Backpacking in the USA: Exploring Cortland in New York State

When you travel it’s always nice to head away from the tourist crowds for a while. The cities less traveled often have many surprises and one of the coolest unknown cities to check out in New York State is Cortland. This is a small city with a population of just under 20,000. What it lacks in population it makes up for in sights and it also has some decent hotels to stay in. Here are five cool sights to check out when you’re there.


Photo by Tiffany Allington via

1. The 1890 House Museum

The 1890 House is a museum situated on Tomkins Street. Its elegant design dates back to the Victorian era when it was built by industrialist Charles Wickwire. It is a restored limestone mansion which is now open to the public. It is currentlylooked after and opperated by a non-profit group with daily tours and educational programs that appeal to all age groups. However the real charm lies in the fact it is rumoured to be “haunted”.

Visitors at this historic house museum have been surprised and frightened to discover floating orbs and ghostly images in their photographs. The ghosts believed to reside here are Chester Wickwire, his wife Ardell, his son Raymond, and a servant named Victoria who committed suicide on the property. The site is so freaky that it has been featured on TV’s Ghost Hunters.



Photo taken from Google Earth

2. Cortland Country Music Park

Get ready to rock! Country music fans flock from all over the country and New York State to expereince the Cortland Country Music Park. The park features the New York State Country Music Hall of Fame and has many dinner shows and live musical performances. There is also a barn and some on site camping which are especially popular in the summer months.

Keep up to date with events on the official Courtland Country Music Park website.

3. Cortland Beer Company

The popular Cortland Beer Company is an impressive craft brewery that makes ales, stouts, lagers, and more. The Cortland Beer Company provides beer by either the bottle, can, keg or on tap and features live bands.

The Beer company is situated on Court Street.


Photo via Cortland Beer

4. Central New York Living History Center

This historical museum represents the history of New York State with a focus on the more immediate area. Inside there are displays and many exhibits and artifacts tied to the local history. The exhibits display a collection of trucks, tractors, and Civil War memorabilia, and much more.


Photo via CNY Living History

5. Cortland Repertory Theatre

The Cortland Repertory Theatre is the place for plays and musicals performed by both local and national actors and actresses. The mission of this theatre is to make professional theatre experiences accessible for all.

So hopefully these five sights should get you started when you decide to tour the less-explored city of Cortland in New York State.

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