Central New York is experiencing its peak seasonal beauty as the trees turn shades of red, orange, and yellow. If you’re in the market for a leaf-peeping trip this fall, why not cut across beautiful upstate and make for the port city of CNY — charming Oswego, New York, located on the banks of Lake Ontario.
Just five hours from the Merrimack Valley, Oswego is ideal for a weekend away in crisp weather.
Oswego was established as a British trading port in the early 18th century and was named after the native Haudenosaunee place name “os-we-go,” which means “pouring out place.”
Later, Fort Ontario was constructed in 1844 and 100 years later was used to house Holocaust survivors and European refugees. Visitors can experience the fourth iteration of the star-shaped fort at the Fort Ontario State Historic Site, run by the New York State Department of Parks, Recreations, and Historic Preservation.
With two guardhouses, a powder magazine, a storehouse, an enlisted men's barracks, an Army office building, and ramparts with views of the lake, history buffs, photographers, and military enthusiasts will find no shortage of things to see and do at the site.
Visitors may also be interested in checking out the H. Lee White Marine Museum, which tells the story of the city’s maritime traditions and boasts thousands of artifacts, images, archival records, and artwork of hundreds of years of Great Lakes history.
The city rose up around the fort as a major port for shipping on Lake Ontario. It is now one of the state’s most popular northern college towns, home to the State University of New York at Oswego.
Oswego’s downtown is home to quintessential, charming small-city shopping and dining, both fine and casual. One spot that should not be missed is Wonzones Calzones, an Oswego staple, for personal calzones bigger than your face. Favorites include the chicken bacon ranch calzone, BBQ chicken calzone, and Philly steak calzone.
The shop also offers an array of dessert calzones, including cheesecake and cookies and creme. Take your boxed calzones to the lakeshore for a picture-perfect dinner as you gaze out on the seemingly endless lake — Breitbeck Park recently underwent a state-sponsored renovation and has a bevy of comfortable places to sit.
Oswego is famous for its dramatic and brilliant sunsets, and if that’s not entertainment enough, the park ducks are sure to amuse.
There is no shortage of activities and adventures to be had just outside the city. Located less than an hour away from Oswego is Beak & Skiff Orchards, which was ranked this year as the best apple orchard in America.
Nearby Green Lakes State Park is a beautiful hiking area that boasts the titular “green lakes” — brilliantly colored bodies of water made vibrant by heavy mineral deposits.
A quick trip to the southwest takes visitors to the Finger Lakes and charming towns such as Skaneateles, Seneca Falls, and Ithaca.
Bringing together a trip to the shore, unparalleled views, and a shopping and dining experience, Oswego, New York, is not to be missed this fall.
For more information, go to www.visitoswegony.com