Camillus is a town outside of Syracuse. It was here that we visited my last stop on the Erie Canal and took a more relaxed tour where the scenes were of walkers, joggers, and bike riders. We saw the aqueduct system and much greenery. Due to the sun it was sometimes hard to tell where the top of the water started and the reflection began. Rather than a houseboat we were on a pontoon, which I was also able to easily pilot.
We first visited the Sims' Museum, a replica of the Sims canal store that housed anything the canal fleet needed in the way of medicines, cooking tools, food & water, kerosene & coal, apparel, animal feed & equipment, and hardware. There was one of those great murals located on the second floor.
Esther, Eunice and I checked into the Jefferson Clinton Hotel at 416 S. Clinton Street, two blocks away from the Armory Square area of downtown Syracuse and part of Clinton Square. This 11 story upscale hotel had me relaxing in their Presidential Suite on the 11th Floor. Dining room, full kitchen, living room and bedroom where the cushy bed and desk was located.
Although the hotel does not have a restaurant, a full breakfast buffet is part of the deal and located in the lobby. The amenities include a whole list of "in case you forgot" items.
As far as eating, we went to Sakana-Ya-Sushi, a true sushi bar. Seats are at the bar and the food rides along a conveyor belt. The plates are different colors and there is a sign near your seat that states the price of the plate. If you don't see something that you like, you can order from the waitress. Esther was being her funny self here.
Palmyra has been coined "Queen of Canal Towns", although I'm not sure as to why. We didn't get to tour much of the town as time was spent at William Phelps General Store, a 19th century original general store with original items and home.
Located at 132 Market Street, it was constructed in 1826. William Phelps renovated the store by 1875. It was then turned over to his son Julius who closed the store in 1940. Upstairs I found the post-Civil War furnishings.
Sibyl Phelps lived there with no electricity or plumbing. Yes, there is an outhouse. Sibyl died in 1976. Seeing the items on the shelves could certainly bring nostalgia to those over the age of 70.
The store is just a block away from the Erie Canal.
There are several opportunities to travel by boat on the Erie Canal that range from a 1-hour boat tour to renting a luxurious houseboat complete with four bedrooms, two bathrooms, living room and full kitchen. That's the one we got to use offered by Bob Stivers at Stivers Seneca Marina, located on the Cayuga-Seneca Canal.
The boat first made its way onto Seneca Lake before turning around to visit the canal. This particular part of the canal is surrounded by homes and a few business enterprises. It's not odd to see blue herons wait for the boat and then soar in front of it, stop, catch up and repeat. The blue herons have their territory so another one will take its place along the way.
The day brought misty rain and hard winds, which made it a bit difficult for me to take over the wheel.
We went into a lock but Bob decided not to continue through, backed up and did a u-turn.
Being in Wayne County we went from the village of Newark to Lyons, another destination along the Erie Canal. It was there that I met Lyons Main Street Program Manager, Jerry M. Ashley. He and his partner moved from California having spotted a fabulous old home and friendly town.
We took a walk on Williams Street to see the Ohmann Theatre, which was originally built in 1915 by Burt Ohmann. After going through renovations the theatre still keeps its old time charm. The theatre is primarily used as a movie venue, but you can find live entertainment every so often.
With the mural sensation going on along the canal, Lyons has their murals decided, instead to have theirs in the village itself on sides and fronts of buildings.
Two of the major events are Peppermint Days and Pumpkin Palooza. The peppermint thing is related to the for H.G. Hotchkiss Factory. How far can a pumpkin be tossed from a cherry picker?
As for the canal, there is always someone there to great the boaters. Hook ups are free of charge and the Fire Department provides restrooms and showers.
Time to check into the Vintage Gardens Bed and Breakfast in Newark where we met owners Kimberlee and Michael Meeks. Gorgeous vintage Tudor home built in 1844 on 2 plus acres with grass and forest in the back and gardens in the front. That is, what ever is left in the gardens after the cute and adorable deer use it as their dining room. At least they can't drink up the water in the fountain.
I stayed in the Asian Lily Suite that overlooked the forest. Queen sized cushy canopy bed with a pillow top mattress, luxury robes, cabinet with refrigerator and television that doubled as DVD player (free DVDs to use are located in the library), claw foot tub and separate shower in a large bathroom, and amenities to include a special package of "all you need in case you forgot to bring" items. Kimberlee is so great that she'll even do your laundry if you need those clean clothes for the rest of your trip.
Cookies are placed on your pillow...well, that is, on a plate, near your pillow and you are welcome to have a pot of tea to accompany it.
The downstairs area has a sun room, library, living room, gift shop area and dining room. That is where I had the totally delicious breakfast of whole wheat waffles with fresh peaches topped with home made whipped cream and nuts, along with a large breakfast sausage made with cranberries and orange. Kimberlee makes her own sausage, too.