by Chris Clemens
For fun and also organization, there has been a “DO THIS!” list that I’ve slowly been adding to and checking off since 2011. The list is long, and mighty. And, pretty spread out geographically. There are things I’ve wanted to revisit, and things I’ve read about and wanted to see, and even stories that aren’t tied to a geographic location that I’ve wanted to delve further in to. Every time I knock one thing off the list, I learn of two more and they get added.
You wouldn’t think it, but keeping this website going as one person is exhausting! I decided to relax a bit in December and sit back a little to enjoy time with friends and family, finish up a few projects on my house, and also get some much needed sleep. Since I haven’t been out and about as much as usual, I thought I’d start out 2017 with a quick exploration in to the “Exploring Upstate DO THIS List”.
So, here’s five things from around New York that I’m stoked to experience in 2017.
HATCHETS AND HOPS
Buffalo, New York
I discovered these guys on Instagram one day and followed immediately. Touted as “Buffalo’s First Ax Throwing Club” because YOU CAN THROW AXES AT A BOARD! How fun would it be to throw axes?? They host tournaments and leagues, but also appear to have times when you can just go with friends to try your shoulders at hitting a target. Soon, they’ll be adding the ‘hops’ portion of their title with a bar featuring small food plates and…of course, beer.
For more, checkout their website.
Oniontown, New York
Hudson Valley Region
This is one I’m on the fence about seeing in person, but a story I’m very intrigued by. A few outlets have done stories about a small enclave settlement in the backwoods of the Hudson Valley that would seem haunted not by ghosts, but by current residents. I’m more than just a little skeptical that exaggerated claims about how rundown and hexed the area is, but according to this story by Vice, it’s not a land of optimistic opportunities.
Part of me feels bad that there is potentially a small number of people who’s lives have been dragged in to a journalistic expose that could be outlandish. Another part of me wants to see in person just how much is true.
Middlesex, New York
Finger Lakes Region
There are a few places around the country where these illusions exist, you’ve heard of them before. You park your car, put it in neutral, take your foot off the brake and lo-and-behold, you transcendentally begin to roll uphill in your car. My good friend Meredith went to Spook Hill years ago and made a quick video that you can see here. Ever since I’ve watched I’ve wanted to try it, but I’m yet to make it.
*If you go, please be careful. I’ve heard from police units operating in the region that there are constantly cars that get stuck in the ditch or have fender benders.
Oneida Castle, New York
Central New York Region
Firstly, there’s no castle. Secondly, there isn’t even any royalty. BUT, the Town of Oneida Castle is the geographic center of the entire state! If you don’t know me too well, you probably don’t understand why that’s important. But, for those who do know me, you know that I get excited about quirky experiences like, “I’m currently standing the perfect center of New York!!!” Maybe I’ll even do a live Facebook broadcast. Anyone out there live in Oneida Castle and want to give me a tour?
GILBOA FOSSIL MUSEUM
Gilboa, New York
This museum in Schoharie County would have been on the shores of Devonian Sea, had it existed 380 millions years ago. Today, it houses a few fossils of tree stumps once growing on the land, later preserved by nature. The stumps were found in the mid-1800’s and since they are all from the same collection of trees, it’s generally regarded to be the oldest forest in the world. Ever since I first discovered the existence of the fossil museum, I’ve been curious about seeing them in person. I think this year, it’ll finally happen.
Got any big plans yourself this year? Or, anything I should to my list?
Chris Clemens is the Founder/Publisher of Exploring Upstate. From his hometown in Rochester, he spends as much time as possible connecting with the history, culture, and places that make Upstate New York a land of discovery. Follow him on Twitter at @cpclemens