Head West for: Fort Stanwix, Utica Zoo, Crazy Otto’s Diner, Eerie Canal Cruise, and Moccasin Kill Sanctuary

After a week of rainy cloudy days I decided to spend a solid 12 hours out and about yesterday.

At 8 AM we set out to Rome to visit Fort Stanwix, a beautifully maintained national monument. There is rich history here in a beautiful setting. You may enter through fantastic museum with information to read, videos to watch, things to touch, really great for people of all ages. Then you head to the reconstructed fort to see what the men and women during the revolutionary time period were dealing with in this fort. You have the option of taking a guided tour or touring the place yourself. There are many plaques to read and rooms to enter. Kids were running around dressed up in time-period clothing holding wooden guns, it was hilarious and adorable. This is all free.

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Next on the agenda was a visit to Utica to explore the Utica Zoo.

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This was a great little zoo that packed a big punch. I enjoyed reading the fun facts about each animal, and learned that camels do not store water in their humps, but fat! Who knew. I saw a peacock splay his feathers and vibrate at another peacock, which began barking at him.

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I watched sea lions do tricks for fish.

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I saw gibbons grooming one another. There were big cats, a petting zoo, and a critically endangered animal, the Chinese alligator. Most animals had a buddy, lots of space, and many were reproducing! These are all things that make me happy in a zoo. We had a great time here and tickets were a decent value of $6.75 a pop. Great for kids and adults alike. After all of these sights we certainly worked up an appetite. We headed down to Herkimer to eat at Crazy Otto’s Empire Diner, and had a very filling meal. The old dining car is loaded with pictures and license plates, you won’t get bored looking around, but then again you won’t have much time to do so their service is fast! Their burgers are award winning, so Jeff got a HUGE ‘loose caboose’ and he put bacon on it. Someone we didn’t even know came over to take a picture of this monstrosity. Needless to say, he was very happy.

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I got a regional dish chicken riggies, and although there was no way to finish this gigantic portion, it was super yummy.

After a very solid morning, it was time for what sparked the idea of the whole trip, an Eerie Canal Cruise. We browsed their store full of eclectic interesting and sometimes local goods before boarding. Most of the boat was shady, but there were a few seats at the bow which were delightfully sunny. There was a small cash bar that offered some interesting drinks such as a ‘mix up’ which had southern comfort, tequila, one other type of liquor I’m forgetting, lemonade, cranberry juice, and a bit of coke. It was a heavy drink, but splitting it on the cruise was wonderful. We cruised up and down the Mohawk for 90 minutes listening to history about the building of the Eerie Canal, looking at the nature around us, and going up and down lock number 18. This was a really fun and informative time, and it was very affordable with the Groupon I purchased, two tickets for $23.

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It was getting late, and time to head back towards our territory. We stopped for a hike in Rotterdam at Moccasin Kill Sanctuary. This was a small preserve and we were the only ones there. There are two different trails you can take and we did both. On this day especially it was very lush and beautiful on account of all of the rain. Little waterfalls were all around, and you had to make some jumps over running water to get from one trail to another. There were some nice rises and falls of elevation, and some steep trails in this dense and dark place. We saw deer, chipmunks, wildflowers, mushrooms, and heard many happy birds.

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It was a long, gloriously sunny, happy day where everything went just right.

 

http://www.nps.gov/fost/index.htm

http://uticazoo.org/

http://crazyottosempirediner.com/

http://www.eriecanalcruises.com/

http://www.nature.org/ourinitiatives/regions/northamerica/unitedstates/newyork/placesweprotect/easternnewyork/wherewework/eny-moccasin-kill-sanctuary.xml

 

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