By Mark Ziobro
Mohawk Valley residents know where to find art if they want to. Sculpture Space. The Tram. Munson Williams Proctor Art Museum. But who would have thought that one can find an authentic Parisian experience in the heart of the Mohawk Valley, less than 30 minutes away by car?
Little Falls, NY is known for its art and culture; its canal walks (and, of late, its use for the Hollywood film “A Quiet Place”). However, what I discovered last weekend was a quaint experience I wasn’t expecting. A friend an I took on the adventure of biking to Little Falls this past weekend (that’s bicycle, not Harley), and, while we had taken in the sights many times before, had never had the opportunity to take lodging at the Canal Side Inn. Our experience was something out of a Paris textbook, and not something we were at all expecting.
One is easily tired after a 25 mile bike ride from Utica to Little Falls. A quick perusing of hotel options gave us two: the area Travelodge, at a price of $95, or the Canal Side Inn for the price of $125; our decision to opt for the Canal Side Inn couldn’t have been better.
Walking into to our room, we were confronted with appointments of majestic proportions. An expansive entry foyer….exposed brick bedroom, antique couches, chairs, boudoirs. A small bedroom closet and a giant, walk in one inside a spacious walk in bathroom that is larger than the bedroom itself. Books on wine, Paris, food.
The Inn itself sits above the Canal Side restaurant, which is as welcoming and cozy as the lodgings above. The restaurant features a bar menu for hotel guests that aren’t up for the full fare – of which the establishment is plentiful in. The menu itself boasts such fare as fish, biftek, Mediterranean chicken, and Porc Robert. Calamari, crevettes, and Salade Capri line their h’ours d’oeuvres. Additionally, their wine menu is extensive, featuring reds, whites, and roses. They features a plethora of cocktails. The wait staff is also very helpful and cordial, and the restaurant’s interior is warm and welcoming.
What makes Little Falls the perfect weekend getaway, in addition to the aforementioned amenities, is its proximity to main street and Canal Place – both of which feature arts, coffees and teas, antiques, and its lovely canal walk. While the weather is still nice, the brisk but very doable walk offers the chance to unwind from the city and take in the scenery (even more picturesque as the fall leaves continue to change color). Hikers can be seen around Moss Island, and there is typically no shortage of rock climbers and repellers roping down the side of Moss Island’s subtle yet challenging cliffs.
We’re lucky enough to live in a rather robust area that has access to hamlets like Little Falls that are only a short drive away. If you’re a biking enthusiast, why not give cycling a try:? The whole trip roughly three hours (with breaks), and you have the benefit of clearing your mind while also taking in the scenery.
Note: you can find Canal Side’s menu online at www.canalsideinn.com. Our suite was called ‘The Boucuse’ (which I inferred was named after the famous French chef Paul Boucuse, who died this year at the age of 91). The hotel has bike parking out back in a locked cage, and they offer free breakfast the next morning via voucher at the Ann Street Cafe, which I felt was a nice touch.
Looking for a taste of Paris? Look no further than the Canal Side Inn. A friend of mine from France told me Little Falls translates to ‘Petite Cascades. ‘That just sounds nice, doesn’t it?