Posts filed under ‘Onandoga County’

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

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.


February 4, 2014 at 4:04 am 2 comments

Fun at the New York State Fair

We took the entire family to the New York State Fair and it was a lot of fun. The best part was singing along with the McCarthy Family in front of the Agricultural Museum. They have been performing at the fair now for 6 years.

The images below are of concert-enjoyers, and also some of the “vintage” displays inside the Agricultural Museum.

Finger Lakes Summer

Shane McCarthy before the show

Finger Lakes Summer

Enjoying “Ring of Fire.”

Finger Lakes SUmmer


Finger Lakes Summer

Enjoying the concert

Finger Lakes Summer

Log Cabin INSIDE the Agricultural Museum

Finger Lakes Summer

Farm Play sets on display. My Fisher Price Farm

Finger Lakes Summer

Milk Bottle display of prize-winning milk

August 28, 2012 at 12:36 am 2 comments

Finger Lakes Antiques: Amazing Treasures to be Found

My Finger Lakes Treasure from the Teller House: a painting of their summer home.

The Finger Lakes area is loaded with antique stores and antiquing events. Should you vacation here, you may find yourself sucked in to a nearby town to hunt for a military trunk that can double as a coffee table, as I was recently, with my niece from Brooklyn. She said the prices were much lower than anything she had seen in the New York City area. We did not find a winner, but I think I might have about 6 different options for her in my attic.

I have six different military trunks in my attic

All were purchased by my Dad after WW2, and sent us all off to camp and college

I confess, I am NOT an “Antiquer.” I grew up in a house and cottage FILLED with antiques that I assumed were hand-me-downs from our many Finger Lakes relations. It did not occur to me that these were valuable or collectable.

My Grandpa had inherited the contents of 2 large estates in Auburn, New York in the early 1950s and most of us grand kids have furnished our homes with the furniture that came out of the summer and winter homes of Judge Teller and his spinster sister.

My oldest brother is the only one who can remember the process of having to empty the contents of the two homes. There was a horse drawn sleigh in the barn, civil war uniforms in trunks, and fruit preserves, in the basement, over 50 years old! Much of the furniture from these homes has made its way into the homes of my 4 siblings and me.

I remember the antiques in my Grandma’s house on East Lake Road in Skaneateles. Her house was where I spent my youthful Sundays with my big brother, both of us bored to death while the grown-ups were visiting, so we would explore, discovering the 50-year old Life Magazines in her attic, or climbing the long-since productive fruit trees in the orchard leading from her house to the lake.

This was one of the trucks we played with

My brother and I found metal toy trucks big enough for us to ride down her pitched driveway. He remembered this coca-cola truck.

Sunday afternoons at Grandmas House included these tiny classics

We also found “Big Little Books”upstairs in her guest bedroom that we devoured.

Here is a partial listing of some of the Finger Lakes antique stores:

Bloomfield Antique Mile — You’ll find plenty of antique shops representing more than 175 dealers! Beautiful Bloomfield, NY, is flourishing as an antique mecca: we’re home to a generous country mile of quality shops dotting the old Seneca Trail (now known as Routes 5 & 20)

The Carriage Factory Antiques contains 3 floors of old “stuff”  Located o between Canandaigua and Geneva, on 2348 State Route 5 and 20 in Stanley, NY 14561-9540, (585) 526-6076, Open Daily 10am-5pm

Country Reflections Antiques and Gifts — Located on 83 Cayuga St. in Seneca Falls at the Northern end of Cayuga Lake.

FOUND in Ithaca is a multi-dealer antique and vintage marketplace.  Located in the Cherry Street Industrial park just two blocks from Wegmans. FOUND’s 7000 square foot space has room for over 40 dealers. The website shows images of many items. 227 Cherry St, Ithaca, NY 14850, Open 10-6 every day, EXCEPT TUESDAY, Phone: 607.319.5078.

The Ithaca Antique Center – This “mall” is a lot more than a shop, but it has a more than 75 dealers  under one roof. Located at 1607 Trumansburg Road, Ithaca NY 14850. Hours Mon-Sat 11-6 and Sun 12-5. P:  607-272-3611.

Ontario Mall Antiques — Largest antique mall in upstate New York. Located on Rt 332 in Farmington (North of Canandaigua).

The Paris Flea — Located in downtown Skaneateles, on 23 Jordan St.

The Skaneateles Antique Center — 2 East Genesee Street, In the Village of Skaneateles, NY 13152, 315-685-0752. Hours:  Monday-Saturday 10 to 5:00, Sundays 11 to 5:00

Some good links:

Finger Lakes Antiques

I Love the Finger Lakes

Finger Lakes Marketplace

Also a listing of antique shows

If you like antique wooden boats, there is an Antique and Classic Boat Show every July in Clift Park, downtown Skaneateles. This year’s show is July 29, 30,  & 31, 2011.

July 18, 2011 at 2:47 am 2 comments

Lockwood Farms: Lavender Capital of the Finger Lakes

Prepare to be educated about Lavender. There are 18 varieties and over 1800 plants on the farm. The plants originate in France and England, but all these plants have originated from Washington State. Besides being known as a fragrant dried flower, Lavender is also used in cooking. If you go to the Festival there will be a chef preparing recipes featuring Lavender. You can also pick your own Lavender.

Continue Reading July 1, 2011 at 6:30 am Leave a comment

Finger Lakes Music Festivals 2012

Spring is making short appearances with rainy days, in between the regular menu of blinding snowstorms. Its time to dream about summer — and buy your tickets for all the awesome music festivals in the Finger Lakes area — before they sell out.

Continue Reading March 6, 2011 at 6:35 am Leave a comment

Otisco: Mysterious Lake

view north Otisco

Otisco view north from the Causeway

On a cold sunny day I took off to explore the eastern-most Finger Lake, Otisco, which I have always found to be unique and mysterious.

The first mystery for me was it’s origin.

“Otisco” is Iroquois for “Waters Dried Away,” Originally it was small, marshy area. A dam was constructed on the northern end at Nine Mile Creek in 1869, which raised the water level by 9 feet, for use by the Erie Canal. Once more in 1908 it was damned, raising it another 4 feet for use by the City of Syracuse for water supply. (see “A” mark on the map). At it’s deepest point the lake is 60 feet deep, 6 miles long and 1 mile wide.

Willows in the park

Otisco Lake Park

Otisco Lake Park

Cool Willows in Otisco Lake Park

I went looking for the locations where a non-resident could gain access to the lake. Otisco Lake Park was my first stop. The park has 600 ft of shoreline and some of the most stunning willows I have ever seen. There are restrooms and hand launch boating. The park is located at 2525 Otisco Valley Road in the town of Marietta (“C” on the map).

As I traveled further south on the County Rd 124/Otisco Valley Road, I enjoyed spectacular lake views — first from above and further south — right at lakeside.

I was headed for the next point of interest and my second mystery, The Otisco Lake Causeway (see “B”). This is a man-made barrier of rocks that spans the entire lake at its southern end. It was originally built for use by wagons to traverse the lake rather than circumvent. The mystery to me is why it still remains now that it is not a road for transport. It seems to serve no purpose other than a great fishing and photo spot. It seems very odd to have this unusual landmark remain without improving it for fisherman and hikers.

View from the Causeway

View of both sides of the lake from the Causeway

Accessing the causeway from the east side was a bit rough, as it was blocked by a large fallen tree. The pathway cross was not much of a path, but a very rocky and uneven surface, not friendly to hikers. Perhaps I should have tried accessing the Causeway from the west side of the lake. The view afforded by being out in the middle of the lake is wonderful. It was hard to capture on film the wonder of seeing both the north and south end of the lake in one view, separated by just a thin spit of land. (If you click on an image, it will open up full-size in a new window)

"The Shallows"

Otisco view of the south end of the lake -"The Shallows"

The lake below the causeway is quieter and calmer, referred to as “The Shallows.” (see “E”). A gap in the causeway close to the west bank allows for boats to travel through, and for the continuous passage of water into the southern which would otherwise be a marsh.. The result is a mixing of the silt of the marshland once there and the lake’s waters, gives the water south of the causeway a higher turbidity and a contrasting color (E on the map).

Otico Lake View

View north from the east side of the lake, halfway down

The pictures show how pretty this lake is, but it is not as accessible to visitors as the other Finger Lakes. There are few retail establishments — another mystery. I stopped at a gas station/general store on the eastern side, in the town of Amber. The lake, despite lots of camps and its obvious beauty,  has not seen the heavy commercial development of lakes like Skaneateles or Canandaigua or even Conesus — which is similar to it in size.

If you want great fishing, privacy and quiet, this might be your lake. Walleye, tiger muskellunge, sunfish, perch, rock bass, crappie, both large and small mouth bass, white bass, bullhead, and brown trout are found in it’s waters. Plus, on the first day of bass season, usually around the end of the second week in June, the lake fills with boats for the annual fishing derby. There is no state boat launch and access for powerboats has to take place at the Marina

Bonus:  If you travel the East Lake Road between Skaneateles and Otisco, you can catch a great view of both lakes.


November 28, 2010 at 7:44 pm 2 comments

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