Sandra Scott Travels: There’s Plenty To See And Do Along Route 20 in NYS

The Old Stone Fort

Last week I asked: What is the longest surface road in New York?

U.S. Route 20.

U.S. Route 20 is a part of the U.S. Highway System that runs from Boston, Massachusetts, to Newport, Oregon.

Sharon Springs

In New York State, U.S. 20 extends 372.32 miles from the Massachusetts state line in the Berkshire Mountains to the Pennsylvania state line at Ripley.

It is the longest surface road in New York and makes its way through quaint little towns that seem, in many ways, unchanged since the New York State Thruway diverted traffic from Route 20.

When I was chatting with a PR person in one of the towns along the way they said they thought Route 20 was much more historic and interesting than Route 66 and couldn’t understand why it wasn’t better promoted.

Simple, I said, the TV series “Route 66” and its popular theme song is what did the trick.

Howe Caverns – H2OGO Balls

One way to experience Route 20 might be by selecting one county and use it as a base for exploring the area.

Schoharie County is a great place to visit.

Drive the historic Route 20 Byway between Sharon Springs and Esperance and/or explore Schoharie County’s less-traveled roads enjoying the tranquility and beauty of the countryside taking a few side trips.

The county is dotted with classic Main Street towns featuring unique shops with locally made goods, art galleries, restaurants, and restored turn of the century accommodations.

Step back to an earlier time in Carlisle, Cobleskill, Esperance, Middleburgh, Sharon Springs, and the historic village of Schoharie.

In Sharon Springs don’t miss the Beekman 1802 Mercantile made famous in the “Fabulous Beekman Boys” of reality TV fame.

The Iroquois Museum

It helped make Sharon Springs a destination for many.

Schoharie County is dubbed the “County of Caves.”

For six million years Mother Nature carved out amazing underground caverns.

The most famous is Howe Caverns where visitors descent 156 feet below the Earth’s surface to journey through the expansive main cavern marveling at the stalactites and stalagmites and then take a boat ride on the underground River Styx.

If you haven’t been to Howe Caverns in a while then you will be amazed at all the adventurous things to do besides explore the cave.

Iroquois village

There is a zip line, ropes course, rock wall, H2OGO Balls, a motel, and more.

Nearby is another underground wonder, the Secret Caverns, complete with a waterfall.

Before the first European settlers arrived in 1712 the area was home to the Iroquois.

The Iroquois Museum, near Howe Caverns, is housed in a building that recalls the traditional longhouse offering an insight into Iroquois culture by promoting Iroquois art and artists.

Interactive exhibits and archeological displays from their historical collection tell the vital role the Native Americans played in the development of the area.

The Old Stone Fort

There is a nature trail plus a variety of festivals, events, and learning activities for all age groups.

The Old Stone Fort Museum Complex in Schoharie includes several buildings: a 1700s home, a 1780 Dutch barn, a one-room school house, plus a 1772 stone church that was fortified and attacked by the British forces in 1780.

Take note of parishioners’ names that the builders chiseled into the stones.

The Treasure Hunt of the fort’s eclectic museum collection is fun for all ages.

Landis arboretum trail

Try to find a shield from the Philippines, a button with a photograph on it, and a glass tombstone.

A variety of historical events are reenacted throughout the year.

Nature lovers will want to visit Landis arboretum and walk the trails.

The Visitor Center at Blenheim-Gilboa Power Project is the place to learn about energy and its benefits using state-of-the-art interactive exhibits.

Travel Trivia Tease™: What is water downstream from a hydraulic structure called?

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!