Salt of the Earth in Liverpool, NY

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Salt Museum in Syracuse NY

Salt Museum, Liverpool NY

Salt Museum, Liverpool, NY

When you think of Syracuse you think of the University, the Carrier Dome, Destiny USA (formerly Carousel Center), even the State Fair. But there’s a reason its’ nickname is “Salt City.”

The history of halite production on the shores of nearby Onondaga Lake is legendary. The world’s most precious commodity is what caused the city to explode in size and importance.

On assignment in Liverpool yesterday, we got lucky and toured the Salt Museum on their last day of the season. They close for the winter but open again next Spring.

For over 125 years the briny waters of Lake Onondaga yielded several tons worth of course salt via evaporation and refined salt via thermal heat (boiling). The museum is built from the timbers of an original boiling block warehouse with actual kettles, wooden barrels and iron tools used during the industry’s heyday.

There are many reasons to love salt beyond preservation or seasoning. From playing a role in antiseptics like mouthwash to use as an abrasive cleaning agent, the chemical compound has been a vital ingredient throughout history. In fact, the technique of panning for it dates back to prehistoric times.

After our ‘salty sojourn,’ my producer Sara contemplated having lunch at Heid’s famous hotdog eatery. The classic 1917 joint is a road-food institution in Liverpool with lines of baby boomers queuing up and down the street.

Sara’s parents actually met and fell predictably in love at Heid’s. Who wouldn’t after enjoying two grilled-to-perfection Coneys with a side order of crispy onion rings washed down by the ever-popular red birch beer?

Unfortunately, we missed our opportunity to dine at Heid’s because of a nearby rowing regatta but don’t let that happen to you.

Satisfy your guilty pleasure for fast food by first biking, running or rollerblading around the Onondaga Lake Park. It’s free with plenty of parking and loaded with spooky black squirrels!