If there was ever a year to support small businesses and shop locally, this is the year. Maybe you have some outdoor enthusiasts on your list, or you’re maybe you’re looking to treat yourself — either way, this list should provide some inspiration and great Rochester-made gift options for people at all levels of outdoor experience.
Founded in 2016, this local business creates a wide variety of delicious granola and granola bars, including coconut cranberry, maple pecan, and cherry vanilla walnut. And it’s impossible not to feel good supporting them when 5% of all profits are donated to Rochester area outreach centers, food banks, and organizations supporting people experiencing homelessness
Our recommendation: Grab (or gift) a 5 pack of the granola bars. They make a great snack on any hike or adventure. And could be the perfect stocking stuffer too.
Located on Exchange St in Rochester, Smoke Shack offers an array of interesting, non-traditional, highly-portable snack options including wood-smoked meats and jerkies, smoked nuts, pistachios, and pumpkin seeds. The founder launched the brand as a better, healthier, all-natural alternative to traditional store-bought jerky, with no nitrates. The flavor profiles they create are inspired by Asian, African, Indian, Mexican, and Middle Eastern foods and spices and there are tons of gluten-free options available.
Our recommendation: Fumanchew Snack Sticks and SmokeStachios are easy to pack and incredibly tasty on the trail.
Few things pair better with the great outdoors than a great cup of coffee and Fuego offers one of the best. Even better, they take pride in how they approach every step of the coffee process–working closely with farmers all over the world, selecting the best beans, expertly roasting and profiling, and using the right hand-brewing techniques to produce a truly phenomenal cup. They focus on regions including Costa Rica, Brazil, and Kenya and even operate a cafe in Guatemala where 100% of profit earned is rolled right into not-for-profit programs run by Story International.
Our recommendation: You can’t go wrong with the holiday bundle which includes a ceramic campfire mug that’d be great for use around an actual campfire – along with a 12 oz bag of freshly-roasted coffee beans. Oh, and make sure you grab yourself a coffee or espresso drink to go when you stop in.
Letchworth at night, waterfalls, and trees are just a few of the breathtaking subjects Keith Walters Photography so expertly captures. Based out of Geneseo, Keith has his own style that incorporates two of his favorite types of photography – landscape and photojournalism… and we can’t get enough. You can browse in his online shop or if you’d rather experience the art IRL, he co-owns and operates The Gallery in the Valley, right on Main Street in Geneseo where you can pick up prints, greeting cards, wall art, keepsakes and more from Keith — and their amazing visiting artists, which change each month
Our recommendation: Grab (or gift) Keith’s 2022 wall calendar for monthly nature photographs that are sure to inspire your/their next adventure.
Walk among the trees and explore this vast 900-acre preserve featuring more than 15 miles of trails, all tucked between Canandaigua and Honeoye Lakes — just an hour South of Rochester. You can explore (and learn about) our unique Finger Lakes landscape and culture all year long in diverse habitats including an active beaver pond, an iconic 90-year old red pine stand, and rare hemlock bogs. In winter there’s cross-country skiing and snowshoeing and rentals are available.
Our recommendation: Pick up a Pines Pass membership (for your own family or someone elses’) and feel good about it, knowing it supports the nature center’s awesome environmental education programming.
It’s a steal at just $65, considering it gets you free admission for your whole family for a year, 4 guest passes, 20% off ski and snowshoe rentals, quarterly members-only hikes led by the nature center’s director, and more.
Located on Irondequoit Bay, BayCreek Paddling Center offers a wide variety of water-based equipment and activities. Kayaks, paddleboards, and canoes abound the property. Governed by the mantra “Have Fun. Help Others Have Fun. Spread The Joy!”, BayCreek has become a one stop paddling shop.
Our recommendation: Gift a certificate for the “Secret Wilderness” Guided Nature Tour. Float through time and history, as you’re led through this fascinating area, covering territory in the Irondequoit Creek wetlands, Ellison Park, and the southern tip of the Bay.
Founded in 2013, Rochester Brainery is a community classroom and event space located in Rochester’s Neighborhood of the Arts. Local teachers, artisans, and hobbyists share their expertise in a variety of subjects from arts and crafts to food and tours.
Our recommendation: Give a gift card and register for The Ten Essentials For Hiking & Camping class on January 25, together (disclaimer: this class is offered by Survival of the Fitness so we may be a tad bit biased)
Reconnect Rochester is a fantastic local non-profit organization working to build a more sustainable transportation network for the greater Rochester community. It’s made up of ordinary citizens (many of them avid cyclists) who believe that together, we can make it easy for everyone — regardless of physical or economic ability — to get around. Their Complete Streets Makeover (CSM) program creates safer streets that can be better shared by pedestrians, cyclists, transit riders, and motorists and they help to produce Rochester Street Films, a film series that aims to facilitate community conversation about important topics such as Rochester’s transportation systems, cycling infrastructure, pedestrian life, equity issues, urban sprawl, and more.
Our recommendation: Grab and gift the Bike ROC tee, the I Bike Rochester shirt, or any of the other great items in their online shop.
In the spirit of being good to each other and the planet, we hope that even if you didn’t find the perfect present on this list, you’ll consider how and what you give this holiday season. And if you can’t find what you’re looking for in a store, try passing on a piece of your favorite gear, sharing knowledge, making a donation to a good cause, or simply getting outside with a friend or loved one to share in the joy of exploring somewhere new.