Once, Utica boomed with textile mills and the wealth that the Erie Canal brought it . In the early 1900s, Immigrants flocked in from Germany and Italy to live the American dream. As waterways became less important, the town no longer boomed, but the romantic remains of the Erie Canal and role it played in the industrial growth of New York gives Utica a weight of history.
The Fountain Elms, a Victorian mansion once home to the Munson and Proctor families, is now a museum that reflects the elegance and charm of the Erie Canal days and retains the families' art collections. The more contemporary Munsen-Williams-Proctor Institute next door houses artistic treasures from such greats as Picasso, Dali and Pollock. Between the two buildings, there are 20 galleries and over 25,000 works of art. The Utica Zoo has over 300 species of animals, and the Children's Museum has excellent hands-on exhibits on the environment, outer space, and regional history. Finally, one-hour tours are given at the Saranac Brewery, after which tourists are given a trolley ride to an 1888 pub. There, they are treated to a mug of brew or root beer, depending on their age. The tour, trolley ride, and treat are more than worth the three dollar tab.
Utica is 90 miles west of Albany and 50 miles east of Syracuse on I-90. Look over the links on the left-hand sidebar for more information on Utica.