The Utica Area is a local area that is obsessed with Fall. You think I say this lightly? I do not. Being a Utica native myself, I can say with the utmost confidence that Fall is truly the season meant for Central New York.
There are apples to pick at local orchards, vegetables to snag at farmers markets, trees to oogle at up North, as well as spooky activities to be frightened by. With Fall being a local favorite, anything Halloween related is also well-within the favorites range.
Some of my favorite local things to do just so happen to be of the Halloween variety. Lucky for all locals and visitors, the Oneida County Tourism Department puts out a handy brochure of all ghost and goblin filled Halloween-esque events. So take a look at the pictures below and see if any events peak your thrill-seeking fancy. I know I’ll be headed to a few of the events as well!
Enjoy the season! And be sure to check out as many local events as you can! Take advantage of the Fall weather…because before we know it, snow will be here. (Which brings with it a whole host of winter events to be taken advantage of!)
It’s study day and honestly, where did the time go? I feel like just last week it was February. But, now the sun seems to be here to stay and the area is getting greener and brighter with every passing day. The initial change of a season is my favorite time. (From summer to autumn, winter to spring-the transitions always feel so new and fresh.)
If you remember, I wrote a blog post about things to do in Utica during the wintery/colder season. (Check it out here) So, I figured since Spring is upon us, I would scope out some fun activities to do outside.
Head to the Utica Zoo!
The Utica Zoo is located off of the Utica Parkway, so it is not even 10 minutes from campus! The zoo boasts numerous types of animals and is a fun place to pass an afternoon. My favorite little animal buds are the alpacas. There’s also numerous bird species, invertebrate species, and so many others to oogle and aw at!
Every time I head to the zoo I make it a point to take as many pictures as possible. And I encourage you to do the same! Admission to the zoo won’t break the bank, and you’ll probably have enough to grab some fries from the Voss’ food stand while you’re there!
Find a good mountain to hike!
Utica College is super close to the Adirondacks, maybe 45-1hr away! So I always take advantage of that. Located throughout the northern region are numerous mountain peaks, and hiking adventures you can embark on. My friends and I love to hike up Bald Mountain, near Old Forge, every year. There’s also Rocky Moutain right close by, so you can climb two peaks in a day if you’re feeling up for it! My family also hikes Panther Mountain, which is on Piseco Lake.
There are so many places to choose from, and they’re all free! So hiking is a great way to blow off some finals steam, and de-stress!
Head to the Canal Trail!
For those that might be unaware, Utica actually had the old Erie Canal run right through it. (Where I live in Whitesboro, at the very end of a road not too far from mine is an Erie Canal Memorial area which is dedicated right where it used to run!) Some parts of the canal are actually still in tact, and are still used today. There is a lock not to far from Utica College that is one of my favorite places to just relax and hang out.
The canal is great because it’s another free(!) spot to hang out and relax. Also, it’s closer to campus than hiking in the Adirondacks…so you can still get your taste of nature, just closer to home!
There are so many things to do in Utica! So soak up the last bit of the semester and explore the area! After a final head on down to the lock and de-stress! Or head to the Utica Zoo and make a new friend! Just whatever you do, have fun and I hope you give these activities a try!
I work as an Ambassador (Tour Guide) in the Admissions Office and one of the questions I field most frequently is, “What is there to do in Utica?” My answer to that is simple, there are LOADS of things to do. Not only are there events on campus all of the time, the city itself hosts numerous fun and interesting attractions. And, the best part is, most of the activities are not too far from campus! Throughout the semester I plan on revisiting this topic and adding attractions as the season changes, and as I, myself, discover new things as well!
This posting is going to focus on things to do during the Winter season, and are all basically places you can go to get a reprieve from the cold…which is not to say you couldn’t go to these places in other seasons! Most of the attractions are year round! (I also included an estimate for cost because I know the college student “low-fund” struggle.)
Catch a Comets Game!
The Utica Comets are Utica’s professional hockey team. They play in the AHL league, and their games generate quite a bit of buzz. The city is proud of the team, and it’s a must-see for anyone near the city to go to a game! I’m not a hockey fan, but its hard to not get caught up in all of the commotion that comes with a big game. The games tend to sell out quickly, so be sure to check out their website to see when they are playing!
The Comets home arena is the Utica Memorial Auditorium, which is where the Utica College Pioneers have their own home hockey games! (For those unaware, its 610 Oriskany St) so this excursion will take you only 5 minutes from campus! This activity is the most expensive out of all of the ones listed, but it’s worth the money! Seeing a game is something everyone has to do at least once!
Grab a Cup of Coffee at Utica Roasting
Utica Roasting is a locally owned business which, according to their website is, “committed to offering the highest quality coffee available from around the world—right here in downtown Utica.” They source their beans from around the world, and then roast them right in their shop in Downtown Utica. They pride themselves on fair trade coffee, and buy local products for everything else. Even if coffee isn’t your thing they have a wide variety of teas, and juice products.
Located right on 92 Genesee Street, not too far from the Utica Memorial Auditorium, it is central and not even 10 minutes from campus. The cost is definitely affordable for a cup of coffee, and even leaves you room to buy a muffin or bagel to go with your drink!
Oogle at Art at Munson Williams
Located right up the street from Utica Roasting is one of my favorite places in Utica, The Munson Williams Proctor Arts Institute. It’s a museum dedicated to enriching the community by having various styles of art represented. The museum makes use of the space by having numerous styles and mediums represented, from sculpture to photography to water color to many other types. They also have various exhibits which come in and only stay for a brief period of time, so you can keep coming back to see new things! They also have a film series which shows movies which may not make it to mainstream cinemas; it’s my favorite way to catch a lesser known film. They also show various short and foreign films. Check out their website for more events, exhibit schedules, and films which are currently being shown.
Located at 310 Genesee Street, it is literally right in the middle of the city. Once again, it is not even 10 minutes from campus. The cost is FREE to enter the general museum, the film series is very reasonable for students, and the additional exhibits have a small cost. (Be sure to ask for the student rate!)
I hope you give all these activities a try some time soon! Since they are all located quite close to one another, you could make a day out of it and do all of them at once! But, be sure to check out my future blog posts for more fun things to do around Utica!
Lately, I’ve been feeling a bit down due to midterms and gloomy weather, but I hate feeling that way. I don’t believe in bad days (As I’ve stated before…). So, I decided to make a list of all of the great things on campus that I appreciate, and some things that I am looking forward to for the rest of the fall semester; I figured that would cheer me up in no time!
The ambiance – Utica College is a beautiful campus in the fall. I love changing leaves, and the warm colors that everything takes on around this time. Going for a jog or walk around the campus during this time is especially nice because you can appreciate the entire place fully. One of my favorite things on campus is the trees that line some of the parking lots; they are gorgeous!
The events – There are countless big events which are coming up toward the second half of the semester. The Gay-Straight Alliance and the Utica College Programming Board are putting on “Take Back Your Prom.” The Greeks are going to put on Midnight Breakfast toward finals week. There are numerous sporting events to attend; hockey games are going to start soon! Everywhere you turn on campus, you’ll see a flier for a new event.
The opportunities – I just helped out with the majors and minors fair, which is an event put on annually in the Library Concourse. It is designed to help students understand what options they have as far as majors and minors go. Information about specific programs is typically presented. Also, there are numerous other events coming up in regards to future opportunities for students. There are networking nights for various majors, which establish connections between current students and successful individuals in their respective fields.
Coffee on a brisk day – For me, there is little better than sipping a cup of warm coffee on a cold day. Excuse the cliche, but it warms your soul. Fortunately for us, Utica College has a wide array of places to choose from when it comes to coffee. If you haven’t done it before, I encourage you to sit outside the library in the concourse and sip a coffee (or hot chocolate!) and just observe. As I’ve said before, this campus is beautiful in the fall. Take some time to appreciate it.
Thanksgiving break – This isn’t necessarily a thing which occurs on campus (for most), but it is three days off that the school allows us. I love spending time with my family, and relaxing before the craziness of finals starts. Plus, one of the biggest shopping days of the year, Black Friday, is the day after. I love getting all of my Christmas shopping done and out of the way on one day!
The Asa Gray Biological Society is one of the oldest academic organizations on campus. It is geared toward volunteering and planing activities that have to do with biology in some way, shape, or form. Basically, it is an organization that is open to all students on campus who have an interest in joining a club related to the natural world.
I, personally, have been a member since my first year here at Utica, and even have the privilege of being an eboard member for this year.
This past Sunday, the club held one of its annual events, The Asa Gray Picnic. This is an event that is open to all club members, and all first-year biology students. Professors and students get to interact in a more relaxed setting. Every year, there is guaranteed to be free food, games, and a fun atmosphere for everyone to partake in.
Typically the event is held at a bio professor’s house, and this year, it was held at the home of two professors: Dr. Wise and Dr. Buchanan in Trenton Falls. Their house is something you would expect to see in a magazine about beautiful country homes. It was completely secluded and had a large yard which, was ideal for yard games.
People took advantage of the sunny yet brisk day, by sitting around a fire, playing frisbee, and enjoying the free food. The students were all encouraged to sit and chat with their professors, and fellow students. Funny stories of test stresses, long labs, and general classes were shared by everyone. Even topics not related to school were discussed. The picnic was a time where people could just come and relax.
If this annual event sounds fun to you, feel free to check out an Asa Gray meeting sometime soon. There are numerous other events they put on, and new members are always more than welcome!
Everyone says college is about trying new things, and leaving your comfort zone…well, listen to them; it’s a cliche for a reason. My first semester on campus, I was the typical commuter; I went to class, and went home. I joined one organization and prayed their meetings weren’t later at night so I wouldn’t have to drive back to campus. Now, I rarely leave campus…which may be considered not so good, looking at my sleep schedule. But looking at it from my own perspective, sleep aside, I enjoy college much more now, and *bonus* know all of the places to get coffee on campus. Plus, I feel more at ease with my surroundings, and love all of the organizations of which I am a part of.
I credit my current involvement with the personal philosophy I adopted my second semester freshmen year, and even more so when I studied abroad the fall of my sophomore year. If I see something that looks interesting to me, I do it…or join it. I don’t let my own fears hold me back from doing something I want. So, you shouldn’t either!
I joined Orientation the summer after my first year and learned so many useful techniques about interacting with people. I even made friends I consider to be friends for life. When I was applying for the position I was unsure, and a little nervous about joining in with a group of people I had never really met before. Now I know every single mentor and wouldn’t hesitate to say hi if I saw any of them in the hall between classes.
My fall semester, I studied abroad in Dublin, Ireland. I had planned on going abroad since I applied to UC. However, I had never lived away from home for more than a few weeks, let alone many months. Plus, the only foreign country I had ever been to was Canada.
While I lived in Ireland, I told myself that I would not let a day go by where I did not do a single thing. Luckily, one of my housemates had the same philosophy, and we made sure to do at least a little thing every day. We went to museums, little shops, parks, and the zoo; really, we went anywhere we could. However, this philosophy doesn’t have to be used in a different country. Do it here! Do something different everyday. Whether it be as small as trying a new sandwich for lunch, or as big as going to the next town over and exploring, just try new things.
The spring of my sophomore year, I randomly decided I wanted a radio show. So one of my friends, Karita, and I created The Diva Hour. We would play music from all of the great divas, classic to modern. It was fun, and we even got our other friend, Elaine, on board with it. Then, this year, we decided to make a new show, and titled it “3BL.” It’s fun to do, and fun to listen to (at least according to our mom’s it is…). Our show is even going to be featured during the upcoming college radio day, which we’re super excited about! So, if making a radio show is one of the new things you want to try, go talk to the staff at wpnr!
Utica College is a diverse campus with loads of activities and things to do. So, go out there and try some new things, it’ll make your college experience that much more exciting. Trust me.