Make tracks to Blue Cut Nature Center

Screen Shot 2014-03-23 at 4.25.40 PM

Blue Cut Nature Center’s name originates from the construction of the railroad in the 1840s. They cut  into Blue Vernon Shale.  The  40 acres of land  have several trails winding through red pine, mixed hardwoods and wetlands.

Screen Shot 2014-03-23 at 4.25.20 PMBlue Cut Nature Center offers trail has three self-guided trails. There is a small teaching shelter, picnic tables and restroom facilities. The “Nature Center” would be better called a preserve as there is no center on the property or elsewhere.

Screen Shot 2014-03-23 at 4.24.31 PMI followed a trail that winds up and around a drumlin on the east side of the property, past a lovely warning sign for a neighboring firing range.

Screen Shot 2014-03-23 at 4.25.12 PMTrain tracks run right through the nature center. If you love train-watching, you can watch up close while still on the trail. While I was hiking along the wetlands I was able to see the train pass close by the woods trail, then stop for quite a while at a location across the pond.

Screen Shot 2014-03-23 at 4.25.47 PMThe water was frozen while I was hiking, creating another nice trail through the wetlands. Cross-country skiing and snowshoeing are allowed as snow permits. Biking is not allowed. This is a perfect picnic spot and nice for young kids as the trails are not too long.

Hours: Grounds open dawn to dusk.

Buildings: Small lean-to and an outhouse (bathroom)

Picnic Area: 5 Tables for picnics and 3 charcoal grills available

Blue Cut Nature Center is located on State Route 31 in the Town of Newark in Wayne County.

April 12, 2014 at 9:35 pm Leave a comment

New York Ice Wine Festival at Casa Larga

Ice Wine FestivalA Mid-Winter’s Celebration  of New York Ice Wines and Cuisine

A good friend offered me a free ticket to the always sold out Ice Wine Festival. Come Hungry & Thirsty! Ice Wines produced in NY state with NY State grown grapes, in the traditional method are the stars of the festival. Along with great food from area caterers and specialty shops.

Ice WIne Festival3The Festival offers you the rare opportunity to sample and purchase these exquisite wines from all of New York’s wine regions in one location.

What is Ice Wine anyway?

It’s not legislated in New York State (as it in other countries) yet, but there is a strong movement to regulate the name so that ice wine can only be on a label only if the grapes were naturally frozen on the vine.

Icewinefestival1The secret to this wonderful treat came by accident. Leaving grapes on the vine late into the season was accidental. Panic ensued once temperatures dip below freezing and speedy harvest would frozen grapes.

Ice wine festival 2The grapes  quickly harvested and crushed before the sun thaws them yields a thick, honey-like liquid, full of concentrated fruit aromas and flavors. With white varietals (more often than not, Riesling and, in New York and Canada, the French-American hybrid, Vidal), there’s a lot of rich, ripe apricot, peach, and pear flavor, and often some spice and nuttiness.

In a normal table wine, the degree concentrated sugar levels—is usually somewhere in the 20s; ice wine is typically a minimum of 35, and sometimes higher.

Learn more .

Casa Larga Vineyards, 2287 Turk Hill Road Fairport, NY 14450

March 27, 2014 at 10:05 am Leave a comment

Pultneyville: Maritime History, Modern Charm

Screen Shot 2014-03-07 at 10.52.01 PMSituated along the east bank of Salmon Creek on the southern shore of Lake Ontario, and the well-traveled Seaway Trail. Pultneyville is a town that combines maritime history and modern charm. It is located on Lake Ontario about 25 miles east of Rochester.

Screen Shot 2014-03-07 at 10.42.49 PMThe Landing at Pultneyville offers unique shopping and dining experience in the midst of a historic hamlet in the Town of Williamson. The Landing is among 37 Pultneyville properties, that in 1975, became listed on the National Register of Historic Sites, with a historic district reflecting Federal, Second Empire and Greek Revival architecture.

The Landing at Pultneyville a shared space between The Pulneyville Grill and Artisans’ Loft.

Artisan's LoftWe stopped for drinks and appetizers one Sunday afternoon and enjoyed the undivided attention of the bartender who warmed us right up after a chilly hike.

The Grill has a tasty menu, but has done a great job of pairing wines with each entrée and offering special wine pairing events. There is live music summer and winter, on the weekends.

The gallery features the work of over sixty artists, on two floors of exhibition and special event space,

Just down the road is a great spot to picnic, right on the lake. B Forman Park.

March 8, 2014 at 3:53 am Leave a comment

Skimming the Cream of History

This guest post is by Kihm Winship, is an author who lives, walks, writes and works in Skaneateles. His blog “Skaneateles” chronicles the character and characters of this lakeside village. Enjoy!

CreamerySkaneatlelesThe 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.

Creamery BigThe 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.

Creamery LineThe 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.

February 22, 2014 at 2:59 pm Leave a comment

Cosmos Pizza, 51 years on Marshall Street

Cosmos has been on marshall Street since 1963.

Cosmos has been  on Marshall Street since 1963.

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.

CosmosPizza3The 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.

CosmosPizza2A 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.

February 9, 2014 at 6:39 pm Leave a comment

Armory Square, Syracuse

Walking around Armory Square you can find interesting shops and LOTs of places to eat

Walking around Armory Square you can find interesting shops and LOTs of places to eat

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.

Armory Square at Jefferson Circle

Walking toward Armory Square on Jefferson

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.

We enjoyed a nice quiet lunch at Lemon Grass.

We enjoyed a nice quiet lunch at Lemon Grass.

Well-known area restaurants include Pastabilities, and Lemon Grass and bc. We ate at Lemon Grass enjoying great service and a nice view onto the Circle.

Interviewed by local TV station

Intrepid reporter working the square

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.

Map

February 4, 2014 at 4:04 am 1 comment

Climb Aboard at the Erie Canal Museum

SyracuseErieCanalThe Erie Canal put the Finger Lakes region on the map at the beginning of the 19th century, and for 100 years it was the easiest way to travel west, prior to the arrival of the railroad.

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.

The Erie Canal Museum is rich with 200 years of history.

The Erie Canal Museum is rich with 200 years of history.

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.

ErieCanalThe 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.

ErieCanalMuseum_freightThe 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.”

Upstairs you can visit a saloon and a general store.

Upstairs you can visit a saloon and a general store.

Erie Canal Museum
318 Erie Boulevard East
Syracuse, NY 13202

315.471.0593

January 30, 2014 at 2:38 pm Leave a comment

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