On the Chocolate Trail

By Sandra Scott


A chocolate trail–what a great idea! The Marriott’s Fairfield Inn in Corning, New York, is the first stop on Corning’s Chocolate Trail. John and I checked into our room at the Fairfield to find chocolate fudge, chocolate soap, and coupons for free chocolate samples at some of the local merchants. We couldn’t wait to hit the trail! Off we went to the Corning’s Gaffer District. A gaffer is a head glassmaker and, of course, Corning and glassmaking are synonymous and have been for more than 150 years. Corning Glass Works made Thomas Edison’s light bulbs, the lens for the world’s largest telescope, and in 1970 their researchers discovered how to make communication fiber from silica and titanium. It is also home to the famed Steuben Glass Works.

We decided to wait to trade in our coupons until later in the day and headed to the Corning Museum of Glass. One of the world’s most extensive glass collections, the museum has pieces that span from ancient Egypt to the present. Besides the artwork on display, there is a hot glass show and other demonstrations. And, we couldn’t leave without making our own glass souvenir. With the help of a glass maker John and I fashioned a glass flower while other people, including children, were making glass balls and picture frames.

There is a free shuttle bus from the museum to the Gaffer District area. It was time to get serious about the Chocolate Trail and collect on our coupons. We stopped for lunch at Old World Cafe with the charming ambiance of a Victorian ice cream parlor where they have homemade chocolate chip brownies. Then we walked across the street to The Tea Chest where Sonya, the owner, presented us with some of her handcrafted chocolates. My favorite was the white chocolate with coconut while John preferred the dark chocolate with raspberry. Truth be told–they were all wonderful.

The buildings in the Gaffer District are wonderfully restored. We wandered past charming boutique shops to Beyond Baskets where we submitted one of our coupons for a piece of chocolate. But chocolate is only one facet of Beyond Baskets. Besides creating baskets for every occasion the owner features a line of lotions created by her daughter who is currently in college. We stopped in shops along the way and arrived at The School House Country Store just as it was closing. The owner, Shirley Toole, graciously unlocked the door to her store that is filled with a plethora of locally made articles including chocolate candles. One smell and we were in chocolate heaven.

The most decadent chocolate was the Chocolate Pate at Three Birds Restaurant. It was the perfect place to relax at the end of the day. Everything was wonderful from the menu, which featured their signature Oven Roasted New Zealand Rack of Lamb – John’s choice – and the Chimichurri Marinated Ribeye Steak, my choice; to their unbelievably smooth Chocolate Pate dessert that just melted in my mouth.

A chocolate trail–what a wonderful and delicious way to promote local merchants.

Visit www.gafferdistrict.com, www.cmog.org, and www.Corningfingerlakes.com.


Sandra Scott is a frequent contributor to travel publications and to Creators Syndicate
and has co-authored two books on local history. She lives in Mexico, NY.

Photos by Sandra and J. J. Scott.


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