Nestled between the Susquehanna River and the Pennsylvania border, Vestal is a quaint town in Broome County in the Southern Tier of New York. Located a short way southwest from Binghamton, Vestal is home to Binghamton University, which provides an exciting calendar of entertainment and sporting events throughout the year. Vestal has no less than 21 town-operated and beautifully maintained parks, where people can relax and enjoy picnics, as well as six retail plazas, which provide a wealth of shopping and dining as well as other forms of entertainment.
1.Phelps Mansion Museum
© Phelps Mansion Museum
Formerly known as The Monday Afternoon Clubhouse and once the private residence of Sherman D Phelps, the Phelps Mansion Museum is a three-story brick and stone mansion located on Court Street in Binghamton. Designed by the chief architect of the New York State Capitol, Isaac G. Perry, and built in 1870, the Phelps Mansion changed ownership over several decades until 2005, when it was opened to the public as a museum. Declared a national historic landmark in 1973, the historic house museum features exquisite interiors with intricate detailing such as a beautiful Baccarat Crystal chandelier from 1890, other rare light fittings from the Victorian period, a mansard roof, and cresting on the exterior. The Phelps Mansion Museum is open to the public on Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays from 11:00am to 5:00pm and group tours are conducted every 30 minutes.
191 Court Street, Binghamton, NY 13901, Phone: 607-722-4873
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Apple Hills is a working farm owned by the Green family and has been producing fresh fruit, particularly apples, for more than 150 years. The first apple orchards were planted in 1920, and the farm has grown into one of Brooke County’s most productive farms, producing not only apples, but also strawberries, blueberries, raspberries, and a variety of vegetables. Guests can visit the farm and pick their fruit to take home or enjoy breakfast or lunch at the Apple Hills Café, which serves hearty farm-style breakfasts and delicious lunches. Apple Hills also caters for special occasions such as birthdays and other celebrations with a variety of activities and homemade cuisine as part of the package.
131 Brooks Road, Binghamton, NY 13905, Phone: 607-729-2683
3.Bundy Museum of History and Art
© Bundy Museum of History and Art
The Bundy Museum of History and Art, also known as the Harlow E. Bundy House, is a historic home and museum located in Binghamton, Broome County, New York. Built in 1893 in the Queen Anne style, the Bundy Museum of History and Art tells the story of the entrepreneurial Bundy brothers, who opened a time recording clock company in downtown Binghamton, which later went on to become IBM. The museum features a variety of permanent exhibits, including one that displays early time clocks and explores the forgotten story of the origins of IBM, as well as changing exhibits of local art, an African art gallery, and a vintage barber shop. Surrounded by the beauty and grandeur of the Victorian age, the National Register-listed Bundy House honors local entrepreneurs and artists and pays respect to the cultures that influenced them.
129 Main St, Binghamton, NY 13905, Phone: 607-772-9179
4.Kopernik Observatory & Science Center
© Kopernik Observatory & Science Center
The Kopernik Observatory and Science Center (KOSC) is an observatory and science center that offers interactive astronomy and science-based investigations and outreach programs for the education of all ages. Established in 1974 and opened to the public in the same year, the KOSC is set on a 1,740-foot hilltop southwest of Binghamton with breathtaking views of the surrounding landscapes. The observatory and science center features a variety of equipment and tools such as computers, advanced optical telescopes, and more to educate and encourage young learners to take an invested interest in the fields of science and astronomy. Facilities at the KOSC include three observatory telescopes, a solar heliostat, a solar telescope, a computer lab and weather station, a portable planetarium, and more.
698 Underwood Rd, Vestal, NY 13850, Phone: 607-748-3685
© Otsiningo Park
Otsiningo Park is an urban park with a variety of outdoor and recreational activities for the public to enjoy. Named after one of the many 18th-century Native American words for the lower Chenango River Valley and once inhabited by peoples of several Native American tribes, Otsiningo Park features a network of paved pathways for walking, jogging, and cycling as well as playing fields and community gardens, a specially designed handicapped-accessible playground, and a seasonal farmers market. Park facilities include picnic tables and barbecue grills, water taps and fountains, softball and soccer fields, a bocce court, sand volleyball courts, children’s playing structures, and restrooms.
Otsiningo Park, Binghamton, NY 13905, Phone: 607-778-6541
6.Recreation Park Carousel
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The Recreation Park Carousel, also known as the George F. Johnson Recreation Park Carousel, is a beautifully preserved historic carousel in the George F. Johnson Recreation Park. Installed in 1925 along with the pavilion on which it is based, the carousel is housed in a single story, 16-sided wooden pavilion that is topped with a cupola. The carousel features 60 "jumping" horses four-abreast, two chariots, and an original Wurlitzer Military Band Organ with bells; it is listed as a National Historic Landmark. The carousel and pavilion are surrounded by an array of park facilities, including bandshell concerts, playgrounds and ballfields, swimming pools and a bathhouse, tennis courts, a reflective pond, and a statue of George F. Johnson.
103 Laurel Avenue, Binghamton, NY 13905, Phone: 607-722-9166
7.Roberson Museum and Science Center
© Roberson Museum and Science Center
The Roberson Museum and Science Center is Binghamton’s premier destination for interactive exhibitions, engaging education programs, and community events in art, natural history, and the sciences. The 1904 Edward Vosbury-designed Roberson Mansion rests at the centerpiece of the museum and is surrounded by extensive exhibit spaces, a planetarium, and collection vaults. The Roberson Museum features permanent and changing exhibits throughout the year as well as a model train layout that reflects the local landscapes of the area in the mid-1950s. The Roberson Museum and Science Center plays host to a variety of annual special events, including a food and wine festival, science fiction conventions, decorating the Roberson Mansion for the Christmas holidays, and a model train and doll fair, among others.
30 Front St, Binghamton, NY 13905, Phone: 607-772-0660
8.Binghamton Zoo at Ross Park
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The Binghamton zoo at Ross Park is Binghamton’s central zoo and animal conservation center and is located on Park Avenue in Binghamton. Built in 1875 and one of the oldest zoos in the country, Binghamton Zoo at Ross Park is open seasonally from April through November and features several animals exhibits and rare species, including Amur and snow leopards, wallabies, red wolves, and lemurs. A massive aviary is home to numerous species of birds, and the large pavilion is an ideal place for a picnic lunch. A new discovery center houses a hands-on children's museum, and the zoo offers a variety of education-based programs and personal animal experiences, such as Wild Encounters, where visitors can get up-close with individual residents of the zoo.
185 Park Avenue, Binghamton, NY 13903, Phone: 607-724-5461
9.The Discovery Center of the Southern Tier
© The Discovery Center of the Southern Tier
The Discovery Center of the Southern Tier is an educational center for children of all ages that offers a variety of hands-on participatory exhibits and programs that engage the senses, challenge the mind, and encourage an interest in the arts, sciences, and humanities. The 22,500-square-foot interactive children’s museum features 30 themed exhibits that promote learning through play, such as Santa’s Workshop, Haunted Hallows, A, B, C Bank, and Take Flight, and an outdoor story garden. The Story Garden is an outdoor exhibit space that aims to spark visitors’ imagination through interactive experiences from favorite children’s books in a comfortable outdoor setting. The Discovery Center also offers a variety of educational programs, family workshops, art expressions, school programs, and summer camps. Facilities at the Discovery Center of the Southern Tier include indoor and outdoor picnic areas, restrooms and changing facilities, and free parking.
60 Morgan Rd, Binghamton, NY 13903, Phone: 607-773-8661
10.Vestal Rail Trail
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The Vestal Rail Trail is a popular 2.1-mile walking, hiking, and biking trail that runs from North Main Street in Vestal to African Road. Running parallel to the Vestal Parkway, the Vestal Rail Trail East features a 12-foot wide paved pathway with grass verges as well as benches, a scenic overlook, a lovely gazebo, dog waste facilities, and a nature trail. The eastern end of the trail offers access to the sprawling shopping and dining complex of Town Square Mall. The Vestal Rail Trail West runs between Castle Gardens Road and Main Street and is 1.75 miles long. Parking for both trails is available at Castle Gardens and the lot on Stage Road. The Vestal Rail Trail opens half an hour before sunrise and closes half an hour after sunset.
Vestal, NY 13850
10 Best Things to Do in Vestal, NY
- Phelps Mansion Museum, Photo: Phelps Mansion Museum
- Apple Hills, Photo: Courtesy of vm2002 - Fotolia.com
- Bundy Museum of History and Art, Photo: Bundy Museum of History and Art
- Kopernik Observatory & Science Center, Photo: Kopernik Observatory & Science Center
- Otsiningo Park, Photo: Otsiningo Park
- Recreation Park Carousel, Photo: Courtesy of Yordan Rusev - Fotolia.com
- Roberson Museum and Science Center, Photo: Roberson Museum and Science Center
- Binghamton Zoo at Ross Park, Photo: Courtesy of youreyesonly - Fotolia.com
- The Discovery Center of the Southern Tier, Photo: The Discovery Center of the Southern Tier
- Vestal Rail Trail, Photo: Courtesy of johannes - Fotolia.com
- Cover Photo: Courtesy of paulvelgos - Fotolia.com