22 Best Things to Do in Rome, NY

Rome, NY
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We extend our heartfelt gratitude to the following individuals for their invaluable contributions to this article: Colleen Cooke, Bryce Russell, Cynthia Phelps, Jeffrey Esparza, Sienna Rice, Heather Scherer and Aleah Stephenson.

Spend a Memorable Evening at Sugarbeets

If you've ever wondered what it feels like to have your taste buds go on a tantalizing adventure, then Sugarbeets is the place to be.

It's like a hidden gem in the heart of Rome, well-known for its unique pho, and an alluring ambiance that's like a home away from home.

Stepping into Sugarbeets is like entering a world of its own.

The vibe it gives off is so soothing, warm jazz tunes playing in the background, creating a perfect balance between relaxation and excitement.

It's one of those places that make it easier for an extroverted introvert like me to unwind and enjoy an evening out.

My favorite has to be "The Crimson Pimm," a crafty blend of lemonade, pomegranate juice, Pimm’s Liqueur, grapefruit vodka, and ginger beer - a cocktail that's as enchanting in taste as it is in presentation.

On recommendation, I decided to try their Sugarbeets Pho and Dominick Salmon.

The Pho, with its ginger-heavy broth, baby shrimp, and shallots, was light and refreshing, while the Dominick Salmon was a true masterpiece.

Cooked to perfection and seasoned just right, it came with a delightful assortment of fresh vegetables on the side.

Sugarbeets has a way of making every visit memorable, from the delectable food to the inviting atmosphere, and the delightful company.

Even amidst a crowded restaurant, the couple at the bar next to me added to the wonderful experience.

Try the Tranquil Mornings at Bellamy Harbor Park

View of a bridge at Bellamy Harbor Park
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You wouldn't believe how serene the early mornings are at Bellamy Harbor Park.

I wake up at the crack of dawn, eager to experience the tranquil silence that only the early hours can bring.

I walk my dog, a bouncy golden retriever, along the clean, well-maintained walking trails of the park.

The park is perfect for such a stroll, quiet and still, only disturbed by the occasional rustle of leaves and the sweet chirping of birds.

There's a spot at the park that I've claimed as my own. A big log where I love to sit, take in the scenery, and just let my thoughts flow.

I watch people fishing, peaceful and patient, casting their lines into the gently flowing water.

The soothing sound of a nearby waterfall serves as the perfect background score.

Despite living just ten minutes away and being relatively new to the region, I feel right at home here.

The waters of Bellamy Harbor Park
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There's something about the quiet beauty of the park that makes me feel at peace.

It's not a sprawling space, but that's a part of its charm. The smaller size makes it feel more intimate and personal.

The park isn't only my haven; it's also a little paradise for my furry friend.

It's a dog-friendly zone, which means I can bring my beloved pet along without any worries.

We both find joy in the park, and the early mornings we spend there are a cherished routine.

No matter the day or the season, mornings at Bellamy Harbor Park are a tranquil escape from the world.

View from Bellamy Harbor Park's bridge
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Dine at Vine & Fig Wine Bistro

Don't even get me started on the culinary delights that await at Vine & Fig Wine Bistro!

For my partner and I, it has become something of a tradition to celebrate our special occasions at this charming bistro.

Let me tell you, this place knows how to make a celebration special.

Nestled in the heart of our city, Vine & Fig offers light and delicious meals that will leave you feeling satisfied, but not weighed down.

One thing I absolutely adore is the "Cheese Please" plate.

It's a delightful platter of local cheeses, each one coming with its own information card.

I've always been a bit of a cheese enthusiast, so learning more about the local varieties is an added bonus.

Their menu is designed to offer small portions, which I must admit, is what initially drew me in.

But fear not, they also cater to the more hearty appetites with larger meal options.

In terms of the drinks, they truly excel.

Before committing to a glass, they let you taste the wine.

For someone who likes to try different wines, this is simply perfect.

Their eclectic cocktail menu is also worth exploring.

But what really ties everything together is the ambiance.

The laid-back atmosphere perfectly complements the stellar food and drinks, providing a truly relaxing dining experience.

Spend a Wonderful Night at Rome Community Theater

You're never too far from an unforgettable experience in Rome, especially when you step into the Rome Community Theater.

It's where I spent countless evenings when I was younger, and now, I've found myself introducing the performances to the next generation - my son.

The memories made here are pure gold, and it's a place that never fails to impress, time and time again.

The theater, with its cosy ambiance, always has a well-curated selection of plays.

From comedies filled with props and physical humour to the more grand, like their unforgettable rendition of "Rockin Robin Hood."

It's always an evening filled with laughter, excitement, and sometimes even a tear or two.

The actors, mostly from our community, put their heart and soul into the performances, and it shows.

They don't just act; they bring the characters to life.

But it's not just about the shows.

What makes the experience truly unforgettable is the theater's old-world charm.

You're transported back in time as soon as you step through the doors, with its beautiful interior and the old-time snack bar that serves up nostalgia in every bite.

It's like stepping into a time machine, one that takes you back to simpler times.

No matter how many times I've taken my seat in the audience, the theater never fails to amaze me.

Pay a Visit to Veteran's Memorial Park

There's something magical about the glow of holiday lights.

Every year on a crisp November evening, a switch flips in Veteran's Memorial Park, illuminating downtown Rome and transforming the park into a festive spectacle.

You can feel the thrill of anticipation ripple through the crowd as the darkness gives way to the warm, twinkling lights – a sight that never fails to stir up a sense of childlike wonder.

The park, though modest in size, holds a special place in my heart.

It was on a beautiful Saturday, September 10, 2016, to be precise, when my partner and I exchanged vows against the picturesque backdrop of this very park.

The moment remains etched in our memories, a testament to the park's enduring charm.

While the park may seem like simply grass and a monument for the rest of the year, it plays a crucial role in our community.

You see, this Veteran's Memorial Park isn't just a park; it's a tribute to our local heroes.

Its modest monument stands tall amidst the greens, an ever-present reminder of the sacrifices made by our veterans.

It's a silent space for reflection, a tangible connection to our past, and a beacon of hope for our future.

As Christmas approaches, the park comes alive with festive cheer.

The holiday decorations are stunningly beautiful, casting colourful reflections in the snow.

The whole city seems to huddle under the warm glow, bringing everyone together in a shared celebration.

Explore Pitch Pine Bog Conservation Area and Nature Trail

When I moved to Rome, I never expected to find such a gem hidden in my own backyard.

The Pitch Pine Bog Conservation Area and Nature Trail is a green belt that has become my sanctuary.

This place is a veritable Eden.

If you share my passion for nature, especially for greenery and mushrooms, this will be your nirvana.

It's the perfect place to lose yourself in the vastness of nature, away from the hustle and bustle of the city.

The trail system here never ceases to impress me.

I've been down several of them and I must say, this is one of the better-fleshed out trail systems I've encountered.

One of the things I enjoy the most about the Pitch Pine Bog is the hiking.

Plus, there's always the chance of spotting some wildlife.

Immerse in the City's Rich History at The Rome Historical Society

Meeting up with friends for a casual day out, we decided to visit The Rome Historical Society.

I've been there a couple of times before, but the charm of the place never ceases to amaze me.

As soon as you step in, you're greeted by an array of displays capturing the essence of Rome's history - it's like opening a treasure chest of time gone by.

It's not just about looking at artifacts, though.

As a member, I've had the pleasure of attending some of the fascinating events they host.

I remember one where the focus was entirely on how Rome played a critical role in the colonization of New York State.

The discussion was enlightening, breathing life into the artifacts around us.

Time Travel at Fort Stanwix

The grounds of Fort Stanwix National Monument
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There's nothing quite like living within walking distance of a time portal.

Fort Stanwix is a place that transports you back to the raw, unfiltered days of the 18th century.

I've been there countless times and each visit feels like a fresh trip through the annals of history.

Every time I stroll around the fort, I find myself awed by the authenticity of the site.

The National Parks Service has done an admirable job in replicating the original fort.

Walking around the fort allows me to appreciate the full defensive line, including the dry moat and palisades.

Interior of a cabin at Fort Stanwix National Monument
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The only non-replica part of the fort is some brick ruins of an old fireplace, open for public viewing, which I find particularly fascinating as an archaeology enthusiast.

I always make it a point to visit the museum and the gift shop located in the visitor's center.

The museum provides an immersive experience, thanks to the live history demonstrations by talented reenactors.

The gift shop offers a plethora of mementos you can bring home to remember your trip.

A canon displayed on the grounds of Fort Stanwix National Monument
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Trek the Mohawk River Trail

There's nothing quite like a leisurely saunter along the Mohawk River Trail.

The smooth, well-maintained pavement beneath my feet instantly soothes my weary soul, inviting me to lose myself in the calming rhythm of my every step. 

One of the highlights of this trail are the informative signs scattered throughout.

Every so often, I find myself pausing to read these, and I'm always rewarded with some interesting tidbits about the local flora and fauna, or a snippet of local history.

It's an education wrapped in a pleasant stroll!

Recently, I've noticed a few unsavory characters loitering on the trail. It's a shame, really.

But like an unwelcome cloud in a clear sky, they've done little to dampen the overall appeal of this trail.

It's part of why I keep coming back.

Experience Dining Delights at DeSalvo's Catering and Restaurant

I've been a regular at DeSalvo's Catering and Restaurant for a while now and it has never failed to impress me.

The moment you walk in, you are greeted with an inviting atmosphere and a buzz of happy customers.

It's a family-owned gem in our city, and you can sense their love and passion for food in every dish they serve.

I remember one particular visit that was made even more special as it was my 13th wedding anniversary.

The ambiance was both romantic and casual, perfect for the occasion.

The food, as always, was top-notch.

My partner and I started off with their famous mozzarella sticks and greens, followed by a gigantic meatball, chicken Parmesan, and a seafood medley that was a veritable feast for the senses.

What stood out the most was the service. It's the kind of excellent service that makes you want to return.

Even on days when I drop by on a whim, I've had wonderful experiences.

Have Great Adventures at Fort Rickey Discovery Zoo

Every weekend, my family and I find ourselves driving down the road, past the old mill and the sweeping fields of wildflowers, to Fort Rickey Discovery Zoo.

This place is a delightful blend of nature, education, and fun, nestled in the heart of our community.

While most zoos give you the feeling of being an outsider looking in, Fort Rickey gives you the sense of being a part of the farm.

The experiences and demonstrations are interactive and informative.

Not many places let you get up close and personal with a boa constrictor, but here, you can hold one in your hands.

My kids cannot get enough of the baby goats.

They play with them, feed them, and even have a few favorite ones. And the capybarra, oh, they're a sight to behold!

Have Fun at Wood Creek Hollow Haunted Trail & Maze

You know that chill that runs down your spine when you are walking through a haunted maze with your heart pounding?

Let me take you to a place where you can experience just that.

The Wood Creek Hollow Haunted Trail & Maze has been a staple in our community for the past five years.

I fondly remember the first time I visited this place three years ago with my family.

The sheer thrill of it had us hooked, and from that day on, we've all volunteered to work at the haunts each year.

It's exhilarating to be part of the team that creates such a fantastic and spooky experience for everyone.

The satisfaction of hearing the screams and excitement of the visitors is unmatched.

Over the years, the haunted trail and maze have evolved.

Each year, the dedicated team works tirelessly to offer a unique experience.

The hayride, though more amusing than scary this year, is still a highlight.

And though the lag between scenes can sometimes detract from the thrill, the twists and turns of the plot keep us on our toes.

The clowns and the haunted Christmas scene at the end are definitely standouts.

A recent addition I appreciate is the new waiting area, providing shelter from the elements and featuring projector movies to entertain us while we wait.

It's also a huge relief to be able to purchase tickets online to avoid the disappointment of turning up and finding it sold out.

The wait times have also significantly reduced, from two hours to a mere 20 minutes.

Explore Delta Lake State Park

The waters of Delta Lake State Park
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You know, there's something utterly calming about the gentle lapping of waves on a sandy beach, the scent of pine trees, and the chatter of local wildlife.

It's a symphony of nature, and I find it right here at Delta Lake State Park.

My morning routine starts with a satisfying hike across the flat terrain, inhaling the fresh air and occasionally spotting deer grazing at a distance.

The trails are clean and user-friendly, making them perfect even for beginners.

During winter, these trails transform into a snowmobile haven, and I enjoy the thrill of speeding through the snow-clad landscape.

Swimming at Delta Lake is another one of my favorite pastimes.

The water is clean, and the sandy beach is a perfect spot to read a book or build sandcastles with the kids.

Plus, if you love fishing as much as I do, you'll be pleased to find that the lake is teeming with various species.

The park also houses a lovely playground and well-kept campsites.

I remember countless family camping trips, laughter echoing around a campfire, and the smell of s'mores wafting through the air.

However, be prepared for rain, as it can turn campsites into a bit of a muddy mess.

A few sites have some stone and gravel, but not all.

Unwind at Franklyn Field

There’s something incredibly relaxing about spending time at Franklyn Field on a quiet afternoon.

The park is always kept spotless, making it an ideal spot for me to fly my drones.

Since it's never overly crowded, I rarely have to worry about my drone bumping into other people or their dogs.

It’s just me, a few other patrons enjoying the outdoors with their pets, and the open sky for my drones.

One surprising feature that I truly appreciate about Franklyn Field is the presence of a porta potty.

Believe it or not, finding a bathroom in parks is quite rare.

This porta potty has come to my rescue more than once after exiting the Thruway.

Conveniently positioned near the baseball field, it's a godsend for anyone who’s just gotten off the road.

Just when you think you know all the features of your local park, Franklyn Field throws in a curveball.

Who knew a park could be this thoughtful?

Experience the Thrills at Peterpaul Recreation Park

There's nothing better than a sun-soaked weekend of outdoor fun and thrills at Peterpaul Recreation Park, our local treasure.

My family and I often wind up spending our free time there.

We had a birthday party for my youngest at the park last weekend, and it was an unforgettable time for all.

The go-karts were a big hit, and many of the kids could not get enough of them.

They loved being able to take control and race around the track.

They had a few friendly competitions, and the laughter and cheers filled the park.

Another favorite activity was the outdoor laser tag.

Even some of the adults joined in the fun, and it was a blast to run around and play shootouts in the park.

There was plenty of space for everyone to scatter and hide, and it was a great way to burn off some energy.

We saved the bumper boats for the last.

Everyone came prepared to get wet, and we have some hilarious photos of everyone trying to keep their balance while being bumped.

By the time we were done, everyone was soaked and happy.

Taste Some Authentic Italian Food at Boyz From Italy

I've been living in Rome all my life, and I've tried every pizza place this city has to offer.

But let me tell you, nothing comes close to the pizza and wings I've devoured from Boyz From Italy.

Whenever I have leftovers, which is rarely, I warm up the pizza in my toaster oven and relish the wings cold, because they're just too delicious to wait for a warm-up.

One fine day, the family and I decided to stop by for a late lunch, or an early dinner, depending on how you see it.

We tried their large cheese and 20 wing special, adding a touch of mushrooms to it.

Everyone approved with hearty satisfaction.

Spend a Night at Cayo Industrial Horror Realm

I still remember that crisp October night when I decided to visit the Cayo Industrial Horror Realm, a horror-themed attraction nestled in the heart of our city.

What was supposed to be an evening full of spooks and screams, quickly turned into a true horror story - but not for the reasons you might think.

The moon was high in the cloudless sky and a cold wind was blowing when I arrived at the venue around 7:30 PM.

The first thing I noticed was the line - it was long, winding around the block, filled with excited chatter and bursts of laughter.

Little did I know back then that this was going to be a long and cold wait.

For a good two and a half hours, I stood there, growing colder and more impatient with each passing minute.

The frustration of not being offered the option to purchase a "skip the line" ticket certainly left a sour taste in my mouth.

However, the real horrors began once we finally made our way inside.

The attention to detail was commendable - the lighting, sound effects, and props were nothing short of impressive.

It was obvious that a lot of effort had been put into creating a perfectly horrifying atmosphere, accentuated by a military theme that was woven into nearly every scene we traveled through.

There were moments of excitement too.

I remember the room with the crashed helicopter and the compressed air blasts that made me jump more than once.

And yet, I couldn't shake the feeling that the true horror of that night was the wait.

Journey Back in Time at Sears Oil Service Station

Exterior of Sears Oil Service Station
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Let me take you on a journey back to yesteryear, a time when service stations were more than just a place to refuel.

That's what you'll find when you visit Sears Oil Service Station.

It's like stepping into a time machine, back to an era where service was personalized and everything was simple and straightforward.

This place isn't just a gas station; it's a living museum, a testament to a bygone era.

You need to see it to believe it, and the beauty is that it's open by appointment, meaning you get to have a personalized experience.

Here, you can see what a real service station used to look like some 80 years ago, and trust me, it's quite the sight.

The Sears Oil Service Station isn't just for those with a knack for vintage stuff.

If you're into photography, especially vintage auto or time period photography, this place is a paradise.

The vintage setting and the nostalgic vibe make for the perfect backdrop for your photos.

One of the things that caught my eye when I visited during Christmas in 2017 was the Christmas tree on display.

It was such a charming sight that it brought a smile to my face.

Stroll Down Rome Sand Plains Unique Area

"The call of the wilderness is a song that never gets old." That's a phrase I often tell my friends when they ask me why I frequently visit the Rome Sand Plains Unique Area.

Sundays are the day when I usually head to the plains.

The tranquility that the area offers is a wonderful antidote to the weekday hustle.

Aside from the occasional sound of a shotgun – yes, some folks use it as a public shooting range – it's blissfully serene.

But the sight of broken glass and spent shells strewn around here and there can be a tad upsetting.

I wish people would respect nature a bit more and leave no trace.

Rain or shine, the plains have a charm of their own.

On one of those rainy days, I was fully prepared to get drenched, but the dense pine woods provided a natural umbrella.

The scent of the wet earth mixed with the fresh pine aroma was intoxicating.

I didn't hike the trails that day, but the experience was still rewarding.

One of my favorite parts of the area is the short trail that ends at a scenic creek.

It's a relatively easy walk, surrounded by thick vegetation, ending with the sight of the creek's crystal-clear water.

Despite its popularity, the trail is often quiet, allowing you to absorb the sounds of nature – the rustling leaves, the chirping birds, and the gurgling creek.

Discover Art and Nature at Griffiss International Sculpture Garden and Nature Trail

Living right next to the Griffiss International Sculpture Garden and nature trail, I've had the pleasure of experiencing its charm countless times.

Nestled within Rome, New York, its unique blend of art and nature offers a peaceful escape right in our backyard.

My favorite time to visit is early morning, when the park is still quiet.

The pathway, encased by a veil of serene mist, leads to a collection of fascinating sculptures, each with its own distinct style and story.

One can't help but feel a sense of awe and humility amidst the towering structures.

What makes the adventure even more engaging is the hidden rocks around each statue.

The younger visitors, including my own kids, love embarking on these mini treasure hunts, their excited giggles echoing through the park.

It's a delightful way to infuse appreciation for art in their young minds.

Over towards the far end of the trail, off Ellsworth, is a section dedicated to Vietnam.

It's a poignant tribute that resonates with many, myself included.

I often find myself lost in thoughts, the silent whispers of the past lingering in the air.

Revisit the City's History at Fort Bull- Fort Wood Creek

My city is filled with hidden gems, tucked away corners of history that still whisper tales of the past.

One such gem is the Fort Bull-Fort Wood Creek site. Oftentimes, I find myself drawn to its quiet solitude, an oasis of history amidst our bustling life.

It's no surprise that the Fort Bull site has made its way onto the national registry, thanks to the Fort Bull Research Group.

The four-year long journey to get it listed speaks volumes about the group's relentless dedication.

It's a well-deserved recognition for a place that whispers tales of the past in the wind, where every nook and cranny has a story to tell.

Getting to the site can be slightly tricky if you're not familiar with the area.

So, it's always advisable to contact the Rome Historical Society before you plan a visit.

Dine at Dicastro's Brick Oven

When it comes to pizza places in the city, the one that truly stands out is Dicastro's Brick Oven.

This stylish spot is an absolute gem, offering classic Italian fare and brick-oven pizzas that hit the spot every time.

I walked in for the first time and was instantly greeted by a welcoming hostess.

Within moments, I was seated at a clean table, the decor around me a pleasant blend of casual and chic.

I remember trying the pasta and pizza; both were delicious.

The pasta was cooked to perfection, and the pizza had that tantalizing brick-oven flavor that I absolutely love.

They also have a good selection of wine and beer, which are perfect to round off the meal.

Final Thoughts

Rome, New York, offers a genuinely unique blend of history, culture, and nature.

Whether you're exploring the historic Fort Stanwix National Monument or ambling along the Mohawk River Trail, the city is a treasure trove of experiences waiting to be discovered.

Truly, Rome is a charming city that effortlessly combines the past, present, and future into one remarkable experience.

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