Today’s Blog Every Day in November (#BEDN) topic is on “Home Sweet Home.” I interpreted this subject a little differently, and mainly because I just returned from a little jaunt down the NYS Thruway to see some friends I’ve known since childhood. It’s kind of funny that I’ve spent more than half my life in Rochester and when I think about “home,” I still think about being a 1980s kid growing up in Syracuse.
I felt a little nostalgic when I rolled by the old Hafner’s Red Barn, which is now sadly closed. It was kind of a big deal when I was little and they used to have all sorts of interesting gifts. When my grandmother and aunt would come to stay with us for Christmas, we would always stop in for a visit. During the holidays, they used to decorate the entire second floor of the barn with Christmas trees. I remember it being pretty amazing. They were running a wine tasting room out of the barn about 7 or 8 years ago but that eventually closed as well.
This got me thinking about other old holiday shopping spots like Service Merchandise and that wacky conveyor belt, and a department store called Chappell’s where I would grab things like Tinkerbell nail polish and jelly shoes. I used to get my arts and craft supplies at Switz’s, but they were mainly known for their amazing Halloween costume selection. I remember hitting the Penn-Can Mall to go to Record Town, Johnny Jo Toys, and having some Pavone’s Pizza. While these places are all long gone, Hafner’s is still open but is primarily a major garden center located down the road from the old red barn. They still put up the holiday decor and have trees and wreaths available for purchase right now.
The red barn appears to be up for sale. I hope someone buys it and repurposes it into an event venue or something like that. It makes me sad that these special places from my childhood aren’t around anymore and I wish I had thought to document them. Growing up, you tend to think things will always be there and you don’t appreciate them as much. Thankfully I can still relive the memories and reminisce about these places with my peeps. I guess you can take the girl out of the ‘Cuse but you’ll never take the ‘Cuse out of the girl.