Archive for June, 2014

Bike Around Owasco Lake

Owasco Lake as viewed from Emerson Park

Owasco Lake as viewed from Emerson Park

If you can ride 30 miles on a bike you will love the ride around Owasco Lake. Riding around the Finger Lakes is always a visual feast, but the hills can be grueling. The trip around Owasco is the easiest of all the lakes.

The view from the end of the pier at Emerson Park

The view from the end of the pier at Emerson Park

Emerson Park, at the north end of the lake is a great place to park as it has nice bathrooms and access to water. There is a $2.00 fee to park. Emerson is a lovely large park with swimming beach, room many picnic spots, a walking pier and it is home to the Merry-go-Round Theater.

The entire ride is a little over 30 miles.

The entire ride is a little over 30 miles.

The main routes surrounding the lake are 55mph roads, but they usually have good shoulders. I recommend that if you are going to ride around a Finger Lake that you start at sunrise and you avoid peak summer months. Another benefit to an early start and a clock-wise circuit is that you will get nice shade on the west side as you journey uphill from Moravia. I saw a generous array of wildlife, often crossing or eating in the middle of the road: fox, hawk, vultures, goldfinch, deer, and several woodpeckers

Tom Thumb Drive-In East side

Tom Thumb Drive-In East side

To start my route I headed south on the east side of the lake on Route 38, passing the Tom Thumb Drive-in, to Rockefeller Rd. Rockefeller has no shoulder, but it is nicely paved and much quieter. The land quickly turns from residential to large farm fields which provide an unobstructed view to the lake. Stay on Rockefeller all the way to Moravia, where you’ll turn right onto N. Main Street to head back north on Rt 38.

Roosevelt Roads rolling hills are mostly farmed

Rockefeller Road’s rolling hills include some vintage tractor barns

If you have time stop in Moravia. Fillmore Glen is just outside the downtown area. This lesser-known CCC treasure is on the level of Buttermilk Falls and Watkins Glenn. Pick up picnic supplies at the grocery in town or the farm market across the street from the park entrance and take a hike to see the falls, or a swim in the pond at the bottom.

Beautiful architecture in downtown Moravia

Beautiful architecture in downtown Moravia

Moravia is the birthplace of President Millard Fillmore. It has beautiful homes, some of them in need of some extra love. The streets are quiet and shady. I was hoping to find a breakfast spot and there was nothing available.

A fun ice cream stand at the southwest end of the lake

Dee-Dees:  A fun ice cream stand at the southwest end of the lake

As you leave town and head across the inlet before turning north you will pass The Betty Blue, a local watering hole that might be worth checking out another time. Soon after you pass Dee-Dees Ice Cream which looks like it would be a fun stop.

Inlet to the lake serves as a filtration system

Inlet to the lake serves as a filtration system

I took a quick break at the Owasco Flats, This is a nature preserve with floodplains, forest and wetlands. Over half of the water flowing into the lake comes through this inlet. This lowland is home to many animals and is accessible by footpath.

Owasco outlet through Emerson Park

Owasco outlet through Emerson Park

Now you continue a long slow climb north. Compared to the climb north on Canandaigua Lake, this is easy. You are rewarded with a great view at the top and then 38 begins to hug the lake side so closely you ride between the lake homes and the water.

The road narrows, as you wind along the lake edge, making this the least safe section, but it is such a lovely ride. Owasco appears to be a big fisherman’s lake. I watched many bass fisherman trolling along the water’s edge.

Pass by the historic Springside Inn, also home to Oak & Vine Restaurant. Before you know it you are going through the rotary and back in Emerson Park. A 30-mile ride is a great warm up. This ride has so many visual treats, no wonder riders make this a regular loop.

 

 

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June 7, 2014 at 12:07 am 1 comment


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