Potsdam is the unofficial cultural center of the County, with two universities – Clarkson University and the State University of New York at Potsdam, which is also the home of the Crane School of Music. People of over 40 nationalities live, study and work in Potsdam – a truly diverse world. The village includes a wide array of restaurants and niche shops. Enjoy ethnic foods from Chinese to Moroccan, plus small cafes and wine bars.
The St. Lawrence Arts Council gallery located on Main Street features works from local artist and artisans, from painting to stained glass, from weaving to wood turned bowls. The gallery also offers special entertainment and showings throughout the year.
On Main Street, across from the Clarkson Inn, Asian World Imports which features handmade items from artisans in Nepal, Burma, Vietnam, Thailand and more. The products are all Fair Trade. Then, only a couple of doors away, is St. Lawrence Chocolates, where gourmet chocolate is made on site and visitors can watch through a large picture window into the kitchen. Enjoy creams, clusters, truffles, as well as hand-dunked pretzels and cookies, plus a large selection of solids and chocolate pops.
And for a real cultural adventure check out the Hookah House. This lounge features smoking a hookah pipe, a Middle East water pipe used for smoking herbs and fruits. No tobacco or illegal substances here.
Stroll along the banks of the Raquette River behind the Clarkson Inn; explore the Potsdam Public Museum which features rotating exhibits of life in this historic town; or just drive around and take in the breath taking sandstone architecture. In the winter season, catch a hockey game at either of the two colleges, or plan an afternoon skating on the public rink at Pine Street arena. There are plenty of places to stay whether a stately bed and breakfast or the Victorian-styled Clarkson Inn, or maybe the family-owned Smalling or Northern Family Motels. Butternut Ridge B&B closer to the town of Colton on a quiet country road and offers all the comforts of home.
Potsdam bustles during the first weekend in July with the Potsdam Summer Festival. The south section of Market is street is closed to traffic, and a music stage goes up. There are sidewalk sales, craft show, antique car show, food, entertainment and class reunions. There is a beach at Pine Street, as well as one about 4 miles out of town in the community of Hannawa Falls. The Postwood Park beach is a shady and sandy spot on the Raquette River.
Entertainment is another feature of this small town. The Community Performance Series sponsors various musical and professional theater productions at SUNY Potsdam. The Crane School of Music at SUNY Potsdam, hosts student, professor and professional concerts throughout the college year. The student and faculty concerts are free and open to the public. SUNY Potsdam is also home to the Orchestra of Northern New York which performs special concerts several times during the year.
There is a plethora of local bands playing on any given weekend at pubs and restaurants around the village in all styles of music from jazz to country, rock to alternative. The Village of Norwood is also located in the town of Potsdam just 5 miles north on State Highway 56. This is the home of the Norwood Village Green Concert Series, the longest running music series in the North Country. The concerts begin the end of May and go through the end of July, every Thursday and Sunday evenings. The line up includes local musicians, special performers from New England and Canada, and a few international performers who may be in the country for special visits.
Outdoor recreation is abundant around the Potsdam area. Stroll the streets, or head out of town on the Sandstone Trail which follows the Raquette River from Potsdam to Hannawa Falls. Postwood Park in Hannawa Falls also includes hiking trails at the beach. Rent a canoe and enjoy the scenery from the Raquette River.
Potsdam is 10 miles northeast of Canton, 21 miles south of Massena and 29 miles southeast of Ogdensburg.
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