It’s like a grand, sweeping piece of classical music, starting out slowly and gradually building until it reaches a crescendo; imperceptibly winding down and then soaring to a breathtaking ending.
That’s pretty much what it’s like living in Sodus Point in the summer. Located on the south shore of Lake Ontario, we have seasons, defined seasons, and for three-fourths of the year it’s quiet. There are fewer than 900 permanent residents.
The switch is flipped, starting around Memorial Day. There’s an increase in activity. Summer residents begin readying their cottages for warm weather. Tourists, staying at inns and rented homes, stroll our streets, visit our attractions, line up for ice cream, dine on the decks of our waterfront restaurants, or purchase California rolls and bao buns, specialized coffee, baked goods, barbecue, and tacos from food trucks that circle a parking lot like covered wagons.
July 4th weekend brings more traffic-hundreds; maybe thousands from around our region-for classic car and kiddie parades, craft shows, fun runs and a spectacular display of fireworks, beginning at 10 p.m. Our days are long this time of year. We watch the fireworks from our front porch, the jostling crowds and traffic too challenging for the likes of us, and the noise unsettling for our small Beagle, Nova.
A week or two later more visitors from across this country-and pre-pandemic-countries from around the world, descend upon our village to partake of the scenic beauty, pristine beaches, hiking trails, fishing spots, museums, lighthouses, gift shops, great food, and music. There’s lots of music.
Summer is when our historical society and museum sponsors nine weeks of Sunday afternoon concerts in the park on a bluff overlooking the lake. Motorboats anchor, sailboats drift lazily, and pedestrians spread blankets or unfold chairs to listen to a diverse selection of music while munching on hot dogs and sausage, popcorn, and ice cream. Often, during the week, music vibrates through our windows from bars and restaurants lining our business district.
Most of our friends and family visit during summer months. There’s lots to do: sunbathing on the beach, simple meals cooked on the grill, visits to wineries, farm stands and orchards, and to our local farm animal rescue shelter; be sure to bring bags of carrots and apples for feeding the residents. Friends with boats take us and our guests on tours of the bay or for longer sojourns, we rent pontoons. Although we can hear the Sunday concerts from our front porch, it’s a quick stroll to the park, and part of a must-do Sodus Point experience.
Late in August the summer people begin pack up and leave. School is starting, soccer and football practice, too. Tourism wanes, but the crowds return to celebrate Labor Day weekend. It’s the grand finale: an annual clambake sponsored by our ambulance association; the final concert on the bluff; and another sumptuous fireworks display. Soon, very soon, there will be quiet on our streets with the promise of autumn in the air, a breathtaking ending to a fine summer.