The Creamery Museum of the Skaneateles Historical Society is a must-stop for visitors who enjoy learning more about their vacation destination. Located at 28 Hannum St., around the corner from the Sherwood Inn, the Creamery is packed with fascinating artifacts and exhibits that bring the village’s two centuries of history to life.
The museum’s newest wing displays a gallery of beautiful wooden canoes, rowboats and sailboats that were handmade in Skaneateles, including Lightning No. 1 — perhaps the most-famous sailboat built here — on loan from the Mystic Seaport Museum of America and the Sea.
The new, interactive lake model is one of the museum’s most popular displays; summer visitors can see where they are staying and place themselves in the history that has taken place up and down the 16-mile-long lake.
Of prime importance to many visitors, the Creamery has an extensive collection of research materials available for genealogical and historical studies related to the Skaneateles area. On Friday afternoons, a researcher is available to assist, advise and access one-of-a-kind archival resources.
The Creamery Museum comes with a history of its own. Opened in 1899, it was a place for local farmers to bring their milk to be processed, and for residents to buy the resulting dairy products. The business closed in 1949, and for many years the building stood vacant, but in 1989 a local businessman it the building to the Village. The Skaneateles Historical Society was then given the opportunity to renovate it as a museum, and in 1992 — thanks to time, talent and funding from the entire community — history had a home.
The Creamery is open on selected Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays during the year:
Jan-April: Fri 1-4
May-June: Fri-Sat 1-4
July-Aug: Fri, Sat, Sun 1-4
Sept-Oct: Fri-Sat 1-4
Nov to Thanksgiving: Fri 1-4
Thanksgiving to Christmas, Fri, Sat, Sun 1-4
Feel free to call ahead – (315) 685-1360 – to be sure the Creamery will be open when you visit. Admission is free, although donations are gratefully accepted, and there’s a terrific giftshop.
Cosmos Pizza and Grill offers a large slice of Syracuse University tradition. Nothing fancy to look at yet, it is as vivid a memory for me as crossing the windy quad with a t-square at 2am, deafening basketball games in Manley Field House, and the endless sets of steps I traveled for four years.
The founder George Cannellos of Cosmos passed away in 2013 as Cosmos celebrated its 50th year. When I was a student Cosmos had few booths, and often long lines for a seat. They have doubled their space since then, and have a unique decorating style.
Another favorite Cosmos dish was the “THB.” A toasted honey bun with ice cream and coffee around 11pm was fuel to get me through many all-nighters.
A recent visit to Cosmos for breakfast with our friend Professor Alejandro Garcia, provided a star sighting of Jerami Grant, the 6’8″ forward for SU Basketball, who stopped by to pick up a breakfast sandwich.
Other famous SU stars to frequent Cosmos were athletes Ernie Davis, Jim Brown, Floyd Little and Carmelo Anthony.
Cosmos is open seven days a week, from 8am to 1 or 2pm, located on Marshall Street near the SU campus.
The Armory Square district in Syracuse was originally settled in 1804. The Erie Canal and later the railroad helped to put Syracuse on the map as a center for industry and manufacturing. Most of the area buildings were constructed between 1860 and 1890 as factories or warehouses.
Part of the Armory Square district consists of a circular street, West Jefferson, with Armory Square Park at the 12:00 spot (N) on the circle. The Jefferson St Armory was actually three buildings used to house both the cavalry and the infantry.
Today the area is bustling with hotels, restaurants, businesses, loft apartments as well as cultural elements such as the Museum of Science and Technology (MOST), the Red House Musical Theater on Fayette, and the Landmark Theater on S. Salina St.
This area is best known for its night life as it has a many bars close together, The Empire Brewing Company, Blue Tusk and The Syracuse Suds Factory, which in the summer open onto the square and street. It is fun to hop from one spot to another to listen to live music and sample local brews.
The canal was dug from Albany to Buffalo, 4′ deep and 40′ wide. New York City became the primary point of entry (over Boston and New Orleans) to the US for many immigrants.
Syracuse has the sole remaining Canal weighlock building still in existence in the United States. Although the Canal no longer runs through the downtown area, the building remains and is now home to the Erie Canal Museum.
It took 50 years of collecting tolls to pay off the cost of building the 363 mile canal.
The weigh stations were what determined the amount of the toll collected from barges as they passed through the city. By the late 1800s there was also a railroad to compete with and the tolls were discontinued.
The Erie Canal climbs 570 feet in elevation from the Hudson River to Lake Erie. To navigate the changes in elevation, waterfalls and rapids, canals were built with locks and levels. Locks are elevators for lifting and lowering boats,and levels are long stretches of flat water between the locks. The original canal had 83 locks. Today, there are 35 numbered locks.
The museum houses a life-size barge and once aboard you quickly realize that travelers were packed in tight, and by the way, where is the bathroom? The beds were TINY little hammocks and travelers shared the boat with dry goods, animals of every kind and anything else that was needed upstate.
What was it like traveling across the state by a mule-drawn barge? I think my kids would last about 15 minutes before they were bored to death today, but in the 1800s a boat ride was preferable to slogging through the forested wilderness of upstate New York.
“If you were traveling through Central New York two centuries ago, unless you had a death wish, there is little likelihood you would have spent much time in the dismal, fetid swamp that occupied what is now downtown Syracuse.”
Erie Canal Museum
318 Erie Boulevard East
Syracuse, NY 13202
At the furthest eastern side of the Finger Lakes is a little slice of the Adirondacks. The oldest county park, Highland Forest is a mini mountain, featuring 20 miles of trails, 11 of which are groomed and track set daily, offering a variety of challenges for many different levels of skiing ability.
Park maps are available at Skyline Lodge. During ski season the Adirondack-Style Skyline Lodge serves food and drink on weekends. Trail Map
Ski lessons are available, weather permitting, Saturdays & Sundays, mid December – mid March and daily during school breaks.
What else can you do at Highland Forest?
Highland Forest trails offers all levels of snowshoers a chance to enjoy the forest on 5 trails; a 1 mile loop, 2 mile loop, 3.6 mile loop, 7.75 and a 9 mile loop.
In the summer there is no better place to get a great workout than Highland Forest’s mix of country road, mountain trail and backwoods trails. Mountain Biking trails are open May 1 – October 31.
Visit the Pioneer Museum
One of the park’s most famous attractions is the Pioneer Museum. The museum is run by the Fabius Historical Society and focuses on the historic Skaneateles Turnpike, a tollroad that once brought travelers and settlers from Plainville, in the east near the Cherry Valley Turnpike to Skaneateles.
Most people drive through the little town of Aurora while heading south to Watkin’s Glen or north to the Thruway. If you have a little time, and especially if you are hungry, stop at the Fargo Bar & Grill.
Open 7 days/week, year-round, with the exceptions of Christmas and Thanksgiving Days. On Christmas Eve, we close at 4 p.m. Wi-Fi available. Check out the daily specials on Facebook.
384 Main Street, Aurora
Happy New Years 2014!
Tonight our family will take our combine dietary challenges and relax in a sumptuous feats at The Owl House. We have a Celiac, a couple of Vegetarians, a couple of serious Meat-eaters and the Owl House’s New Years Eve Dinner is guaranteed to fill all tummies and give me a rest as scullery maid. Hooray!
December 31 2013
4 courses. Complimentary Prosecco toast. Wine pairing optional.
55 / Person
70 / Person w/ Wine Pairing
MENU SUBJECT TO CHANGE
December 31st, 2013
55 / Person
70 / Person w/ Wine Pairing
Local Winter Squash, Lemongrass & Coconut Soup w/ choice of:
Cider Glazed Smoked & Pulled Chicken (Gluten-Free)
Roasted Pear, Roasted Chestnuts, Watercress (Vegan / Gluten-Free)
-Pascal Jolivet – Sancerre (2012) France
SECOND: Choice of One
Moxie Braised Lamb Shoulder, Pomegranate, Polenta, Pine Nuts, Poached Egg (Gluten-Free)
Roasted Local Beets, Dill, Polenta, Nasturtium, Pine Nuts (Vegan / Gluten-Free)
-Tenuta Rapitala – Nadir (2010) Sicily
THREE : Choice of One
Citrus Marinated Smoked Scallops, Shiitake Bacon, Mint & Almond Gremolata (Gluten-Free)
Grilled Flat Iron Steak, Red Curry Chimichurri, Bone Marrow (Gluten-Free)
Brined & Roasted Japanese Yams, Crispy Beet & Eggplant, Lime Crema (Gluten-Free / Vegan)
-Tenuta Rapitala – Alto(2010) Sicily
Maison J. J. Vincent – Bourgogne Blanc (2011) France
FOUR : Choice of One
Lamberti – Prosecco DOC (NV) Italy
For more 4-season info on The Owl House, check out my previous post.