Sodus Point, NY and the George Eastman House

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Each summer for the past several years, I’ve gone on a short (usually two-day-long) vacation/trip with my mom and two of my aunts. In years past, we’ve gone to several Finger Lakes, including most recently Skaneateles, last summer. We’ve also gone to Conesus Lake, Seneca Lake, etc.

This year, we did something a little different. Instead of visiting another Finger Lake (which, for the record, I hope to visit all of in my lifetime), we headed out to Sodus Point, New York. It’s about 115 miles from Buffalo, northeast of Rochester.

But as per usual, we made a few stops along the way. Our first stop: Don’s Original Restaurant and Pub in Penfield, NY. It seemed like a nice enough place, with a decent variety on the menu. We ended up sitting outside, as it was an absolutely beautiful day. My lunch fare: a turkey club wrap (minus the bacon, of course), with macaroni and cheese. Yum!

View of Lake Ontario from Webster Park
View of Lake Ontario from Webster Park

After that, we drove just a few short minutes away to Webster Park, on the shore of Lake Ontario. From what I can tell online, the park is actually pretty huge, but we covered just a tiny portion of it, mainly right by a pier on the water. The weather wasn’t quite cooperating, as it started to shower a little, and the gnats were absolutely horrendous (though I guess it’s just that time of year.)

Nonetheless, it was a quite breathtaking view of Lake Ontario. Any point on the Lake is beautiful, whether it’s from the foot of York Street in downtown Toronto, along the road in Wilson, NY, or up there in Webster. Each point offers a unique view of the lake and what lies beyond it, and each is just as breathtaking as the rest.

From there, it was on to the Sodus Bay Lighthouse Museum.

I’ll be quite frank: the best part about this was, hands-down, the view from the top of the lighthouse. It was a bit of a climb up, and there were a lot of (mostly dead) insects at the top, but getting past all that, the view was great.

We also got a guided tour, which quite frankly, I had mixed feelings about. I like a good tour as much as the next person – and I am certainly interested in history – but there were several facets of it that just rubbed me the wrong way.

First of all: it was quite long-winded — and what we got was supposedly the “medium” tour! For such a small building with only four rooms to tour, it took us a long time to get through there (though I suppose this does change depending on which tour guide you get!) It was a hot day, and quite warm in there, which probably made it a little worse.

But perhaps the one part of the tour that gave me the most mixed feelings was the tour guide himself. I don’t want to make it seem as though he was uneducated; he definitely knew what he was talking about, knew his history and all that. It was an incredibly informational tour. However, I don’t find it necessary to slip in references to “my time in the Navy” every few minutes. If I wanted to hear about the Navy and your personal experience there, that’s a separate conversation.

Being quite honest, I really didn’t appreciate several sexist and age-related comments the gentleman made, either. With the day & age we live in, there’s no reason to introduce a fashion-related portion of the museum with a comment like “Well, the ladies will like this one!” It is wise to consider, perhaps, that not all women are interested in fashion, and that there may be men who are interested in that topic, as well. In addition, he typically made references to points in recent history by noting the age of tour members with comments such as “Well, you’re old enough, you remember back in the day when…” These may be attempts to relate to people, but in reality, they seem quite ignorant and could, in fact, be insulting to some people.

After the museum – and gift shop, of course – we stopped at the beach (too many gnats! gross!) and a few quaint little shops along the main drag of the town. We then arrived at our place for the evening, the Maxwell Creek Inn Bed & Breakfast.

Maxwell Creek Inn B&B
Maxwell Creek Inn B&B

The building itself is absolutely gorgeous from the exterior, and the interior is no different. Each room is unique and absolutely gorgeous. We had the William Swales room and the Gaylord suite.

My only pet peeve with this place: as far as I could tell, there was no option for connecting to wi-fi. On one hand, I can understand the idea: this truly is supposed to be a chance to get away, and a good opportunity to disconnect. But on the other hand, what if someone needs to do business work late at night?

But putting that aside, the woman who runs the B&B is wonderful and truly helpful. A walk through the backyard will eventually lead you to Maxwell Creek itself.

The other downfall to this B&B: it really wasn’t that close to the lake, or at least not as close as we’ve stayed at in past years. Some of the B&Bs we’ve frequented in other towns have been directly across from the lake, with this incredibly gorgeous view that you just can’t beat. This one was located right on a main street, which was quite busy with vehicular traffic, even during the night.

Our dinner that evening was at The Coop Deck in Sodus Point. (What a clever name!) The food was decent – although I went with my staple, chicken fingers and fries, as I found the menu quite limited. But perhaps the best part of it was the view; if you get the chance, get a table on the outdoor patio or even the covered patio. It had been raining, so we sat in the covered patio, and it was just this incredible view of Sodus Bay, right there in front of you.

After ice cream at Hot’s Point, it was time for rest. The next morning, we woke up and had breakfast before hitting the road. Our first stop was Burnap’s Farm Market in Sodus: an absolutely charming farm market. I walked away with a loaf of the freshest, homemade French bread, a beer cheese/mustard dip and several decor items for my new apartment. If it hadn’t been such a hot day outside, I would’ve attempted to take some of the fresh produce home — but alas, it wouldn’t have survived in the car.

Inside the George Eastman House, Rochester, NY.
Inside the George Eastman House, Rochester, NY.

Our final stop was Rochester, NY. We toured the George Eastman House and Museum, which was an interesting place. I particularly enjoyed in the interactive elements on the second floor; after all, while it’s interesting to learn about history and inventions, it’s much more interesting to test those things out and have a little fun in the process.

In general, I also have mixed feelings about historic “houses” like that, in that the interiors have been designed to look like these historical homes and how they might have been designed by the famous person who lived there, but in the end, everything from the wallpaper to the chandelier has been hand-picked and selected by someone from this day in age as what is envisioned to have been in that day in age.

I did pick up several items at the gift shop, and I found the cafe to be quite cute. The museum was really something, too, particularly the historic collection of cameras. It was very interesting to see the progression of the camera over time; and to think that nowadays, we have these miniscule cameras even in our cell phones!

Lastly – a stop at Jay’s Diner for lunch, and then it was home to Buffalo after another wonderful trip. Has anyone else reading this ever been to Sodus, or the George Eastman House? What did you think?


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