Oakwood Cemetery: Tales from the Crypt

Two in a Series of Three on Syracuse University Area Open Spaces.

Oakwood Cemetery Shipman Gravesite

Darothy at the grave of Ezriah Shipman.

It has been years since I enjoyed a good campfire tale. But I got my fix in a surprising way a few Sundays ago on a guided tour of Oakwood Cemetery, right on the edge of the Syracuse University campus. I felt like I was back at summer camp, equally captivated by the natural scenery and stories: On the tour, about two dozen people huddled around gravesites instead campfires, sat on overturned headstones instead of logs, and listened to sisters and avid historians, Darothy DeAngelo and Susan Greenhagen, instead of camp counselors.

Continue reading Oakwood Cemetery: Tales from the Crypt

E.M. Mills Rose Garden: Nothing Like the Real Thing

One in a Series of Three on Syracuse University Area Open Spaces

E_M_Mills_Rose_Garden_Walk

Stopping to smell the roses.

Have you ever watched one of the hoarding reality shows on A&E and wondered, could this be me someday? I think this fear strikes the heart of anyone with a collection. For me, my concern is waking up surrounded by perfume bottles, essential oils, and piles of scented candles and thinking, when did my collection of good-smelling stuff get out of hand?

For now, my obsession is at bay, but beware: If you join me at the E.M. Mills Rose Garden in the Syracuse University neighborhood, be prepared for some serious sniffing. While I enjoy collecting olfactory treasures, there’s nothing better than the real thing…

Continue reading E.M. Mills Rose Garden: Nothing Like the Real Thing

Clark Reservation: Little Leaps of Faith

Jumping Across Cave at Clark Reservation

There's a cave below!

Standing on the edge of any unrestrained height over gives me a shaky, gut-churning feeling. It’s not so much the height that bothers me (I love roller coasters); it’s the fear of falling. My legs freeze up, and I think, go back to safety!


Continue reading Clark Reservation: Little Leaps of Faith

Lake Abanakee, Adirondacks: Not Lost, Only Confused


Lake Abanakee Enter the Water

Getting ready to paddle Lake Abanakee.


Why is it that sometimes we willingly make life hard on ourselves? Despite the ease that GPS provides, I just won’t get one. I prefer the now-archaic act of jotting down or printing out directions. When I encounter roadblocks, construction, or lose my way, I use good old-fashioned intuition or ask for directions. Arriving at my destination gives me a sense of accomplishment and the feeling that I blazed a trail instead of cruised on autopilot.

Continue reading Lake Abanakee, Adirondacks: Not Lost, Only Confused

Upper Onondaga Park: Where the Heart Is

Upper Onondaga Park in Strathmore Blossom

A sign of spring in Strathmore.

This past weekend, my mom came to visit me from Ann Arbor, Michigan. Between catching up over coffee and treasure hunting (of the shopping variety, a respite from junkyard pillaging), we made time for a walk at Upper Onondaga Lake Park: a significant stop on the trail of my life. Located in the heart of the Strathmore neighborhood, Upper Onondaga Lake Park an open space that will always give me a warm feeling of home.

Continue reading Upper Onondaga Park: Where the Heart Is

Saratoga Battlefield Wilkinson Trail: The Turning Point

Three of Three in a Series on Saratoga Springs, New York

Saratoga_Battlefield_Sign

Take the 4.2 mile hike through history.

So today I’m 364 days closer to age 30. In other words, I celebrated my 29th birthday yesterday. Between cards and calls, emails and presents (no Bounty Hunter; but highlights included a new backpack for both myself and Rufus), I thought about where I am today – and how I got here. Get your mind out of the gutter; I’m talking about turning points!

Continue reading Saratoga Battlefield Wilkinson Trail: The Turning Point

Geyser Creek Trail: Taking the Waters

Two of Three in a Series on Saratoga Springs, New York

Saratoga Spa State Park Spring Water

Spring water from Saratoga Spa State Park.

A rotten-egg bouquet with a surprisingly sweet finish. Complex and metallic; notes of rusty nail. My tasting notes would frighten even the most adventurous wine lover. But it wasn’t wine I sipped along the Geyser Creek Trail in Saratoga Spa State Park a few weekends ago…

Continue reading Geyser Creek Trail: Taking the Waters

Petrified Sea Gardens: Something Rich and Strange

One of Three in a Series on Saratoga Springs, New York

Full Fathom Five...

“Nothing of him that doth fade,
But doth suffer a Sea-change
Into something rich & strange.”

-Shakespeare, The Tempest

Continue reading Petrified Sea Gardens: Something Rich and Strange

Woodchuck Hill Preserve: Backyard Junk


At the Woodchuck Hill wetland with Rufus and Ringo.

At the Woodchuck Hill wetland with Rufus and Ringo.


My birthday is in a few weeks, and there’s just one thing on my list: The Bounty Hunter TRACKER IV. Some girls want jewelry, I want a metal detector to find it. Well, I really hope my Bounty Hunter turns up a Revolutionary War coat button, although jewelry will do. For me, there’s nothing more exciting than finding treasure on the trail. That’s what I stumbled upon during a hike last weekend at Woodchuck Hill Field & Forest Preserve in Manlius, NY.

Continue reading Woodchuck Hill Preserve: Backyard Junk

Everson Museum of Art Outdoor Plaza: Backyard Treasure

I.M. Pei_Designed_Everson_Museum_of_Art

The I.M. Pei-designed Everson Museum of Art.

Remember that kid in Jerry Macguire who liked sharing obscure facts – like that the human head weighs 8 pounds? I’m that kid, grown up. On the trail of life, I like gathering little crumbs of knowledge. And one of my favorite pastimes is giving native Syracusans a positive fact to chew on when they complain about their hometown. I like proving people wrong with an unexpected bit of information, or at least serving food for thought.

Continue reading Everson Museum of Art Outdoor Plaza: Backyard Treasure