Weekend Getaways: Camping at Fillmore Glen State Park

Weekend Getaways: Camping at Fillmore Glen State Park

For over a year I’ve been dying to go camping and in July my dream was finally fulfilled! We had a great weekend cooking over the fire, hiking and exposing our dog Kip to his first camping experience. To be honest, judging by the way he dove into the blankets on the air mattress on Saturday night, he wasn’t a huge fan of the whole laying on the ground part of camping. But I think he enjoyed the long hike we took him on and the frequent walks around the campground.

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This was our first time visiting Fillmore Glen State Park and I thought it was super cute and well-maintained. Fun fact, the park is about 5 miles from President Millard Fillmore’s birthplace and has a replica of the log cabin he grew up in, which was kinda cool to check out. Plus, I can now say my dog has peed on a President’s lawn 😉 The campground portion was small but we snagged a nice site in the shade and didn’t have to worry about the 90+ temps that weekend.

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On Saturday we did the South Rim trail hike along the gorge which was gorgeous. Although it was blazing hot out, the trail was shaded the entire way and made for a really pleasant hike. The trail has several bridges that criss cross over the gorge stream so you’ll find some great views and photo opportunities along the way.

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Once you’re finished with your hike the main part of the park has the perfect spring-fed natural swimming pool to take a dip in. It’s super cute and the fresh water is definitely a lot colder than a typical pool, but it felt great in the heat. The only downside was that dogs aren’t allowed in the pool, which was a bummer because I know Kip would’ve loved it! We did find a couple of spots by the stream for him to wade in, which he seemed to appreciate.

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Of course, the best part of camping is always the camp food! We went simple with Wegman’s subs for dinner on Friday night and then had bratwurst for lunch on Saturday and chicken and veggie kabobs for dinner. There’s just something about a meal cooked over the campfire and eaten outdoors that makes it taste that much better. Plus the thought of s’mores for dessert doesn’t hurt either.

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At only about an hour drive from Syracuse, Fillmore Glen was the perfect quick weekend getaway for us. Even if you’re not into camping I’d definitely recommend checking the state park out for the hiking and swimming. They had a huge pavilion where people were holding a family reunion and plenty of picnic tables and grills to have a quick cookout.

Do you have a favorite New York State Park we should visit? Let me know in the comments, we’re always on the lookout for new locations for adventures!

Upstate New York Guide | 24 Hours in Schoharie County

Upstate New York Guide | 24 Hours in Schoharie County

For the first installment in my Upstate New York Guide series I thought it was only right to start off with Schoharie County. While I wasn’t born in Schoharie, I did grow up there and it’s the only place that comes to mind when I hear the word “hometown”. I was even a senior survivor at good ol’ SCS, which my fellow alumni will know means I attended Schoharie Central School all the way from kindergarten to 12th grade. So it’s safe to say I know what I’m talking about when it comes to things going on in Schoharie.

If you’re from Schoharie, you’ve probably heard that there’s nothing to do in Schoharie a million times. Meanwhile, there are a lot of city transplants that try and make Schoharie into some sort of picturesque, artisan, small town dream. It’s true that we don’t have a mall or a Target within 30 minutes driving time. We also don’t have quaint coffee shops or bars that serve fancy mixed drinks. To be honest, Schoharie is a redneck town full of fun redneck things to do that I’d love to tell you about. Embracing that vibe is the key to truly enjoying Schoharie like a local. Here’s your guide to making the most of your 24 hours in Schoharie County.

Morning

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You’re going to need some fuel to start off your day and your best options for breakfast in Schoharie County come in the form of a diner. If you’re in the town of Schoharie you can pick from the Your Way Cafe or the Country Cafe. In Middleburgh I’d recommend M&J’s Cafe and in Cobleskill there’s nothing better than the Cobleskill Diner. Of course, if all else fails, you can never go wrong with the classic egg sandwich on a hard roll and Stewarts coffee combo. Breakfast from a gas station has never tasted so good.

After you’ve fueled up it’s time to work some of that breakfast off. Head over to Schoharie Valley Kayak Rentals (call to schedule your rental ahead of time) and enjoy a peaceful morning padding down the Schoharie Creek. If you’re really lucky you might catch a glimpse of some of the growing population of bald eagles that have been nesting along the creek. The nice part about renting kayaks is that you can arrange to have your rental picked up at the end of your trip so you don’t have to worry about having a truck to transport them.

Afternoon

Since you’re in Schoharie for lunch, try out El Taco Shack on Main Street in Schoharie. This restaurant recently opened and it’s become a literal bright spot on Schoharie’s otherwise bare main street. And when I say bright spot I mean it, you won’t be able to miss their bright teal and red storefront. They serve all sorts of Mexican food Moes-style and while I’ve only been once so far, I was pretty impressed. It’s really nice to see new businesses come into town and offer something different and I hope they’re able to succeed with this location.

After you’re full of delicious Mexican food, take a drive over to Vroman’s Nose just outside of the village of Middleburgh for a quick hike with amazing views of the valley. Vroman’s Nose is a classic attraction of Schoharie and every local has probably hiked it at least ten times and taken hundreds of Instagram-worthy pics perched on the edge of the overlook.

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The trail is basically straight uphill but it’s pretty short and totally worth it. Vroman’s Nose was created when a giant prehistoric glacier moved across New York and carved out the Schoharie Valley, leaving behind this nose shaped formation sticking out amidst the surrounding fields. At the top of the mountain you’ll find a giant flat slab called the dance floor with tons of carvings and initials from hikers over the years. Bonus points if you can find the oldest carving from the 1800’s or Ashley’s carved marriage proposal.

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After your hike it’s a requirement that you must experience the best ice cream Schoharie County has to offer: Amy’s Place. Amy’s is in Middleburgh and just a short drive from Vroman’s Nose so it’s an easy next stop. I’ve honestly been spoiled by Amy’s my whole life and have yet to find an ice cream place that compares in Central NY. But I do have a word of warning: you’re a fool if you order any size bigger than a small at Amy’s. Their smalls would probably be considered larges at other ice cream shops, but they’re not overpriced at Amy’s. If you order anything bigger, I promise you will end up with a ridiculous amount of ice cream. End of PSA.

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when you order a "small" at Amy's😳

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For a refreshing afternoon beverage look no further than Main Street, Middleburgh and the Green Wolf Brewing Co. taproom. You can try out one of their own local microbrews or a variety of other ales, ciders and wines from around the Capital Region. The atmosphere is very cozy and the people working there are knowledgeable about the brews they offer. It’s not a huge well-known beer destination, but it’s a great little gem Schoharie has to offer.

Evening

As if you haven’t done enough eating during your day, it’s time for dinner and that means we’re heading over to the bustling metropolis of Schoharie county: Cobleskill. Coby has a Wal-Mart and a small SUNY college, which basically is the only thing that differentiates it from the other tiny towns that make up Schoharie county. They also have Justine’s, home of the best garlic bread I’ve ever had. Honestly, forget the pizza or pasta, I’d gladly go to Justine’s and have a plate of garlic bread all to myself. If the weather’s nice you can sit outside and enjoy your pasta or one of their truly gigantic salads and unwind for your final meal in Schoharie county.

After a full day of outdoor activities, there’s no more perfect ending than catching a movie at Park Theater in Cobleskill. Watching a movie at Park is like being transported back in time. This classic venue has only one single screen, meaning you have only one single movie choice on Friday or Saturday nights. I still remember the excitement of lining up outside the theater before your showtime (7:30pm or 9pm are your only choices) and looking around to see who else was coming out to the movies that night. It was inevitable that you’d run into several classmates and at least one relative while you wanted for the doors to open. If you were going to the 9pm showing there was the added element of recognizing someone coming out of the 7:30 showing and calling them over to tell you if the movie was any good.

When I was growing up tickets were only $3, but I just checked the site and they’re $7 now. I guess that’s just the price of inflation, but it’s still a better deal than you’ll get at most movie theaters these days. There’s really nothing that screams Schoharie county to me more than a movie at Park Theater and I can’t imagine a better ending to your day.

So Schoharie might be small and rural, but to say there’s nothing to do there is certainly not true. In just 24 hours you can experience so many of the things that made up my childhood in Schoharie and hopefully you’ll leave with just as fond of memories.

I hope you’ve enjoyed the first installment of my Upstate New York Guides series! Keep checking back for the next one.

Things To Do In Syracuse: July Edition

Things To Do In Syracuse: July Edition

Like I mentioned in my Summer Bucket List post, it’s so important to take advantage of the handful of months each year that the ground isn’t covered in snow here in Central New York. From festivals to concerts to community events, there’s no shortage of activities going on in the summer months in Syracuse. I spent some time scouring event calendars for the best events going on in Syracuse this month so you have no excuse not to get out there and enjoy the sunshine.

July 4th

Syracuse Chiefs Baseball game + Fireworks

If you’re looking for a place to watch fireworks for the 4th of July, the Chiefs are boasting the largest firework display in Onondaga county. Plus, what could be more American than watching a baseball game and eating a hot dog on the 4th of July?

July 7th

Salt City Comic Con

Before you write off this nerdy event, check out the guest list which includes actors from Super Troopers & Black Panther as well as several popular comic book artists. There are also the typical cosplay contests, vendors, food trucks and some fun offerings for kids.

July 6th

First Fridays at the Everson Museum

If you’ve been interested in checking out the Everson, try heading to a First Friday event! Listen to music and grab a drink from a local partner while you stroll the museum’s offerings. We recently visited the museum and it was a fun twist for date night.

July 8th

Wildflowers Armory Hand Lettering Workshop Brunch

This one I actually really want to try and go to! For $50 you get a 2 hour hand lettering lesson from a local artist, a tutorial packet, instructions for a take home project, and some brush pens to continue your creations at home. My handwriting is terrible and yet hand lettering has always been a dream of mine.

City Market Sundays at the Everson

If you miss the First Friday event, no worries because the second Sunday of every month is City Market Sunday. Check out unique vendors selling antiques, crafts, ceramics, furniture and more and enjoy free admission to the museum!

July 12th

St. Elias Middle Eastern Festival

If you’re an adventurous foodie, consider checking out this festival for a dose of authentic Middle Eastern culture and cuisine. Along with an expansive menu, there will be a market and traditional dance performances. The festival runs from the 12th to the 15th.

July 14th

Onondaga Cup & Lakefest

For the third year this regatta is returning to Onondaga Lake park. Check it out for a full day of races, fitness classes, music and delicious food vendors. I participated in the corporate challenge portion of this event last year and although our boat didn’t do too hot, it was still a great time in the park and on the water.

Empire Brewfest & Winefest

Beer and wine lovers alike will have a chance to sample beverages from all over the state at this event at the New York State Fairgrounds. In addition to sampling drinks there will be plenty of yard games, live music and food to enjoy during the event. I’ve done a wine event like this before and it was so fun to find new wineries and knowing they are local makes it even better!

July 15th

Weezer & the Pixies at Lakeview Amphitheater

Although I’m more of a country concert person, alternative rock fans will be excited about this duo coming to the amphitheater. Parking has been an issue for past concerts so I’d recommend getting there as early as possible to get a spot in the Orange lot closest to the entrance. Other than that the amphitheater is a gorgeous place to watch a show with an amazing view of the sunset over the lake.

 

July 17th

Chef Challenge Syracuse

If you’re a fan of the show Chopped this event is definitely for you. The Executive Chef and team at Sky Armory are challenged to make a four-course meal using ingredients from a mystery box provided by a local farm and a $55 ticket gets you a front row seat to the action. I think this fun event would make for such a unique and different date night activity.

July 19th

Syracuse Chiefs vs Louisville

Yes, this is the second baseball game on this list, but after checking out their promotions for July I think this is the best deal on the schedule. First of all it’s one of their Dollar Thursdays, which means $1 entry, $1 hot dogs & sodas and certain beers for $2, which is a great deal in and of itself. On top of that, the 19th is their Christmas in July promo, which means you get to enjoy a ton of Christmas cheer and a visit from Santa during the game. Finally, the first 2,000 fans in attendance will get a free ticket to the New York State Fair. I’d say all of that, plus a baseball game, is definitely worth the $1 admission price!

July 27th

Syracuse Arts & Crafts Festival

Running from the 27th to the 29th, 160 artists will take over Columbus Circle in Downtown Syracuse to show off their goods. In addition to the arts & crafts booths there will be live music, street performers, dancers and family activities available. This is the 48th year of the festival but I’m looking forward to checking it out for my first time!

Did I miss any cool events going on in Syracuse in July? Let me know so I can add it to the post!