On Location at Ledyard Farms

Today was the perfect day to get out into the snow and take a few photos.  Carrie and I met up at Ledyard Farms where we were able to meet Ledyard's Tiger Lily, a 4-year-old Morgan show horse. The farm is one of our favorite spots for picking up local eggs, lamb and beef.  It also happens to be really pretty in the snow...

Morgan Show Horse Ledyard Farms

Morgan Show Horse Ledyard's Tiger Lily

Where have your Auroras taken YOU?   Share your everyday adventures with us!


North Pacific (our boots are finally here!)

They've been a long time coming, but we're really excited to be sharing our first new shoe design in more than 20 years!  We stuck with the same roomy toe box and added a beefier Vibram sole so these boots can work and play as hard as you do.  Each pair comes with a set of both cotton and leather laces so you can customize your look. 

We make each pair to order, so please allow for plenty of time - we're a small group of artisans, working by hand.  Don't worry, what we lack in speed, we make up for in quality!


Flax + Leather =

Sometimes, if you're lucky, you can get away with doing something super fun and legitimately calling it work.  These photos document a day I like to think of as "Playing Dress-up with Friends".  Ever since our magazine feature, I've been wanting to put together some photos to highlight one of my favorite local shops, a Flax, linen, etc. consignment shop called Dinosaur Dry Goods.  My friend, Bird, and her husband, Raph have been putting Jackie's clothes and our shoes together with beautiful results for years, so it was a great excuse to get together and get creative for the sake of some fresh photos.  

I'll be sharing more shots from our day together, both on our website and Facebook page, but for now, and in honor of what feels like the end of warm weather in upstate New York, I'll start with the summery stuff.  Jackie's collection of Dinosaur Dry Goods is constantly changing, but if you like what you see, you can check in and see what's new on a regular basis here

Dinosaur Dry Goods

Dinosaur Dry Goods Flax

handmade leather shoes

Aurora Shoe Co. Dinosaur Dry Goods


Meet the Neighbors: The Cellar d'Or

At the Aurora Shoe Company, we passionately support small business and handmade and local goods. As a visitor of our blog, we thought that you might feel the same way. In our Meet the Neighbors series we're featuring businesses and people who reflect our own values and whom we feel lucky to call neighbors and friends.

It's always fun to photograph unique spaces, and even more fun when they're lined with carefully curated beverages and swarming with the owners' cute kids.  Mark and Olivia, creators of The Cellar d'Or, located on the Ithaca Commons, are friends and neighbors who know how to take a passion and turn it into a life.

buy local Ithaca 

How did you get into the business of wine, and when did you know that you wanted to sell and produce your own?

Curiosity helped Mark catch the wine bug, spurred by his family's interest in wine while growing up (the family are Italian citizens). He started taking some internationally recognized certification wine courses which led to some entry level jobs in retail shops in Westchester county, NY. Soon that passion led him to work for the famed Michael Skurnik Wines for 8 years, one of the greatest Importer/distributors in the country based out of Manhattan.
A somewhat natural progression in the business leads people to want to try making their own wine and the opportunity arose last year when Mark and a good friend came across grapes from a well known vineyard on Seneca lake. With the help of a couple of local winemakers they started Fossil & Till, their own wine label.  In 2011we planted our own cider apple trees on Olivia's parents property.  They will begin producing next year so stay tuned for a future cider label as well!

What drew you back to Aurora and what's keeping you here?

With two young kids on eastern Long Island, and 6 hours from the closest family, Olivia longed for her mother's help and missed home. On a late fall trip to Ithaca to see a concert at The State Theater, we discussed how the Commons definitely needed a wine shop. The next day we visited an empty retail space that 7 months later would become The Cellar d'Or. We chose to work in Ithaca but live in  Aurora because of its proximity to family, the lakes and the simply bucolic and pastoral scenery and lifestyle- it's a great place to raise a family!

If you could give a piece of advice to someone looking to create a life based on their passion, what would it be?

With some determination and your own sweat equity, anything is possible. We had very little money (although we had a credit card!), and no investors, but managed to turn a dingy old clothing shop into a warm, inviting, aesthetically pleasing retail space with one heck of a cool wine & cider selection. We did all the work ourselves, used lots of imagination to create the space, and had the help of close friends and family to get the construction done.  We just took it step by step, day by day, and worked toward our goal. We started small and just grew slowly without having to dig a huge hole financially.  Thanks to our customers (who shop local and on the Commons!), we've been able to support our family and survive our first year, which is pretty cool, especially through the Commons reconstruction.

Why do you think it's important to buy local?

Not so long ago, everything came from a "mom and pop shop". Now, almost everything is "made in China" or otherwise imported. When you support local, you support your neighbors and local economy. There's enough talent and creativity in our small towns and cities that we shouldn't ever have to buy anything made half-a-world away and we think there's value in looking for local products and even paying a bit more for that type of quality! 
We're huge supporters of the local wineries and cideries who are proving to be quality producers and who also think ethically and environmentally. We live in a beautiful region, and we want to do our part to support it, while taking advantage of what is has to offer.  Wine, cider and beer are a huge and growing part of this mostly rural economy.

Can you tell us more about future plans?

The Mark and Olivia Think Tank is always full of ideas. The Cellar d'Or still has lots of growing to do, as does Fossil & Till.  As for other adventures, you'll have to stay tuned!  We have a few things in the pipeline!

Ithaca Commons, Aurora Shoe Company, handmade leather shoes

Aurora Shoe Co. handmade leather boots

wine and cider shop Ithaca, NY

wine and cider shop

the Cellar d'Or Mark Grimaldi

the Cellar d'Or Ithaca Commons cider and wine shop

 Thanks, Mark and Olivia, for sharing your thoughts and your shop with us!  

You can learn more about The Cellar d'Or by checking out their website.  Stay up to date with their tastings and other news and events (including this recent mention in the New York Times) by following the Cellar d'Or on Facebook or Twitter


Featured in Central New York Magazine

Back in July we did some scrambling to get ready for a day-long interview and photo shoot with a local magazine.  The issue made it to stands this month and we're loving the way that journalist, Allison Sklaney, and photographer, Ellen Blalock took our raw material and turned it into a really nice story about who we are and what we do.  Locals might like to pick up a copy of Central New York Magazine: The Good Life, but for the rest of our friends around the globe, here are some shots from the article. 

Special thanks go out to a few local shops (Jane Morgan's Little House and Dinosaur Dry Goods) and a locally born designer (Vallarino Saltonstall) who contributed clothing and accessories, and to the three friends who agreed to take a day away from their regular jobs to model for us. 

Wells College, Jane Morgan's Little House, Haley Zabriskie

David Binns, Alyssa Binns Gunderson, shoe production

Talyse Hampton, Wells College, Jane Morgan's Little House

Moriah Early-Manchester, Vallarino Saltonstall, Dinosaur Dry Goods, Jane Morgan's Little House

Moriah Early-Manchester, Aurora, NY Jane Morgan's Little House, handmade in NY

small scale leather shoe production


New Mexican Sandals

When the weather is hot and you're on your feet a lot, there's nothing better than a simple and practical pair of sandals to get you through the day.  Our handmade leather sandals form to your feet and provide a high quality flexible sole for the comfort and support your feet are begging for. 

leather sandals made in USA

aurora shoe co. made in usa

handmade leather shoes


Middle English

A few weeks ago, a request came in on our Facebook page for a few photos of our Middle English style on a woman.  It was exactly the reminder we needed to get back into taking regular photos of our shoes outside of the shop and on people's feet!  Here are a few from this snowy April Saturday in Aurora.

Aurora Shoe Co. leather loafers

Aurora Shoe Co. made in USA

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