Central New York, New York State

New York State newbies might confuse Central New York with New York City, but there is a vast difference. First, the heart of Central New York is about two hundred miles from NYC. Second, it has the great Erie Canal cutting through the heart of it, once an industrial artery and now a tourist trail for cyclists, walkers and boat lovers. And third, it has its own cultural heritage, such as the Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown where, if you visit in the peak of summer, is packed with baseball wannabes and their even more wannabe parents. Most of these visitors hardly even realise that Cooperstown is actually located on the magnificent Lake Otsego, and that most of the lakeside has been protected from development by local communities, such as the vibrant Otsego Land Trust. Their website is a superb resource for natural developments in the region, such as the recent protection of Oaks Creek Blueway Trail and Deowongo Island on another local lake, Canadarago.
Lakes are a feature of Central New York, with Oneida Lake a glimmering gem and veritable beach resort miles from any coastline. Sylvan Beach and the adjoining Verona Beach State Park are like stepping back in time, the former with a vintage seaside feeling, and a firm favourite for New York family reunions year after year. The latter is the quieter option, with miles of woodland walking trails that cling to the water, myriad bathing spots and an active community conservation movement living in much-to-be coveted wooden beach houses with daily sunset views. This is far from the Hamptons mansions vibe here, though. Real people enjoying real life who are always welcoming tourists to share their little bit of paradise. It is also only twenty miles from the town and Amtrak stop of Rome. So you don't need a car to get to this one as it is just a quick cab ride.

Leslie Stewart
Community on the shores of Oneida Lake
Leslie Stewart, resident of Sylvan Beach describes life on the shores of Oneida Lake, and how generations remain connected through her town. [01:48]

Central New York also has a wealth of farming and farmers' markets such as at Ithaca, Syracuse and Cooperstown, exemplifying the fact that the largest industry in New York is, in fact, agriculture. You will find farm stands everywhere - a wonderful American tradition of food stalls on the roadsides which are unmanned, and work solely on an honesty box or 'honor' basis. You will not go hungry driving around Central New York.

Cooperstown in winter and farmers market, New York State. Photos by Catherine Mack

The arts are also thriving in Central New York, inspired by one of the USA's greatest writers , and Cooperstown boy, James Fenimore Cooper, whose daughter Susan Fenimore Cooper also became a celebrated writer. The Fenimore Art Museum has, among many other fine works, a permanent exhibition dedicated to the Native American Indian arts, and is really worth a visit. The Glimmerglass Opera Festival (the name given to Otsego Lake in Fenimore Cooper's novel Leatherstocking Tales) is also a highly acclaimed event every year.

Find more information on the regions of New York State

Responsible Travel would like to thank the New York State Tourist Board for their sponsorship of this guide
Written by Catherine Mack
New York to Niagara Falls tour, 3 days

New York to Niagara Falls tour, 3 days

Niagara Falls & upstate New York short break from nyc

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