The Erie Canal Museum preserves the rich history of the Erie Canal and enlightens visitors about its impact with exhibits and programs. From 1825 until 1917, the Erie Canal ran through downtown Syracuse where Erie Boulevard now sits, and, as a nautical passageway, helped several cities grow and flourish throughout the state. The museum preserves the canal's legacy and hosts several attractions for children and adults, including the newly renovated children's nook, which features books, a puppet theater, puzzles, and interactive areas. A full-size replica canal boat allows visitors to experience life as a canaller without having to take obligatory night shifts on the sea-monster watch.
The locomotives were just becoming commonplace in the early 19th century, when the New York Central and Hudson River railroads were completed. A member of the legendary Vanderbilt family, Dr. William Webb capitalized on unfolding innovations by privately financing a railroad to his hunting preserve in the Adirondack Mountains. The route wound through treacherous terrain via 17 bridges and numerous service buildings, some of which still are still used to trick time-travelers into thinking they're finally home. Despite these complications, the tracks materialized within just 18 months and were soon whisking the Vanderbilts and other wealthy families to their opulent wilderness estates.
After several decades in disrepair, the tracks were rehabilitated by the railroad enthusiasts of Adirondack Scenic Railroad, who resurrected an initial four-mile stretch in 1992. Since having the railroad officially declared a Historic Place, they continue to unveil new sections, eventually securing routes from Utica to Carter Station, and between Saranac Lake and Lake Placid. Today, retro locomotives, some built as early as the 1940s, chug through the rippling rivers and wildlife-rich forests of 600-million-acre Adirondack Park, letting passengers drink in the view. Though the railcars boast vintage touches, such as mahogany paneling haunted by the ghosts of Franklin Pierce, they are equipped with modern touches including air conditioning and fully loaded kitchens.
Many Adirondack Scenic Railroad rides provide other entertainments to supplement scenery. In the Doo Wop Train, waitresses from ‘50s-themed The Soda Fountain in Remsen pump up patrons for a mid-century feast at the eatery while en route to Remsen Station. Other themed excursions ooze with intrigue, including murder mysteries and train robberies, while some more laid-back jaunts simply convey riders to historically-rich towns such as Old Forge.
When Utica Zoo opened its gates 98 years ago, three fallow deer comprised its entire animal population. Today, visitors can traipse the zoo's walking trails to view more than 200 animals, including alligators, bald eagles, zebras, and an African lion. The zoo also provides a safe haven for threatened species such as snowy owls and mexican spider monkeys. Staff members guide tours and conduct presentations, allowing visitors to get a close look at animals.
For more than a decade, Raven Helicopter's pilots have dazzled skyborne passengers with stunning vistas seen during aerial tours and chartered flights. During each journey, a certified pilot deftly ferries passengers through the skies in a striking, streamlined R66 turbine helicopter, outfitted with a wraparound bubble canopy for easy viewing of scenic landscapes, and a cargo hold for carrying skis, golf clubs, and other, smaller helicopters. Guests drink in the idyllic forests, hills, and lakes of the region as they snap pictures or roll film for posterity.
Master framer Kate Backus Alibrandi leads Gallery One Fourteen Art and Framing with skills honed through experience and a seasoned artistic eye. Each painting, portrait, or prized curling jersey begins its journey to hangability with an in-store consultation. Preservationists advise art holders on the most aesthetically pleasing matting and border to complement pieces while keeping in mind each individual's budget and project timeline. Although prices range from $80 to $600 depending on each frame's required materials and size, the picture warden will always quote a project's cost before locking images away. Sports-jersey framing with linen matting ranges from $250 to $350 for a 30"x36" project, and 24"x30" art prints cost around $160 to frame. Post-framing, Gallery One Fourteen's team offers professional installation for an additional charge to create a pristine mantel inside your home or bomb-shelter recreations of your home.
Clasped between Saguaro National Park and the Ironwood Preserve, Double R Ranch appears as though it were plucked straight from the frames of an old Western movie. The windswept grounds stand as a gateway to the thousands of untouched acres that quietly stitch together the Northwest side of Tucson. The ranch gives visitors a chance to explore that land with horseback rides and birthday parties. It also offers weekend getaways and RV hookups to city-dwellers in need of an escape from the crowds and door-to-door minivan salesmen that come with urban living. Double R also accommodates guests who have their own horses with overnight stabling services.
Not many establishments offer the chance to see a Steven Sondheim musical, catch a concert, take a theater workshop, and eat an organic salad in one place. But at Red House Arts Center, all of these things flourish. Founded and renovated by a group of local artists, the center beckons visitors to fully immerse themselves in the arts, whether they’re watching an experimental-theater performance, strolling the halls of the second-floor art gallery, or pouring a bucket of house paint on themselves in the lobby.