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Inside A Countryside Escape

Meet Sophie, NYSOM’s assistant editor. She grew up in Manhattan, is a recent graduate of Hamilton College and knows Clinton, in Central New York — and the surrounding towns — inside and out. Step inside Sophie’s Clinton to understand her "from NYC to CNY" state of mind.

The best resources for learning about Clinton:

Word of mouth, and professors at Hamilton College.

Your go-to locale for...

  • Coffee: Café J in downtown Clinton, or Cafe Opus if you’re near Hamilton’s campus!
  • A sandwich: Pumpernickel's Deli or Peter's Cornucopia. Peter's has unreal breakfast sandwiches and smoothies (I'm also a huge fan of the grilled veggie on multigrain)!
  • A night out with friends: Grapevine Cafe is a casual BYOB restaurant offering Greek fare, great for sharing, in New Hartford.  Zabroso Restaurant & Lounge (a short drive away in Oneida) is the perfect place to share tapas and sangria. End the night with the cheap drinks and beer-spilled dance floor at Don’s Rok, set against a backdrop of classic American rock like Bruce Springsteen and Van Morrison.
  • Date night: The Tailor and the Cook, in Utica, uses seasonal, local ingredients, and updates the menu accordingly. For dinner recommendations, turn to the incredible waiters, who are familiar with every ingredient of every dish on any given night. And always order the Antipasto plate (a seasonal selection of meats, cheeses and grilled veggies) to share before your mains!
  • A glass of wine or cocktail: The bar at Nola's, right in downtown Clinton. Order a Saranac beer for the complete local experience (you can even tour their brewery in Utica).
  • Dessert: Bonomo's -- open from March 'til early September, for their pistachio soft serve!

The hotel you always book or recommend to friends, and why:

April in Clinton wp A Clinton snowfall.
The Arbor Inn, right above Hamilton's campus, is a beautiful country retreat in the wintertime, and rests right on my favorite running loop in the summertime!

The ONE thing visitors must see or do, and why:

Visit the Clinton Cider Mill, only open in the fall, to see the live cider pressing on Saturdays! Nothing beats their hot apple cider and cinnamon doughnuts (their mixes and other jarred products make for excellent gifts as well).

Your favorite hidden (or not so anymore) gem, and why:

There’s an incredible arts scene brewing in Utica right now. Sculpture Space or The Munson WIlliams Proctor Arts Institute (better known as the “Munstitute”) are two great places to get an inside look at upcoming artists and special exhibitions. Sculpture Space happens to be the only artist residency program for sculptors in North America, and selects 20 artists each year for two-month residencies.

Number of hours or days required in town for the "full" experience:

1-2 days in the early autumn.

The town is great for what type of visitor:

  • CELEBRATE (the host with the most/ladies who lunch)
  • EPICURATE (the foodie)
  • INNOVATE (the tinkerers and life-long students)
  • RECREATE (the adventure-seekers and fitness gurus)
  • Other: Someone looking for a quiet countryside escape!

The town is best explored by:


The town is best explored in:

Hamilton in Wintertime cropped copy Hamilton in Winter.
Summer, Autumn.  

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