For me, this time of year can be characterized by a quiet sigh, a moment for reflection as we transition between the busy days of summer and the crisp days of autumn.
We had a spectacular summer here in CNY; more than our fair share of blue skies, warm temperatures, and mostly cool nights. A couple stretches of too many 90-degree days, too little rain, and a few strong storms that shook us up, but I can’t quibble about any of that.
Now we slide into days of vibrant colors from the turning leaves, donuts from the Cider Mill in Clinton, sun-streaked, chilly Saturdays watching Colgate football, and a few remaining afternoons of reading on the porch.
This transition and reflection on the summer of 2012 was brought to the fore by a stop in Sylvan Beach this past Saturday, before the hard rains came. Several restaurants were still open, but the throngs of beach lovers and sun worshippers had disappeared yet again from this summer playground on Oneida Lake.
Wife L and I slowly cruised down Main Street looking for a place for a late lunch after a wonderful walk through Camden and its Forest Park. We decided on Eddie’s Restaurant, the mainstay of Main Street that first opened its doors back in the 1930s.
The place is big, filled with sparkling tabletops and dozens of blue booths. Eddie’s, which started out as a hot dog stand, does far more than that now. You can get the famous haddock, bought fresh from Boston each day, according to the menu, or the hot ham sandwich or a burger or a salad or a full range of Italian specialties like gnocchi, lasagna, and spaghetti with the restaurant’s special homemade sauce.
I opted for the hot ham sandwich on toasted bun. It’s an Eddie’s staple, this grilled capicola ham concoction. I smothered it in mustard, and loved it. I ordered sweet potato fries, that come in only one size — very large. They are great, a subtle sweetness and just the right amount of crispness and crunch.
Wife L went for serious comfort food: a grilled cheese sandwich and a cup of the chicken pastina soup. The soup came with croutons drizzled in Italian dressing, and she deemed it all excellent.
We didn’t have room for dessert, but watched as our waitress brought an elderly woman in the table next to us one of the largest slices of coconut cream pie I had ever seen. Her husband easily handled a beautiful slice of cheesecake. It turns out they were in Camden earlier in the day, too, taking part in the same folksmarch that we did.
The folksmarch is an organized 5K or 10K walk plotted out by terrific volunteers and organized by the North Syracuse YMCA. We started at the elementary school off Route 13, wound our way through the village and several spectacular Victorian homes, and into Forest Park.
The park is 117 acres of walking paths, a narrow roadway, and 18 pavilions that offer shelter for gatherings or celebrations. Some of the well-built concrete block buildings date back to the late 1950s. They each house a picnic table, and most had a simple swing set next to it and a bench or two. A few of the pavilion names tell the tale: River View, The Lady Slipper, Whispering Tree Tops, and Little Pergola of the Pines.
It was a great walk, and yet another reminder of all that CNY has to offer, even in these days that don’t neatly fit in summer or fall.