Fort Drum Bucket List | Events & Restaurants

One of the things I really wish I had done before Zach and I moved to Hawaii was research a little more. Not going to lie, when we moved to Oahu, we pretty much had no idea what to expect or what to do (except go to the beach of course) and, because of that, we didn’t spend nearly as much time as we could have exploring everything Hawaii has to offer. Not a mistake I want to make at our new duty station, Fort Drum, New York! So with that in mind, I’ve spent some time making our bucket list–and, because I wish I would have had access to a list like this, I’m sharing part one of our Fort Drum bucket list with you today!

Looking for fun events and restaurants to try around Fort Drum, NY? I'm sharing my Fort Drum bucket list (part 1) with my readers today!


Events around Fort Drum

Photo from New York State Fair

The New York State Fair: Fun fact: Zach’s and my first kiss was at a state fair so you might say that the fair holds a special place in my heart. (Plus I watched Meet Me in St Louis one two many times). Although we’ll be getting to New York a little too late this year to join in on the fun, we’re definitely marking the fair on our calendar for 2017.

Syracuse, New York
2016 dates: Aug 25 to Sept 5 | 2017 dates: Aug 24 to Sept 4
Open 10am to 10pm
Regular admission: $10 | Children under 12: Free

Memorial Day Watchfire: When I found out about this one-of-a-kind event–the Memorial Day Watchfire, I knew we had to put it on our bucket list.  The Watchfire stems from the military tradition that, following a battle or long march, a large fire would be started so those missing or lost could locate and rejoin their comrades. The event honors those who have served and those currently serving.

Brown Parking Lot, NY State Fairgrounds, Syracuse, New York
Tentative 2017 date: May 28, 2017
Dusk till 8:30pm

46th Annual Can-Am Festival: Celebrating the long-standing relationship between two neighboring countries, the Can-Am Festival includes a parade and tons of activities celebrating both Canada and the US.

Sackets Harbor, New York
July 15, 2017
8 to 9:30pm

New York State Festival of Balloons: I’m sooo excited to take in our very first balloon festival. While there are a ton of county balloon festivals throughout the area, I’m excited to visit this one especially.

Dansville, New York
Check the website for dates & other details
Admission: $5 | Children under 12: Free

Photo from Winterlude Ontario

Winterlude: Winterlude, the Capital’s winter celebration, is held in Ottawa Canada each February. Home to the world’s largest skating rink, an ice sculpture competitions and lots and lots of snow–there’s fun for the entire family!

Ottowa, Ontario
February 3-20, 2017
Check the website for hours & admission details

Empire State Winter Games: It’s the like the Winter Olympics of New York!

Events take place in different locations around Upstate New York
February 2-5, 2017
Check the website for hours & admission details

Restaurants to Try

You knew with how much we love food in this house that restaurants we want to try had to make it on this list, right? Zach and I are really excited that most of our favorite chain restaurants are in close proximity to post but we also want to try lots of local fare. And since Fort Drum is really close to the Canadian border and Lake Ontario, I’m excited to share all the seafood and traditional New England fair I grew up eating with Zach.

The Sackets Boathouse Restaurant & Bar: Located right on the water in an old boathouse built in the 40s, The Sackets Boathouse specializes in seafood (of course!) and simple, appealing menus for foodies of every age. I’m really excited to enjoy their outdoor seating on the dock and their extensive mixed drink menu.

Photo from Sackets Boathouse Restaurant

Sackets Harbor, New York
Monday-Thursday & Sunday 11:30 to 9 |  Friday & Saturday 11:30 to 10
Lunch— $10 to $20 | Dinner $15 to $25

Maggie’s on the River: Touted as one of the best lunch spots in Watertown and home to the best hamburgers in the area, Maggie’s on the River sits on the banks of the Black River just a skip and a hop away from Fort Drum. Zach and I are big burger fans (added points for being able to watch football while we eat) so the Chipotle Burger & Apple Harvest Burger are definitely on our must-try list.

Watertown, New York
Monday-Friday 11-1 |  Saturday & Saturday 10-1
Open for brunch and lunch — $15 to $25

The Mission Restaurant: Not your regular New England fair here! The Mission Restaurant, in Syracuse, is known for their vibrant Mexican flavors with a modern twist.

Syracuse, New York
Monday-Thursday 11-9 |  Saturday & Saturday 5-9

Tin Pan Galley: Open seasonally, the Tin Pan Galley specializes in creative breakfast, lunch & dinner menus with interesting twists like Lemon Ricotta Pancakes, Creme Brulee French Toast, Duck Confit Poutine, Lobster Mac & Cheese, & New Zealand Lamb. Honestly, I couldn’t find anything on the menu that didn’t sound delicious!!

Photo from

Sackets Harbor, New York
Check their hours here.
Brunch, Lunch & Dinner — $15 to $30

Let’s Talk:

So what did you think of our Fort Drum bucket list part one? If you’ve lived in the area, what are some restaurants or seasonal activities that you recommend we check out?

Fort Drum Local and Outdoor Attractions List — Coming Soon

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  • I love the idea of making a bucket list before you PCS so you already have some ideas of what you want to do before you even get there! I will probably be stealing this idea when we find out where we’re heading next, but that won’t be until next June! 🙂

    • Ooh I can’t wait to hear where you’re headed–and all the fun things you’re planning on doing once you find out! I’m definitely hoping the bucket list will help us explore the area a lot more. 🙂

  • This is a great list! I’m excited to read about all of your adventures when you accomplish these things 🙂

  • I LOVE Winterlude! What an awesome list – can’t wait to see all your adventures when you do them!

  • Great list, I’ve added most of them to my list as well! I really haven’t done and research on restaurants so I am excited to check some of these out 🙂

  • Jen

    I love making bucket lists. Ours in Hawaii was clutch for seeing and doing things we never would have done without a list pushing us. Some of these Fort Drum activities look pretty cool, I’m so excited for you guys!

    • Thanks Jen–I’ve always really loved how you share posts about the places you see and do–hope you’ll continue that for Carson too!

  • Our old neighbors went to Fort Drum — I hope you love it! This bucket list looks great!

  • We’ve had a few people we know go up to Drum. Everyone seems to love it!

    • That’s good to know–I’ve heard lots of mixed reviews but I think if we can get over the temperature change, we’ll learn to love it too. 🙂