Tompkins County: Newfield
The region that now makes up the Town of Newfield had long been used by various Indian tribes, especially as they traveled through Pony Hollow, a broad, flat, fertile glacial valley, on their way to and from Cayuga Lake. The town itself was first settled by Americans around 1800 after the Indians were driven out of the area by General John Sullivan at the order of General George Washington in 1799. Due to the fact that the town has two large creeks, many settlers clustered near them. In 1802, Eliakim Dean purchased land along the west branch of the Cayuga Inlet, land that is now the Village of Newfield. Here he built the town's first saw mill in 1809. Two years later he constructed a grist mill near what is now the intersection of Mill Street and Newfield Depot Road. By 1836 Newfield had 21 mills that did everything from produce lumber to grind flour.
It is here along the west branch of the Cayuga Inlet that the majority of the town's residents lived and over which was built in 1853 the red-painted covered bridge, the state's oldest covered bridge still in daily use. On the National Register of Historic Places, the Newfield Covered Bridge is a symbol of historic pride for the entire town. (Read "Keepers of the Newfield Covered Bridge" from Finger Lakes Magazine, Fall 1987.)
Beside the unincorporated village, Newfield has four hamlets: Stratton, Trumbulls Corners, Kelloggs Corners, and Newfield Station. These were, at one time, thriving communities in and of themselves. Over time they lost their general stores and most of their churches and are now residential communities. One reminder of the past that has lasted is the one-room Kelloggs Corners School House. Built in 1887, it was moved intact to the grounds of the Newfield Central School on Main Street. Its old desks, blackboards, and other paraphrenalia are a reminder of a bygone era.
The town has had its share of disasters over the years. In 1875, a fire in the center of the village destroyed all its records; in 1905, a flood destroyed seven bridges; the bridges were destroyed again in 1935; and in 1944-45 a blizzard caused roads to be closed for a month. Newfielders seem to take it all in stride.
To learn more about the history of Newfield, see http://www.newfield.netfirms.com/.
Today Newfield is a still a pleasant rural town with an unincorporated village. There are about 200 small businesses in the town, many of them home-based. Brown Cow yogurt first sprang up on Seeley Hill Road many years ago, even though it has since been sold and is now located in California. Electric Wilburland is a professional recording studio (The Horseflies, Glass of Water, Joe Crookston), located in a renovated church right around the corner from the covered birdge. Littletree Orchards has great u-pick apples, peaches, cherries, and flowers. For more interesting Newfield businesses, see Local Businesses at the bottom of this page.
The village of Newfield is quiet and pleasant with a number of historical buildings along Main Street, within easy walking distance of the covered bridge. Here you will find the Newfield Hotel, the Masonic Lodge, the Cook House (the former residence of one of Newfield's early physicians, Dr. Christopher Columbus Cook), and The Gables, a former teahouse.
At 222 Main Street is the King Bowstring Arch Bridge, one of the earliest prefabricated bridges in the county, designed in the 1870s by Ohio industrialist Zenas King. Adjacent to the bridge is Mill Park. You can enjoy its garden, rest in the shade of its gazebo, and eat lunch at the picnic table while listening to the gurgle of the west branch of Cayuga Inlet.
To take a self-guided tour of Newfield, download the brochure. (pdf) (best if printed on 8.5" x 14" paper)
Located in the southwest corner of Tompkins County, the Town of Newfield is an outdoor enthusiast's dream. With names like Bull Hill, Doll Hill, Protts Hill, and Irish Hill (to name just a few), Newfield is a series of rolling, wooded hills through which lies Pony Hollow, a broad, flat, fertile glacial valley. Drainage from the surrounding hills runs into Pony Hollow Creek, which eventually flows south, into the Chemung River. State Route 13 runs through Pony Hollow between the cities of Elmira and Ithaca. This road, with its wide, well paved shoulders is an excellent route for biking and can connect you to many other scenic bike routes as well.
Hiking through the Newfield hills is a popular activity. The primary route is a portion of the 563-mi./ 906 km. Finger Lakes Trail, well marked on trees as white blazes and maintained by the Cayuga Trails Club.
Cross-county skiing is also a popular activity in the winter. There are many places in Newfield that offer secluded skiing trails. One of the most popular is Connecticut Hill Wildlife Management Area. This 11,045-acre parcel, spanning both Tompkins and Schuyler counties, is New York State's largest wildlife management area. Rich in wildlife, the area provides many opportunities for watching birds, deer, foxes, and raccoons and looking for reptiles, amphibians, and insects. Connecticut Hill itself is also the county's highest peak at 2093 ft./638 m.
Besides Pony Hollow Creek, Newfield has a number of other creeks, including Fish Kill, Carter, Chaffee, and the Cayuga Inlet, most of which flow north into Cayuga Lake. These creeks all have the same general appearance--narrow, relatively shallow, with clear, clean water, flowing over flat rocks, usually in a cool, heavily wooded location. Look for crayfish, darters, and unusual salamanders in these creeks.
To explore other places in Newfield that offer a variety of outdoor opportunities check out the following.
904 E. Shore Dr.
Ithaca, NY 14850
166 Main St.
Newfield, NY 14867
N.B. These are very large maps and may encompass more than the Town of Newfield.
Accommodations in Newfield
BED AND BREAKFASTS
Bird Haven Bed & Breakfast
167 Main St., Newfield, NY 14867, 607-564-9926
207 Pine Way, Newfield, NY 14867, 607-564-9461
2797 Elmira Rd., Newfield, NY 14867, 607-227-5855
1642 West Danby Rd., Newfield, NY 14867, 607-564-7501
Foxbriar Bed & Breakfast
78 Piper Rd., Newfield, NY 14867, 607-564-7056
215 Connecticut Hill Rd., Newfield, NY 14867, 607-277-4798
28 Rockwell Rd., Newfield, NY 14867, 877-273-1974
105 Enfield falls Rd. (Rt. 327), Ithaca, NY 14850, 607-273-3440
Arts & Entertainment
See Tompkins County
Restaurants and Pubs
See Tompkins County
See Tompkins County
The Fir Farm (u-cut Christmas trees)
486 Shaffer Rd., Newfield, NY 14867, 607-227-8179
345 Shaffer Rd., Newfield, NY 14867, 607-564-9246
Reed's Farm (maple syrup)
697 Millard Hill Rd., Newfield, NY 14867, 607-564-3561
Snooty Fox Antiques
21 Taber Rd., Newfield, NY 14867, 607-564-3369
1346 Elmira Rd., Newfield, NY 14867, 607-564-9031
Updated 7 August 2010