When you don't know an area very well, you tend to discredit it as a place to live. Or you frantically try to find out as much information about it as you can. Well, I'm here to help you discover some of the ins and outs of living in Camillus.
Online map services and GPS systems can help you get from place to place, but they don't always tell you when you're driving out to Gillie Lake for the first time, you start to think you've gone wrong somewhere even if you haven't. They also won't tell you that drving past the high school when summer school lets out is like target practice, except you're not supposed to hit the students targets. Most importantly, they don't tell you that the easiest way to get onto 690 from Fairmount is to take Milton Ave. to Horan to 695. Sure, you can take Genesee Street to 695, but if your timing is off you'll get stuck at every light. By the way, Fairmount is part of the town of Camillus, but it's not a village. It is where you'll find a fair chunk of the local businesses.
Some things are pretty easy to figure out, like grocery shopping. There's Wegman's and P & C, plus the WalMart Supercenter, all easily accessed. If you're a Price Chopper fan, you'll have to go to Western Lights. I humbly admit that I lived in Syracuse for several years before I knew how to get to Western Lights, because whenever I asked someone for directions they would say things like, "Oh, you know, you go up Onondaga." Wait. Onondaga Road crosses Onondaga Boulevard, not to mention that there's also Onondaga Ave., Onondaga Creek Blvd., Onondaga Lake Parkway and Onondaga Street! I was a transplantee here, folks, I needed specifics. At any rate, I've digressed.
Back to the list of the obvious. Most of what you need on a regular basis can be found on Genesee Street: pharmacies, restaurants, fast food, gas stations, banks, dry cleaners. But don't forget about the smaller businesses on Milton Ave., down in the village, and the recently revamped plaza at the corner of Milton and Hinsdale. Diagonal from the plaza is the Home Depot plaza, also undergoing some changes. I saw that Dunn's Tires, currently on Onondaga Road near Milton put up a big sign that they will be moving to Home Depot plaza soon.
A little bit trickier to get to are some of the schools. Especially East Hill Elementary, and if you've got kids that are playground age, you're going to want to know how to get there because they have a fabulous playground. From Genesee Street across from Orchard Village, turn onto Parsons and go to the end. Turn right, and there's the school. I cannot begin to tell you how many different ways people would swear to me were easier. Getting to Stonehedge and West Genesee Middle is pretty easy, it 's just a little annoying to and from Hinsdale Road. Vanida will get you there, and it has a light at the corner of Genesee.
What Camillus doesn't seem to have is a book store. We have stores with books in them, but for me it's just not the same. There is a used book store in Westvale Plaza in Westvale, and for times when I don't want to deal with Carousel Mall, it serves me well.
Now, one of the nice summer time things about Camillus has got to be the ice cream shops. The ones my family frequents are on Milton, Genesee and Chapel Drive. They're all pretty close to each other, and they're all close to the ever popular Fairmount Glen Miniature Golf course.
One last little thought, and that's Shove Park (pronounced with a long O), because in many ways it is the quintessential park: grass, trees, multiple play areas, a stream with a bridge, ball fields, and up top is the ice rink. I was glad to see that someone (the town?) put up small directional signs to it a few years ago. But in just case, from Genesee St., just west of the fire station, take Whedon Road to Slawson and the entrance to the park will be on your left.