I plan on driving today from North Jersey to Toronto. I make this trip fairly often but am usually on a tight schedule. Today I have all day to make it up there, so wanted to drive through the Finger Lakes and enjoy some scenery. My physical therapist, who is from that area, told me that she would give me a route to drive, with some nice scenic stops along the way. The problem is I skipped my last appointment so never got the chance to talk to her.
I typically drive up Route 81 and then drive west on 90 towards Buffalo. She had mentioned that the route she would suggest would be to get off 81 earlier and then cut diagonally to 90, via her Finger Lakes route. I’ll be leaving NJ by 11am so would likely be able to get to the area around 3pm or so.
Any advice would be greatly appreciated.
It’s been ages since I’ve done it, but I used to get onto 390/17 at Binghamton and follow that up to Rochester, where I’d pick up the NYS pike to the border.
You don’t really see the Finger Lakes that way, though. Of course, you don’t see it going up 81, either. Or on your proposed Route 90 route, for that matter. If you want to see the Finger Lakes you’d want to cut north off of 17/390 and drive up one of the smaller roads – 414 0r 14 or 96 or something and go cruising right past the Lakes. It’ll add time to your trip, but a LOT more scenery.
You’ll add even more time to your trip if you stop at one or more wineries along the way and take the tours and tasting sessions. But it’d be worth it.
Get off 81 in Whitney Point and head over to Ithaca, then up rte 89 on the west side of Cayuga Lake, or head over Watkins Glenn via rte 79 and go up either side of Seneca Lake. Lots of wineries on either route.
I-90 is easy to get to from the top of either lake.
The Southern Finger Lakes region is the most scenic and you can see lots of waterfalls without walking too much (if you were concerned about that.) You can glimpse Buttermilk Falls, Ithaca Falls, Upper Taughhannock, Shequaqa Falls, and Aunt Sarah’s falls (the latter two located in Montour Falls) without even getting off the road (and there are pulloffs for all these for better viewing). Central Taughhannock falls is viewable from a pullout.
Of course you can get better views of many of these, as well as see some more decent sized falls, by walking a tiny bit.
Unfortunately got too late, but thanks for the advice. I’m hoping to go through on the way back.
Sorry I missed this earlier. My advice on the way back is to get off the Thruway at the Geneva exit and head south on Rte 14 into Geneva. Take 20 east through town and then get on Rte 96A heading south. This will bring you down past Seneca Army Depot (watch for the white deer) and Sampson State Park. You’ll intersect Rte 96 in Ovid. Take 96 south to Ithaca. When you get to Trumansburg take the quick side trip to see Taughannock Falls, which is the highest waterfall in New York. Stop and see the sights in Ithaca. Have some ice cream at Purity Ice Cream. Follow Rte 79 east out of Ithaca until you intersect Rte 81 at Whitney Point. You can then follow 81 through Binghampton (have a spiedies at Sharkey’s if it’s mealtime and you’re feeling adventurous) and Scranton and take whatever routes you need to get back to wherever you are in New Jersey.