A Very Fine Summer

A crowd gathers on the grounds of the Sodus Bay Lighthouse Museum to enjoy a concert. Photo courtesy the Sodus Bay Lighthouse Museum.
By Karen Shughart

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.  Seasonal 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 pubs, or purchase California rolls and Bao buns, specialized coffee, baked goods, barbecue, and tacos from food trucks – permanent and temporary – that circle our village like covered wagons.

July 4th weekend brings more traffic – hundreds, maybe thousands from around our region – for classic car and kiddie parades, craft and artisan festivals, fun runs, entertainment, and a spectacular display of fireworks, beginning at 10 p.m., the 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.

After that, more visitors from across this country and countries from around the world descend upon our village to partake in the scenic beauty, pristine beaches, hiking trails, fishing spots, museums, lighthouses, and music. There’s lots of music. Often, during the week, with our windows open we can hear country western, rock, jazz or blues bands vibrating from nearby local bars and restaurants.

Sunday afternoons our historical society and museum sponsors concerts in the park on the bluff overlooking the lake. It’s a quick stroll from our house to the park, an essential Sodus Point experience.  Motorboats anchor, sailboats drift lazily, and pedestrians spread blankets or open pop-up chairs to sit and listen to an array of diverse music, while munching on hot dogs and sausage, popcorn, and ice cream. Each Tuesday there’s Music at the Gazebo at Oscar Fuerst Field, located at the entrance to our business district.

Many of our friends and family visit during this time of year. There’s lots to do: sunbathing, swimming, walks along 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 to feed the furry residents. Friends with boats take us and our guests on tours of the bay, or for longer sojourns we can rent a pontoon.

Late in August the seasonal residents begin to pack up and leave.  School is starting, soccer and football practice, too. Tourism wanes, but visitors 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 very fine summer.


Karen Shughart is the author of the Edmund DeCleryk cozy mystery series, published by Cozy Cat Press. She has also co-written two additional mysteries with Cozy Cat authors, two non-fiction books, and is a blogger at Ladies of Mystery, www.ladiesofmystery.com.  A member of CWA, North America Chapter, and F.L.A.R.E. (Finger Lakes Authors and Readers Experience), she lives with her husband, Lyle, in Sodus Point, NY.  Her books are available in multiple formats at local gift shops and bookstores and at Amazon.

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