Are you a fan of Netflix's Stranger Things or do you just like to find odd, quirky and offbeat things to do?  Although Cayuga County is miles away from the fabled, faux town of Hawkins, Indiana, we think you will like it here!  We certainly do!  To the best of our knowledge we don't have any Demogorgons and the upside down may only be a figment of the imagination. Don't forget to like and follow {on Instagram & Facebook) the Cayuga Museum of History & Art and the Seward House Museum to see their collections of spooky history! 


1. Stand Tall

Bear Swamp State Forest photo credit instagramer

Do you want to feel like you are about to enter the upside down?  Bear Swamp State Forest offers up a slew of oddities.  The highest point in Cayuga County is a swamp.  Totaling in at 1,860 feet above sea level, Bear Swamp is Cayuga County's highest point.  Can things get any stranger? The answer to that is yes, a cemetery lies within the state forest as well. Bring your bike with you and navigate through a total of 14.3 miles of multi-use trails.

2. It's Electrifying!

Cayuga Museum - Behind the Wall Exhibit of the Auburn Correctional Facility

Visit Swaby's in Downtown Auburn NY.  Boasting their very own replica of the actual electric chair that once resided within the confines of the Auburn Correctional Facility.  Want to learn more about the storied Auburn Correctional Facility? Spend a few hours exploring the Cayuga Museum of History and Art with their exhibit, Both Sides of the Wall: Auburn and Its Prison.  Experience a full-size replica of a current cell from the oldest continually operating prison in the country.  All this and more awaits you! Keep the theme going and stop at Prison City Brewing for a local made pint!

3. Don't the Eat Cake!

Howland Stone Store Museum - looking at display

This 'piece' of history is just a tad past its expiration date.  The historical slice was saved from the cake celebrating Susan B. Anthony's 78th birthday in 1898. It is fitting that it now resides at the Howland Stone Store Museum. A strong supporter of women's rights herself, Emily Howland was a good friend of this important leader of the women's suffrage movement. Howland explored the world and has a vast collection of exotic treasures on display, from artifacts from Egyptian tombs to the largest collection of women's suffrage posters.  

4. Visit a Haunted Mall

Haunted Hunt at the Fingerlakes

Nothing says the 80's like a shopping mall, but one that is reportedly haunted?  Check out the Fingerlakes Mall in Auburn.  Rumor has it that a late-night watchman was only on the job a few months before his first “encounter” that sent him running out of the shopping center.  Since then, ghost investigators have recorded over 200 topnotch EVPs and video footage of entities roaming the halls. People have also reported to have been pushed, touched, spoken to, and more.

5. Experience Haunted History

Haunted History Tour at the Seward House Museum - crowd around tour guide on steps to the museum

Guides take guests around the Seward House grounds and along the darkened streets of historic downtown Auburn, sharing chilling tales of Victorian funeral practices, spectral encounters from Seward family lore, grizzly true crime stories, and other spooky accounts drawn from local folklore and history.  A batch of new, terrifying-yet-true stories have been added this year, so you won't want to miss this eerie experience!  Hurry! Reservations are required so make yours here. Don't forget your mask and practice social distancing during the tour! 

6. Chow Down on Some Serious Waffles

New Hope Mills Waffles - woman with waffle covered in marshmallows

Seriously...when you stack'em up even Eleven would totally dig these waffles!  Stop by New Hope Mills and feed your inner Demogorgon.  You’ll find almost every menu item uses their original New Hope Mills products.  Their French Onion Soup uses New Hope Mills’ Buttermilk croutons, their breakfast sandwich and brunch burger uses New Hope Mills Buttermilk pancake buns, and their Southern Breakfast Burrito uses their New Hope Mills Crepe mix.  

7. Get Caught With Your Hands In the Cookie Jar

Fly By Night Cookie Company - interior with jars of cookies on display

Visit the Fly By Night Cookie Company for tasty sweets along the Finger Lakes Sweet Treat Trail.  Located in the Village of Fair Haven NY, this little cookie shop is like nothing you have seen before, from the "Black Forest Style" carved wooden front porch to the unique interior complete with a miniature village, named Minivally, there is plenty to feast your eyes and stomach upon.  On most days, you can find owner Bonnie Bridson in the back baking an assortment of confections from locally sourced products and making the magic happen! 

8. Delight in the Circus

Miniature Circus at the Ward O'Hara Agricultural Museum

Miniature that is. The circus is always in town at the Ward O'Hara Agricultural Museum!  Take in their vast collection of agricultural memorabilia, tractors, and intriguing exhibits! Make your reservation to take a tour.

10. Shop the Unusual

Trader Vintage Rose

Looking for a funky, one of a kind gift for that one of a kind person in your life? Trader Rose Vintage is a fantastic place to start off with.  They are located in the quaint Village of Aurora. The owner Metha says to call, someone may be nearby or you can schedule an appointment.  Want more quirky shopping?  Add Purple Monkey Antiques in Weedsport to the must see and shop list.

11. Kick Back with a Beer 

Aurora Brewing Company - flight of beer with Gumby

Looking for a brewery that Hopper would approve of? The Aurora Brewing Company is laid back, but offering some straight up, amazing beers! These guys know how to bring it to the next level, with beers like Fresh to Death and Wading in a Cashmere Sea!