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Travel Logs March 2015

Compulsive Traveler

Syracuse: The Hub of Central New York

By Sandra Scott

The premiere art destination in central New York is the Everson Art Museum by I. M. Pei who designed the building to be a sculpture unto itself. In the permanent collection are Gilbert Stuart's portrait of George Washington, Edward Hick's The Peaceable Kingdom and Eastman Johnson's Corn Husking.

Syracuse has been a major crossroads since the early 1800s when the Erie Canal was built –  and today, it still is. Syracuse, a multi-season destination, is the undisputed hub of central New York with plenty to do within the city, plus it offers easy access to the wine country in the Finger Lakes, the mountains of the Catskills and Adirondacks, the majestic Niagara Falls, and the romantic 1000 Islands. For more information check with VisitSyracuse.com.

  1. Onondaga Historical Association Museum: The museum is the best starting place to learn about Syracuse including why it is dubbed “The Salt City.” The museum displays highlight the area’s people, including their role in the Underground Railroad and the various ethnic groups that contribute to the multi-ethnic nature of the city, plus innovations that were created by local residents from the Franklin Car to the world-famous Syracuse China.
  2. The Erie Canal Museum: To truly appreciate the history of Syracuse, visitors should learn about the Erie Canal days in Syracuse. The museum is located in the Weighlock building which was built in 1850 so canal boats traveling through Syracuse could be weighed to determine the amount of their toll. The museum has informative videos and displays including a weighlock office, a typical tavern and a general store.
  3. Arts: The premiere art destination in central New York is the Everson Art Museum by I. M. Pei who designed the building to be a sculpture unto itself. In the permanent collection are Gilbert Stuart's portrait of George Washington, Edward Hick's The Peaceable Kingdom and Eastman Johnson's Corn Husking. Syracuse is also home to several art galleries including Point of Contact and SUArt on the university campus.
  4. Performing arts: Syracuse Stage offers several Broadway shows along with some premieres. The Famous Artists series also offers Broadway shows in the beautiful Landmark Theater, an ornate, gilded “temple” theater from the heyday of movies. Open Hand Theater is a unique puppet theater that has performances on the stage and in the street, along with puppetry classes.
  5. The Rosamond Gifford Zoo: The family-friendly zoo is home to over 700 animals of all sizes from several parts of the world. There are birds of all sizes and colors –  on the Penguin Coast watch them dive, swim and cavort. On the half-mile wildlife trail be on the lookout for wolves, Amur tigers, red panda, and bears; stop to watch the zoo’s biggest animals at the Asian Elephant Preserve.
  6. The MOST: The Milton J. Rubenstein Museum of Science and Technology has hands-on exhibits that entertain, amuse, and teach visitors about the human body, physics, the earth and space. Practice landing an F-16 and guide a plane on the runway of Hancock International Airport. The Science Playhouse makes learning scientific principles fun. The museum is also home to the Bristol IMAX Omnitheater, and the Silverman Planetarium.
  7. Sports fans: SU’s basketball, football, and hockey teams, fondly called “The Orange,” are the best known of the many sport teams in the city. Watch the Chiefs baseball at the NTB Stadium and the Crunch hockey games at the War Memorial. Want to be a participant? Then grab your golf clubs and head to one of several courses or sign up for one of the several running events. Winter means ice skating in Clinton Square.
  8. For foodies: The TV food channels love Syracuse, the home of Dinosaur Bar-B-Que and salt potatoes. Salt potatoes have been a local favorite since the 1800s when local workers would dump their lunch of potatoes in the briny water during the distillation of salt that was found in the local marshes. A local brew from Middle Ages or Empire Brewing companies will round out any meal. Sample many local specialties on one of the Syracuse Food Tours.
  9. Shopping: Shoppers will find everything they want under one roof at Destiny USA including high-end outlets along with a variety of eateries and entertainment venues. Looking for something special with personalized service? Then head to trendy Armory Square where people have been shopping since the Erie Canal days.
  10. Fairs, festivals, and more: Syracuse is home to the New York State Fair, America’s first state fair. Every month the city is abuzz with a festival from Winterfest to the Taste of Syracuse. Take a self-guided walking tour of Historic Downtown Syracuse with a downloadable online guide. Enjoy a leisurely stroll or bike along the Creekwalk. Head to Tipperary Hill, the city’s Irish neighborhood where the traffic light has the green light on top instead of the usual red.

 

Sandra Scott travels the globe recording the top attractions at every destination.

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