Earth : North America : United States of America : Mid-Atlantic : New York (state) : Southern Tier
Lake Erie lies to the west of the Southern Tier, and the north or bordered by the Niagara region and the Finger Lakes. The region is bordered to the south by the Northern Tier of Pennsylvania, and together these regions are known as the Twin Tiers.
The majority of the region between the Allegany Mountains and the Catskill Mountains is "dissected plateau" split by a few large river valleys. Most of the population centers are clustered in these valleys, particularly in the east. West of the Allegany's the land slopes gently down to the shores of Lake Erie. Climate is typical humid continental with hot, humid summers and cold, snowy winters. The region can experience heavy snows, with both lake-effect snow and Nor'Easters commonly hitting the area. Two feet of snow from a single storm is not uncommon.
Locations in the Southern Tier often take their names from Native American and early Colonial history. Many places and features, such as Chautauqua (sha-TAW-kwa) County, retain their original Indian names and can require a clever tongue to pronounce.
The Southern Tier is served by two regional airports with limited flights:
The nearby airports of Syracuse, Scranton, and somewhat farther away, Albany are considerably larger and offer more in the way of connections and services to the eastern portion of the Southern Tier. The western portion may be better served by airports in Buffalo and Erie, PA:
There currently is no passenger rail service offered in the Southern Tier, although there are some efforts to change this. . However, there are Amtrak stations in nearby cities of Syracuse, Buffalo, and Erie.
The Southern Tier is a large, mostly rural region. As such, the best way to experience it is by car. There are several rental companies that service the area, particularly at the airports.
Public transportation is limited to the major metropolitan centers, with some interconnection between cities by private bus lines.
As with most areas of the northeastern United States, Southern Tier cuisine is the result of the ethnic melting pot that immigration created and food offerings tend to be similar from county to county. There are very few 'traditional' foods of the area as no one ethnicity or crop dominated the region. The city of Binghamton, however, was once a popular immigrant destination. These immigrants brought their cuisine to the region and the area is still home to a large number of fantastic ethnic eateries that have stayed reasonably true to the original dishes.
Outside the cities, the Southern Tier is still an agricultural region and is a great place to find a large variety of local produce. Almost every town has at least one farmers market where fresh, local produce can be purchased. The growing season is short and relatively cool, so fruits and vegetables that favor such conditions are easy to find. The region is well known for its strawberry's in the summer and its apple crop in the fall, but other produce that grows well include cherries, potatoes, tomatoes, onions, corn, and squashes. Maple Syrup was once produced across the region and is still celebrated at numerous maple festivals in the spring. Although production has declined, it is becoming more popular due to the rising interest in natural maple syrup.
The Southern Tier does have one dish for which it is well known. The Spiedie, chunks of marinated meat grilled on skewers, was born in Binghamton and is quite popular throughout the region.
Before Prohibition, New York was the leading producer of Hops in the US. The western section of the Southern Tier has a rich tradition in beer craft and there are a number of breweries and brewpubs to be found here. The aptly named Southern Tier Brewing Company  is located in Lakewood, NY (just west of Jamestown). STBC brews some very fine craft beers and a number of season beers.
Lodgings depend on a given travelers preferences. Hotels are limited to the cities and to major tourist attractions. Bed and Breakfasts can be found in many of the smaller towns, particularly to the extreme east and west of the region. Additionally, there are many campsites scattered all over the Southern Tier and wilderness camping is allowed in any NYS designated state forest, of which the Southern Tier has many.