Oregon Trail

Following in the footsteps of pilgrims and pioneers, US‑20 takes in a little of everything during its two-lane trek from Oregon’s rugged coast to the glorious sea and sand of Cape Cod.

Geneva and Waterloo

Geneva (pop. 13,261) sits at the head of Seneca Lake, the largest of the Finger Lakes, and is linked to this sailboat-flecked jewel by a long, green linear park. For a worthwhile detour off the busy four-lane highway, take a quick pass through the lively downtown along Main Street, perhaps wandering around the twin campuses of Hobart and William Smith Colleges to take in a more long-distance view of the lake. The waterfront is dominated by a solitary high-rise housing the Ramada Inn (41 Lakefront Dr., 315/789-0400 or 800/990-0907, $120-265), but a much more interesting place to stay is a half mile south of town: the historic Belhurst Castle (4069 West Lake Rd., 315/781-0201, $150 and up), a 100-year-old, 14-room B&B and restaurant.

Ten miles east of Geneva, picturesque, flag-draped downtown Waterloo (pop. 5,171) has an all-American feel. It was the site of the nation’s first observance (in May 1866) of Memorial Day. A small museum (35 E. Main St., 315/539-9611) evokes the somber, post-war roots of what is now the start of summer. At the edge of town, the unprepossessing Mac’s Drive-In Curb Service Restaurant (1166 Waterloo-Geneva Rd., 315/539-3064) has been open every summer since 1961, dishing out creamy Richardson’s root beer floats, frosty 16-ounce mugs of Pabst Blue Ribbon, and burgers-in-a-basket at an awning-covered counter or right at your car window.

 

Ramada Inn (41 Lakefront Dr.)

Belhurst Castle (4069 West Lake Rd.)

Memorial Day Museum (35 E. Main St.)

Mac’s Drive-In Curb Service Restaurant (1166 Waterloo-Geneva Rd.)