Oct 1, 2014

Exploring Route 20 in New York State

Route 20 is the longest road in the United States starting in Kenmore Square in Boston, Massachusetts and ending in Newport, Oregon.  It is 3,365 miles from coast to coast. Each state, working alone and in conjunction with adjoining states, is trying to promote the road to the benefit of all the towns, villages, accommodations, restaurants, and tourist attractions along the way.  What they need is a TV show and a song similar to the one about Route 66. The song and TV show made Route 66 a “gotta’ do” for many tourists and even though the show ran from 1960 to 1964 it still pays off for tourist attractions along the way.  By the way, Route 66 is only 2,451 miles long.

In New York, State Route 20 is 372.32 miles long making it the longest surface road in NYS. It starts at the Massachusetts state line and runs south of the NYS Thruway turning near Buffalo and following Lake Erie to Pennsylvania and onward across the country.  With the exception of Albany it doesn’t go through any large cities but connects wonderful towns and villages separated by beautiful countryside. Any portion of Route 20 will make a great day trip or, better yet, spend a couple days staying at one of the lovely inns or B&Bs along the way. Visit the local attractions plus there are also great places to dine.  Considering driving Route 20 in just one county.

Schoharie County
John and I recently explored Schoharie County.  Schoharie County
calls itself “Picture Perfect” with good reason. The scenery is beautiful and fall is a great time to buy fresh farm produce and/or take a walk in the woods. Where Route 20 and Route 30 meets there is a sign that leads to Landis Arboretum, a 548-acre public garden featuring plants, trees, old-growth forest, hiking trails and educational activities. It is also “New York’s Land of Caves” as it is home to Howe Caverns, the largest cave in the Northeast.  We have been several times and the thrill is always the same, especially on the boat ride on the underground river. The Secret Caverns are on my “To-do” list.

Madison County
Route 20 along the stretch that includes Bouckville is a treasure trove of items for the antique hunter. The lovely village of Cazenovia on the lake of the same name is home to Cazenovia College, many fine shops, restaurants, and historic inns and historic Lorenzo. The Lorenzo Visitor Center has an introductory video and several informative displays. The house overlooking the lake is worth a visit in its own right but the gardens are wonderful. I loved the double hedge of white pine, hemlock and Norway spruce area called Dark Alley.

Cayuga County
Auburn is an excellent destination with something for everyone.
John and I once spent the night at the Holiday Inn so we would have more time to take in the sites plus attend a play at Merry-Go-Round Playhouse in the evening.  The Seward House is a powerhouse of historic information. Auburn is home of Harriet Tubman, known as “The Moses of Her People.”  The Willard Memorial Chapel has outstanding examples of Tiffany glass.

In Oswego County one of my favorite day trips is to Salmon River Falls with a stop at the Salmon River Hatchery and now that we can also stop at Tailwater Lodge for a meal it is even more enticing.