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Avon Five Arch Bridge  

THE BEST OF ALL POSSIBLE TIMES: HOLIDAY AND WINTER SEASONS ON ROUTES 5 & 20 IN NYS




By Marjory Allen Perez

There are some among us who dread the coming of the Holiday Season and the Winter Season. You've heard all the complaints. "It's too busy!" "It's too cold." "It’s too commercial." "It’s too…" Enough!! The word is out that the joyous Holiday Season and the glorious Winter Season are best enjoyed when you travel through central and western New York on Routes 5 & 20 - an authentic American Road.

Follow the Enchanted Holiday Trail from Skaneateles to Canandaigua

The Holiday Season on Routes 5 & 20 is kicked off with the Thanksgiving celebration. Starting on Thanksgiving weekend in November you can get into the old-fashioned holiday spirit with a visit to Dickens Christmas in Skaneateles, New York. Every weekend from Thanksgiving until Christmas the village comes alive with the characters from Dickens, music, and family fun. You can even join in by borrowing a costume and parading around town. Be sure to leave some time for shopping. For a complete event schedule visit www.skaneateles.com or call 315-685-0552.

From Skaneateles follow the Enchanted Holiday Trail along Route 20 to Auburn, New York. Holiday Lights by the Lake illuminate Emerson Park from Thursday through Sunday from 5 to 9 pm, between November 30 and December 31. For details call 800-499-9615 or visit www.TourAuburnNY.com.

Route 20 is joined by Route 5 in Auburn and continues to take you into the best Holiday Season ever. The next stop on the Enchanted Holiday Trail is Seneca Falls, New York on Routes 5 & 20 - home to the annual celebration of "It's a Wonderful Life" in early December. Folks in Seneca Falls are convinced that Bedford Falls of the famous Frank Capra film was based on their historic community. You be the judge after a visit during the holidays. Call 800-732-1848 or log onto www.visitsenecany.net for all the details.

Traveling east, Geneva, New York, which hugs the northern shoreline of Seneca Lake, should be your next stop. If you are there in December, take in the Wassail Bowl at Geneva Historical Society's Prouty-Chew Museum, located at 543 South Main Street. Geneva's Main Street Historic District is always a decked out for the holiday and a delight to visitors and residents.

Just down the road from Geneva on Routes 5 & 20 is Canandaigua, New York and this city really knows how to celebrate the Holiday Season! The Granger Homestead and Carriage Museum gets a jump on the season with its Annual Festival of Trees, held from mid -November through early December. Over 100 decorated trees fill the 1816 Granger Mansion. The wonderful smell of fresh pine trees alone makes this a must stop on your holiday tour of Routes 5 & 20. Downtown Canandaigua also features a Holiday Light Display and Holiday Art Trail. Historic Main Street comes alive with holiday music, wagon tours, festive window displays, and gallery tours from Thanksgiving weekend through Christmas. Add to this the Sonnenberg Gardens Festival of Lights, which opens in late November 22 and runs through the first of January. For details on the Holidays in Geneva and Canandaigua visit www.visitfingerlakes.com or call 877-FUN-IN-NY.

Old Fashioned Holiday Adventures in Western New York

Lima, New York is located about 13 miles west of Canandaigua at the intersection of Routes 5 & 20 and Route 15A. The Annual Holiday Decorating Contest is a chance for the community to show off its historic houses. Walk or drive around this quaint village and experience a bit of Americana. For shopping fun - away from the big malls - check out the antique shops while you're in town. Crossroads Country Mall, Debue’s Books and Ephemera and Lima Antiques are all right in the village. Just down the road you will find Avon, New York. Park at the Village Circle and take a walk around the village to enjoy the many 19th century homes and buildings that radiate from the center of the town. You can almost hear the jingle of bells announcing the arrival of sleighs filled with holiday revelers.

Just outside of Avon, Routes 5 & 20 again split, but it does not mean you have to stop your trip through our Holiday Season. Bear to the right onto Route 5 and head for Caledonia, New York. If antiquing is your vice, you'll love Caledonia! History takes center stage in this section of the Routes 5 & 20 corridor. The Holiday Season has a special meaning at the Genesee Country Village & Museum, located about one and half miles north of Caledonia at Mumford, New York. Every year the Village invites the public to its "Yuletide in the Country" to discover the magic of 19th century celebrations. There are also wonderful Nature Walks and of course time to meet Father Christmas. For more information call 585-538-6822 or visit www.gcv.org. For general information on this stretch of Routes 5 & 20 call 800-538-7365.

Following Route 5 to LeRoy, New York (the birthplace of Jell-O) you will find it celebrating the holidays with Winterfest in early December. It is then onto Batavia, New York, which kicks off the season with "Christmas in the City" in early December. Horse and buggy rides, entertainment and shopping highlight this festive event. Make it a weekend and stay around for the "Wonderland of Trees" at the Holland Land Office Museum on Main Street. Call 585-343-4727 or visit www.hollandlandoffice.com. For more information about LeRoy and Batavia call 800-622-2686.

It is not likely that the ordinary visitor would take in all the activities of the Holiday Season on Routes 5 & 20, but who is to say you are ordinary. Treat yourself to a couple of nights away from the frenzy of pre-holiday preparations and take a leisurely trip along this historic Routes 5 & 20 corridor to recapture the joyousness of the Holiday Season. To find out about special events check us out at www.routes5and20.com.

Glorious Winter Season Follows on Heels of Holidays

Once the Holiday Season is over there is no need to shy away from Routes 5 & 20. The glorious Winter Season is already in full swing. Outdoor recreation, cozy inns, and cultural attractions combine to make Routes 5 & 20 a great place during the winter months.

PolarWave Snowtubing in Batavia, New York has taken sledding to new heights! State-of-the-art snowmaking means that you don’t have to wait for Mother Nature for this winter adventure – it just has to be cold. This is for kids of all ages! And guess what – you don’t have to climb the hill, because there is a tube lift. Call 888-727-2794 or visit www.polarwavesnowtubing.com for complete information. Also there are plenty of opportunities to cross-country ski along Routes 5 & 20. Just to name a few: Genesee County Park in East Bethany, NY; Genesee Valley Greenway, Livingston County; Casey Park in Auburn, NY; and Seneca Lake State Park, just east of Geneva, NY.

The lure of a romantic, get-away weekend is especially attractive during the winter months and there are some very special places along Routes 5 & 20 where that dream is made a reality. Geneva, New York, located on Seneca Lake in the heart of New York’s Finger Lakes wine country, can boast three inns, which definitely may be classified as "special". Geneva on the Lake has been called "one of the 10 most romantic inns in the United States" by American Historic Inns. Visit them at www.GenevaOnTheLake.com or call 1-800-3-GENEVA. Belhurst Castle and its sister property, White Springs Manor, combine the past with the comforts of the present. Belhurst Castle, a turreted red-stone building built in the 1880s, is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. White Springs Manor, housed in a Georgian Revival Farm Manor built in the late 1890s, is situated on a drumlin high above Seneca Lake. What a view! For more on these special places visit www.belhurstcastle.com or call 1-315-781-0201.

Lodging options are plentiful along Routes 5 & 20. Bed and Breakfast inns feature everything from gourmet breakfasts to fireplaces in the rooms to jacuzzis to "peace and quiet". Small hotels and motels all along the route offer great winter, get-away packages for couples and families. For accommodation listings visit us at www.routes5and20.com.

Leave time to enjoy the cultural activities along Routes 5 & 20. In Geneva, New York the Smith Opera House has a complete schedule of events including film, music, dance and theater. For calendar of events visit www.thesmith.org or call 315-789-6360. The Genesee Center for the Arts @ the Genesee Community College in Batavia, New York features a full calendar of events throughout the winter season. Call 585-345-6814 or visit them at www.genesee.edu/finearts. Winter is a great time to explore the museums that line Routes 5 & 20. The Cayuga Museum of History & Art in Auburn, New York will feature a special exhibit entitled "Toys & Games" during the winter months of 2003. Call 315-253-8051 for museum hours.

Travel Routes 5 & 20 in central and western New York State during this year’s Holiday and Winter Seasons to get a feel for small-town America. For more information and links to all the communities along this authentic American road visit www.Routes5and20.com.


RESOURCES:
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GENERAL:

Routes 5 and 20 Group :::: www.routes5and20.com

Skaneateles :::: 1-315-685-0552 :::: www.skaneateles.com

Auburn & Cayuga County :::: 1-800-499-9615 :::: www.TourCayuga.com

Seneca Falls/Waterloo & Seneca County :::: 1-800-732-1848 :::: www.visitsenecany.net

Canandaigua/Geneva & Ontario County :::: 1-877-FUN-IN-NY :::: www.VisitFingerLakes.com

Avon/Caledonia/Lima & Livingston County :::: 1-800-538-7365 :::: www.FingerLakesWest.com

Batavia/LeRoy & Genesee County :::: 1-800-622-2686 :::: www.geneseeny.com


HOLIDAY EVENTS

Dickens Christmas in Skaneateles :::: 1-315-685-0552 :::: www.skaneateles.com

Auburn, NY Events :::: 1-800-499-9615 :::: www.TourAuburnNY.com

"It’s a Wonderful Life", Seneca Falls, NY :::: 1-800-732-1848 :::: www.visitsenecany.net