Thee Diner in Cicero makes the walk, and the drive, worthwhile


Does it make sense to drive 55 miles to walk 3 miles in a snowstorm with temperatures in the teens? A fair question.

The answer turned out to be a resounding yes as I was able to explore Oneida Shores Park and stop in at the Thee Diner in Cicero. Both first-time experiences proved to be fruitful and fun.

I drove to the park on the southwestern tip of Oneida Lake last Saturday and was forced to take the  toll-thirsty Thruway for part of the ride because the side roads were slick and sloppy. The park has a beautiful lodge tucked into the woods, where I got my route map for the 5K folksmarch sponsored by the Syracuse YMCA.

I do have this curious need to be rewarded for my endeavours. I’m sure it’s a lack of emotional depth. No “it’s the journey” for me. When I hike I need a payoff, a vista of unparalleled beauty. Play softball, I want to win. Badly want to win. When I do these folksmarch walks, I want that pin that comes with a successful jaunt.  I blame my parents.

Oneida Shores Park

Oneida Shores proved to be a beautiful setting for my stroll (See more photos here). The trees were covered in what looked like gooey marshmallow, and the lake, or more immediately Muskrat Bay, looked impressive in its gray/white expansiveness. I stayed warm despite the niggly temperatures, decked out in my new Columbia jacket that came courtesy of Mrs. Claus at Christmas. (By the way, if you need a thin, crazy warm jacket or any kind of outdoor gear at steep discounts, check out Sierra Trading Post. Great deals.)

The folksmarch folks do a great job organizing these walks, which can be stretched to the 10K variety if you are so compelled. I had bought my cross country skis with me, and I tried it after my walk. But the snow as actually too deep and there were no skiers out before me cutting the trail, so I hopped in my car after warming up at the Arrowhead Lodge and collecting my nifty pin (at right). 

The road conditions had improved  by that time so I took Route 31  and came across the Thee Diner, which is under a mile from Route 81. I’ll be the first to admit that the diner doesn’t look like much form the outside, but if you are traveling on Route 81 and need a break, this is a great place to refuel.

It is always a good sign for me when a diner offers me options for my cup of tea. I have nothing against Lipton or Red Rose, but when given a chance for an English Breakfast Tea by Bigelow or Twinings, I’m all over it. That was one of several options offered to me by the waitress who greeted me at one of about eight tables in the main section of the diner, which has additional tables in an expanded dining area with large windows letting in the meager doses of sunlight.

Thee Diner in Cicero

I also was reminded right away about why locally owned restaurants are so much better than chain eateries. Instead of hokey pieces of kitsch on the walls that some corporate suit approved after myriad consultations with overpaid designers,  there was photo after photo  of patrons lining the walls. Real people from the community. That alone speaks volumes.

My breakfast of eggs, home fries, sausage, and toast was right on the mark. I was intrigued by the sign that promised homemade desserts by Cindy, but I didn’t walk that much at the park. Thee Diner also serves ice cream during the warmer months.

After my leisurely breakfast I didn’t mind one bit that I had about 50 miles left to drive. Seemed like nothing at all.

Additional photos from this trip:

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8 thoughts on “Thee Diner in Cicero makes the walk, and the drive, worthwhile

  1. Oneida Shores and Thee Diner. The pics from OSCP were right out of my childhood as the park was once part of my family farm and I worked summer staff there throughout college, Having worked 20 years as a salesman in CNY I had many a breakfast at Thee Diner. Thanks for bring me a little piece of heaven this evening.

    • Hi Dann,

      What a great note. I am glad I was able to spark some good memories for you. You have such deep connections to a really beautiful part of CNY that I was just discovering.

  2. Looks like we have one more diner to check out. I am not familiar with the location so i will google it for that.. Breakfast diners are our favorite to try. Love the photos…esp the trees with snow. Check out Everet D Regal photos on his page or Facebook, They are awesome and I think they inspire all of us to strive for better photos….me anyways. I just became aware of his work this past month.

    As always…..happy trails:)
    Deb

  3. We have eaten at “Thee Diner” many times and just love it too.Pictures on the wall are the best -nothing is better than promoting the “home town folk” who support you as a local business. Your pictures are lovely (Oneida Shores)with all the fluffy snow around keep them handy to admire when our summer heat is making us sweat. Looks like you really enjoyed another great day in upstate New York. Thnaks for shareing! Esther L.

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