Jul 27, 2015

Traveling New York's Route 20

Everyone has heard of Route 66 but few know of historic U.S. Route 20.  It extends from Boston, Massachusetts to Newport, Oregon. Spanning 3,365 miles Route 20 is the longest road in the United States.  It roughly parallels Interstate 90. The more famous Route 66, called the Main Street of America, is 2,451 miles in length. New York and other states are promoting tourism along Route 20. I have chatted with people along the route in New York State and they admit that they are having a problem making people aware of the great things to see
along the way. Why, they wonder.  The remedy is simple.  Route 20 needs two things - a popular song and TV show.  Those are the reasons Route 66 is so well known.  Route 20 is life in the slow lane that goes through quaint villages, historic sites, with great scenery along the way and traverses Yellowstone National Park.  I would love to drive the entire route someday and visit Yellowstone, one of the places on my Bucket List.

John and I have driven several segments of Route 20 in New York. There are many quaint shops, restaurants and things to see just within a short diversion from Route 20. There are my favorite stops along the route; however, each is worthy of a day trip. New York State Department of Tourism and the Route 20 Association have brochures to help people plan their exploration of this historic byway. The brochure shows side trips from each location. 

Sharon Springs is an historic spa town that seems frozen in time but
the reality show, The Fabulous Beekman Boys, brought fame, and tourists, to the little town. The reality show followed the adventure of the city boys as they learned to become farmers. We visited their trendy store, Beekman 1802, where the product are locally made, some the result of their farming. They do most of their business on-line.  Across the street is the beautiful American Hotel built in 1847 and after being vacant for more than 30 years is now an excellent place to eat and sleep.  It didn’t hurt that Rachel Ray helped to promote it. Side trip: Canajoharie.

Cazenovia is a canal town that still has many buildings original to the Erie Canal era. The town is home to Cazenovia College and the Lorenzo State Historic Site The 1807 house with a great view of the lake was occupied by family members until 1968. There are guided tours and a self-guided walk through the beautiful gardens. Side trip: Chittenango and Canastota. 

Auburn, dubbed “History’s Hometown,” is one of the bigger places
along Route 20 and it is a favorite of ours because we enjoy the wonderful musical productions at Merry-go-Round Playhouse. There are many historic places to visit including the Seward House, Harriet Tubman’s home, and the beautiful Willard Memorial Chapel. Side trip: Skaneateles. 

Seneca Falls is another personal favorite.  It is the place that celebrates the movie, “It’s a Wonderful Life” with a special museum and next to the museum is a unique museum called IDEA Center for the Voices of Humanity with a focus on leprosy. Don’t miss the Women’s Rights National Historic Park. John and I took the Midlake Cruise’s trip on the Seneca Canal.  It was a wonderful experience and one of our favorite canal trips. Side trip: Cayuga Lake Wine Trail.

Hit the road, explore, and enjoy.