In New York's heartland, country roads lead to famous attractions like the Baseball Hall of Fame, Howe Caverns and Turning Stone Resort Casino, as well as hidden gems, from historic inns and art museums to Greater Binghamton's six antique carousels. A stroll or trolley ride down Main Street is a magical trip in Cooperstown's vintage American village. Stretching through the heart of the region, the Erie Canal presents many options for recreation, from wildlife cruises to canalside bike paths. Beautiful state parks are ideal for hiking, picnicking and fishing. Enjoy fresh produce from a farmer's market or sample a new brew at one of the region's craft breweries, cideries or wineries.
Broome, Chenango, Herkimer, Madison, Montgomery, Oneida, Otsego, Schoharie
MAJOR CITIES & TOWNS
Binghamton, Canastota, Canajoharie, Cazenovia, Cherry Valley, Chittenango, Cobleskill, Cooperstown, Hamilton, Herkimer, Little Falls, Norwich, Old Forge, Oneonta, Rome, Sylvan Beach, Utica, Verona, Vestal.
The diverse climate has four distinct seasons. Summers are comfortable and warm, with daytime temperatures averaging in the mid 70s to mid 80s (degrees F) and cooler evenings. The weather is moderately cool and sunny in springtime and autumn, when spectacular fall foliage attracts thousands of visitors. Cold, snowy winters create a wonderland of magnificent scenery in villages, resorts and ski centers.
FIVE SURPRISING FACTS
1. Food Network TV star, Guy Fieri recently gave Utica a taste of fame when he featured Utica Greens (made with escarole) and other local dishes on his show Guy's Big Bite.
2. Otsego Lake is the "Glimmerglass" lake in James Fenimore Cooper's novels and Leatherstocking Tales.
3. Fans of Rod Serling's The Twilight Zone, which now enjoys cult status, flock to Binghamton to see his boyhood home, the bandstand in Recreation Park that inspired an episode of the TV series, and a Rod Serling exhibit at the Forum Theatre.
4. Big Moose Lake, near Old Forge in Herkimer County, is the site of the infamous 1906 murder of Grace Brown by Chester Gillette, which Theodore Dreiser used as the basis for his critically acclaimed novel "An American Tragedy." It was further immortalized in the 1951 movie "A Place in the Sun" starring Elizabeth Taylor and Montgomery Clift.
5. Chittenango is home to the birthplace of legendary author L. Frank Baum. Every June they host Oz-Stravaganza featuring actors from the original movie, current day Oz legacy writers, costume contests, a parade and Oz-themed exhibits. Chittenango has two "Yellow Brick" sidewalks lining their main st.
SPORTS & OUTDOORS
Biking: Options range from quiet canalside bike paths to challenging trails at Osceola Tug Hill Mountain Biking Center.
Golf: The Otesaga resort's Leatherstocking Golf Course, on the shore of Otsego Lake is rated one of the most scenic and challenging resort golf courses in the Eastern US. Turning Stone Resort's five courses include three championship courses ranked among the best in the US. Thendara Golf Club in Old Forge is a classic Donald Ross designed course, famous for hosting PGA exhibitions including Nicklaus and Palmer. Greater Binghamton offers 4 star Golf Digest rated golf courses and the Champions Tour Dick's Sporting Goods Open.
Fishing: State parks such as Chittenango Falls State Park and Delta Lake State Park offer fishing and boat launches. Oneida Lake is also popular for fishing and boating as it is one of the top bass and walleye fisheries in all of New York State. Stillwater Reservoir is renowned for bass, and the Fulton Chain of Lakes serves up record lake trout, northern pike and muskies.
Hunting: Private preserves and game farms are found throughout the region. State lands are open for hunting during the appropriate seasons. Find information at Central New York's regional website and http://www.dec.ny.gov/outdoor/7844.html
Nature Centers: Landis Arboretum, a 200-acre garden in Esperance, has hiking trails concerts and classes. Nature lovers can take a walk in the tropics at the Joseph Popp Butterfly Conservatory in Oneonta. Trails amid 600 acres at Rogers Environmental Education Center in Sherburne are ideal for birdwatching and hiking. The Great Swamp Conservancy in Canastota, is designated as an Important Birding Area by the National Audubon Society.
State Parks: Scenic parks include Chittenango Falls State Park, with hiking, fishing and picnicking beside a 167-foot cascading waterfall; Delta Lake State Park and Verona Beach State park, both with sandy beaches, boat launch, fishing, camping and nature trails; and Glimmerglass State Park, with camping, hiking trails and swimming in Otsego Lake. Northern Herkimer County lies within the Adirondack State Park, with all the outdoor recreation for which the Adirondacks are famous. The Greater Binghamton area offers Chenango Valley and Oquaga Creek state parks featuring outdoor family activities from golf to fishing to hiking.
Scenic Byways: Historic Route 20 Scenic Byway, highlighting roadside Americana, leads to charming villages, country inns and farm markets. The Central Adirondack Trail Scenic Byway leads from Rome in Oneida County to Old Forge in Herkimer County, tracing along restored Fort Stanwix and Erie Canal Village.
Winter Sports: Downhill ski centers include Val Bialas and Woods Valley. Cross-country ski and snowshoe trails abound, State Parks such as Gilbert Lake and Glimmerglass, nature centers, and the Osceola Tug Hill XC Ski Center. Greenwood Park in Greater Binghamton offers terrific groomed cross country skiing trails. Snowmobiling is a major winter activity in Central New York with thousands of miles of maintained snowmobile trails.
ART, ARCHITECTURE & CULTURE
Arkell Museum (Canajoharie) - Works by 19th- and 20th-century American painters such as Winslow Homer and Georgia O'Keeffe. Early-1900s advertising art for Beach-Nut products.
Earlville Opera House (Earlville) - Elegant 1892 theater houses an art gallery, theater, arts café, and artisan gift shop. Performances range from opera to alternative music.
The Fenimore Art Museum (Cooperstown) - Native American and American art in a beautiful setting on Otsego Lake and one of the best and largest American Folk Art collections in the world
Glimmerglass Festival (Cooperstown) - Internationally-acclaimed summer opera festival beside Otsego Lake was described by the London Times as "the most magical of settings." Picnicking.
Hyde Hall (Cooperstown) - House museum depicts English country life adapted to 19th-century rural America. The New Yorker called it "one of the three or four great buildings in America of its time."
Lansing Manor (Blenheim) - A country home built in early 1800's. Restored to its original elegance with period décor, the manor offers a slice of American life from the days before the Civil War.
Munson-Williams-Proctor Arts Institute (Utica) - Art collection includes great American artists from Thomas Cole to Susan Rothenberg and Andy Warhol. Adjacent 1850 Italianate mansion exhibits 19th-century American decorative art.
Roberson Museum & Science Center (Binghamton) - Hands-on exhibits: science, art, nature, diverse cultures and local history.
Stanley Theater (Utica) - Ornate historic 1926 theater with eclectic "Mexican Baroque" design. Broadway Theater, music and dance productions feature nationally known performers.
View (The New Arts Center in Old Forge) - Award winning Green Construction, offering exhibits, workshops, and theater arts including the Adirondacks National Exhibition of American Watercolors.
Chittenango Landing Canal Boat Museum (Chittenango) - Located in Old Erie Canal State Historic Park. Exhibits on canal boats, docks and local history.
Erie Canal Village (Rome) - Recreated 1840s canal village situated near the first dig of the Canal. Excursions on an 1800s steam train. Museum, shops, restaurant, 1850s tavern.
The Farmers' Museum (Cooperstown) - Recreated 1845 village and farmstead shows what rural American life was like in 1845. Farmers, weavers, blacksmiths and others demonstrate 19th-century crafts and traditions. Country fair, shops, games, carousel.
Fort Stanwix National Monument (Rome) - American Revolutionary history recreated at a full-scale reconstructed timber fort. Learn the stories of people who survived harsh conditions along the Oneida Carrying Place, and follow their footprints on the superhighway of the 18th Century.
Oriskany Battlefield State Historic Site (Oriskany) - Commemorates great men and women who lived and died bravely securing the birth of our nation. New York militiamen with their Oneida allies fought Loyalist forces in bitter pursuit of liberty.
Gerrit Smith Estate National Historic Landmark & Abolition Hall of Fame and Museum (Peterboro) - Home of a prominent and influential abolitionist who played a critical role in the operations of the Underground Railroad, Gerrit Smith Estate is a hall of fame honoring abolitionists.
International Boxing Hall of Fame (Canastota) - Museum honors legends and preserves boxing's rich heritage. Memorabilia, interactive exhibits, and special events include Induction Weekend with a parade and visiting boxing celebrities.
Iroquois Indian Museum (Howes Cave) - In a modern building designed to evoke the great longhouse of the Iroquois, visitors are introduced to another world view. World class contemporary Iroquois art, Iroquois Performing Arts Amphitheater, major archeology collections and a 45-acre nature park.
National Baseball Hall of Fame (Cooperstown) - World-renowned museum reflects American history as it tells the story of our national pastime, from baseball's beginning in the 19th Century through today. Games are played at historic Doubleday Field, where baseball was "invented."
Northeast Classic Car Museum (Norwich) - Over 160 antique and classic cars. They house the world's largest collection of Franklin Luxury cars and are home to the Staley Collection.
The Old Stone Fort Museum (Schoharie) - You're sure to be inspired by the chronicles of the people who defended this original Revolutionary War fortification, attacked by the British in 1780.
FOOD & DRINK
Once the hops-growing capital of North America, the region now boasts award-winning breweries and wineries as well as historic cider mills. Saranac Brewery, in Utica, was one of the first craft breweries in the US; family owned and operated for 125 years. Tours finish with tasting fine-crafted beers and sodas in the 1888 Tavern.
Culturally diverse, Utica was recently chosen by USA Today as one of the Top 10 Cities with International Flair. Great culinary options brought by immigrants include Bosnian, Cuban, German, Greek, Italian, Jamaican, Lebanese and Thai.
Other regional specialties include Chicken Riggies, Tomato Pie and Half-Moon Cookies, as well as the now-famous Utica Greens. Brooks House of Bar-B-Q in Oneonta is another icon, known for some of the best barbecue in the Northeast. The Tory Tavern in Schoharie is a truly unique dining experience. You'll find the finest American cuisine in a Colonial setting.
Along the Cooperstown Beverage Trail, the Bear Pond Winery, Rustic Ridge Winery, Cooperstown Brewing Company, Brewery Ommegang and the Fly Creek Cider Mill offer tours, tasting and events. Butternuts Beer & Ale brewery, set in an old dairy barn, crafts beers with hops and wheat grown on their own farm and water from the property's natural spring.
Good Nature Brewing became the first brewery in Madison County in 2012, and in one year of operation they have tripled their production capacities. The tasting room is open daily and growlers of their beer can be purchased on site.
The Cazenovia Beverage trail opened in 2013 with the Harvest Moon Cidery and Owera Vineyards as the inaugural members. Both operations are known already for their award winning wines and hard ciders which are hand crafted with local ingredients.
The region is home to a large number of farmers markets both in the summer and in the winter time. This area's diverse agriculture base has grown over the past decade to include sheep dairies, artisan cheese makers, hop farms, vegetable growers, pumpkin farms, apple orchards and significant Amish communities.
Alpin Haus started as a ski shop with one full time employee and a handful of helpers. Today, Alpin Haus is one of the leading outdoor recreational retailers in the northeast. Since the first store opened,it has become the place to go for recreational vehicles, snowmobiles, personal watercrafts, ski and snowboard clothing, boats, pools, spas, and patio furniture.
Binghamton's Antique Row has many art and antique galleries.
Fly Creek Cider Mill and Orchard, a huge marketplace just outside Cooperstown, features delicious New York products: pies, maple syrup, cheese, honey, wine and fresh-picked produce. There's also a cider mill and working 1856 waterwheel.
Gems Along the Mohawk, beside the Erie Canal in Herkimer, is a large tourist information and retail center that promotes products made in Central New York.
Ideuma Creek Alpaca Farm, in Unadilla, offers tours and a gift shop with locally made alpaca-fleece items such as super-soft sweaters, blankets and teddy bears.
The Madison/Bouckville area, along the Route 20 NY Scenic Byway, features dozens of country antique shops and the giant Madison-Bouckville Outdoor Antique Show every August.
Oneonta, a college town on the banks of the Susquehanna River, has historic architecture, a relaxed pace and easy parking. Main Street, with red brick sidewalks with turn-of-the-century street lamps, is lined with art and antique galleries, shops and restaurants.
Amsterdam Castle is a turn of the century armory converted into a bed and breakfast and event facility. The castle features two guest wings for overnight lodging, a basketball court, and luxurious reception rooms. Listed on the National Register of Historic Places, Amsterdam Castle has been featured on HGTV's ReZoned and on ABC's Wife Swap
The Ace of Diamonds Mine & Campground in Middleville provides visitors a camping experience right at "Herkimer Diamonds" (quartz crystals) source; learn who these crystals have been collected for hundreds of years and even gather your own.
The American Hotel in Sharon Springs was built in 1847 to cater to the glitterati of the time who came to town for the healing waters: Oscar Wilde gave porch-side readings; Ulysses S. Grant stayed at the former Pavilion Hotel.
Flying Changes B&B, on a 130-acre horse farm in Oneonta, has a stocked bass pond on the grounds and borders a registered trout/bass river.
The Otesaga Resort Hotel, a magnificent, Federal-style structure on Lake Otsego in Cooperstown, has unique features like a grand portico with 30-foot columns. Amenities include afternoon tea. Nearby, the elegant Inn at Cooperstown was built in 1874.
The historic Hotel Utica once host to guests such as Judy Garland, Mickey Mantle, FDR and Eleanor Roosevelt, has been restored to its former beauty.
Ye Olde Landmark Tavern is a six-sided hotel built in 1850 in the town of Bouckville.
Traditions at the Glen Resort and Conference Center, in Johnson City near Binghamton, features golf, a pampering spa treatment and luxurious accommodations all in one scenic, historic destination. You have arrived at Traditions at the Glen, a resort offering the best in relaxation and luxury, in an ideal setting for special events and meetings.
The Colgate Inn, in Hamilton, recently reopened with 40-well appointed guest rooms. It is located on the village green in Hamilton and offers a true country inn experience with all of the modern amenities the travelers wants and needs.
After being closed for many years, the 19-room historic Sherwood Inn in the Village of Green is reopening in 2013, just in time for the hotel's 100th Anniversary.
OTHER SELECTED ATTRACTIONS
Airborne Adventures Ballooning (Munnsville) -Hot-air balloon flights above the scenic countryside with an FAA-certified, commercial balloon pilot.
Binghamton Zoo at Ross Park (Binghamton) - 90-acre park with more than 100 exotic animals, picnicking, carousel, and gift shop.
Blenheim-Gilboa Power Project Visitors Center (North Blenheim) - State-of-the-art electricity exhibits, adjacent to historic Lansing Manor and the 2.5-mile Bluebird Trail.
Brewery Ommegang (Cooperstown) - Belgian-style microbrewery on a 135-acre farm, on the banks of the Susquehanna River with tours, tasting, events.
Broome County Carousels (Binghamton) - Six antique carousels, designed from 1920 to 1934 by Allan Herschell; located in several Binghamton area sites.
Catskill Mountain Balloon (Oneonta) - Hot-air balloon rides above the scenic countryside with FAA-certified balloon pilots. Flights depart at sunrise and 2 hours before sunset, year-round.
Enchanted Forest Water Safari (Old Forge) - New York's largest water theme park boasts over 50 rides and attractions, as well as a circus nestled in the Adirondack forests.
Erie Canal Cruises (Herkimer) - Narrated canal tours aboard the Lil' Diamond III, a 130-passenger vessel docked beside Gems Along the Mohawk at the Herkimer Marina.
Howe Caverns (Howes Cave) - Rated a Top 5 Northeast Family Attraction by Disney's Family Fun. Take an elevator ride down to amazing rock formations and a boat tour on an underground river. Year-round temperature is 52 degrees.
Howe High Adventures (Howes Cave) - This above-ground world invites you to challenge yourself with fun, healthy, outdoor activities such as a zip-line, ropes course, 26-foot rock wall, air jumper, or experience the Northeast's longest course for New York State's first H2OGO Course.
Riverlink Park (Amsterdam) - An elevated walkway with breathtaking views links downtown Amsterdam to a riverside plaza area with open-air stage, children's playground, visitor's center, gardens and 300 feet of transient boat docking. Free concerts during July and August.
Secret Caverns (Howes Cave) - Geological wonders include a 100-foot underground waterfall and amazing rock formations.
Sylvan Beach Amusement Park (Sylvan Beach) - Great rides and entertainment beside Oneida Lake, popular for sandy beaches, fishing and boating.
Turning Stone Resort Casino (Verona) - Luxury accommodations in four distinctive hotels; Vegas-style gaming space, golf, two spas, fine dining, celebrity entertainment, dance club and sportsplex.
Vernon Downs Casino Hotel (Vernon). An all-suite hotel that is home to the Miracle Mile harness racetrack, celebrity entertainment, over 770 gaming machines, and four restaurants.
MAJOR ANNUAL EVENTS
- Cooperstown Winter Carnival (February)
- Old Forge SNOFEST Snowmobile Festival (March)
- Schoharie County Maple Festival (April)
- Sharon Springs Garden Party (May)
- Adirondack PaddleFest in Old Forge (May)
- Chittenango's (Wizard of) Oz-Stravaganza & Parade 2012 (June)
- Dick's Sporting Goods Golf Open/PGA Champion's Tour Stop (June)
- Utica's Boilermaker 15K (July)
- National Baseball Hall of Fame Induction Weekend (July)
- Schoharie County Sunshine Fair (July-August)
- Brewery Ommegang's Belgium Comes to Cooperstown (July)
- Stockbridge Valley Balloon Rally at Munnsville (July)
- Gus Macker 3-3 Basketball Tournament (July)
- Spiedie Fest and Balloon Rally (August)
- Madison-Bouckville Outdoor Antique Show (August)
- Chenango Blues Festival (August)
- NYS Woodsmen's Field Days (August)
- Ommefeast at Brewery Ommegang (September)
- Colorscape Chenango Arts Festival (September)
- Madison County Hop Fest (September)
- Pumpkinfest, Giant Pumpkin Weigh Off & Regatta (September)
- Remsen Barn Festival of the Arts (September)
- Utica Music & Arts Fest (September)
- Sharon Springs Harvest Festival (September)
- Fly Creek Cider Mill Cider Festival (October)
- Fall Harvest Festival at Critz Farms (October)
- Balloons and Bounty Balloon Festival (October)
- Thanksgiving at The Farmers' Museum (November)
- An Adirondack Christmas on Main Street in Old Forge (November)
- Sharon Springs Victorian Stroll (December)
- Old Forge SNODEO Snowmobile Festival (December)
The Otesaga Resort, whose name is derived from the Iroquois word for "a place of meetings," is ideal for meetings and conferences for groups as large as 350; over 12,000 square-feet of meeting space.
Turning Stone Resort Casino, in Verona, features luxury accommodations with more than 700 guest rooms among four distinctive hotels. 100,000 square feet of meeting space.
The Binghamton Riverwalk and Holiday Inn Arena hotels both offer excellent meeting and conference space.
3-5 hours from NYC
4-5 hours from Niagara Falls
4-5 hours from Montreal
Amtrak train services - based on available schedules
Binghamton Airport; accessible from I-81, I-88, Route 17 and bus services
Oneida County Airport; accessible from I-90 (NYS Thruway)
For more ideas and information, visit iloveny.com or Central New York's regional website:
M. SILVER - A Division of Finn Partners
(212)-754-6500, ext. 243
Empire State Development
Madison County Tourism