Syracuse, A Destination
You Can Go Back To
By Bob & Sandy Nesoff
New York City, London, Paris, New Orleans. All great destinations and places you might want to return to time and time again. How about Syracuse?
What? Syracuse? Isn’t once enough?
The last time in Syracuse years ago there was little to see other than the several feet deep coating of white on the ground. We saw the inside of a hotel for three days as the blizzard raged out side. Finally, with all planes grounded but highways open, we made our way out.
In true Alfred Hitchcock tradition and the concluding scenes in “The Birds,” huge snowflakes clouded the sky as we raced to beat the next incoming storm. Little thought was ever given to returning to a town whose greatest asset seemed to be a major university.
We were wrong.
On a far more sunny period with nary a cloud or snowflake in sight the sign for Syracuse on the New York Thruway loomed ahead of us. The city had grown tremendously in the intervening years with a major medical center and office buildings, none of which we had come to see.
First stop was the Sheraton Syracuse, a wonderfully central location as we were to find out. The schedule for the next three days was pretty well packed and we were grateful for the roomy and comfortable accommodations at the Sheraton.
Not far off was the Sky Armory, a venue for events and fine dining. Local chefs were on hand to introduce us to a variety of comestibles that were produced from local farms in the region. That was the first sign that things had truly changed in the city.
The following day we had an opportunity to both enjoy local brews at the Heritage Brewhouse & Kitchen, a favorite for locals with a welcoming atmosphere where strangers were simply friends you had not yet met. Flights of local brews proved to even those who were not beer drinkers, that the liquid can indeed be enjoyed.
Outside the main bar/dining area a smoker was wafting the sent of barbeque brisket, a dish to kill for. Smearing BBQ sauce on the meat was a rather large man who looked as though he would be more comfortable on a football field as a tackle that a chef.
Chef Thomas Armstrong created Tom’s Bootleg BBQ, so called because it originally has alcohol in it. That has since been replaced with natural ingredients. The sauce notes on the bottle that it comes from “Skinny At Last,” New York, a play on the town of Skaneateles; Wherever it comes from we purchased several bottles for use with our smoker. (Tomsbootlegbbq.com).
Sated with local brews and BBQ brisket we headed for nearby Green Lakes State Park. As a scuba diver who prefers the clear water of the Caribbean, it was amazing to see the crystal clear lake where every pebble on the bottom looked as though it was near the surface. There were people fishing, strolling or just sitting on the dock or shoreline.
If ever there was a perfect spot for downtime and pure relaxation with or without the family, Green Lakes State Park is it. The park offers glass bottom boats so that visitors can spot the fish the lake is stocked with.
Next week waterfalls, rock climbing and midget car racing indoors.
(photos by Bob & Sandy Nesoff)