Biking along the Maple Traditions Scenic Byway (proposed)
The proposed Maple Traditions Scenic Byway highlights the simple traditions of people living close to the land, while providing access to a variety of outdoor recreational activities. Beginning in Lowville, the 80-mile route takes travelers past farmlands, woodlands, and the American Maple Museum in Croghan, ending in the “Maple City” of Ogdensburg — at the foot of the Ogdensburg-Prescott International Bridge to Canada which spans the St. Lawrence Seaway.
Along the way, travelers visit family-operated sugar bush operations where maple syrup is produced using wood-stoked fires and horse-drawn wagons, observe Amish farmers working their fields, and are tempted by a variety of locally crafted, traditions-based products such as furniture, cheeses, meats, candles, baskets, and candies.
An alternate loop through Canton brings travelers past the Traditional Arts in Upstate New York (TAUNY) North Country Heritage Center, whose exhibits, archives and local product gallery highlight and preserve the rich living heritage of customs and folk arts from across the entire North Country region. The proposed Maple Traditions Scenic Byway offers numerous opportunities to enjoy the undeveloped rural landscape including bird watching, paddling quiet waterways, hiking woodland trails and geocaching.
While bicycling the roads on and near the Maple Traditions Byway it is likely to encounter the horse-drawn black buggies of the Amish residents, and to pass by any number of Amish roadside stands selling farm goods and craft products. In the Norfolk area are descendants of the Swiss Amish who settled the Allen County area of Indiana. In the Heuvelton-De Peyster area are Amish whose ancestors were among the early settlers of Ohio. The Old Order Amish in Lewis County began arriving in the early 1990s, predominantly from Maryland. These communities illustrate how diverse the Amish are in the 21st century, differing in the German dialect they speak at home, the style of clothing they wear, the boys’ haircuts, and the type of buggy used.
Amish life is rooted in agriculture, and Amish roadside stands offer maple syrup, fresh produce, baked goods, hand-made quilts, baskets, aprons and other items. The Amish welcome you to stop but ask that you refrain from portrait photography. Amish stands are closed on Sundays. Stores in the area, such as in Picken’s Hall General Store in Heuvelton (also closed Sunday), offer a large variety of locally made Amish products including furniture, baskets and quilts.
Community Connections along the Maple Traditions Scenic Byway
Communities along the way between Lowville and Ogdensburg include Croghan, Harrisville, Gouverneur, Richville, Heuvelton and Canton. A variety of bicycling opportunities – as well as suggestions on what to see and do – are highlighted in two segments along the Maple Traditions, starting in the south.
Below are some of the sights along the way, starting in Lowville. Scroll over an image to see its title, or click an image to enlarge it and then move through the entire gallery (click on a large image to return here).