Because of the spread of COVID-19, travel plans are on hold right now - but we hope to still offer you inspiration and planning tips for the future.

The Oregon Trail

From inauspicious beginnings in the marshlands and vineyards of the Lake Erie “grape belt” at the state’s far western tip, the portion of US-20 that runs across upstate New York cuts a wide scenic swath through a diverse terrain of flatlands, rippling hills, and spring-fed lakes.

This well-maintained, mostly four-lane road glides surreptitiously through four centuries of history, slicing through vast Dutch patroonships, serene Shaker colonies, blood-soaked Revolutionary War battlefields, Native American hunting grounds, the birthplace of the women’s movement, Underground Railroad hideouts, and the long-calmed waters of the once-mighty Erie Canal. Sparkling baseball diamonds, dairy bars by the dozen, petrified creatures, stately longhouses, abandoned motor courts, prancing wooden horses, off-key nose whistles, and succulent grill-toughened hot dogs are just a few of the countless other reasons to slow down and pull over early and often as you cross the Empire State.

The “Romance Road,” as labeled by a 1940s travel writer, follows several old Iroquois trails as it nudges its way through the western Niagara Frontier, then traces the 19th-century Great Western Turnpike through the Finger Lakes region before easing down into the historically rich Hudson Valley near Albany, where it begins a gradual ascent of the Taconic Mountains and Berkshire foothills that hug the Massachusetts border.

All the way across the state, US-20 roughly parallels the crowded, rumbling I-90 New York Thruway toll road—a necessary evil that lures most of the diesel-spewing, view-obscuring 18-wheel traffic away from placid US-20 with a 65-mph speed limit and the promise of uneventful, predictable fast-food rest-stop dining experiences and fluorescent-lit motels.