Life Beyond St. Lawrence: Canton and the Greater Community
Upon announcing the location of St. Lawrence University when asked where I attend school, I am often met with tilted heads and squinty eyes when the words “Canton, New York” leave my mouth.
I usually follow up with the fact that Canton is located in upstate New York, right by the Ottawa border, and often joke about how cold it gets. However, after this brief conversation regarding the coordinates of St. Lawrence to people who are unfamiliar with the institution, I often leave the discussion disheartened, knowing the inquirers will never truly understand the beauty of Canton and its surroundings.
To be fair, before my first year at St. Lawrence, I never really thought about what Canton had in store for me either! Despite rumours regarding how “isolated” St. Lawrence was, I chose SLU nonetheless, eager to prove this assumption incorrect.
After much trial and error, I can confidently say that there is so much to offer in Canton! I have grown to love this little town because of all of the incredible experiences I have had throughout the years and the unforgettable memories I have made alongside lifelong friends.
Here are some of my favorite things to do in Canton and greater St. Lawrence County, many of which you can still enjoy while following all necessary COVID-19 health and safety guidelines. I hope you'll feel inspired to try these activities for yourself!
Food and Dining
Of course, my commentary on all of the splendors of Canton and the greater community must begin with food! Firstly, I have to give a special shoutout to my all-time favorite food stop located just down the street from SLU: the Nature’s Storehouse. I am very proud to say that I am officially obsessed with this adorable health food store that is sure to satisfy your taste buds in every way possible.
One of my favorite activities is going to the Nature’s Storehouse, picking out a delicious soup, salad, or wrap, and having a picnic with my friends in the park across the street. I truly cannot think of a better way to spend an afternoon! If you're going to visit, remember to wear a mask, practice social distancing, and abide by any other safety precautions Nature's Storehouse requires.
If you're looking for a more refined dining experience, 1844 House is an incredible farm-to-table restaurant located just up the road from campus in the neighboring town of Potsdam. It is always fun to dress up a bit and enjoy a more sophisticated meal with friends, especially if you’re getting sick of the dining hall lifestyle. 1844 House currently offers takeout and limited occupancy for dining at the restaurant, so be sure to call ahead to make a reservation if you plan on eating there.
Beyond 1844 House, Potsdam is a great town to explore when you need a change of scenery. Not only does it have several cute shops to bop around in, it's home to some fantastic restaurants. Usually on Friday evenings, my friends and I like to go out to dinner to get off campus and enjoy each other's company in a new setting.
Some of our favorite places to grab food include Thai Cuisine, Cactus Grill and Cantina, Maxfield’s, Mama Lucia’s, Foster the Plant Cafe (a new vegan addition), the Potsdam Co-Op, and 3 Bears Gluten Free Bakery and Cafe, which sells the best no-bake cookies of all time! Many of these options also offer takeout and some offer limited occupancy for dining in. As always, be sure to follow all health and safety guidelines while visiting these businesses, remove masks only while dining, and be mindful of any additional protocols in place at each location.
About five miles south of downtown Potsdam, you'll find Jake’s on the Water in Hannawa Falls. Jake's has an excellent view and plenty of outdoor dining, but be sure to call ahead for availability and to make a reservation.
These are just to name a few of the yummy eating locations found in both Canton and Potsdam, but it is a great place to start. So, if you’re worried about missing home-cooked meals or just need a break from your usual Pub order, definitely try out any of these establishments. They surely will not disappoint!
Lampson Falls, a 0.9 mile out and back trail leading to a beautiful waterfall, is another fun activity to do while staying in Canton. Lampson Falls is located in Russell, NY which is an 18- to 20-minute drive from SLU. This is one of my favorite ways to spend an afternoon because it feels like you are going on a far-off adventure even though it is relatively close to campus.
The waterfall at the end of the trail is absolutely breathtaking along with the surrounding scenery. There are also super cool rocks to climb and an entire wooded area to explore. Especially on a nice day, this is the ideal spot to be. Typically, my friends and I end up spending hours at Lampson Falls whether we’re just exploring or admiring the rapids. I plan on going many more times before my time at SLU comes to a close.
Located an hour away (but still within St. Lawrence County), Mount Arab is an awesome place to go on a hike. Whether you or a solo hiker or like to enjoy the experience with company, this is a great hike for all ages and those with tons of experience or none at all.
The best part of Mount Arab is the astonishing view at the end of the hike. The peak's picturesque perspective gives you the most perfect bird’s-eye-view of the surrounding area, making the leg burn totally worth it. If you have yet to complete this hike, I really recommend doing so soon, especially during the beautiful fall weather.
If you would rather stay on campus, the Saddlemire Trail is also a great place to enjoy a long stroll whether you’re blasting music through your headphones or enjoying conversation with friends. Both locations are stunning!
This is most definitely my favorite activity to do in the fall. I love going to Fobare’s Fruits, located in Rensselaer Falls, NY, because of their incredibly delicious apples, their fun activities, and of course their apple cider donuts and other yummy treats. Apple picking is such a blast, especially with a small group of good people on a lovely fall afternoon.
During COVID-19, Fobare's is open for curbside pickup as well as U-pick apples and pumpkins. Their corn maze is also open. All visitors must wear masks and practice social distancing so everyone can continue to safely enjoy the fall fun we look foward to every year.
I go to Fobare’s Fruits at least once during the fall semester and am always eager to attend the following year. I have experienced some of my favorite memories here and am excited to create more within the next few weeks.
These are just a few of the many ways you can ignite your exploration of Canton and the greater community. The above activities are a few of my favorites, but I am very confident there are countless hidden gems and adventures I have yet to explore. Still, if you have yet to try any of my suggestions, get out there and do it! Even after I graduate, I can see myself returning to Canton just to relive my memories from all of these places I cherish so much.