A Great Time in Sackets Harbor, NY

(This post is coming a little early because of the long weekend, and there are fireworks in Sackets Harbor on the 4th.)

Sackets Harbor is on the shore of Lake Ontario and is historically known for its important role in the War of 1812. For that reason, I was tempted to wait until later in the summer to feature Sackets Harbor because they are re-enacting the famous battle on Saturday, August 3rd. However, there are tons of events throughout the summer, including cannon fire demonstrations, Civil War re-enactment, and musical performances. In addition to their fireworks on the 4th, there will be a mini-drama performed at the battlefield on July 6th at 1 pm titled “Slavery, Freemen, the War of 1812 and a House Divided,” so I thought it made sense to feature Sackets Harbor today.

The Sackets Harbor Visitor Center at 301 West Main Street is a good starting point, followed by the nearby Historical Society, both of which provide a sense of why this town is special in an historical context. I would then suggest heading to the Pickering Beach Museum at 501 West Main Street, especially if you want to visit the Sackets Harbor Battlefield State Historic Site (504 West Main Street).

Main Street is full of little shops, including antique stores and restaurants. Visit the Sackets Harbor Art Center at 119 West Main Street to find artwork and gifts made by local artists. For some great ice cream that’s right near by the Battlefield, visit Straders at 119 East Main Street. It’s a tiny little house with some excellent ice cream.

For a full list of local attractions, check out this link here. To find a full schedule of events in Sackets Harbor this summer, go to this link. For events specifically at the Battlefield site, look here.

We discovered Sackets Harbor before we had kids by just looking at a map and finding a place to go for the day about 15 years ago, and we have been back several times with friends and with kids. There is something for everyone, and the scenery is beautiful. If you decide to go, you won’t be disappointed.

Robbin’s Rarities, Manlius, NY

Address: 109 Wesley Street, Manlius, NY

Phone: 315-682-6071

Website: https://www.robbinsrarities.com/

Social Media: Facebook

Robbin’s Rarities is a truly unique gem across the street from the Manlius Post Office, which is just off the main strip in the Village of Manlius. (Make a left off of Route 92 East at the Burger King, and make the first left on Wesley Street.) This is the kind of store that I hope stays around forever, because I don’t know of a nearby business that provides the same type of service. They have a wide variety of lighting fixtures on display, but there is far more to this business than just product sales.

Repair and reconstruction is one crucial part of their business. If you have a lamp that you truly love – modern or antique – but it’s stopped working, they will likely be able to repair it for you. Let me tell you a quick story about my personal experience here. Years ago, I inherited my grandparents’ antique Tiffany-style ceiling light. While growing up, this lamp was one of my favorite parts of their house, and I couldn’t wait to hang it in our new home. We had it installed by an electrician, and it successfully lit our kitchen table for several years. But one evening after dinner, it made a loud popping noise, sparked, and died. Changing the light bulb didn’t work. Devastated, I called the electrician, who recommended that I take it to Robbin’s Rarities.

I had popped into the store a couple of times and admired their lamps on display, but I had not been fully aware of their unique ability to repair just about any lighting fixture. A few weeks after leaving it in their hands, Robbin’s successfully returned my ceiling light to me, fully repaired, and it happily hangs over my kitchen table to this day. They also restore and refinish metal parts, so the metal portion of the lamp looked better than ever.

My grandparents’ Tiffany-style lamp, successfully repaired by Robbin’s Rarities

Probably the coolest service Robbin’s offers is custom-built lighting. If you make an appointment and bring in an item that you would like to see turned into a lamp, their craftsmen will work with you to create a one-of-a-kind lighting fixture. This is not a service you will find at a giant hardware store.

Robbin’s Rarities is also a good place to go for a new lamp shade. It’s hard to find quality lamp shades that are interesting and properly fit a lamp, and they do wear out over time as well. If you bring your lamp in, they will help you find the right one, and their website advertises a 10% discount for doing so. It’s a lot more affordable to replace the shade of a working lamp than to buy a new one, and a new shade will help spruce up the room and make it look like new.

If you’re going through spring cleaning in the next few weeks, keep Robbin’s in mind for those spots of the house that needed better lighting this winter, or for those lampshades that need replacement. If nothing else, it’s an enjoyable visit to see the unique lighting fixtures on display.

Sweet Salvage Gift Shoppe, Jamesville, NY

Enter into the cottage to the left of this area labeled “Gift Shoppe”

Owner:  Kathy Hastings

Address:  6483 East Seneca Turnpike, Jamesville, NY

Phone:  (315) 492-1266

Facebook:  http://www.facebook.com/SweetSalvageGiftShoppe

I have always found it fun to visit an older home, especially ones with nooks and crannies, and little treasures hiding in the attic.  Visiting Sweet Salvage Gift Shoppe in Jamesville feels a bit like that, even though there are modern items for sale everywhere you look.  The charm of the old home in which the store sits oozes through the entire store, so that being there feels like visiting a friend, instead of simply patronizing a store.

Owner Kathy Hastings says her goal is to help her customers feel good and to laugh.  There is warmth and cheer everywhere.  A water cooler is available for thirsty customers, and cider and food samples are set up during busy shopping times.  At this time of year, holiday decorations abound and are woven through nearly every display.  Customers receive one free raffle ticket for every $25 they spend.  There are so many noteworthy items in the store, it’s impossible to name them all, but I’d like to highlight a few of the things that make Sweet Salvage stand out as a Local Treasure.

The Signs

Kathy makes all of her signs from salvaged items and turns them into unique works of art.  If you’re looking for a sign with a specific word on it, she will make it for you.  Hooks can be added for keys, coats, leashes, etc.  Among the many signs that are already made and for sale, here are a few: Love, Family, Syracuse, Farm House, Welcome, Angel,  Laundry, Leash, Keys, Mud Room, and the sign below (my personal favorite).

Scrap metal and wood turned into a unique and truly cool piece of art for your home, by owner Kathy Hastings

Custom signs abound.  There is a beautiful sign for a wedding couple, which can be customized with their names and wedding date.  There are signs for your location, including the name of your hometown and its geographical coordinates.  

Salvage Home Decor and Furniture

Genuinely clever items are everywhere, such as the wine glass rack below, made from salvaged wood, metal, and a rake.  Sweet Salvage offers yard ornaments, furniture made from repurposed items, antique furniture, custom made farm tables, among others.  

Notice the upside down wine glass hanging from the rake on the bottom plank of the sign

The hall tree below is partially made from an old door, with hooks and a bench added.  I’m confident you won’t find this anywhere else.

The bicycle wheels are not part of this item, and the sun sign hangs from the upper hooks of the hall tree

In addition, I briefly mentioned the yard ornaments.  Although the store sells more traditional garden ornaments for those with less wacky tastes (such as squirrels, frogs, etc. made from stone), there are many examples of fun and original yard ornaments both on the front lawn and upstairs that bring humor and delight to the yard and are made from salvaged materials.

Functional and Fun Items

Sweet Salvage carries Blue Q. oven mitts, dish towels and socks, which contain funny pictures and phrases; bird houses made from weathered wood; hanging plant holders wrapped with dried vines and covered with personality; candle holders made from old wine bottles and beads; soap that looks like giant gemstones.  There is more than I can list here, but knowing several friends might rush out and buy the item below, I am posting a picture because it’s so darn cute and totally functional.  If it’s gone when you arrive, ask if you can order another.

A great chalk message board for adults and/or kids

Unique Holiday Items

Christmas and winter-themed decorations are everywhere.  I came in looking for an ornament for each of my kids, and I walked out with one ornament and two Christmas decorations I hadn’t planned to buy.  These aren’t typical Christmas decorations; they are truly unique.  A few items to note: a light-up garland made from real pine cones; angels made from wood scraps; large wooden hanging snowflakes; sparkly deer statuettes; silver and white lanterns; furry elves, gnomes and animals; and the cutest statuettes of little birds wearing Santa hats (I couldn’t resist this last item; my family loves birds).  The metal trees below are so different from anything I have seen, I have been thinking about going back for one all afternoon.

Simple, but gorgeous

Apart from the cute bird statue wearing a Santa hat, the other item I couldn’t resist was one of the light-up winter canvases below.  Although it’s hard to see this feature in my picture, these canvas pictures have little holes that allow battery-operated lights to shine through, and the lights twinkle.  In the picture of candles on the top shelf (below), the flames light up; in the church underneath it, the windows glow; and so on.  Battery operated, with a timer option, the lights are ever so subtle but catch your attention.  These are made by Oak Street Wholesale out of Peoria, Illinois, and are really clever.  The shelf below shows the smaller canvases, but larger ones are available in the back of the store’s first floor.

Extra Notes

It’s time to wrap up, but there is so much more to share.  In addition to the items highlighted above, Sweet Salvage has all of the typical items you would expect to find in a gift shop: jewelry (Pink House handmade, Brighton, Element-ality), apparel (Mona B. clothing, Susan Joy handbags), The Soap Hag goat’s milk soap, “Naturally European” brand hand cream, and candles (Swan Creek Candle Company).  All of the products appear to be either locally made, Made in the USA, or are fair trade products.

Sweet Salvage is right in the heart of Jamesville, not far from the train tracks.  There are several other stores nearby that are worth noticing, too, so if you have a little time, wander around.  You might discover another Local Treasure!

Final note on every post: Please feel free to leave a comment below. If your comment pertains to your experience with the store, try to provide positive feedback or constructive criticism. This blog is intended to support local businesses; any complaints should be made directly to the business itself. Any posts that are threatening or contain objectionable language may be removed by the author.