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Glacier-carved Cazenovia Lake is the largest lake in Madison County, New York. Bordered by the Town of Cazenovia and the Village of Cazenovia, this residential lake is a popular tourist destination. Cazenovia Lake is located southeast of Syracuse on the border of the Finger Lakes tourism region and the Central-Leatherstocking tourism region.
What is the difference between the Town of Cazenovia and the Village of Cazenovia? The State of New York has unique administrative divisions, including town and village, allowing residents to choose their form of government. Therefore, although the Village of Cazenovia is located geographically within the Town of Cazenovia, the Town and Village are incorporated separately.
Recreational activities at Cazenovia Lake include swimming, boating, sailing, sailboat racing, kayaking, fishing, festivals and special events. The local yacht club sponsors many on-water activities during the warm summer months. For the fishing enthusiast, pickerel, largemouth bass, rock bass, northern pike, pumpkinseed, black crappie, blue gill, walleye and yellow perch abound in the sparkling water of Cazenovia Lake. Ice fishing is also popular during the cold winter months.
Although the State of New York owns Cazenovia Lake, land around the lake is privately owned, so public access is limited. Lakeside Park, owned by the Village of Cazenovia, allows picnicking and boat launching for both motorized and hand-carried boats, but no swimming. Lakeland Park, also owned by the Village of Cazenovia, has a modern bathhouse with showers, restrooms, and changing facilities for swimming but no boat launch. Both of these parks are limited to residents of the Cazenovia School District and their guests.
The Town of Cazenovia owns Gypsy Bay Park which is on the southern shore of Cazenovia Lake, but it is limited to picnic usage. An area for launching hand-carried boats is located on North Lake Road. The Town of Cazenovia also owns the Madge Lane Boat Launch for residents and guests.
Helen McNitt State Park, located on the east side of Cazenovia Lake in the Town of Cazenovia, is currently undeveloped but is in the planning stages for future public access.
Although public access to Cazenovia Lake may be limited, both the Town and Village of Cazenovia are great tourist attractions. Both offer many opportunities for vacationing visitors to enjoy the beauty of the lake and the history of the area. Accommodations include lake rental homes and cottages and bed and breakfast inns. For visitors who choose to relocate to the Cazenovia Lake area, a wide range of lakefront properties is available.
Cazenovia Lake's Native American name is "Owahgena" which means "lake of the yellow perch." The name Cazenovia was derived from Theophilus Cazenove who was a land agent for the Holland Land Company. The Holland Land Company purchased a 135,000-acre tract of land to resell small parcels to new settlers in the late 1700's to early 1800's. Colonel John Linklaen, also a land agent for the Holland Land Company, founded the Village of Cazenovia where he built a painted brick mansion that took two years to build, from 1807 to 1809. This mansion is now the Lorenzo State Historic Site and was named to the National Register of Historic Places in July, 1970. Over the years, the Village of Cazenovia has evaded the modern era by preserving their nineteenth-century buildings to keep a serene Victorian period look along their tree-lined streets.
Want to enjoy peaceful waterfront views in an uncrowded setting? Want to step back in time but enjoy the modern conveniences? Make your plans to visit the Cazenovia Lake area today.
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