I have a couple words....

stop being gloomy and start being happy, doc.

Friday, May 20, 2011

Summer time and the livin's easy

Climatically speaking, this post is ear-l-y. The daffodils and tulips are currently blooming (at the same time), the forsythia is just popping out it's yellow, and we've had at smattering of barely 70F degree days. Nonetheless, it's time to start visualizing hot, sunny days filled with berry-picking, knights on horseback, wineries in full swing, mountain hikes, drama, and sport.

If you've been to the visitsyracuse.org website and seen the calendar, you will begin to understand the depth and breadth of our festival season which occupies almost every weekend from May to October in downtown Syracuse.

You also happen to be fortunately located a mere 2-6 hours away (depending on where you're going) from the ancient, mountainous Adirondack National Park. Hiking, kayaking, canoeing, and pine scented crafts could be yours for the asking. Just pull up a lake or stream, pitch a tent, and leave nothing but footprints. In particular, the Adirondack Museum and Blue Mountain Arts & Crafts store in Blue Mountain Lake are not to be missed. We have some of the best outdoor rock-climbing cliffs in the northeast up near Plattsburgh (according to rumor). And if you've never gone white water rafting on the Black River and Moose River, well...it's the best kind of fun one can have in a wet suit with six other people.

As for the towns, the views from Lake Placid are stunning. Old Forge boasts a cute main street, a Water Safari amusement park, mini-golf (duh), and a freakin' huge old-style independent hardware/variety store that I happily lose myself in for hours. Oil lamps and copper baking molds, huzzah! Lake George shouldn't be discounted either with its mix of urban chic and timeless lakefront charm.

For closer to home attractions...or if you're hungry...head over to the Finger Lakes for a taste of the good life. Deep, cool lakes. Beautiful vineyards. Fresh, delicious food prepared by talented chefs. And ice cream, oh the ice cream. There are hundreds of ways to tour this delightful region. I recommend stocking up on a Finger Lakes tour book, a wine tour pamphlet, and a couple editions of Edible Finger Lakes. Then all you need is a DD or a bio-diesel limousine.

In the mood for a more ancient form of entertainment? The Sterling Renaissance Festival is celebrating its 35th year of good old fashioned fun. July 9-August 21st, every Saturday and Sunday, dress to impress in your leathers, grab your fair maiden, and beware the pillories (and the saucy laundry wenches). Seriously good fun, good food, great musicians, and talented crafters and entertainers. Yes, this is the knight life, baby.

Summer is also berry-picking season. Click on the title of this post for a syracuse.com article from 2010 about u-pick strawberry locations. Or find a farmer at the Regional Market who will walk a bushel out to your car for ya.

The pool. Swimming, swimming...Syracusans love to swim. Pools open just after Memorial Day. Check out the City Dept. of Parks & Rec website for more info. You may need a little cash on you for both the pool and the beach!

And the beach. What summer would be complete without a trip to one of the area beaches? Green Lakes, Jamesville Reservoir, Pratt's Falls to see the waterfalls, or Oneida Shores. Here for more beach info.

Then there is Sylvan Beach Amusement Park and the Great New York State Fair. Sylvan Beach sits on the shore of Oneida Lake. It's a kitch, old fashioned carnival with seriously good fried dough, a small yet feisty wooden roller coaster, and every ride on the Midway you've wanted to go on since you were a foot under the height limit. And skee ball. Oh yeah.

The Great New York State Fair is a show and no mistake. Two words: wine slushies. Top 10 musical acts, a Midway, livestock, and a Weaving demonstration, and glad-handing with every politician statewide worth their salt outside the Dinosaur BBQ tent. There are prize competitions for everything from pies to table settings. I actually know a NYS Fair blue-ribbon challah bread baker. You also must not miss the Dairy shed...and the butter sculpture which will be the talk of the town for many weeks come August. It gets converted to biodiesel at the end of its sculpture lifespan. Whoot.

Hope this helps. Post below if you have more suggestions for summer fun.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Got a Phat Ride?

Did I just date myself with that title? Car politics talk like this all the time: if you've got a car in da Cuse, you can get out to the fly Wegman's in DeWitt like butta'. But if you ain't, you a scrub. Then you got the infamous example of Margaret Thatcher denouncing men over 30 who took the bus. She obviously knew no hipsters. Happily, over the past two years new options have opened in Syracuse. A third-way between owning your own and sharing with your mom. Or taking the bus. Or biking. Or walking. To the point- we have car share companies.

Zipcar, well established as a car share company in large-scale metropolitan areas, has two Prius cars for rent to members and SU students on campus (parked in the paved zone between the gym and the quad). They're awkward to find but once you have, easy to use. http://www.zipcar.com/su/

CuseCar is a local start-up car share company. CuseCar now has Prius cars to rent to members downtown, in Hawley-Green, and at the Westcott Community Center on the East side (see below).For more information about CuseCar, please visit us at www.cusecar.org or call CUSECAR (287-3227)

CuseCar Makes a Home at the Westcott Community Center and Opens up Membership in the Westcott Neighborhood. A CuseCar can now be found parked at the Westcott Community Center, on the corner of Euclid & Westcott Streets.

Are you in need of a ride? Tired of lugging groceries on the bus? Spouse has the car and you want to take the kids for a ride? GRAB a CuseCar, membership is only a key stroke a way. You can join CuseCar online choosing from a number of different membership plans; including the Out and About Plan, Student Plan, or Commuter Plan. Usage rates as low as $5.95 an hour, when using a CuseCar there is no additional charge for insurance or gas, it’s all included in the membership.

The Westcott Community Center is thrilled to be providing a CuseCar to the neighborhood. We are committed to improving the environment we live in and the CuseCar will be a step in this direction. It helps bring our mission alive-- Building Community One Brick [or car] at a Time.

CuseCar is a not-for-profit community car sharing organization, with the mission to provide a sustainable transportation program in Onondaga County that will reduce vehicle miles traveled, lower the carbon footprint, improve air quality, and assist in developing the new green energy fuel distribution in the community.

CuseCar is offered to drivers 18 and up, who qualify for membership. CuseCar has designated convenient parking throughout the City of Syracuse and Onondaga County.

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Models and booze; Drinking and Drawing

You know how I said we Syracusans don't *just* drink? I kinda lied. Here I go, posting about yet another alcohol related event...but it's *just* so cool!

Drink and Draw! Syracuse

Drink 'n Draw is a social event for artists (professionals and amateurs alike) to relax, have a drink, sketch, chat and otherwise enjoy the company of fellow creative minds.

Neither drinking nor drawing is required, but both can be pretty fun!

There will be a live clothed model for those who wish to draw from life, and tables to sit and sketch whatever else you feel like drawing.

BYOP (Bring your own pencil) but there will be drawing materials and paper donated by The Art Store for those who forget. Feel free to draw in the communal sketchbooks. Optional $1 raffle ticket enters you to win a $25 gift certificate to The Art Store! (proceeds to offset the cost of the model)

Saturday April 30, 2011*
Holmes (Formerly Half Penny Pub)
321 W. Fayette Street Syracuse, NY 13202

21 and up only.

See their Facebook page for the next one.

*I know, bad monkey. I'm a day late posting.