An Adventure through New York’s 1000 Islands, Part 1: Arriving in Syracuse

Oswego Harbor is the center of Harborfest, an annual four-day festival featuring the work of local artisans, carnival rides and games, live music, and food of all kinds

Oswego Harbor in the 1000 Islands is the center of Harborfest, an annual four-day festival featuring the work of local artisans, carnival rides and games, live music, and food of all kinds

This is the first part in Laura Pedrick’s series exploring New York’s 1000 Islands region. Check out part 2 here, part 3 here, part 4 here, and part 5 here.

As you look back on your summer and think ahead to where you’d like to go next year, let me recommend visiting the 1000 Islands region of  western New York. What began after an hour-and-four-minute flight from Philadelphia to Syracuse, NY, unfurled into a four-day press tour adventure through this historic region along the shores of Lake Ontario and the St. Lawrence River. Here’s that adventure—plus plenty of photos:

Arriving in Syracuse—gateway to the 1000 Islands region
Traveling for JohnnyJet.com, I greet my newly arriving press colleagues (about a dozen travel writers from six different states and London) in the lobby of the Crown Plaza Syracuse in the city’
s downtown center. And like that, the trip begins. We took a couple taxis to our first stop: dinner.

The original Dinosaur Bar-B-Que in downtown Syracuse

The original Dinosaur Bar-B-Que in downtown Syracuse

Dinner at Dinosaur Bar-B-Que
Dinosaur Bar-B-Que, the award-winning and motorcycle-culture-inspired restaurant that has expanded to nine additional restaurants throughout New York, Connecticut, Chicago, and Baltimore, is the perfect place to get to know one another. The original Syracuse location has the distinction of having served as both a tavern since the 1920s and, more recently, a cycle shop. Dinosaur Bar-B-Que opened in 1988.

Not just the biker crowd: All types come to enjoy Dinosaur Bar-B-Que in downtown Syracuse

Not just the biker crowd: All types come to enjoy Dinosaur Bar-B-Que in downtown Syracuse

With live rock ‘n’ roll playing outside and Harleys idling loudly out front, a biker-carnivalesque experience seems to await us before dinner. The worry that we might get our asses kicked quickly disappears as we join a friendly mashup of polo shirts, wholesome-looking midwestern families and the less-than-expected tattooed leather set, all hob-knobbing together, seemingly happy to be in barbecue and beer heaven. Waitresses command the floor as they expertly maneuver through the bar crowd with heavy trays held over their heads.

Swag Sampler plate: spicy shrimp boil, chicken wings, fried green tomatoes, and Creole spiced deviled eggs at Dinosaur Bar-B-Que

Swag Sampler plate: spicy shrimp boil, chicken wings, fried green tomatoes, and Creole spiced deviled eggs at Dinosaur Bar-B-Que

Featured menu favorites: For starters: the Swag Sampler plate for four, which includes a spicy shrimp boil, chicken wings, fried green tomatoes, and Creole-spiced deviled eggs ($20.95); cornmeal-dusted, southern fired Catfish strips ($6.95); any combination (3) of St. Louis ribs, pulled pork, BBQ brisket, smoked “hot link” sausage, and chicken ($18.95); and finally, a full rack of 12 ribs ($25.95). Sauces with varying degrees of insane heat are offered. 

For the night: The Crown Plaza Syracuse
Back at the Crown Plaza Syracuse, highlights of my stay include a super-comfy bed, big views of the city, a tiny but functional bathroom, and a somewhat-disorienting buttonless elevator that took some getting used to. Weekday rates for a standard room begin at $115/night.

Laura’s adventure through New York’s 1000 Islands region continues here.

Laura Pedrick

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About the Author

Laura Pedrick

Laura is a photojournalist who for most of her career has been assigned to cover New Jersey for The New York Times. Stories have included the Statehouse, political campaigns, and a wide range of hard news and features for all sections of the paper, including the Travel section. More recently she has focused on clients in the healthcare industry and education. She lives in Titusville, NJ, with her daughter and sometimes assistant, Lana. And oh yeah, has known Johnny Jet (dare she say it) since he was in diapers and is excited to be working for him as one of his latest contributors!

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