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Tompkins County: Lansing


If you were to buy property in Lansing, you would most likely see a clause in the deed referring to mineral rights. These "minerals" are not silver, gas, or oil, but salt. Eons ago, under the Town of Lansing (and much of the Finger Lakes Region) was an ancient sea. Little remains of that sea today except an enormous salt deposit. Cargill Salt, the world's largest marketer of salt products, owns a facility in Lansing and mines salt under Lansing and Cayuga Lake. This salt is called de-icing salt and is used mostly on winter roads. So as you walk, hike, bike, drive, or shop around Lansing, remember that 2,400 ft./731.5 m. below you, huge trucks and other heavy equipment are rumbling around in Cargill's 40-mi./64.3-km.-long mine. (Read about salt mines in the Finger Lakes.)


Lansing is a picture of contrasts. A funnel-shaped town named for lawyer and politician John Van Eyck Lansing, its western border is in the middle of Cayuga Lake, allowing for some wonderful recreational opportunities. It's northern region is a rural area with many spectacular long-distance views and some of the best farmland in the county, while its southern region is made up mostly of the Village of Lansing, one of the most popular and busiest shopping districts in the area.

Lansing provides many lovely long-distance views (landscapes) like this one of Cayuga Lake in autumn. 


Like many towns in the region, Lansing was a popular haunt of local Indian communities until they were driven out after the Revolutionary War. Americans, attracted by the good soil, the lake, Salmon Creek, and other natural resources, began to settle in the area. One of the first places in Lansing to be settled became known as Ludlowville after Silas, Henry, and Thomas Ludlow settled along Salmon Creek in 1791. There they built a saw mill to cut felled trees into timber for houses and a grist mill. Ludlowville became the Town's largest community with churches, stores, and a post office. Today it is a quiet community of houses and two bed and breakfasts.

Built in 1865, the Brick Block in Ludlowville once housed at various times a department store,  a grocery store, a barber shop, and ice cream shop, a bakery and a post office. It is now apartments.

The biggest attraction is Ludlowville Falls, behind and below Ludlowville Park. This was once a much larger falls until part of the rock fell away, leaving a type of short cave. In low water, you can walk a ledge into the cave and you can walk across the flat rock of the creek over the cave. There are also a deep plunge pool and interesting rock formations. Unlike some falls, which are just nice to look at, Ludlowville Falls is fun to explore.

Ludlowville Falls in Lansing, New York 

At the southern end of Mill St., there is a turn around. You can park there and walk a trail of about .25 mi./.4 km. through a wooded area along the creek. Salmon Creek and its gorge wind all through Ludlowville and offer many interesting spots to explore. If you arrive in the summer, you will see a tall shrub with large panicles of white, heavily scented flowers. This is Polygonatum japonicum or Japanese knotweed. As it's name indicates, it's not a native plant, and it is taking over Ludlowville.


Just north of the park, you come to the intersection of Mill Street and Salmon Creek Road. This road, with a few name changes, runs all the way to Syracuse. From Mill Street to the county line is a distance of about 5 mi./8km. It's a lovely undemanding bike ride that's popular with the locals. Although the road has no shoulders, most of the drivers along the road expect bikers and are careful.


At 1.7 mi./2.7 km. from Mill Street along Salmon Creek Road on the right just after a bridge is an inconspicuously marked wildlife sanctuary that's open to hikers (but not dogs). It has an unmarked path. At 3.8 mi./6.1 km., at the intersection of Salmon Creek and Brook Hill roads, is the Salmon Creek Bird Sanctuary owned by the Finger Lakes Land Trust. This 33-acre parcel has no paths, but you can walk in the creek and get an excellent view of many species of warblers. In the summer, the area is quite overgrown and can be difficult to navigate. Birding is also good from the road, especially early in the mornings. 


Once Salmon Creek leaves Ludlowville, it continues its journey in a southwesterly direction, eventually emptying into Cayuga Lake where the sediment from the creek and the intersection of the water from the lake and the water from the creek have created a spit called Myers Point. Named for Andrew Myers of Maryland who built a cabin and a mill there in 1792, Myers Point is now a locally well-known birding spot. The point is part of Myers Park, a shaded town park that offers camping, picnicking, supervised swimming in the lake, a boat marina, and three launches. 

Myers Park is also the location of the annual Lansing Harbor Festival, an all-day event featuring bands, food, and fun things to do. While visiting the park you can see a replica of a 1791 log cabin called the North Log Cabin.


Myers Park is on the southern shore of Salmon Creek. On the northern shore is another park called Salt Point. At the moment, this park offers a place for people to picnic (but no tables), unsupervised swimming (technically swimming is prohibited, as are fires and alcoholic beverages), and the launching of kayaks and canoes. The park is in the planning stages, and a bridge over Salmon Creek connecting Salt and Myers points is planned. 


State Route 34B, one of the main road running through the Town of Lansing, is part of the Cayuga Lake Scenic Byway, and besides providing great biking, birding, Sunday driving opportunities, you will find antique shops, wineries, and interesting towns like Lansing.


If you follow State Route 34B to the east, you will come to the hamlet of South Lansing. At the intersection of East Shore Drive and State Route 34B is an interesting brick building called Rogue's Harbor Inn. The building has an interesting history. Built in 1830 and one of the town's oldest buildings, it was once a stagecoach inn and tavern. Originally named the Central Exchange Hotel, it was here that the stagecoach horses were exchanged. The inn has had a few well-known guest, including William Henry Seward (President Lincoln's secretary of state) and Harriet Tubman. (The inn is thought to have been a station on the Underground Railroad.) Later, and perhaps due to the fact that the town once had eight distilleries, the hamlet around the inn became known as Rogue's Harbor. It is also thought that, in 1845, Edward Rulloff, whose wife and baby daughter went missing under very suspicious circumstances, was sequestered by the county sheriff at the inn because a lynch mob had cathered at the county jail. Rulloff was later hanged for a different crime. A rogue if there ever was one. But the name of the inn is a modern one based on its historical past.


Just a short distance east of Rogue's Harbor Inn you'll find the Lansing town hall, the town library, the town ball fields. 


If you follow State Route 34 north, you'll not only enjoy the drive but you'll find some of the many fine businesses in the area. State Route 34 through the hamlet of North Lansing is a popular biking riding route, as are many of the north-south roads in Lansing.


The northern part of Lansing and the southern part of neighboring Genoa (Cayuga County) are known for their dairy CAFOs (concentrated animal feeding operations). Although some small farms can still be found in Lansing, these huge CAFO facilities house a thousand cows or more. You may even see the silver milk tanker trucks on the back roads of Lansing going from CAFO to CAFO. These facilities are all part of the local 2,400-member Dairylea Cooperative. Farming in this way requires less labor and produces more and cheaper milk. 


If you'd rather be shopping, the Village of Lansing is for you. Located in the southern part of the town and concentrated predominantly near the intersection of Triphammer Road and State Route 13, the Village of Lansing has three major shopping malls: Cayuga Mall, The Shops at Ithaca (formerly known as Pyramid Mall), and Triphammer Mall. Either in these malls or somewhere in the village, you should be able to find just about everything you need, including doctors, dentists, lawyers, veterinarians, a variety of eateries, grocery stores, hotels, banks, drug stores, and real estate agents just to begin the long list. The Village is near and on the bus route to Cornell University, so you will find housing communities and apartment complexes in the Village as well.


Finally, just as a point of trivia, no matter what you hear, read, or are told, the Ithaca Tompkins Regional Airport, the Ithaca Post Office (as well as the Lansing Post Office), FedEx, and UPS are all in Lansing, not Ithaca. Who ever said life was easy!


Brochure (pdf) (best if printed on 8.5" x 14" paper)

Tourism Information

Town of Lansing

Town Hall

29 Auburn Rd.

Lansing, NY 14882


Ithaca/Tompkins County Convention & Visitors Bureau

904 E. Shore Dr.

Ithaca, NY 14850


GPS Coordinates

42.484°N 76.479°W

Topo Map

Accommodations in Lansing

Breathe the Dream--A Lakefront Inn

5 Fiddlers Green, Lansing, NY 14842, 607-533-4804

The Federal House B&B

175 Ludlowville Rd., Lansing, NY 14882, 800-533-7362

The John Joseph Inn

813 Auburn Rd. (State Rt. 34), Lansing, NY 13073, 607-533-0097

The Old Townsend Place

1616 Ridge Rd. (State Rt. 34B), Lansing, NY 14882, 607-533-8955

Rogue's Harbor Inn

2079 East Shore Dr., Ithaca, NY 14882, 607-533-3535

Salmon Creek Bed & Breakfast

212 Ludlowville Rd., Lansing, NY 14882, 607-533-4623

Arts & Entertainment

See Tompkins County

Recreational Activities

See also Lansing Town Trail

Restaurants and Pubs

See Tompkins County


See Tompkins County

Local Businesses

Bakers' Acres

1104 Auburn Rd., Groton, NY 13073, 607-533-4653

Barn House Antiques and Collectibles

308 Peruville Rd., Freeville, NY 13068, 607-533-8636

Cayuga Landscape

2712 N. Triphammer Rd., Ithaca, NY 14850, 607-257-3000

Cedar View Golf Course

125 Cedar View Rd., Lansing, NY 14882, 315-364-6980

Creations By Carol

59 Emmons Rd., Lansing, NY 14882, 607-533-7160

Dance Hall Antiques

324 State Route 34, Locke, NY 13092, 315-405-6733

Michaleen's Garden Center and Greenhouse

2826 N. Triphammer Rd., Ithaca NY 14850, 607-257-3203

The Plantsmen Nursery

482 Peruville Rd., Groton, NY 13073, 607-339-3118

Take Your Pick Flower Farm

138 Brickyard Rd., Lansing, NY 14882, 607-533-4680


Updated 21 July 2013








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