Beat the Winter Chill with Five Indoor Activities

For a few months each year, Central New York is a winter wonderland, and for outdoor lovers, there is no end to cold weather sports and activities. But if you prefer to stay warm and cozy in those chilly months, there’s plenty to do, too. Here are some ideas for fun wintertime ideas that won’t leave you freezing.


Oneida Mansion House

Winter at OneidaIn 1848, a utopian community was formed in Oneida. For 33 years, 300 members lived and worked together as one unit. The religious-based group disbanded in 1880, largely due to outside skepticism about their way of life. The Oneida Community transformed themselves into the joint-stock corporation that eventually became Oneida Ltd., one of the largest producers of tableware in the world. Today, visitors can learn about the origins of the utopian community and tour the house to see how they lived out their daily shared existence. Rooms are available for overnight stays. Be sure to check out their eclectic calendar of events that are open to the public (some free, others at an additional cost). See here for tour schedule. Admission: Adults $5; Students (with ID): $3; Children under 12 are free.


Paint and Sip

paintnsipRelax with friends, sip on a glass of wine, and unleash your creative spirit at one of these local venues. Art & Vine in Utica and Painting with a Twist in New Hartford operate in similar fashions. Register for an artist-led class and show up at your appointed time. They’ll supply aprons and art supplies and guide you through the creation of a selected work of art, which you’ll take home with you. Artistic experience is not necessary. Art & Vine sells beer and wine and does not allow guests to bring their own, while Painting with a Twist is a BYOB establishment. Prices vary depending on the classes.


Satisfy a Sweet Tooth

HipStirWinter was made for sweet treats and our area has them in abundance, from classic Italian favorites like cannoli, pasticciotti, and cheesecake to crowd-pleasing half-moon cookies, brownies and cupcakes. Add a winter-spiced latte, a rich hot chocolate, or just a steaming cup of coffee for an afternoon of delectable treats. Local favorites include: Utica: Florentine Pastry Shop, Hemstrought’s Bakeries, Caruso’s Pastry Shop, Bite Bakery and Café, Sweet Escape, Utica Coffee Roasting Co. (also in Clinton), Character Coffee. Rome: Spresso’s. Oneida: Hipstir Café.


Shako:wi Cultural Center

ShakowiExplore the fascinating history of the Native American people that Oneida County is named for. The white-pine building that houses the center is a worthy sight in its own right. Inside, the exhibits aim to educate and inform the public about the Oneida people, who have lived in the region for thousands of years. Displays include samples of handcrafted beadwork, an exhibit about the Oneida Indian Nation’s connection to the sport of lacrosse, and an extensive basket collection, which was once an important source of income. Elaborate, life-sized panoramic displays also bring the Oneida peoples’ culture and traditions to life. Admission is free.

Turning Stone Resort and Casino

LodgeAtTurningStoneFor the past 25 years, Turning Stone has been transforming itself into a world-class resort. Now, with four hotels offering a range of accommodation styles, it’s become a destination unto itself—and what better way to wait out the bad weather? There’s something here to suit everyone: a Las Vegas-style gaming floor, two spas, nightlife venues, live performances, and some of the best dining in the area. There are more than 20 eating establishments—highlights include Pino Bianco, whose Sicilian-born chef serves up dishes inspired by northern Italy, Upstate Tavern, where you can sample those special dishes that the region is known for, and TS Steakhouse, where you can dine surrounded by the beautiful view from the Tower.

Have a look at some of our previous posts for more indoor ideas: Oneida County for Art Lovers and Heart of New York Craft Beverage Trail.