Follow this two-day itinerary to explore the peace gardens and area attractions in Canandaigua, Sodus and Oswego, NY.
During the War of 1812, Canandaigua became a military station where barracks were built, troops were quartered, and supplies stored, bought and sold. Begin your trip at the Granger Homestead & Carriage Museum. It was built just after the War ended in 1814, but the grounds were used by military troops for drills and battle preparation.
WAR OF 1812 HISTORY: WAYNE COUNTY
Nestled between the cities of Rochester and Syracuse and southern shore of Lake Ontario lies Wayne County. We are known for our rural charm, vast apple orchards, drumlins, trophy fishing and scenic beauty. Two skirmishes were fought in the county during the War of 1812, one in Sodus Point and the other in Williamson in the hamlet of Pultneyville. It became the policy of British ships to hover along the lakeshore in search of undefended villages but they were met with resistance from the men who served bravely and are remembered today with the Sodus Point and Pultneyville Peace Gardens.
Step inside a 1901 newspaper printing office for the Alling Coverlet Museum. Named after Rochester’s Mrs. Merle Alling, this is the largest collection of American hand-woven coverlets in the United States, showcasing bed toppers from 1820 to 1880. Walk through the Quilt Room to admire looms, spinning wheels, and other weaver’s tools.
Visit the Williams Phelps General Store & Home Museum in Palmyra, NY. The museum “where time stands still” was once a boarding house, tavern, bakery, and general store since its construction in 1826. Proprietor William Phelps completed renovations to the store by 1875, subsequently left untouched by his son Julius, who locked the doors in 1940, leaving a curious retail time capsule for you and your family to explore.
As you drive along the lakeshore, you will see plenty of farm markets selling local produce, baked goods, and more!
Grab a drink at Apple Country Spirits, a farm distillery that produces high-quality spirits from fruit grown on the fourth-generation family farm. Choose between Tree Vodka, small batch distilled vodka made from delicious apples, their European style brandies, or dessert-style wines and cordials.
Wayne County is the largest apple producing county in New York State, so it’s only appropriate to sample a flight of hard cider at Embark Craft Ciderworks. Located at Lagoner Farms, Embark Craft Ciderworks was founded by apple growers passionate about showcasing unique flavor profiles in craft ciders. Their taproom menu has a range of mouthwatering plates – including shareable appetizers, flatbreads, wraps, salads, and farmhouse burgers (you must try their house-made blueberry ketchup!).
Head to Pultneyville, a charming hamlet with a beautiful, natural harbor on Lake Ontario. Walk through 1,000 square feet of beautiful, blooming peace garden at Williamson-Pultneyville Historical Society. Learn about the battle that took place on May 15, 1814 between the citizens of Pultneyville and the British. Although no fatalities occurred, a cannon ball remains in one of Pultneyville’s oldest homes.
For a beautiful view of the Lake Ontario shoreline, visit the Sodus Bay Lighthouse Museum and climb the 52 circular steps into the lens room. The first floor of the three-story stone block structure is dedicated to maritime and regional history. Located one minute away in the center of the village, the Peace Garden at Sodus Point sits on a slope near the Willow Park children’s playground. The bright florals are maintained by volunteers from the Sodus Point Garden Club.
Check into a quaint bed and breakfast for a relaxing evening and cozy room. Here are some of the places we would recommend resting your head:
WAR OF 1812 HISTORY: OSWEGO
A visit to Sodus Bay is incomplete without visiting Chimney Bluffs State Park. Four miles of hiking trails offer unique views of large clay rock formations at the water’s edge. Walk the shoreline and be amazed by the bluffs – some of which rise up to 150 feet from the lake shore!
The oldest freshwater port in North America, Oswego is rich in history. British forces attacked Fort Ontario May 5 – 7, 1814. Americans fought off one landing attempt and stubbornly resisted a second before retreating to Oswego Falls (Fulton). Fort Ontario was destroyed, and Oswego was captured. However, Americans were able to save vital military supplies by moving them upriver. After the British departed, ropes, sails, cannon, and other goods were recovered and moved to the U.S. naval shipbuilding yard in Sackets Harbor. Today, our visitors enjoy a panoramic view along the harbor trail, charming museums, world-class fishing, shopping and dining.
The oval-shaped Bicentennial Peace Garden at Oswego blooms with orange, gold, green, and red. The Syracuse orange, SUNY Oswego gold and green, and red geraniums represent sacrifices made by Oswego Patriots, while the park’s interpretative panels tell the history of Oswego and its role in the War of 1812. The garden sits at Leotta-Seaway Trail Park and is the gateway to Oswego Harbor Rail Trail.
Just five minutes away is the Fort Ontario State Historic Site, the star-shaped fort known as the “Guardian of the Northern Frontier.” It was built in 1755 on the ruins of three earlier fortresses that date back to the French and Indian War. Explore almost 250 years of construction and evolution as you tour the grounds, view artifacts and documents, and watch reenactments.
Take a guided or self-guided tour of the H. Lee White Maritime Museum, its exhibits, and historic vessels. Learn about shipwrecks, lighthouses, and maritime trade and commerce.
Before hitting the road, grab a bite to eat at one of Oswego’s tasty restaurants. Overlooking Oswego’s historic harbor and beautiful Lake Ontario, Alex’s On The Water provides the perfect casual setting for your next meal or favorite cocktail. Or stop at 197 Bar & Bistro for progressive American cuisine, scrumptious comfort food, a handmade cocktail, or refreshing craft beer. They’re also known for their line-up of live music.
Stops in this Itinerary: