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Scenic Rides in the Finger Lakes

Circles by Syracuse

— by Chuck Gilmore

We'll start in Baldwinsville, about 15 miles northwest of Syracuse. Just east of the intersection of Routes 48 and 31 is the "B'ville Diner." Start with breakfast here (or just have a cup of coffee to hold you off until "Flo's"). Head east on 31 through Cicero and Bridgeport, and at the Lakeport blinking light turn south onto Lakeport Road. (Or keep heading east on Route 31 for about five more miles to have breakfast at "Flo's, Home of the 10c Coffee." Not only is the coffee cheap, but so are the breakfasts. And they're good, too!)

Heading south on Lakeport Road, you'll come to Chittenango, birthplace of L. Frank Baum (Wizard of Oz). At the light turn onto Route 5 West. In town look for the Yellow Brick Road (sidewalk). Route 13 South splits off just a short way in town. Take it, because now our ride gets interesting! The road is a slow, twisting climb up a hill with Chittenango Creek rushing past you on your right. Suddenly, spectacular Chittenango Falls appears through the trees. At the top of the climb is Chittenango State Park ($) where you can park, and then hike along and around the beautiful falls.

Keep heading south on Route 13 and continue to enjoy the winding road to Cazenovia. At the light turn right onto US 5 West. It goes through town and loops around the bottom of Cazenovia Lake. (Another nice place to stop). Stay on US 5 West and enjoy a beautiful ride over several foothills of the Catskill Mountains. Go through Pompey and LaFayette. Interstate 81 is next, and now you have a choice. You can get on I81 and head north to get a pretty view of Syracuse before you actually drive right through the city. (The Carrier Dome will be on your right.) Get off at Cicero (10 miles), and then you can use Route 31 West to get back to Baldwinsville.

Or, at LaFayette you can keep going on US 5 West to Skaneateles and Auburn. In Auburn take Route 34 North to Weedsport. This is drumlin territory, and in the short five-mile ride you'll drive along side and over several of them. (A drumlin is a hill created by a glacier. It's actually a big, long pile of rocks and soil.) At Weedsport you will rejoin Route 31 where you can head east back to Baldwinsville, or turn left (west) and head for Rochester.

This route has numerous other places to eat along the way besides the B'ville Diner and Flo's. There are many gas stations, too.

Take another ride?


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