Holiday 2015: 36 Hours Cazenovia

Cazenovia home to holiday treasures

By Lorna Oppedisano | Photo courtesy of Cazenovia Chamber of Commerce

Cazenovia’s Main Street is home to many small shops and boutiques.

Cazenovia’s Main Street is home to many small shops and boutiques.

Head south for small-town charm, big-time fun

Tis the season for travel. Pile the children into the sleigh, car or vehicle of your choice, and get ready for one of the most picturesque holiday towns in the area. The destination is Cazenovia, southeast of Syracuse. Whether the aim is shopping, sightseeing or just a relaxing weekend away from home, Caz has it all.

Friday, 4 p.m., Arrival

Cazenovia offers travelers a handful of places to call home for the weekend, each with its own unique charms, and most with its own kitchen. Among the top recommendations are The Brewster Inn, 6 Ledyard Ave., The Brae Loch Inn, 5 Albany St., and The Lincklaen House, 79 Albany St. All three lodging choices also house restaurants and host events throughout the year.;;

Friday, 6 p.m., Eat like a local

Anyone familiar with Cazenovia will insist that at least once during your stay you eat at Caz Pizza. Bring your friends and bring your appetite. The menu includes the typical pizza joint go-tos: wings, calzones, salads if you’re watching the beltline and, of course, pizzas. What sets Caz Pizza apart from the competition is the sheer size of the hand-stretched pies. For the not-so-hungry, the restaurant offers an unassuming 12-inch pizza. For the black-holes-for-stomach crowd, Caz has the 24-inch pizza, fondly dubbed the “Big K.”

Friday, 8 p.m., Out on the town

After taking on the Big K, it’s time to dance it off, and what better place to accomplish that goal than The Nelson Odeon. What once was the historic Nelson Grange building has been converted into a venue for meetings of the musical minds. The Odeon strives to support local Upstate New York artists, while also attracting regional, national and international acts. All performances are general admission, giving the audience a chance for an intimate connection with the performer.

Saturday, 10 a.m., A hearty breakfast

Cazenovia is a town surrounded by agriculture. And where there are farms, there are farmers markets. The Cazenovia Farmers’ Market offers everything from cheeses and breads to sweets and coffee, and it’s all local. For a list of vendors, visit the Cazenovia Chamber of Commerce’s website. During the winter, the Cazenovia Farmers’ Market pares down to once a month, so plan your trip accordingly.

Saturday, noon, Agri-explore

If you happen to be in the market for a Christmas tree, maple syrup, local hard cider or beer or almost any other farm-fresh product, look no farther than Critz Farms. Established in 1985, this family-owned business has grown from a small Christmas tree farm to one of the foremost agribusinesses in the region, and still remains focused on family traditions at its core.

Saturday, 2 p.m., Learn

A library might not be a usual top vacation destination, but Cazenovia Public Library is no ordinary book hub. Not only has the library been established at its present location since 1890; the building is also home to an art gallery filled with local creations and a museum housing a mummy. Granted, it is the holidays, but spook is never out of season.

Saturday, 4 p.m., Small business Saturday

If possible, plan your trip to Cazenovia before the holidays. With the variety of shops and boutiques sprinkled through the town’s modest downtown district, you’ll be able to cross a few items off your gift list. Among the most interesting and unique is Cazenovia Artisans, an artists’ cooperative gallery featuring locally-crafted products at reasonable and affordable prices. Also be sure to check out Amanda Bury Antiques, Cazenovia Abroad and The Key.;;;

Saturday, 7 p.m., Time for a bite

For dinner tonight, it’s back to basics, and that’s just what Pewter Spoon Café & Eatery is about. As the restaurant’s website boasts, it’s “about the feel: warm, welcoming and comfortable.” The kitchen uses local produce and makes the majority of its items on site. Choose from a variety of salads, wraps and paninis, and pair your meal with beer, wine, hard cider or just “a darn good cup of coffee,” as the Spoon’s website writes.

Sunday, 9 a.m., Fuel up

Fuel up for the final day of your weekend away with breakfast at Dave’s Diner. Dave’s offers all of the morning essentials: eggs, breakfast sandwiches, waffles, pancakes and more. If you’re jonesing for a more substantial meal, the diner’s got you covered there, as well, with a variety of burgers, sandwiches, wraps and salads.

Sunday, 11 a.m., End with a flourish

The last stop on this upstate adventure is Stone Quarry Hill Art Park. Founded by local artist Dorothy Riester, who turns 99 years old this year, the 104-acre park displays outdoor sculptures and indoor galleries created by emerging and established artists. Guests are invited to explore Stone Quarry Hill’s four miles of trails and more than 100 outdoor exhibits from dawn to dusk 365 days a year.

Getting there

From Interstate 81 south at Watertown, the trip is about 87 miles and should take approximately 90 minutes. Take exit 29S to Interstate 481 South toward Dewitt. Then take exit 3E toward Fayetteville. Continue on New York 92 East/Highbridge Road to Albany Street, the main road in Cazenovia.

Lorna Oppedisano is a former staff writer or NNY magazines. She lives in Syracuse where she is editor for Syracuse Woman Magazine.