Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Play, shop and be merry...

Oswego County is bursting with festive joy this holiday season! Villages throughout the county recently held tree-lighting ceremonies and holiday events to usher in the 2008 season. Throughout the week-end, we toured a few of these communities; meeting our neighbors and joining in the fun!

We celebrated ‘Christmas in Mexico’ with our fellow revelers. While some browsed traditional church bazaars, others shopped merchant open houses, such as Hart & Stone General Store, Main Street, Mexico. Throughout the day, everyone enjoyed the costumed performances of the Friends of Bob Cratchit. Christmas spirit filled the air as people gathered along Main Street to watch the holiday parade and tree lighting. What a joy it was to see so many happy faces as Santa and Mrs. Claus greeted the crowd!

Arriving at the West Monroe Historical Society, we were greeted by the sweet sound of carols sung by the Constantia Methodist Church Choir. Excitement grew among the young and the young-at-heart as we eagerly awaited the arrival of the head elf. Soon enough, Santa made his grand entrance; courtesy of the West Monroe Volunteer Fire Department. The tree was lit against a backdrop of shimmering snow that Santa brought in from the North Pole. Local merchants such as Unique Woodworks, state Route 49, Cleveland and The Bernhards Bay Country Store, state Route 49, Bernhards Bay welcomed guests with an assortment of original gift-giving ideas.

The weather could not keep the resilient folks from coming to ‘Light Up Pulaski’. Santa and Mrs. Claus, of course, were not deterred and spent the afternoon listening to the big wishes of small children. We were welcomed by glad tidings and good cheer when we visited the Pulaski Public Library, which was filled with beautifully ornamented trees and wreaths for their annual decorating contest. With a friendly smile, neighborhood merchants such as The Make Sense Shop, Jefferson Street, Pulaski and The Pulaski Country Gift Shoppe, Jefferson Street, Pulaski greeted shoppers in search of the perfect gift. Selections in hand, we headed to the park where a hearty crowd had gathered to light the Memory Tree.

Here are a few images we captured on our tour:

With carols sung, wishes told, and trees alight, the 2008 holiday season has begun! For a quintessential shopping experience and truly unique gift ideas, be sure to visit your local merchants. For more information about events and shops in Oswego County, call 315/349-8322 or go to


Tuesday, November 4, 2008

A trail by another means…

Exploring yet another sort of trail, we recently traversed the Oswego Canal; taking in the rich fall colors and historical sights along the way. A very special thank you to our friend Richard for being our tour guide and canoe captain.

We began our journey just north of Battle Island, named for a skirmish of the French and Indian War. It was in July 1756, after delivering supplies and reinforcements to Fort Ontario, that a small British troop was ambushed by warriors of the Five Nations. Led by Captain John Bradstreet, the soldiers quickly made their way to the small island, where they took refuge in the thick underbrush and made their stand against multiple attacks. For decades, the hasty strongholds and trees bearing marks of the battle could be seen, a reminder of the island’s one important day in history.

We rounded the island, listening to calls from a gaggle of geese. On the south side, we discovered a landing site for picnic-goers and briefly enjoyed the company of a blue heron. As we next glided past Factory Island, we found the ruins of an old starch factory; built in competition to Oswego’s Kingsford Starch Factory. We then passed Battle Island State Park where late season golfers were playing the beautiful fairways and greens of the 18-hole course.

We continued on toward the former Van Buren estate, first settled in 1796 by John Van Buren, a first cousin to past President Martin Van Buren. Built in the 1820s, the tavern provided a place for visitors to eat, drink and sleep. “The Pillars” was constructed in 1847 as the personal residence of the patriarch’s son, David. Today, both buildings are private homes and not open to the public.

On our return, we followed the old Oswego Canal, which was open from 1828 to 1917. The canal runs from Oswego to Syracuse, where it joins the Erie Canal. In a few places, canoers and kayakers can see vestiges of the old canal and its towpath along the east side the Oswego River.

The ride was, at turns, an easy glide and a hard slog. Regardless of the effort, it was serene and refreshing – a welcome retreat to the scenic beauty in our “backyard”. The trip provided us an opportunity to closely view our local heritage and natural world along the smaller waterways, and take in the panoramic views along the great expanse of the Oswego River.

Here are a few images of our adventure:

Canoers and kayakers of all skill levels will find a vast network of picturesque waterways in Oswego County. To ensure a memorable and enjoyable paddle, be sure to follow these tips:
  • New York State law requires that all boaters have access to a personal flotation device, which should be worn at all times.
  • Do not use intoxicants while boating.
  • Do not approach dam areas too closely on either the up- or down-stream sides.
  • Standing up in a canoe is not advisable.
  • Remember that once you reach your destination, you may have to paddle just as far in the opposite direction, perhaps against the wind or heavy current.
  • Know your limits and abilities. Use good judgment at all times.
The nearest launch sites for this bit of the tour are: Indian Point in Fulton and the Minetto Boat Launch in Minetto. However, if you would like to visit other waterways, or would like more information about paddling or canalling, please visit our Web site at


Thursday, October 23, 2008

A trail by another name...

We have taken advantage of the spectacular fall season to explore different types of trails.

One of our adventures took us to the Greco Family Farm and Orchard to search for buried treasure in their 5-acre corn maze. New to the farm this year, it is a seasonal must-do for children of all ages, including those that are simply young-at-heart.

Straight away, we learn that the dreaded pirate Captain Corn Alias Copperpot has hidden five treasures in the cornfield and we are off through the labyrinth to seek our fortunes.

All is quiet and still, save for the rustling cornstalks and the beat of our own hearts as we circle round and round in an intricate web of wrong turns and dead-ends. Still, we continue our pursuit through the tangle of twists, determined not to leave empty-handed. We search near and wide, enjoying the thrill of the hunt as much as the prizes captured. Ultimately, we discover the end of the maze before we can find all of of the secreted possessions.

Here is a glimpse of our quest, including the real treasures of the farm:

A quintessential farm market and orchard, Greco’s Farm is a terrific place to celebrate the autumn season. Spend the day picking over 50 varieties of apples and pears or choosing the perfect pumpkin to make a jack-o'-lantern. Visit the farm animals in the petting zoo, enjoy haywagon or pony rides and browse farm fresh products in the country store.

The Greco Family Farm and Orchards is open daily from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. throughout the month of October and will continue with limited hours in November. The farm is located on West Fifth Street Road just 5 miles outside of Oswego, New York. For more information, visit or call 315/216-4180.


Friday, October 17, 2008

The stage is set for laughter…

As the SUNY Oswego Theatre Department begins its new season, a talented group of aspiring thespians take the stage in Tyler Hall's Waterman Theatre to bring George E. Kelly’s “The Torch Bearers” to life.

Set in small-town America, the play offers us a glimpse of community theatre during the early 1920s. Mrs. Pampinelli, the narcissistic and grandiose directress, leads an awkward troupe of amateur actors as they attempt to stage a small play. After a disastrous rehearsal, the show goes on with hysterical results, including missed cues, forgotten lines, jammed doorknobs and collapsed sets.

The brilliantly animated performances hold the audience captive. The physical comedy is exquisitely choreographed to carry off the tumbles, stumbles and near misses. We watch in awe; in turn holding our breath for the moments of potential injury or laughing out loud in relief when they are avoided. Through our own amusement, it is plain to see that the performers are having great fun as well.

Here are images of the show, courtesy of Jon Vermilye and the SUNY Oswego Theatre Department:

The SUNY Oswego Theatre Department provides cultural programming on the campus for students and community residents alike. Theatrical productions include both classic and contemporary works as well as innovative and original shows. For more information about the department or for a list of upcoming shows, visit

“The Torch Bearers” will continue this week-end with shows at 8 p.m. on Friday and Saturday and a 2:30 p.m. matinee on Sunday. Tickets are $12 for adults and $10 for seniors and students. The play is suggested for ages 12 and older. For more information or to reserve your tickets, call the Tyler Box Office at 315/312-2141 or email