No matter the time of year, Cayuga County is worth visiting.
“People travel to the Finger Lakes region, right, so we have this amazing entire region, the Finger Lakes, and Cayuga County being a small part of it, we have so many of the same things to offer: the beautiful scenery, the lakes, the wineries, the great craft brew industry” says Karen Kuhl, Executive Director of the Cayuga County Office of Tourism. “But what differentiates the Cayuga County is our history. The Cayuga County has deep roots in history that you see some of it in the region, but there are such strong personalities that are right here that have such strong roots in our country and the history, and things that are happening now, that that’s our shining light.”
Auburn is the largest city in Cayuga County, and was home to people like Harriet Tubman and William Seward, both of whom played pivotal roles in women’s rights and human rights.
Tubman – best known for escaping slavery and then helping her family and so many others do the same on the Underground Railroad – spent much of her adult life living in Cayuga County. Her home and property are open for tours. For many years, volunteers helped care for them and shared Tubman’s story with visitors from all over the world. In 2017, it officially became Harriet Tubman National Historical Park.
Here in Auburn, we get to visit the farm she lived on for over 50 years in freedom. We get to touch the house she lived in for 32 years that she and her second husband, Nelson Davis, actually built and made the bricks of. We get to go to her gravesite and be able to visit her there. We get to walk the same streets she walked on. We get to see the houses her relatives lived in. We get to go to her church that she worshipped in for 22 years. Where she was buried from as well. So being able to have that ability to stand where she stood and understand who she is is worth the trip to come here.Kimberly Szewczyk, Senior Interpretive Specialist, Harriet Tubman National Historical Park
Tubman was good friends with William Seward and his wife Frances, who lived nearby. William was a Governor of New York, a U.S. Senator, and Secretary of State for Presidents Abraham Lincoln and Andrew Johnson.
The Seward’s home in Auburn was a stop on the Underground Railroad, and Frances was also very active in the women’s rights movement. The home has been fully restored and welcomes visitors. Staff will help you learn about the entire Seward family and understand how their lives and efforts are still relevant today.
History aside, think about the Finger Lakes region and what’s the first thing that comes to mind? Most people would say wineries and there are 11 in Cayuga County.
On scenic Route 90 in Aurora, you’ll find Long Point Winery. It’s owned by Gary and Rosemary Barletta. They’ve been in this spot since 1999 and produce more than 20 different varieties of wine.
“We got some recognition, we got ourself on the map and I think it’s got listed a couple times as the best wine destination in the U.S.” says Gary. “It’s right here in your backyard.”
Here are some of the other places and things to do mentioned in Exploring Cayuga County:
General Tourism Information (a great starting point!)