When I came across this gem of a city more than 5 years ago. I found my faith, my spirituality, and newfound love along the shoreline.
Like a diamond, adorned to the majectic New York shoreline of Lake Ontario is, the Port City of Oswego. When I came across this gem a little more than 5 years ago. I packed up and moved the 120 miles North, from my hometown in the Mohawk Valley. The area holds such an uplifting energy that is deeply admirable. Some of the most beautiful sunsets in the world are seen from these shores.
If the view alone, does not magnetically pull you to the historically quaint location, there are a few things that might pique your interest.
Lake Ontario: The Lake of Shining Waters
Many do not realize, just how much Lake Ontario resembles the Ocean. Seeing, is sometimes believing. And, it is a breathtaking sight to see. The waters are an unpredictable mass of elegance. Transforming from calm and tranquil to a violently thrashing rage.
Being one of the five Great Lakes, Lake Ontario, is the 14th largest lake in the world. It has an average depth of 283 feet, with it's deepest depth reaching 802 feet.
Lake Ontario is an absolute wonder of ecological design. The size and connection to the Atlantic Ocean through the St. Lawrence River, makes it especially unique.
Today, the lake provides drinking water to over 9 million people.
Another fascinating detail, is that the waters of the other four Great Lakes, flows through Lake Ontario. As does, Niagara Falls.
The City of Oswego, welcomes many fisherman and nature enthusiasts to it's shoreline. As the lake, hosts a number of wildlife habitats and is famous for large trout and salmon. Each year, Lake Ontario attracts hundreds of tourists to it's waters.
Explore the City
Whether you’re planning a day trip or vacationing in the charming Port City, there are plenty of things to enjoy.
One of my favorite places in Oswego, is Breitbeck Park. The park features a 6 mile loop trail that offers an amazing view of Lake Ontario. The peaceful ambiance and breathtaking scenery draws many to sit and gaze. A few will cool off in the water and swim to the docks within the break wall.
A playground, water splashpad, and miniature golf course bring a lot of joy and laughter to Breitbeck. Picnic areas are also available with BBQ pits, or you can stop over to the Snack Shack for a hot dog.
Flourishing with colorful gardens and gorgeous architecture, the park offers the perfect spot to walk, run, or get some R&R. Another highlight to the park amenities, are the outdoor fireplaces that are available to rent. Many enjoy the spectacular view of the setting sun, while sitting fireside with family and friends.
About a mile from Breitbeck Park, is Wright's Landing Marina. You will find boats of all shapes and sizes docked in the harbor. From massive adrenaline pumping speed boats to intricately gliding sailboats. The marina provides numerous amenities to boaters including, picnic areas and showers. The facility also has a fish cleaning station and a one-ton boat hoist.
Though, I'm not yet a boat owner. I enjoy heading to Wright’s Landing and renting a pedal boat or kayak. Surrounded by the cerulean waters of the lake, I find my anxieties dissipate. Take a ride up the Oswego River or out to the Oswego Lighthouse.
Another heart winning spot to check out is, Flat Rock. A bit of a hidden locals hangout, with awesome vibes. Just head down West Sixth Ave in Oswego, till you reach the lake. At first, the appeal of the location tucked behind the Oswego Harbor Power Company, may have you questioning my perspective of serenity but, trust me. You won't be disappointed.
For Oswegoians, Flat Rock is the go-to spot for spending the day at the lake. This is our place to let loose, crank the music, and enjoy life by the water. You can carefully climb down the bank to reach an area covered by flat rocks. It is the perfect spot to swim or start a fire by the lake. Really nice days bring a lot of different faces, of all ages, to the popular location.
The downside is, there is no public restroom. There are also, no BBQ pits or picnic areas. Many of us don't mind and make the best of it. We bring our own chairs and portable grills. If you bring it in, you take it out.
Also, at Flat Rock, you can access the break wall. The break wall runs all the way to the Oswego Lighthouse. Though many still walk the break wall, the closer you get to the lighthouse, the more unstable the wall becomes.
Another popular area in Oswego, is Lakeside Park. This is the only location in the city with a small portion of beachfront. The park includes a pavilion and picnic areas, with BBQ pits for use. There is also a beach volleyball net and a small paved roadway, to unload kayaks and canoes in the water.
If you are looking for some good waves, you will find them here, if the lake permits it. Though, the water at Lakeside Park can get a little mucky with seaweed. And, the bottom is covered in rocks and sharp mollusks. So, I highly advise wearing a good pair of water shoes.
It is also important to note, that there are no lifeguards at any of the locations previously mentioned. Swimming in the lake anywhere in Oswego, is at your own risk. Due to the unpredictability of the water. I always suggest checking the local water broadcast for swimming and using your best judgement.
Rich in History
Those looking for a taste of culture, can head over to the H. Lee Maritime Museum. Iconic to the city, is The Oswego West Pierhead Lighthouse. It is a historic beauty, rich in heritage and an amazing treasure to Oswego. Lighthouse tours can be booked through the museum, giving you an up close look at history.
Another popular spot that is rich in heritage, is Fort Ontario. The star shaped fort is a historic state site that dates back to the early 1840’s. Enjoy a tour of the grounds and experience a reenactment of history. Go back in time and discover the roots of Oswego.
In the Iroquoian language, Lake Ontario means lake of shining waters.
For the Love of Food
We all gotta eat, but no one feels like cooking. Though, it lacks popular franchise restaurants. Oswego hosts a number of different options to satisfy your palette.
To narrow a few down, I personally recommend Wade’s Diner for a great breakfast. Cheap Seats Bar and Grill, Pies Guys for pizza and hot wings. Garafalo’s half and whole loaf subs, are very hearty. And, Byrne Dairy makes a damn good panini.
More popular restaurants that boast great reviews of food and service, are:
- Nora’s Restaurant, who offers healthier options such as, protein bowls and gluten free choices.
- Red Sun Fire Roasting Co., is a great option for American cuisine, in a Californian style restaurant and bar.
- La Parilla, is a popular grill and wine bar. With an excellent menu selection of, Mediterranean style cuisine.
Don't forget to satisfy your sweet tooth. For some delectable goodies, I recommend Stone’s Candies. Serving Oswego for over 40 years, Stone’s is a popular old fashioned homemade candy and ice cream store.
However, my go-to for ice cream is Bev’s Dairy Treats. The ice cream shop is perfectly set along the shoreline of Lake Ontario. What better way to enjoy your favorite scoop of creamy goodness, than watching the sun set across the serene waters. Aside from the stunning view, Bev’s has a very wide selection of treats to choose from.
Not Ready to Leave
Visiting Oswego makes a great day trip but, there is much to explore in the surrounding areas as well. If you find yourself wanting to stick around a little longer, there are a few options to consider. But, if I had to choose...
Sunset RV Park and Campground offers tent sites, RV hookups, and cabin rentals for the outdoor enthusiasts. It is a popular choice with it being conveniently located across from the shoreline and Bev’s Dairy Treats. Other amenities of the campground include, a swimming pool and playground.
For a more luxurious place to relax, The Best Western and Oswego Hotel and Conference Center is your best option. Upgraded rooms come with balconies and/or views of the Oswego Harbor and Lake Ontario. Other great hotel amenities include an indoor pool, hot tub, sauna, and a full health and fitness club. Another awesome perk to your stay is a full free hot breakfast.
There is also an indoor water park that is still under construction. Once complete, this addition will give the hotel even more appeal to family vacationers.
My New Home Away From Home
There are many other highlights to the city of Oswego, that can be appreciated. After falling in love with the view, my heart grew for the community. The people of Oswego are friendly, and warm. Making it seem like a breath of fresh air. Every person I know that ventures to the area, immediately, admires and appreciates the stunning beauty.
Another favorite aspect I am in awe of, is the weather that casts over Oswego. During the summer months, the wind wisping from the lake cools the blazing sun. Though being located along Lake Ontario gives people the assumption that, winters are horrendous. Winter in Oswego is relatively mild. Most weather elements seem to pass over us, to reach areas just beyond the city limits. With that and the picturesque lakeview, it creates a stunning oasis, for everyone to enjoy.
Living here along the lake has opened my heart up, to the beauty of all that is. I truly feel, that I am a better person today, than I was 5 years ago. The peacefulness just settles into your soul.
For More Information
- Breitbeck Park
- Wright's Landing Marina
- H. Lee White Marine Museum
- Fort Ontario State Historic Site
- Sunset RV Park Cabins & Campground
- Best Western Plus Oswego Hotel and Conference Center - NY
Lake Ontario's Sea Monster
- On The Waterfront: The legendary Lake Ontario sea serpent | Columnists | oswegocountynewsnow.com
OSWEGO — Is there a prehistoric monster in Lake Ontario?
© 2021 Valerie Eileen