Features

Getting off the Hill: unearthing the hidden gems of Central New York

By Julia Grace Brimelow ’14

October 3, 2013

If your idea of a trip off campus consists of Mitsuba hibachi and a visit to the Cider Mill, then you are seriously missing out. Central New York may not be a cosmopolitan center, but this place we call home is certainly worth exploring. Next time you’re itching to leave the Hill behind, forgo the trip to Turning Stone. Here are some hidden gems (literally) that will make that Zipcar rental worth the money.

Herkimer Diamond Mines

Strike it rich at Herkimer Diamond Mines! Spend the day mining for the quartz crystals known as “Herkimer Diamonds,” but don’t forget to BYOC—bring your own chisel. Prospecting areas are open until Oct. 31, and you can keep everything you find.

Location:
4626 State Route 28 North, Herkimer, NY 13350, wabout 45 minutes away.


Howe Caverns

Craving a little adventure? Howe Caverns, a self-proclaimed “adventure park” is ready to bring out the explorer in you. Howe Caverns offers visitors the chance to descend more than 156 feet below the earth’s surface to check out an extensive network of underground caves. True thrill-seekers should sign up for the Lantern Tour, a two–hour underground expedition lit only by the light of a candle, or the Adventure Tour, a spelunking mission through the caves complete with kneepads, helmets and coveralls. If neither option piques your interest, you could always try out the zip line or ropes course located on-site.

Location:
255 Discovery Drive, Howes Cave, NY 12092, about 1 hour and 30 minutes away.

Glimmerglass State Park and Hyde Hall

Forget the Clinton “watering hole.” When fall weather graces us with those final hints of summer heat, beautiful Glimmerglass Lake is the perfect spot for a refreshing dip. Hike to one of the state’s oldest covered bridges or visit the local Nature Center. The park itself used to be the privately held state of the aristocratic Clarke family and Hyde Hall, their grand English-style country house, is still located on the property. Open Memorial Day through Nov. 3rd this National Historic Landmark is worth checking out!

Location:
1527 County Highway 31, Cooperstown, NY 13326, about 1 hour and 5 minutes away.

International Boxing Hall of Fame

We’ve all heard of the Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, but central New York isn’t all about celebrating America’s pastime. In 1982, looking to honor two hometown boxing world champions, the people of Canastota, NY founded the first Boxing Hall of Fame. This smaller museum houses tons of boxing memorabilia, including the championship belts, shoes and robes of boxing’s most distinguished fighters. Besides its “Hall of Fame Wall,” the museum also offers a complete historical boxing library, shows classic fight films and hosts a popular induction ceremony each June for recognized fighters.

Location:
60 N Peterboro St, Canastota, NY 13032, about 30 minutes away.

Erie Canal Cruises—Erie Canal Cruises Inc.

Discover “Clinton’s Ditch” by boat. This 90 minute historical tour on the Mohawk River will tell the story of the Erie Canal and its role in American history. The tour not only passes through Plantation Island Wildlife Management Area but also includes passage through lock 18 at Jacksonburg—a 100–year–old feat of engineering.

Location:
800 Mohawk St, Herkimer, NY 13350, About 30 minutes away.

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