Clinton Square in downtown Syracuse is near the site of the Jerry Rescue
where abolitionist, black and white, forcibly freed William "Jerry" Henry
from slave catchers.
Heids of Liverpool is a Central NY institution. It is the home of the "coney," a white hot dog very popular in upstate.
The old Erie Canal of the mid-1800s lives on in Camillus. On display
here is the wooden gate of the Geer Lock, pictured on the right.
Auburn boats both the homes of William Seward and Harriet Tubman, the fearless
conductor of the underground railroad. Her home is now a museum about her
amazing life after her escape from bondage.
The drive along US Route 20 takes you up steep hill and down into troughs,
glaciated valleys. This is the Tully Valley south of Syracuse.
The historic Smithfield Community Center in Peterboro is the future home
of the National Abolition Hall of Fame.
Chittenango Falls is formed by the creek of the same name tumbling
over a limestone cliff. Nearby is the village of Chittenango, home
of Frank Baum, author of the Wizard of Oz. Yes, there is a yellow brick
sidewalk in the village.
Trip I: The Central New
A scenic road trip through
the valleys and hills of Central New York State.
make a mistake in the Empire State!
The Central New
York Region has a quiet beauty that takes time to experience. There are hills
and steep glacial valleys. It is the land of the eastern Finger Lakes. It
experienced some very important history in the 19th century, especially in
the fight against slavery. Running down the middle is the Erie Canal of old
(the modern canal uses Oneida Lake and the Seneca River north of this
trail). The hub of Central New York is the city of Syracuse, the Salt City,
home to the 2003 NCAA Champions of Men's Basketball, the Orange of Syracuse
University. Surrounding the city are small towns with Victorian charm - Cazenovia,
There is so much to see; we should get started.
Description of the Route:
| The road trip begins in ends in the "Salt City" of Syracuse.
The Erie Canal once went through the middle of town. It is now paved over
as Erie Blvd. Just east of downtown is the Erie Canal Museum (Weighlock
Building). This is a good place to visit to learn about Syracuse's early
history. Also on Erie Blvd. is Clinton Square and the monument to
the Jerry Rescue, where a fugitive slave was freed from his captors by the
citizens of Syracuse.
Pick up I-81 North and get off at the Onondaga Parkway exit. Stop at the
St. Marie Among the Iroquois Living History Center.
This is a reconstructed fort built by the French in the 17th century. Learn
how Europeans and Onondaga Indians interacted in colonial times. Nearby is
the classic diner, Heids, home to the Coney. Stop there for lunch.
Hop back on I-81 south, follow signs for I-690 west and then the Rte. 5 expressway.
Exit at Camillus. Near the exit is the Erie Canal Park, featuring
a old general store from the 1800s.
The Geer Lock in the Erie Canal Park in Camillus.
It is unusual to see the wooden frames of the lock gates still intact after
all these years.
Seward Mansion in downtown Auburn.
|Follow Rte. 5
all the way to the city of Auburn. Visit the home of William Seward,
Secretary of State under Lincoln, and the man responsible for the purchase
of Alaska ("Seward's Folly"). Also in Auburn about a mile south is the home
of Seward's friend, the legendary Harriet Tubman, conductor on the
Head back eastward following US Rte. 20. This historic road takes up and
down into glacial valleys ("troughs"). You also pass through some very picturesque
villages, like Skaneatlas. When you reach the Tully Valley, take
a short detour on Tully Farms Road. Here you pass over a glacial hill
("moraine") and little ponds called kettles.
Return to US Route 20 east. After further spectacular
driving through this glacial landscape, you arrive in Cazenovia. This
is a town that should be explored on foot. Browse the shops and little restaurants
along Main Street.
|Drive east on Route 20 through the
hamlet of Nelson. About two miles later turn left on Pleasant Valley
Road. This country byway takes you over rolling hills into the little community
of Peterboro, home to Gerrit Smith, a major leader in the abolitionist
movement. Soon the Smithfield Community Center will host the National
Abolition Hall of Fame, honoring those who fought against slavery.
Return to Cazenovia using Cody and Fenner Roads. Immediately turn right on
to Rte. 13 north. A few miles later, stop at Chittenango Falls State Park,
a scenic gem in Central NY.
Continue north to the village of Chittenango, where the downtown streets
are paved yellow in honor of their native son, Frank Baum, author of the
Wizard of Oz. Just north of the village is
another historic site from the old Erie Canal, Chittenango Boat Museum.
Take Rte. 173 west through the villages of Manlius and Jamesville.
Just west of Jamesville is Clark Reservation, a beautiful park centered
around Green Lake that sits in the plungepool of a glacial waterfall.
Route 173 takes you back to Syracuse. You might want to visit the campus
of Syracuse University and the Carrier Dome. Both the football and
the 2003 basketball champions play there.
Magnificent Green Lake in Clark Reservation near
Jamestown, relic of the Ice Age.
to go to see New York Geography up close and personal.
Click on the links below!