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TAKE A DRIVE ALONG BLOOMFIELD'S COUNTRY MILE

The Town of East Bloomfield, located along Routes 5 & 20 about five miles west of Canandaigua, has maintained a rural New England style charm despite being located on a rather busy thoroughfare.

The Bloomfield area was first settled in 1789 by Deacon John Adams and his family who hailed from New England. The town, which is still mainly farmland and woodlands, developed as an agricultural community. The Northern Spy apple, one of the most prominent varieties of apples in New York State, was developed by Oliver and Herman Chapin in the early 1800s in their Bloomfield orchards.

Another notable early accomplishment was that the first natural gas pipeline in the United States was created in Bloomfield in 1870. It ran 25 miles from Bloomfield to Rochester. In addition, one of the largest mastodons ever found in the state was found in East Bloomfield in 1994. Today, the town is best known for its numerous historic buildings and its many antique shops.

Education was important to Bloomfield's early settlers. The East Bloomfield Academy, constructed in 1838, is listed on the state and national Registers of Historic Places. Today it houses the local historical society where items pertaining to local history are displayed, including furniture, clothing, Civil War memorabilia, Indian artifacts, farm tools and architectural artifacts.

The Antique Wireless Association Museum, which is devoted to the preservation of the history of wireless communication, is housed on the academy's second floor. Founded in 1952, it is the largest museum of its type in the country. Some of the museum artifacts can be associated with pioneers like Guglielmo Marconi and Thomas Edison. Displays include a television and console radio display, a telegraph display, a maritime and shipboard display and even a replica 1925 radio store.

The Village of Bloomfield has a historic district walking tour, which showcases 48 historic buildings, some dating back to 1794. While these homes are not open to the public, the churches along the walking tour, as well as the East Bloomfield Academy, are open during their business hours.

The tour starts in Elton Park, the center for many community activities. The Column of Freedom, in the center of the park, honors 39 area men who lost their lives in the Civil War. The arch in front of the park was built in 1934 in memory of Charlotte Elton, whom the park was named for. Details of the walking tour, including a map, can be found on www.bloomfieldbuzz.com.

Antique mile

Bloomfield is probably best known for its large concentration of antique shops representing close to 200 dealers.

About three years ago, a group of dealers formed an association of area businesses located on or near Routes 5 & 20 to help promote business in the area. This association, known as the "Bloomfield Antique Country Mile," also includes local businesses other than antique shops including restaurants and museums.

The mile actually encompasses more than three miles along the rather busy Routes 5 & 20. Most shops are open daily, year-round. For more details and links, visit www.bloomfieldantiquemile.com.

Some of the shops located along the "mile" include:

Bloomberry Junction, 6925 Route 5 & 20 (657-6776). The wares of 130 dealers are displayed in 10,000 square feet.

Bloomfield Antique Market, 6980 Routes 5 & 20 (585-657-4260, www.bloomfieldantiquemarket.com). This large shop features furniture, china, glass, artwork and collectibles.

One Potato Two, 6900 Routes 5 & 20 (585-657-7446). Formerly known as Jan's Antiques, this 50 dealer shop has a variety of antiques and collectibles displayed in more than 6,000 square feet.

Rooster Cove, 8524 Route 5 & 20 (585-624-2090). An antiques and collectibles shop.

Peddlers Antiques and Collectibles, 3170 Wheeler Station Road (585-657-4869). This 10,000 square foot shop has the wares of 45 dealers displayed. The Vintage Tracks Museum, located behind the shop, has hundreds of antique tractors and other farm implements on display.

There is also the Furniture Doctor, 7007 Routes 5 & 20 (585-657-6941), which specializes in furniture refinishing and upholstery and Sean Fagan Old and Rare Books, 6883 Routes 5 & 20 (585-657-7096).

Also in town

Another attraction you don't want to miss in the Bloomfield area is the Wizard of Clay Pottery. Inside a geodesic dome workshop, the Wizards, father and son Jim and Jamie Kozlowski, go through 100,000 pounds of clay each year creating all sorts of pottery. Their best known product is Bristoleaf pottery which is decorated with impressions of real leaves.

If you're hungry, there are several restaurants to choose from in the Bloomfield area. For more upscale dining, try the Holloway House located on the corner of Routes 5 & 20 and South Avenue, right across from Elton Park (585-657-7120, www.thehollowayhouse.com). This restaurant, which is listed on the National Register of Historic Places, was built in 1808 by blacksmith Peter Holloway as a stagecoach tavern. Menu selections include roast turkey, steaks, seafood and homemade desserts.

Cheap Charlie's Restaurant, 8 Elm St. (NY 444, 585-657-6812), specializes in steaks, seafood and prime rib. For more cozy and casual dining, Jean's Village Restaurant, 7 Main St. in downtown Bloomfield is open for breakfast and lunch (585-657-7510). Locals also recommend Ellie's Country Restaurant, 24 Maple Ave. (585-657-4453).

Upcoming events held in Elton Park include an "old-fashioned" small-town Memorial Day parade that features marching bands along with vintage automobiles and tractors. A carnival sponsored by the East Bloomfield United Methodist Church, featuring lots of activities for children, also takes place on Memorial Day.

An open-air antique show, sponsored by St. Peter's Episcopal Church, takes place the second Saturday in July in Elton Park. The show, an annual event for more than 40 years, features more than 60 dealers. On July 10, the Bloomfield Historical Society will have its 5th annual "History Day" with craft vendors, entertainment and a display of vintage cars by the Horseless Carriage Club of America, Rochester Chapter.

Contact information

Bloomfield Antique Country Mile, www.bloomfieldantiquemile.com

Village of Bloomfield, 12 Main St., Bloomfield (585-657-7554, www.bloomfieldny.org).

Town of Bloomfield, 99 Main St., Bloomfield (585-657-6515).

Here's a partial listing of attractions:

East Bloomfield Academy Museum, 8 South Avenue, Bloomfield (585-657-7244). Open 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Tuesday-Friday; closed in January and February.

Antique Wireless and Radio Museum, 8 South Ave., Bloomfield (585-657-6260, www.antiquewireless.org/museum/museum.htm). Open 2-4 p.m. Saturdays, June-August; 2-5 p.m. Sundays, May-October.

Vintage Tracks Museum, 3170 Wheeler Station Road, Bloomfield, (585-657-6608). Open 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday and Sunday, May-November; noon to 4 p.m. Thursday through Monday, July-August. Admission: $4.

Wizard of Clay Pottery, 7851 Route 20A, Bloomfield (585-229-2980, www.wizardofclay.com). Open 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily.

Directions

(From Buffalo). For a more leisurely, scenic route you can take either Main Street (Route 5) or Broadway (Route 20) all the way to Bloomfield.

For a quicker trip, take the New York State Thruway (I-90) to exit 46 (I-390). Take the I-390 south to exit 10, Routes 5 & 20 and proceed east on Routes 5 & 20 to Bloomfield (about 12 miles).