George Bailey’s Worthy Road Trips: Part2 New York State

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In my last Silo travel column, I featured five of my favourite travel destinations in Ontario within 250 kilometres of Niagara. Here’s another five, but this time “on the other side of the ditch”.  First, I’d suggest if you travel into the United States frequently like I do apply for a NEXUS pass ( This pass is available to Canadian and U.S. citizens and costs only $50.00 for five years. It allows you and every other occupant in your car that has the pass to quickly cross over the border and return. It’s saved me hours of waiting at the border. Also be sure to carry health insurance for travel outside of Ontario.

[The nexus card will save you time at US Canada border crossing but part of the application process involves finger-printing and the completed card uses the same controversial RFID technology used across parts of the US Mexico border CP]

Now let’s get down to business…….and in no particular order ;>
Ellicottville, N.Y.
(120 kilometres from the Canada/U.S. border)
This is a place I go to two or three times a year because there’s always something happening. They have 11 festivals spread throughout the year. Ellicottville has a compact pretty-as-a picture postcard downtown. It’s void of big-box retailing. There are plenty of historic brick and wooden buildings that have been re-born as unique, quirky, crayon-coloured stores and restaurants or 1-800-349-9099

Ellicottville NY- top- late Summer bottom- mid Winter

Randolph, N.Y.
(140 kilometres)
Not far from Ellicottville you’ll find the tiny village of Randolph. This village and the outlying countryside are deliciously peaceful. You’ll find a large thriving population of Amish families. As you drive the back roads, you’ll pass numerous styles of Amish horse and buggies. Loose your camera for this part of the trip. The Amish don’t like to be photographed. We spent all day visiting and speaking with these fine people who operate numerous businesses along, “The Amish Trail” that are open to the,” English”. Some of the places we visited specialized in toy making, farming, jams, pies, cheese making, quilting, pillows, and rugging. Forget your credit card. The Amish only accept cash and they’re closed on Sundays. or 1-800-331-0543

Stay cabins along the Amish Trail in Randolph

Hammondsport N.Y.
(250 kilometres)
I was originally trying to find Watkins Glen when I got lost and stumbled upon Hammondsport N.Y. What a hidden gem it turned out to be. This small community is nestled at the southern end of Lake Kueka and set in a protected valley in New York State’s Finger Lakes region. You can’t be in a hurry here. An old-fashioned town square anchors the village. Historic buildings snuggle side-by-side around its perimeter. The star attraction here is pristine Lake Kueka. There are also well maintained homes on the tree-lined streets date back to the 1800’s.Just on the outskirts of town is the Glenn H. Curtis Museum. It pays tribute to Glenn Curtis a pilot who took the first preannounced flight in America on July 4, 1908.In January of this year Budget travel voted Hammondsport the, “Coolest Small Town in America”. Well, so much for my hidden gem.

Heritage architecture and vintage ooze at Maloney’s Pub in Hammondsport

Medina, N.Y.
(69 kilometres)
I have known some great breakfast joints in the past but Rudy’s Diner (closed Sundays) found in this friendly village along the old Erie Canal is one of the best. Just about everything here is made from scratch and reasonably priced in this converted 1940’s Sinclair Gas Station.
This town founded in the 1820’s echoes of the nineteenth century. Check out these things. Their beautifully restored downtown is very walkable. Don’t pass up seeing the Oak Orchard River Gorge and Medina Falls. It’s hard to find so ask a local. On the outskirts of town is the Culvert Road Tunnel. It’s the only arched roadway running under the Erie Canal. This narrow tunnel is like going through the eye of a needle! One must, is a visit to the Medina Railroad Museum (closed Mondays and major holidays).If you have kids they’ll love it and so will you. Tell owner Marty that George and The Silo sent you.

One of Medina’s beautiful waterfalls

Piffard N.Y.
(101 kilometres)
This place will charm you. Located in the rolling Genesee River Valley amongst rural farmland is the Abbey of the Genesee and its here you’ll find the most heavenly bread. In addition to the monastery, which is open to the public, you’ll discovery Monk’s Bakery operated by 30 Trappist Monks. The bakery is the main source of revenue for the abbey. There’s a variety of freshly baked delicious breads to take home.
About a 10 minute drive from the abbey is the idyllic Village of Geneseo. This quintessential village is recognized as a National Landmark Village by the U.S. Department of the Interior. It lives up to its designation.

Take life in stride at Piffard

Apologies for the obscur reference here (If you’re a Blade Runner fan you will know what we’re talking about) “You Nexus huh?” CP


So there you have it. Enjoy the remaining bit of Summer holidays and remember September and October are beautiful months. For the Silo by George Bailey

2 Comments to George Bailey’s Worthy Road Trips: Part2 New York State

  1. Hi Jackie- thanks for the great response. Some Canadian towns are returning and reviving the Town Square- Brantford,ON for example has emphasized the need for public space and has created a great niche for business ‘bordering’ the square. They also have a pretty fun outdoor ice skating rink.

  2. About 30 years ago, long before ‘destination weddings’ were popular, a couple of friends got married in Hammondsport NY because it was the half-way point between their respective Canadian and American families. Even then, it seemed to me it was an idyllic town with it’s town square, charming and friendly small businesses and mature shade trees.
    So, when the Gilmore Girls set in Stars Hollow surfaced, I felt a nostalgia for something I had already experienced.
    I often wish that Canadian towns used this concept of the Town Square. They don’t; they are built on the Main Street plan. It seems to me that the town square design contributes significantly to a creating a sense of community.

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