As I said in my very first post, I was born and raised here in Utica. I pretty much know this area like the back of my hand. However, I ALWAYS hear things like, “The weather is so cold and lousy, why do you live here?” or, “The city has nothing to do, why do you stay here?”
Some parts may be true, but let’s face it: not every area is perfect. There are a lot of unique things that Upstate NY and yes, Utica have to offer that other areas don’t or wish they could!
1) The Food
Ok, who doesn’t love to eat??? If you’re anything like me, you appreciate the wide variety of food that Utica in particular has to offer! I come from an Italian and Polish heritage, and lucky for me, by living in this area, I get to experience the best of both worlds!
If you’re Italian, then you know how important food is in our heritage. Now if you want some authentic Italian food, that tastes like Italy itself, then you MUST try Basil Bluz Bistro in North Utica.
Seriously, try it. They have the absolute best Italian food I have ever eaten. (Aside from home cooked meals of course ;))
Look at their Chicken Riggies…..these are a Northern thing and we LOVE it! Go try these. Really. You can thank me later. (Picture courtesy of the Basil Bluz facebook page)
If you’re in the mood for some greens or even Chicken Parmesan, skip the Olive Garden and go to Georgio’s Village Cafe in New Hartford.
*Seriously don’t the greens look appetizing? I’m hungry already….
If you’re also Polish like me, then of course you know that food is very important to our people. We’ve all seen the frozen, imitation pierogi in the store. Let’s not even go there shall we? The one place that I know for sure that makes the BEST pierogi is Pulaski’s Meat Market on Lenox Ave, in West Utica.
They have every type of pierogi you can imagine (the fruit ones being my favorite :))…and if you’ve never had a pierogi…you should. Take my word for it.
2) The Bakeries
Yes, I could’ve just grouped this in with the restaurants, but in all honesty, the bakery’s around here deserve their own category. There are numerous Italian Bakery’s around here. Cafe Caruso, Cafe Florentine, Cafe Canole, Star Bakery and the list goes on.
But, without a doubt, my favorite is Holland Farms.
Yes, they have coffee, jelly buns, and all of that good stuff, but they are also home to probably the most delicious thing you’ll ever eat: The Halfmoon. Ahh, they are quite the delicacy up here…and the best part? You can’t find them anywhere else 🙂
Need I say more? YUM!
3) The Scenery
So, now you may be thinking “Scenery? What scenery?” Well….only 35-40 minutes away from Utica is a breathtaking area called The Adirondacks.
Old Forge, which is a few miles before the Adirondacks themselves, is my favorite place to be in the summer and fall. During the summer, it is so peaceful and relaxing up there.
See what I mean? I love to chill up there, sit near the water (or take a boat ride) and read my Kindle. AND, can’t forget about feeding the cute, little ducks that swim by 😉
In the fall, Old Forge (and pretty much all surrounding areas) is filled with GORGEOUS foliage. The trees are so colorful, so beautiful….just seeing all that really makes me enjoy fall!
So, take my word for it: Utica and the rest of Upstate NY may have its downfalls, but it also has several one-of-a-kind things to see and experience! The older I get, the more my appreciation grows for this diverse and cultured area.