Scenic Route Finder? What’s good between NYC and Toronto
September 11, 2019 7:32 PM   Subscribe

I am going from New York to Toronto and back and wondering if there is a more scenic route than whatever google maps might suggest. Would love any Mefite recs on that route for easy and delightful scenic drive routes and/or rad stopping places. thanks!
posted by wowenthusiast to Travel & Transportation around Toronto, ON (9 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
I live in Buffalo, and the last several times I've gone to NYC it's been via the 90 to Rochester, then the 390 south where it turns into route 17 and takes you through Binghamton, then you get on 84 and go across the Hudson and then take your pick of various routes down to NYC. There are plenty of towns and small cities to check out and the route near the PA border is fun to drive (lots of hills and curves, but nothing dangerous).

You can get on 81 in Binghamton which will take you down into PA and then NJ, but I think route 17 is a lot more scenic.

A more scenic option instead of the 90 between buffalo and rochester is route 20A, which you can get to quickly from an exit off the 390. Stop in East Aurora on your way to Buffalo for lots of quaintness and the routes of the Arts and Crafts movement at the Roycroft campus.
posted by jonathanhughes at 8:23 PM on September 11, 2019 [2 favorites]

Go via 1000 islands. Cross the border east of lake Ontario, not west. The weather is also usually better that way.
posted by If only I had a penguin... at 8:44 PM on September 11, 2019 [4 favorites]

No offence to residents of Buffalo, but not passing through Bufallo or that region is more scenic. Not because Buffalo is awful (it's actually much nicer than pretty much everything along that big NY-crossing highway), but because the 1000 islands route really is that pretty.
posted by If only I had a penguin... at 8:50 PM on September 11, 2019

This might be more circuitous than you had in mind, but last autumn I drove from NYC to Toronto via the Adirondacks and Montréal. State Route 73 through the Keene Valley is a beautiful detour, surrounded by the highest peaks of the Adirondacks. I did a quick hike (about 3 hours round trip) up to the bald top of Cascade Mountain for a great 360° view and spent a little time in the towns of Lake Placid and Saranac Lake. If you do head up this way, there are lots of towns all along the Hudson Valley with lots to do, including Kingston, Catskill, and Hudson. Also see Storm King Art Center.

I didn't have time to see the 1000 Islands on my way from Montréal to Toronto, but I wish I had.
posted by theory at 11:42 PM on September 11, 2019

If you take the route suggested by jonathanhughes, be sure to stop in Corning, NY to see the Corning Museum of Glass. It's pretty fascinating for both the technically minded (you get to see how glass is made and learn about the science of glass) and the artistically minded (you get to see lots of beautiful glass art.)
posted by Johnny Assay at 4:08 AM on September 12, 2019 [6 favorites]

If you are going via the 1000 Islands you can stop off at the Big Apple. It is the definition of a tourist trap but the pie is good and you probably have to pee anyway so it may as well be there.
posted by any portmanteau in a storm at 11:09 AM on September 12, 2019 [1 favorite]

Depending on your overall route, you might take slight detours to stop through...
Howe Caverns
• Cooperstown (Baseball Hall of Fame, Farmers Museum, Fenimore Art Museum)
Stone Quarry Hill Art Park
Munson Williams Proctor Art Institute
• any of the several State Parks in the Central NY region
posted by D.Billy at 12:00 PM on September 12, 2019

I don't know how much time you're playing with, but various locations in the Finger Lakes, including Ithaca, Watkins Glen, and Hammondsport, any of which could be a nice way to spend a few hours.

- Ithaca has great restaurants and brewpubs in addition to two big college/universities and several great gorges and waterfalls,
- Watkins Glen has a quaint main street with antiques and shops and its own amazing gorge (the eponymous glen),
- the Hammondsport area (both sides of Keuka Lake) has several surprisingly good wineries (Konstantin Frank, Heron Hill, Domaine Leseurre, and McGregor are ones I recall)
- there are also very good wineries along the east shore of Seneca Lake as well.
- Seconding the recommendation for the Corning Museum of Glass, and if you're into Western art, there is a small gallery just up the street called the Rockwell Museum.
- if you do go the I-90 way again, when going through either Rochester or Syracuse consider a detour to their respective branches of Dinosaur BBQ (if you like BBQ)
posted by aught at 1:06 PM on September 12, 2019

Yes, Thousand Islands and Ithaca are about the only thing that make this scenic, unless you like miles of cows and corn in the southern tier. It ads some time, but not an insurmountable
posted by TravellingCari at 10:50 AM on September 17, 2019

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