Happy Bicentennial, Chittenango. The Madison County village is celebrating this milestone all year, and I did my part by participating in a folksmarch that was held in the home of all things Oz a couple of weeks back.
We ambled along — in hiking boots and not ruby-red shoes — the village sidewalks that have been decked out in yellow bricks for years and years and the Creek Walk that offers a wonderful path along Chittenango Creek. During our 5K walk we also visited some wonderful neighborhoods and strolled through Sullivan Community Park, a real gem of a public space that offers tennis courts, basketball, softball, pavilions, nature paths, and a large playground.
It never ceases to amaze me how much our villages, towns, and cities in CNY have to offer. There are fantastic public spaces and museums, like the Chenango Canal and Boat Museum, that provide wonderful outlets for exploration and prime targets for mini-excursions. Now, if we can only figure out what kinds of retail shops our small communities need and can support, we’ll be all set. Because Chittenango has too many empty storefronts downtown, and I just learned that a landmark in the village of Hamilton — Crowe’s Pharmacy — will be closing, its owner feeling the economic pinch and agreeing to work at a larger Kinney Drug’s just a couple miles away.
We all need to support local businesses as much as we possibly can, be it shops and markets or restaurants and diners.
On our way back from the folksmarch, Wife L, Daughter B, Father-in-law D, and I stopped to eat at the Knotty Pine Diner on Route 5 in Wampsville. We tried lunch from the barbecue pit, which is open Thursday through Sunday from noon to 8 p.m. The pit offers pulled pork sandwiches, steak sandwiches, ribs, brisket, and more.
For just under $9, I had the pulled pork sandwich with two sides: baked beans and cole slaw. I thought the pork was tangy and delicious, served on a fresh roll. Wife L and Father-in-law D had the steak sandwiches, which they both deemed delicious. There were plenty of other sides to choose from, too, like macaroni salad, salt potatoes, and potato salad.
Daughter B opted for, wait for it, a tuna sandwich on white bread from the diner. Not sure what section of the gene pool the love of the bland emerged from, but at least she got a cold and creamy chocolate shake with her sandwich.
We sat on picnic tables to enjoy our lunch and were able to watch two workers put up soffits as part of a major renovation of a huge, beautiful barn next to the diner and just off Route 5. A really beautiful bit of restoration happening there.