a “how-to” showcase for inquisitive young minds, is the star attraction in this part of upstate New York.
In the fantastic Glass Sculpture Gallery, you’ll find a 3,000-year-old vase with a “Please Touch” sign. Just what the kids were waiting for. Corning’s Glass Innovation Center has three galleries that demonstrate the use of glass in building construction, containers and conducting light. The Art and History Galleries take visitors on a journey around the world and through time, from antiquity to today.
A half-day spent there — we took a mid-day break to get some lunch — just wore my family out. However, if your kids are totally captivated, consider making time for a session at Hands On Glass Hot Glass Studio (607/962-3044). This local studio has a glass furnace and offers anyone 8-years and older the chance to create their own glass suncatcher, paperweight, or other gift item, and also sells hand-crafted glass art by local artisans
The next day it was on to the Rockwell Museum of Western Art (607/937-5386), as great of a collection as you’ll find anywhere East of the Mississippi. This museum recognizes that there is no single true American West and reflects this attitude through thoughtfully presented images of the wilderness, cowboys, Indians, and cultural mythology. Kids will enjoy the Native American Art Pack, an interactive, self-guided tour designed just for them.
At dinner time, you’ll enjoy a stroll around Old Corning. This historic part of town is centered on restored Market Street, with many galleries, restaurants, boutiques and strolling distractions.
For another fun half-day excursion, visit the National Soaring Museum (607/734-3128) located at Harris Hill,
51 Soaring Hill Drive, a spacious display on the way to Elmira (Mark Twain’s resting place and a pretty New England town). You’ll be surprised how they show off a huge collection of these lighter-than-air contraptions, as well as let kids use a cockpit simulator and CD-ROM program to learn more about the principles of flight.
The Radisson Hotel Corning (800/333-3333, 607/962-5000) at 125 Denison Parkway East has upgraded its facilities with the new Sleep Number bed system, which allows guests to select the firmness of the mattress by adjusting the air chambers in it. Kids will love this. Each room has nice linens, a coffeemaker, hairdryer and ironing board set-up, and some feature a kitchenette with minibar and in-room movie system. Double rooms with two double beds sleep up to five; rates range from $99/N specials to summer packages including two breakfasts, to $140/N for more spacious double rooms; one-bedroom suites with kitchenettes and balconies can also be rented. The Radisson is the most luxurious choice in the area, with its own pool, and free guest access to the YMCA nearby.
The Greater Corning Area Chamber of Commerce (607/936-4686) has information on other lodgings, camping sites, and family activities in the neighboring farm country (on the Pennsylvania border) as well.
This story was accurate when it was published. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question, and stay up to date with current events to ensure a safe and successful trip.