Clifton Springs was a relatively unknown settlement in the Finger Lakes Region until the mid 19th century. At that time, Dr. Henry Foster, a medical doctor from Vermont, was seeking a cure for many maladies, and the sulphur springs in the area were thought to provide healing powers to help people lead active and healthy lives. He purchased 10 acres of ground in 1849 and through his savings and investments, was able to build a water cure structure where patients were charged for room, board and medical care. At one time, Clifton Springs was well known throughout the eastern United States and visitors flocked to the village. The cleansing benefits of the waters are still accessible today at The Springs, a part of the Clifton Springs Hospital.
The village grew around the water cure facilities and today stands as a quaint community with Victorian-era architecture and period buildings. It has a picturesque downtown, restaurants, museums, art galleries and shops. Various community events occur throughout the year, and cold weather doesn’t stop people from having fun! This November and December, the village in northern Ontario County offers events and a festival that showcase how the residents cherish their hometown.
Small Business Saturday
Clifton Springs has participated in Small Business Saturday since 2012, two years after its inception. Held on the Saturday after Thanksgiving, it is part of the Shop Small movement which encourages people to support the local shops and restaurants that make communities distinctive and strong.
The Clifton Springs Chamber of Commerce sponsors a Small Business Saturday drawing. One lucky person wins $250 in Clifton Springs Gift Certificates. They are accepted at 20-plus places including specialty shops, restaurants, salons, etc. Select art, books, décor, flowers, food, gas, hardware, a new hairstyle, a manicure or some combination thereof. Visitors may fill out drawing entry slips at a dozen or so locations. No purchase is necessary, and someone will win. For more information, call 315-462-8200.
Festival of Lights
December 6 from 5 to 8 p.m.
A community tree-lighting tradition evolved into a full Festival of Lights beginning in 1999 for locals who cherish their hometown, and guests who describe the experience as stepping into a Currier & Ives scene, a Norman Rockwell painting or the cutest snow globe.
Thousands of lights showcase exceptional Victorian-era architecture. Talented ballerinas perform in the middle of Main Street to the delight of spectators, including those who never knew they liked ballet. Public access to the former Clifton Springs Sanitarium, now the Spa Apartments, is limited. Take advantage of the opportunity at the festival to view a rare 16- by 6-foot Louis Comfort Tiffany mosaic of the Last Supper.
Also enjoy ice sculpting, food, free horse drawn wagon rides, Christmas caroling, great shopping in a hassle-free environment, and plenty of goodies.