Don’t stop in Cazenovia unless you’re prepared to be assaulted by America the way it used to be.

Since it was founded in 1793 by John Lincklaen (he built Lorenzo House—post to follow), the town has had a lot of time to practice being congenial.

People in this village (population just under 3,000) are friendly, kind, and welcoming. One day it was adolescent girls we passed returning from the lake, greeting us with, “Good morning!” Another evening, it was the elderly gent waving as he played classic rock at the mini-car show. They made us feel we belonged.

Having been in Washington, DC recently and finding the White House secret service man armed with an automatic rifle to be the friendliest on the streets, Cazenovia was refreshing.

And very Mayberry, RFD.

Even the police waved hello.

A lovely lake, even on a gray day.

Cazenovia Lake bustled with activity at 9:00 in the morning as kids and adults prepared for a day of fun in and on the water. Wandering there Thursday evening, we discovered the summer concert series and listened to the bodacious voice of the singer with the jazz band, JT Hall.

Cazenovia Lake

Cazenovia Lake

You’ve gotta love the cafe named Latte Da! and sitting in the window seat watching people greet each other up and down the street. Dining in the 100-year-old Lincklaen House was a treat from service-to-food-to-marveling at how many conversations must have echoed off the thick stone walls.

The shops are quaint and visiting with the proprietors is sure to be delightful, from the chocolatier’s to the British co-owner of Lavender Blue. She was kind enough to direct this Welsh-heritage woman to a walk around the Welsh Church and cemetery located east of town. Do those tombs belong to distant relatives of the Griffith clan that settled in my little part of Pennsylvania? While there, an elderly woman arrived with watering cans to pep up the potted flowers on the porch. She let us know that church is held only in the summers on Sunday evenings. Next trip, we’ll plan around that.

Little white, Welsh Church, Cazenovia

Welsh Church, Cazenovia

Scrumptious dining

Emma’s Cafe served up a delicious lunch—don’t skip the chowder. The owners share casual conversation, know the locals by name and make visitors feel comfortable—come on back anytime.

Seeking out Italian food everywhere we travel, we didn’t want to miss dining at BG Buda’s. The staff was hospitable and laughed at us laughing at the massive bottles of wine with a pump decanting system. The food—salmon and seafood pasta—was as delicious as it was attractive.

The town boasts Cazenovia College, founded in 1824 and evolving many times to be included in US News Best Regional Colleges for 12 consecutive years, including 2016. We walked by the town library located in a Greek Revival house as the folks prepared for a weekend book sale—it was all my itchy reader fingers could do to keep from crashing it early. Maybe they wouldn’t have minded.

Being in Cazenovia reminded me that specifics connect us. With the exchange of words, the making of eye-contact, and genuine interest in others, we decrease our differences and hopefully spread a little of the Cazenovia attitude outward.

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Read: An Italian City to Discover: Camogli