FLX Wellness Passport encourages people to be outside

CANANDAIGUA, N.Y. — The tourism arm of the Finger Lakes is introducing a new program to encourage residents and tourists alike to get outside and be well.

When it comes to wellness, Peter Pistilli and his wife Katie are serious.

“It definitely helps clear the mind, I feel like, when life gets a little stressful,” Peter said. “And it just feels good to just have a sense of wellbeing.”

The two have been coming to Dryer Road Park in Victor to mountain bike since gifting each other bikes for their honeymoon.

“I think this is one of the best places in the area to mountain bike,” Peter said. “I feel like it was just a couple years ago that we picked up the hobby and it’s our go-to place.”

There are 15 miles of trails, two athletic fields and a bike park.

“You can get to it by bike, by foot, by vehicle. And it’s just a wonderful way to celebrate being outside,” Brian Emelson, the Town of Victor’s director of parks and recreation, said.

The park is one of 35 destinations on Finger Lakes Visitors Connection’s new Wellness Passport, which includes special discounts and prizes for checking in online.

“This is the perfect blend of why it’s a great place to live, why it’s a great place to visit and a great place to work,” Valerie Knoblauch, president of Finger Lakes Visitors Connection, said.

It’s meant to encourage residents and tourists to get outside and be active in the region.

“It puts me in a good mood. Makes life exciting, and that’s what’s cool about this passport idea,” Katie said. “Because we can get inspired to try different places, try new things.”

Though wellness takes many forms. At Lazy Acre Alpacas, wellness is about mindfulness.

“It definitely doesn’t feel like work. I’m at retirement age, and I don’t have retirement in my vocabulary right now,” Mark Gilbride, owner of Lazy Acre Alpacas, said.

Gilbride’s 100-acre farm in Bloomfield has more than 70 alpacas which visitors can pet and spoil with treats during guided tours, birthday parties and even outdoor yoga classes.

“So we’ve had doctors as well as therapists come out and say how therapeutic it is just to be here amongst these gentle animals,” Gilbride said.

With the Finger Lakes as his home, he hopes those who explore the passport will find wellness and more. 

“We want to give them the experience of the farm, away from their home wherever they live. And come to see how beautiful it is to raise a unique livestock like alpacas,” Gilbride said.

Those interested in the Wellness Passport can get started here.