Winter in Skaneateles

“The elements are hard to avoid, particularly in my hometown of Skaneateles, New York, located on the northern tip of the lake of the same name. It buckles under the same snowbelt that Syracuse has immortalized… It isn’t until the New Year that winter truly begins to weed out the weak. Alberta Clippers and lake-effect blizzards are sensational, but it’s the relentlessness of the most miserable of seasons that breaks people. Marriages dissolve, friendships collapse, businesses fail. Many just sit in their homes and drink until it becomes possible to open the door again… In January even mercury heads south to huddle in the little ball at the bottom of the thermometer. At this point winter becomes sarcastic. When it warms up, it snows… Cynicism peaks in February, when it feels as if it has been winter since you were a small child.”

— Barry Crimmins in Never Shake Hands with a War Criminal (2004)

An Exhilarating Place to Be

“On a whim, she set the bike down in the driveway and walked barefoot back around the house toward the water. She followed the meandering path, over an old stone bridge that spanned a small creek, and across the expansive lawn that stretched for more than a thousand feet from side to side beneath the ancient trees. Soon she was standing on the stony beach with a warm wind in her face and the waves lapping gently at her feet. In the glow of the coming dawn, only Jupiter blinked overhead. She could see nearly fifteen miles to the end of the lake where the magnificent glacial hills plummeted into the deep narrow corridor of water. It was an exhilarating place to be: Skaneateles. Over the last several summers, she had grown not only fond of it, but also attached to its placid beauty…”

— Tim Green in The Fourth Perimeter (2002) which takes readers to the Glen Haven Inn, Rosalie’s, the Sherwood Inn, the Bakery and bicycle rides around the lake in the course of the thriller

Skaneateles, 1876

“When the gnawings of hunger had been appeased I gave myself up to the agreeable quiet of Sunday afternoon. There was ample encouragement for such a course in this cosy little retreat at the head of Lake Skaneateles, for there was not a sound from store or mill while the people were taking their Sabbath rest. This brief halt in the march forward was very agreeable, for it gave me an opportunity to try my own powers of locomotion, so little used since leaving Boston. It was a real luxury to stroll about the quiet lanes, and scan the outlying fields from the standpoint of a modest pedestrian. In the course of my rambles I came across some photographers from Auburn who had been taking views of the scenery about here. Some of their pictures were excellent.”

— Captain Willard R. Glazier in Ocean to Ocean on Horseback: The Story of a Tour in the Saddle from the Atlantic to the Pacific (1899)


Pronounced and Defined

“The name of this lake in the Seneca dialect is Skā-ne-o-dice; in Onondaga, Skan-e-a’-dice; in Tuscarora, Skon-yat-e-las; and in Oneida, Ski-ne-ā-dā-yes: it signifies Long Lake.”

— “Letters on the Iroquois” by Skenandoah, also known as Lewis Henry Morgan (1818-1881), an anthropologist and adopted member of the Seneca tribe. First published in 1847 in The American Review: A Whig journal devoted to politics, literature, art & science.

Skaneateles, 1819

“Skeneateles. May 3. — This is a beautiful village, situated on the northern extremity of a lake of the same name. The land is fertile, highly cultivated, and presents a prospect truly romantick. The mansion house of Esq. ———– commands a full view of the lake, is decorated with every thing calculated to amuse a mind of refined taste; but it presents not a charm to him, who has beheld with an eye of faith the city of our God, the new Jerusalem. Unhappy must be the situation of that individual, who sees no other beauty, who seeks no other good than this world presents.”

Memoir of Rev. Levi Parsons: Late Missionary to Palestine (1824). Parsons, originally from Vermont, was the first American Christian missionary to the Holy Land. Before sailing in November of 1819, he toured the northeastern U.S., preaching and raising money for the trip. In early 1820, after stops in Malta, Greece and Turkey, he arrived in Jerusalem and spent three months handing out Bibles and scripture tracts. His health, however, was not equal to the rigors of his mission, and he died while seeking medical care in Egypt in 1822.