Eats, Treats and Sight-Seeing in Madison County

Ben Callaway

There are two lighthouses within 10 miles of Colgate’s campus. I would estimate that 95 percent of Colgate students do not know where one of the two is located and I have yet to meet someone who knows the whereabouts of both.

Why are lighthouses in Central New York important? For me they represent two “buried treasures” that I have come across in the past four years. Through running, biking, and driving the roads of Madison County I have come to appreciate the variety that this area has to offer.

The first step towards finding treasures of your own is to step away from the 12B corridor. I define this as the area from Grand Union to the Townhouses. For several Colgate students, this is the extent of their college universe. Take a chance and step off the corridor; you definitely won’t regret it.

Colgate’s campus is renowned for its beauty. The view of Hamilton from the Persson steps is remarkable, but how about reversing it? Travel out of town on Eaton Street and hang a left on Hamilton Hill Rd. From the top of the hill you will be treated to a comprehensive view of downtown and campus.

Or go to the recently opened driving range at Seven Oaks and drive Titleists back towards McGregory and Lawrence. Better yet, find your own favorite view of campus and share it with friends.

Tired of the dining options in Hamilton? Travel west on Route 20 to Cazenovia and sample any of their fine restaurants. They are all spectacular, but a personal favorite is the Lincklaen House. For a delicious (and affordable) treat, just go south on 12B to Sherburne and find Gilligan’s Island. This cozy burger shack with excellent sweet potato fries and ice cream cookiewiches is a must-visit for any interested student.

Many students have seen the Chenango Canal murals in the village and know that the Barge is located where the canal passed through Hamilton. But who has seen the canal itself? I happened to find it last week. Meander north on 12B and take a left on Route 20 west to Bouckville and find the Chenango Tow Path. This five-mile running/biking path follows the original canal. The path runs by old canal locks, waterfalls and a mill that once housed Mott’s Apple Juice, which was founded in Bouckville in 1842.

Perhaps you detest sweet potato fries and could care less about canals, but that is all the more reason to search for treasures of your own. Spend a free afternoon on a bike or in a car exploring this area, you will be amazed at what you find. Observe the farmhouses (especially the ones with llamas and buffalo) as well as the doublewide trailers that dot the hillsides. Take note of the diversity of the houses and towns; their residents are your neighbors. Venture down a new road and discover something interesting.

This brings me back to the lighthouses. I’ll show you one. Follow 12B south to Sherburne and look for the Lewis Restaurant and Cocktail Lounge on your left. Now, go find your own lighthouse.