TripAdviser lists 26 things to do in Oswego, N.Y. Six of the top 11 are museums. Number one is Ontario Orchards. So we went there. Ontario Orchards is a cross between Hadley’s off I-10 in Cabazon—a must-stop place on the way to softball tournaments in Southern California—and Dickens Fruit Stand. It’s cool and all, but the top billing certainly doesn’t speak well of the lower-ranked museums. We picked up some hard cider, a pie, and assorted boat snacks. No offense to the good folks at Ontario Orchards, but don’t get the hard cider. The pie, however, was delicious.
The number two Oswego attraction per TripAdvisor is Fort Ontario. In some form or another there’s been a fort on the shore of Lake Ontario at Oswego since 1755. It was closed on the nice day we arrived and we didn’t go back in the rain the next day, but the various signs documented significant history and we later did test out the drone–with a not insignificant pucker-factor given what history knows as the The St. Johnsville Miracle–to see what was inside the walls.
Perhaps the most interesting thing about Fort Ontario is that next week it’s hosting an event to celebrate the Madeline books series. You know, Miss Clavel (played by Fargo’s own Marge “Margie” Gunderson in the movie), the Spanish Ambassador, 11 little girls whose importance was limited to filling out two straight lines, and of course that dog-hiding scamp Madeline. The connection to a nearly 300-year-old fort in Oswego isn’t exactly obvious, but we should be gone anyway.
We’d initially thought about leaving on Thursday. Good thing we didn’t. Until about mid-afternoon the fog on the lake was thick enough to eat with a spoon. We have no radar until we step the mast after Chicago. No fog for us please. Fortunately the sun came out in time for us to visit the maritime museum, which is number three on the list.
Every small town in this part of the country has at least one small building called the “Maritime Museum”—as well as a plethora of monuments to local sons and daughters—which may explain why this one is ranked below the fruit place.
The museum part we saw was okay, although we probably could’ve done without the poster proclaiming Lake Ontario as “The Graveyard of the Great Lakes” and identifying all the huge ships that didn’t survive a crossing. After that we contemplated just buying a house and staying here. The museum did offer up some possibly-true trivia to use at cocktail parties, however, so all wasn’t lost.
The boat to the famous lighthouse was not operating and—at least in our personal rankings—a two mile walk, on the rocky breakwater, in the wind, to a closed-up building, was pretty low on the to-do list. We did get the drone out there, but the shrill high-wind warning led to a fear-induced abortion.
Here’s a link to a cool story about the lighthouse. After reading it last night we thought even more about just staying here forever, but the fact that the locals hear “the timeless screams of the six lost souls” at the haunted lighthouse scared us more than the storm. We rode out there on Second Wave’s dinghy and heard nothing, however, so maybe there aren’t any ghosts after all. The nice Coast Guard-ers who stopped to make sure we had the requisite life jackets (we did) confirmed the story. The tragedy part, not the ghost part.
Wind direction willing—despite the documented deaths and despair—tomorrow we leave Oswego to start the Great Lakes/Canada leg of our Loop. Roughly that will involve crossing Lake Ontario, cutting through the hopefully-not-too-shallow Trent-Severn Waterway to Georgian Bay, across the Northern Channel, nipping the corner of Lake Huron en route to Lake Michigan, and finally down to Chicago. We don’t much care about Lake Erie, but missing Lake Superior—which according to the legend from the Chippewa on down is the big lake they call Gitche Gumee—is a real bummer. Mostly because our use of applicable lines from “The Wreck of The Edmund Fitzgerald” is eliminated. Superior they said never gives up her dead, but we don’t know any songs about tragedies on Lake Huron. Hopefully nobody will write one about us.
Dana photographed a grizzly bear with her phone. Doug photographed a sock puppet with his.