Sandra Scott Travels: Hit The Road, Explore And Enjoy Route 20

Sharon Springs American Hotel

Sharon Springs American Hotel

Last week I asked: What is there to see along Route 20?


Everyone has heard of Route 66.

But, few know of historic U.S. Route 20.

Beekman 1802
Beekman 1802

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.

Sharon Springs American Hotel
Sharon Springs American Hotel

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.

Lorenzo State Historic Site
Lorenzo State Historic Site

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.

Harriet Tubman’s home
Harriet Tubman’s home

We visited their trendy store, Beekman 1802, where the products 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.

Merry-go-Round Playhouse.
Merry-go-Round Playhouse.

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.

the Seward House
The Seward House

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.

Trivia Tease™: Where is the J. W. Pratt House?

Look for the answer next week.

Sandra and her husband, John, have been exploring the world for decades, always on the lookout for something new and unique to experience. We have sailed down the Nile for a week on a felucca, stayed with the Pesch Indians in La Mosquitia, visited schools in a variety of countries, and — to add balance to our life — stayed at some of the most luxurious hotels in the world. Let the fun continue!

1 Comment

  1. My Mom grew up in Chadron Nebraska half a block from Rt 20. One summer that we traveled out there to visit family my Dad decided to take rt 20 most of the way. Although I was young 8? I do remember the all the little towns went through . Everytime we pass rt 20 now I say to hub, “we could go all the way to Chadron NE on this road and see my cousins!”

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