Driving up to Colgate, most students’ minds are on what the upcoming year holds, rather than the Hamilton storefronts they are passing. The world of “down the hill” doesn’t contain the familiar names of The Gap and Starbucks most people are used to seeing in their town, but that doesn’t mean Hamilton should be ignored.
The Hamilton Public Library, while not geographically the center of the town – that belongs to the five-way intersection which even seniors have yet to figure out — is the focal point for any sort of activity occurring in Hamilton. With the recently finished and furnished Case Library and Geyer Center for Information Technology, students may not even consider going to the Public Library, but it is not a place to skip over. Upon walking in, students will find themselves in a room full of fliers and pamphlets advertising goings-on in the central New York area, from events at the Earlville Opera House to houses for rent on Lebanon Street.
According to Librarian Barb Cogner, the Public Library is also the perfect escape from the collegiate levels of academics.
“One of the main reasons [Colgate] students come here is to get away from textbooks and read fiction,” Cogner said. The four shelves stocked with romance novels could help to get anyone’s mind out of school mode. DVDs and videos for rent can also be found at the library — a convenience for any student who has yet to figure out the workings of Netflix. So head downtown, make a five-dollar deposit to get a library card and take advantage of all the Hamilton Public Library has to offer.
Travel a little further into town to find the Old Stone Jug, a familiar nighttime hot spot to the upperclassmen and a legendary entity to most first-years. The “Jug,” Hamilton’s only “club,” offers a bar and dance floor, but it quickly becomes crowded and the door can be blocked off, forcing students to find someplace else to spend their night.
“The Jug is great because someone from every class goes,” sophomore Patrick McCellan said. “It doesn’t matter what fraternity or sorority you are or aren’t in.”
For those who desire a more low-key night, students can check out what is going on at the Barge Canal Coffee Company. The Barge is a venue for anyone who wants to perform in or watch student bands and a capella groups, or perhaps listen to poetry readings. Colgate owns the Barge, but the atmosphere is clearly that of a place off-campus. Locals, professors and students can stop in for a pastry or cup of Green Mountain Coffee, or simply to chat with manager Judy Schenk, who seems to know every face that walks in the door. Student-artists are able to have their work on display at the Barge, as the paintings and photos on the wall are for sale and changed monthly.
“The Barge is just the greatest place in town,” Schenk said.
Hamilton also plays host to several salons. Manicures and pedicures are offered at Hamilton Nail Spa on Lebanon Street; for hair care or tanning, simply turn the corner to find J.J.’s Hair and Tanning Salon. Gesture’s, a recently opened boutique in town, also offers hair services by Jessica Camp, sister of owner Erin Camp.
“Students are definitely our biggest clientele,” Camp said.