By Ken Sturtz
Witness the view from atop Chimney Bluffs
7700 Garner Road, Wolcott
One of the most magnificent views on Lake Ontario can be seen at Chimney Bluffs State Park where stunning earthen spires rise as high as 150 feet.
During the last ice age, the glacial advances and retreats that formed the Great Lakes also created thousands of drumlins (elongated, teardrop-shaped hills) south and east of Lake Ontario. At Chimney Bluffs the elements have eroded the hill over time, carving the spires visible today.
The bluffs are viewable from the beach, but the real treat is at the top. On a clear day you can see the 700-foot stacks at the steam plant adjacent to SUNY Oswego. There are several gradual trails to the top, but if you’re in a hurry there’s a very short, steep trail accessible from a parking lot at the east end of the park.
Go hiking at Rice Creek Field Station
193 Thompson Road, Oswego
Rice Creek is a hidden gem at SUNY Oswego. The 400-acre site serves as a living laboratory for the college’s science programs and is dedicated to the study, preservation and management of the environment. Features include classrooms, research facilities, and an observatory.
Visitors can explore four nature trails totaling five miles. In addition to hiking, snowshoeing, cross-country skiing and biking is allowed. Each trail features multiple landscapes and habitats (Rice Creek was developed on former farmland) and it’s easy to spot wildlife from the trails. Pop in to the field station before your hike to view the natural history and wildlife displays.
The field station is a mile south of campus. Students can travel from campus to Rice Creek free of charge via the green shuttle.
Visit Oswego’s World War II ship that took part in D-Day
1 West First Street, Oswego
One of the few surviving ships to participate in the invasion of Normandy is right here in Oswego under the care of the H. Lee White Maritime Museum.
LT-5, an ocean going tugboat, sailed for England in 1944 as part of the invasion buildup. It joined the fleet of tugs, barges and merchant ships working to establish artificial harbors and keep supplies flowing to the troops on land. On June 9, the tug shot down a German plane. After the war it was used by the Army Corps of Engineers on the Great Lakes.
The maritime museum, which has several other vessels on display and exhibits dedicated to regional maritime history, is worth visiting as well.
Enjoy a movie at the drive-in
2475 Route 48, Minetto
There’s nothing quite like watching a movie under the stars on the big screen and snacking on popcorn from the comfort of your car.
While there were thousands of drive-ins decades ago, their numbers have dwindled and it’s a little more challenging to find one today. Luckily, the Midway Drive-In Theatre is located halfway between Oswego and Fulton. The business has been in the same family for decades and they put on a good show.
Midway is open five nights a week during summer and on weekends in the fall. Look for them to add horror movies to their lineup as Halloween gets closer. Their triple features are a great value and they have a full menu of hot food and snacks at their snack shack.
Located on a bluff overlooking the harbor, Fort Ontario State Historic Site has a rich history and is worth a separate visit during the day.
The fort is said to be one of the most haunted locations in the U.S. and ghost sightings of all kinds have been reported there since the 1800s. It was even the subject of an episode of the TV show “Ghost Hunters.”
The Friends of Fort Ontario, working with CNY Ghost Hunters, offers a guided ghost hunt each fall, usually in October. Tickets sell fast so plan ahead. Whether you’re a diehard believer in ghosts or just looking for a fun way to spend the evening it’s worth trying.