by Wagner Dotto
There is a multi-million dollar industry in Oswego County but you won’t see it listed in a chamber of commerce directory.
Its physical plant is the sky, the lake and the winter snow.
And its inventory includes the fish in the county waters, the colors in the sunset and the smiles on the face of visitors.
The mega-business is tourism.
This was the lede of a story we published years ago in a special issue about the tourism industry.
It came to mind the other day when my wife and I were walking around Breitbeck Park in Oswego. It was a perfect early evening. The weather could not be better, warm with a soft breeze — there was a band playing Glenn Miller tunes, families gathering around, kids playing in the playground — all of that with the backdrop of Lake Ontario. It was the type of evening you dream about in January and February.
Of course, I couldn’t resist taking some photos. I’m not a native — I was born and raised in Sao Paulo, Brazil — but I tend to agree with Oswegonians: sunsets at Lake Ontario are indeed some of the best.
In a few days, Oswego will get at least 75,000 visitors who come to enjoy Harborfest.
Most of those people, I think, come from Onondaga County — people who like to take the short trip to Oswego once a year. By all means, they should come over and enjoy the festival. But I urge those out of town — we have many readers outside Oswego — to take the time to come over a few other times during the year as well.
The city has changed quite a bit in the last few years. It has a lot to offer — a vibrant downtown with great restaurants and specialty shops, great sunsets, unique places, museums, coffee shops, pizza parlors, great neighborhoods and much more.
Here’s my suggestion: start your visit with a stroll through the renovated Breitbeck Park — what a fantastic place. You can easily spend several hours there. Then take the boat at H. Lee White Maritime Museum to visit the lighthouse (I did that when the service started a couple of years ago and I plan to go back. It’s such a thrill to visit the lighthouse). Stop at rivers end bookstore, a family-owned establishment now in its second generation, get coffee at Coffee Connection and have lunch at places such as La Parrila or Steamers. In the afternoon, go for an ice cream at Bev’s on the shores of Lake Ontario and a stroll through SUNY Oswego. Finish your visit with a stop at Rooftop Lounge — I think it’s such a fancy yet casual place with great cocktails, delicious food and great views. Or you might want to try a wood-fired pizza at the Riverwalk Pizza, which opened recently.
If you have the time, visit neighborhoods in the Franklin Square and Montcalm Park historic districts to appreciate great architecture. So much to enjoy — you may need to come back the next day as well.
Wagner Dotto is the editor and publisher of Oswego County Business Magazine.