Local residents have long enjoyed the breathtaking views of Skaneateles Lake, in the heart of the Finger Lakes region of upstate New York.
Now, views of the lake and other village landmarks are available to all via Skaneateles' new webcam, perched atop the Packwood House on Genesee Street.
"The SkanCam allows people to 'be' in the village 24/7 from anywhere around the world," says Susan Dove, executive director of the Skaneateles Area Chamber of Commerce. "They'll be able to see Dickens Christmas, the high school graduation, summer band concerts and other events taking place year-round in the village.
"We expect to get a lot of traffic from people who call Skaneateles home -- current and former residents, people with vacation homes, people with family in the area -- as well as tourists."
By clicking on the "start" button, users can control the camera for 45 seconds -- zeroing in on Clift Park, boathouses, shopping, Skaneateles Lake, the Sherwood Inn, the gazebo, or the pier and gazebo. Users can also zoom in and out and control the backlighting.
The SkanCam, which launched in late September, was brought to fruition by a Chamber committee headed by Dale Zabel, owner of Aunt Louise's Lake House. Coburn Design of Auburn created the logo; Leo's Body Shop built the structure the camera sits on; Clay Caldwell of JB Kane researched and installed the camera; and Clickdriven Media Group integrated the webcam into the site and oversaw other site enhancements.
"It really was a community effort," Dove said. "It wouldn't have happened without the vision and hard work of many of our members, or the generosity of Michael Falcone from the Packwood House in allowing us to place the camera on his building."
The Sherwood Inn is the SkanCam's main sponsor, but other sponsorships are still available. For more information, call the Chamber at 685-0552.
Among other enhancements to the Chamber Web site are:
a new look to the home page
a new event calendar, to which organizations can submit their own listings
expanded economic development information
white and yellow pages of the Skaneateles phone directory
The SkanCam page has been getting 600 to 800 views each week, and the Chamber's Web site had 88,000 unique visitors last year. Dove says this year's goal for the site is 100,000 unique visitors, with much of the growth coming from the SkanCam.
The site is at skaneateles.com.