Drive to nowhere nets some views but no food

OK, so not every driving venture on the byways and little highways of CNY work out.

Case in point: a ride in search of a trail head in the DeRuyter State Forest, with a stop at the Red and White Cafe afterward as a reward for my hike.


My friends over at CNY Hiking set me up well enough, but my execution was wanting. I drove to New Woodstock, and took a turn south on School Road to Webber Road to Fairbanks Road.

I had thought traveling on Fairbanks would get me to a DEC sign that would at least me know for sure I was on state land and OK to ramble.  Not quite.

I did pass a blue tarp that was wrapped around the skeleton of a structure that was clearly marked as a “bar” and which clearly stated that hikers were not welcome to stop for a beverage.  That was weird, and none too inviting, but it did suggest that hikers might be in the vicinity or that there were trails for hikers somewhere.

The only sniff of a trail marker was a blue blaze that signified a portion of the Finger Lakes Trail. It went toward a pond right off the road, though, and didn’t seem to go beyond that. And there wasn’t really a place to park the car.

The seasonally maintained Fairbanks Road

I did learn one thing: seasonally maintained roads are not always intended for Hyundai Sonata sedans. Fairbanks Road wasn’t awful, but it was narrow. I was glad a similarly dazed and confused motorist wasn’t coming the other way.

As is the case pretty often in CNY, I did take in a few pretty views as I drove down Fairbanks and eventually ended up on East Lake Road, catching glimpses of the DeRuyter Reservoir. I didn’t go to the Red and White, a terrific former general store turned interesting cafe, figuring I didn’t really earn it.

I have had very good breakfasts at the Red and White and an OK dinner there. It’s worth the trip to see the great job the owners did in keeping the historic elements of the place intact after they converted it to a cafe/bakery/coffee bar.  

It’s heartening to see such important buildings in a community find new life. It can happen, and should happen, more often.  I’ll make my way down toward DeRuyter again, not via Fairbanks Road, and make sure I stop in again.

Looking south toward DeRuyter


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