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Southern Tier

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Southern Tier

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The Southern Tier of New York State is the geographical region that includes the counties of New York State west of the Catskill Mountains and along the northern border of Pennsylvania.

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"[1] 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.


New York - Southern Tier region map.png


  • Binghamton is located at the confluence of the Susquehanna and Chenango Rivers. It is the cultural and financial center of the Greater Binghamton Metropolitan Area and is the Broome County seat. It is also part of the "Triple Cities" with Endicott and Johnson City.
    Binghamton has many fantastic examples of Romanesque Revival Architecture in the city's center and is known as the Parlor City for this and for its collection of ornate mansions and nice homes. The Binghamton area is also the Carousel Capital of America, home to 6 of the remaining 150 antique carousels in the nation. Other historic attractions are the Roberson Museum, Kopernik Space Center, and the Ross Park Zoo.
    Both Rod Serling and the regional sandwich known as the "spiedie" were born here. They are celebrated at the annual Rod Serling Video Fest and the Spiedie Fest and Balloon Rally, respectively.

  • Corning, known as the Crystal City, is a small city located on the banks of the Chemung River. It is headquarters of Fortune 500 company Corning Inc., formerly Corning Glass Works. The historic Gaffer District in the downtown area is home to the Corning Museum of Glass and the Rakow Library, as well as the Rockwell Museum of Western Art. The area is known for its festivals and themed shopping and sight-seeing trails.

Civil War reenactments are conducted occasionally near the Revolutionary War monument at Newtown Battlefield State Park. The Commemoration of the Battle of Newtown--an annual event that has been observed for over 225 years-- is usually scheduled for the last weekend in August.

Other destinations


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.

Get in

By plane

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:

By car

  • Interstate 81 is a major north/south link to the Southern Tier. It intersects I86/17 and I88 in Binghamton.
  • Interstate 86/17 the Southern Tier Expressway crosses the entire length of the Southern Tier east to west. It provides a major link to the area from NYC and other downstate areas. Remaining sections of old Rt 17 are in the process of being upgraded to interstate standards for the completion of I86.
  • Interstate 88 provides direct connection from Binghamton to the Albany area.
  • Interstate 90/NYS Throughway runs along the coast of Lake Erie to the Buffalo area.

By bus

  • Greyhound Bus [9] has stations in Binghamton, Elmira, Hornell, and Olean.
  • Shortline Bus [10] is a regional busline. They specialize in student travel and visit every large city in the Southern Tier. They provide links to many metropolitan and tourist areas of the North-East and have at least 6 round trip buses from NYC to Binghamton daily.

By train

There currently is no passenger rail service offered in the Southern Tier, although there are some efforts to change this. [11]. However, there are Amtrak stations in nearby cities of Syracuse, Buffalo, and Erie.

Get around

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.


  • Corning Museum of Glass, in Corning, which boasts of one of the world's most extensive collections of glass items, including an amazing display of antique glassware. The museum is also home to The Rakow Library, a glass research center.
  • Rockwell Museum of Western Art, in Corning, has a wonderful display of Western American paintings and sculptures accumulated over forty years by Mr. and Mrs. Robert F. Rockwell.
  • Ross Park Zoo [12]
  • Tioga Point Museum, Tioga, PA is a small museum that houses antiquities relating to the life in the North Branch and Junction Canal area. It is just over the state border from Elmira.
  • Quarry Farms [13]
  • Newtown Battlefield [14]
  • Tioga Point Museum [15]


Skydiving, mountain climbing and gliding are popular activities among the fearless in the Southern Tier. The National Soaring Museum in Elmira has an extensive collection of sail planes and is home to the Soaring Hall of Fame.


The Southern Tier has a great deal of agricultural industry and is a great place to find locally grown produce. Almost every town or city has at least one farmers market

Spiedies of course, Endicott's great pizza


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 [16] is located in Lakewood, NY (just west of Jamestown). STBC brews some very fine craft beers and a number of season beers.

Other brewpubs can be found in Corning, Ellicottville, and Fredonia.


Get Out

Nearby attractions include Lake Erie, Niagara Falls, Letchworth State Park, The Finger Lakes, Pine Creek Gorge, The Endless Mountains, The Pocono Mountains, and the Catskill Mountains.

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