US Route 20, the Road Across America
It's all about the drive! Rolling hills, spectacular views, working landscapes, tranquil communities, and deep history. That's US Route 20, the longest highway in the United States stretching 3,365 miles coast to coast from Kenmore Square in Boston, Massachusetts to the junction of US 101 in Newport, Oregon. US Route 20 is also New York State's longest highway; 372 miles from the border with Massachusetts to the border of Pennsylvania.
In New York State, 108 miles of Route 20 from Duanesburg (Schenectady County) on the east to LaFayette (Onondaga County) on the west is designated as a New York State Scenic Byway because of its spectacular beauty and unique history to the westward migration of the state and the nation.
The area stretching about 30 miles either side of the Scenic Byway is considered the Scenic Byway Corridor. The corridor features even more idyllic communities, numerous specialty shops, local farm markets, and numerous community events.
Welcome to America's Main Street!
Traveling the Route 20 Scenic Byway will make it seem like the world is not racing by quite so quickly.
U. S. Route 20 began as Native American trails in the early years of America. During our nation's first century, these trails were transformed with the construction of several turnpikes to handle the burgeoning westward traffic by horse and wagon. The most famous of the turnpikes connected Albany to Cherry Valley and later was extended to Cazenovia and the Syracuse area. This roadway became known as the Cherry Valley Turnpike and soon was dotted with taverns, hotels and other amenities for travelers. In the 1860s, the Cherry Valley Turnpike became the property of New York State. State and federal programs began providing funds for road building and management assistance by the turn of the century.
With the coming of the automobile, the highway had once again taken on a new life. In 1926, the road was designated as U.S. Route 20, the longest road in the country, running coast to coast a distance of 3,365 miles.
Roadside attractions and tourist cabins provided entertainment and much-needed services to a whole new kind of traveler. One can literally track the westward migration of the state and the nation in the buildings and the landscapes found along Route 20. The quiet neighborhoods and Main Streets of its historic villages showcase Federal and Greek Revival architectural styles of the Colonial/Turnpike era, a testament to the long history of the region.
Along Route 20, travelers pass New World Dutch, English, and gambrel-roof dairy barns, the numerous drive-ins and motor courts of the 1930s-1950s, all against the backdrop of the productive fields and tranquil pastures that first brought prosperity to the region.
So let's get started: take a look around to rediscover Route 20 and the surrounding area. You will find Excursion Routes from Route 20 to numerous points of interest throughout our nine-county Scenic Byway Corridor region. While the excursions are set up for those driving west to east, we've included complete route numbers in each of the scenic tour descriptions and provided maps to allow east-to-west drivers to "reverse" the trip easily. Either way, the journey will be as much fun as the destination.
Our Mission: The Route 20 Association of NYS, Inc., a regional partnership of communities, balances the promotion of local interests with the protection of scenic, agricultural, recreational, and historic resources by encouraging preservation, visitor accommodations, education and access; coordinating interpretation, promotion and signage and emphasizing the important historic transportation role of Route 20 and the resultant cultural / agricultural development so important to the westward expansion of the country.
The Route 20 Association of New York State was formed in 1999 to promote and preserve the unique and historic character of the Route 20 corridor and its many communities. It also serves as stewards of the NYS Route 20 Scenic Byway.
New historic marker commemorates baseball history in Bouckville
On Tuesday, Sept. 5, 2023, area historians, the Route 20 Association, the William G. Pomeroy Foundation and new campground owners Kim and Adele Artz got together to unveil a new historic marker at the entrance to Cider House Campground on Canal Road, Bouckville. The marker commemorates the Summits, the local team who played from 1866-1935 and is located near the original baseball field owned by S.R. Mott who in the 1860s who donated its use to ball players for practices and games. Two Summits alumni. Louis "Snake" Wiltse and George "Hooks" Wiltse from Pecksport, Town of Eaton, were brothers who went on to the major leagues. Snake Wiltse played for several teams in his short big league career while Hooks Wiltse became an important part of the pitching staff for John McGraw’s New York Giants. At the time of his retirement, ‘Hooks’ Wiltse was considered to have been one of the best lefthanded pitchers in the game.
Speakers at the event included Phil Durkin, Co-President of the Route 20 Association of New York State; Matthew Urtz, Madison County Historian representing Pomeroy Foundation who graciously provided a grant for the marker; Jim Ford, local historian and author of "The Pride of Cidertown", a book about the Summits; Diane Van Slyke, Town of Madison Historian; and Sue Greenhagen, Town of Eaton and Village of Morrisville Historian. Also in attendance were Jessica Moquin, Executive Director, Chenango County Historical Society and Museum; Madeleine Olesky, intern from Cooperstown Graduate Program; and Route 20 Association administrator Bill Kwasniewski who helped procure the grant. The new marker represents the 4th historic marker in the Town of Madison.