On our way home from Rochester, friends and I decided to stop in Geneva along the way. I had a craving to swing on through, as it is a favorite stop of mine. My two friends, who are also creative minds part of Syracuse Improv Collective, had never been to the historical city with a small town feel. Despite the few raindrops falling from the clouds, we took a stroll around the city center and began at the noteworthy Linden Street.
Geneva was established as a city in 1897, after it was first established as a village in 1806. It claims territory in Ontario and Seneca Counties and butts up to the northern part of Seneca Lake. While driving in, as observed by Mark, the first impression was something of a western-esuqe appeal. Save the parallel strips of adjacent buildings and businesses facing each other, the street cutting down the center, and the lamp lighting.
The location within the Finger Lakes Region (or New York state “wine country”) is prime, and it falls conveniently in thruway line with Rochester, Auburn, and good old hometown Syracuse. The geographic convenience is another reason why upstate New York is a great place to live.
The more and more I visit Geneva, the more I fall in love with it. It has storybook and romantic appeals, and it boasts a hint of mystery. When I say mystery, it’s more of an unknown. As if there’s some intangible, indescribable quality. Each time my feet step food on the pavement there, I become grounded. My eyes and brain team up and recognize subtle positive changes adding to the chic aura of the city.
I can compare it to the Town of Spectre, the fictitious place in the Tim Burton’s 2003 film adaptation of Big Fish. The town is a strip with two parallel strips of buildings facing each other. Instead of a street running through the town, there’s grass. Burton apparently had Spectre built for the sole purpose of the film, and the set’s buildings are still standing today.
Another unique aspect of Spectre is the strings of lights strung across one side of buildings to the other. The display is a canopy of illumination. This is something Linden Street showcases.
Linden is a pedestrian-only street. Small, local businesses are featured on one side. The comfortable summer weather allows these businesses to open their doors. The large windows of each establishment allow previews of the atmosphere they have to offer, whether its food for the mind or the belly. Everything is 100 percent chic and friendly, ranging from casual to upscale.
Venturing around the corner we came across a gelateria, appropriately named Geneva Gelato, located at 504 Exchange St.
Spoiler alert: It’s a great place for conversation and dessert.
The noticeably bright, off-yellow wall decor certainly adds to the brilliance of the eatery. It’s clean from the front steps to the bathroom, located at the back of the establishment. There is an array of gelato choices, which makes decision making a very difficult task, and there is plenty of cafe fare as well, coffees and teas and snacks.One scoop each of the pistachio and almond espresso superfluously filled the cup. They paired very well … with my stomach. I can’t wait to go back and enjoy the cafe in the daytime, pop open a book, put some words to paper, or embark on a conversation even if the topic focuses on Geneva Gelato itself.
And, of course, FLX Table, 22 Linden St., is on my list.
Other places I enjoy in Geneva
Geneva Antique Co-Op, 473-475 Exchange St.
Opus, 486 Exchange St.
Ports Cafe, 4432 W. Lake Road
Red Dove Tavern, 30 Castle St.
Water Street Cafe, 467 Exchange St.