13 Ways to Find Summer Fun in Madison County

Summer 2022
Illustration by Claire Rollet

Some might assume that activity in Hamilton ceases when Colgate students leave for the summer, but a quick look at the calendar proves this wrong. From farmer’s markets to parades to bonfires, Hamilton and the surrounding area remain a hub of activity throughout the warmer months. Some even describe summer as the best time of year to be in the area. “It’s a really special time,” says Becca Landry ’24, who has spent her last two summers on campus. After surveying students, Colgate Magazine compiled the top 13 ways to enjoy the Chenango Valley all summer long.

  1. Seven Oaks Golf Course: Hit a few rounds at Seven Oaks, which is newly renovated but still holds the same classic charm that earned it the #8 Golfers’ Choice title for top college courses. 
  2. Rexford Falls: Nestled in woods 12 miles from campus lie these historic falls. A 0.8-mile hike to this site will not only allow you to view the natural Rexford waterfall but also traverse its famed bowstring truss bridge and take a dip in the swimming hole.
  3. Stone Quarry Hill Art Park: Spanning more than 100 acres of rolling fields and pathways, the park features dozens of intricate sculptures both large and small. 
  4. Hamilton Movie Theater: Catch the summer’s biggest blockbusters as well as niche films at the historic Hamilton Movie Theater. Since its founding in 1895, Hamilton Theater has been a hub for entertainment.
  5. Hamilton Farmers’ Market: Everything from locally grown fruits and vegetables to handcrafted jewelry and pottery are available at the Farmers’ Market. Operating every Saturday afternoon from May through October on the Village Green, the market is a staple for locals, students, and visitors.
  6. Thursdays on the Village Green: Throughout the summer, Hamilton hosts a concert series known simply as Thursdays on the Village Green. In addition to musical performances, the event also includes kid-friendly attractions such as puppet and magic shows.
  7. Hen, the Cazenovia Mummy: Travel back in time with a trip to the Cazenovia Public Library, where you can visit Hen, a 2,000-year-old mummy, as well as dozens of other Egyptian artifacts brought to the library’s museum in 1894. Before starting your trek back to Hamilton, make sure to say hello to Page, the friendly library cat.
  8. Chittenango Wild Animal Park: Take a peek at the wilder side of Madison County at The Wild Animal Park in Chittenango. The park features all manner of exotic creatures, including giraffes, tigers, red kangaroos, and zebras.
  9. Madison-Bouckville’s Antique Week: Taking place twice yearly in June and August, visitors can explore antiques, collectibles, and memorabilia from more than 2,000 vendors spread out among 13 fields. 
  10. Critz Farms Summer Solstice Bonfire and Food Truck Rodeo: In mid-June, this event includes food trucks, live music, outdoor games, a bonfire, and of course, Critz Farms’ animals. In addition, adults can visit the farm’s Tasting Room for hard ciders and craft beers. 
  11. Good Nature Brewery: Grab a bite to eat and something special to drink at Good Nature Brewery, within walking distance of campus. This beloved spot, owned by Carrie Blackmore ’08, features a taproom, farm-to-table dining options, and a spacious beer garden.
  12. Lebanon Reservoir: Outdoor enthusiasts enjoy Lebanon Reservoir, just 10 minutes from campus. Visitors can rent kayaks and paddleboats as well as take a dip off the sandy shore. In addition to the reservoir, there are picnic areas, campsites, and mini-golf.
  13. 4th of July Parade: To experience a true Hamilton tradition, look no further than the annual July 4th parade. Combining live music, parade floats, and plenty of red, white, and blue, this annual gathering is one of the most popular village events of the year.