Olcott and Wolcott, are both about the same distance from our house, one in the direction of Buffalo and the other on the way to Syracuse. Both are idyllic little towns on the shore of Lake Ontario, surrounded by fruit orchards. We visited both this summer and pushed it yesterday by continuing on to Fair Haven, the town after Wolcott.
Matthew was our guide. I had not been here since I was a kid and I was anxious to see the diving boards along the channel that runs off the lake into the state park. The hardware is still there but the boards are gone.
We parked in the center of town near the library, next to a street person who was sitting on the lawn. He was barefoot and wearing cut-offs, that’s it. Matthew introduced him to us and he stood up to say, “We’re going to touch” and he gave me a polite hug.
The town is charming. It swells in size over the summer and has three art galleries. We visited them all before heading to Little Sodus Inn, a dark funky bar right at the bottom of the bay. We passed a sign that read, “Curfew in Effect 10PM to 5AM Under 18 years of age.” The bartender’s top was cut really low yet it never ran out of tattoo covered breasts. We took our beers out in the sun but I could see spending some time in there.
Walking toward the lake by some dreamy cottages we stopped at the “Fly by Night Cookie Shop and Miniature Museum,” a fairytale like place run by a large German woman who looked like she stepped out of a Bruegal painting. We picked out cookies from glass jars, chocolate rum balls, “Hee Hee” cookies shaped like marijuana leaves and coconut almond macaroons.
Our next stop was a general store on Main Street with a “No Skateboarding or Loitering” sign out front. First thing that caught my eye was a shelf of gag items, a lollipop that will turn your tongue blue, birthday candles that you can’t blow out, and a bloody bandaid with a nail through it that you can wrap around your finger. A table near the door was stocked with local produce. We bought peaches, apples and eggs. The counter near the cash register was surrounded with tiers of Bic lighters, Bill’s Beef Sticks and five short stacks of “Big Slab” Beef Jerky in a big transparent case. Your choice of “Original, Black Pepper, Teriyaki, Sweet n’ Spicy and Cajun.”
Back at our car the shirtless guy was still on the lawn and a young couple, maybe eighteen years old or so, was sitting on a bench. The woman was was clearly strung out and she jumped up to pace with her phone. She walked around the building and returned holding the phone out to the guy and asking the person on the other end if they wanted to talk to daddy.