TrailsBlog: The Vestal Rail Trail is for everyone
Visiting the Vestal Rail Trail is a very pleasant experience. Even in the winter, you can see walkers, joggers, and bicyclists smiling hello to each other on the trail. In November 2019, the trail saw more than 10,700 pedestrians and over 980 bicyclists. There's something for everyone, whether you like outdoor recreation, snacks, events, or history.
This 3.5 mile path, part of the Two Rivers Greenway, was formerly a right-of-way for the Delaware-Lackawanna & Western Railroad. The Delaware, Lackawanna & Western Railroad was built in the 1800s and spanned about 400 miles. The particular mainline trackage that is now the Vestal Rail Trail connected Binghamton to Buffalo; it was abandoned in the late 1950's when the Delaware, Lackawanna & Western Railroad merged with the Erie Railroad, forming the Erie-Lackawanna Railroad. Today, the abandoned rail bed is a well maintained paved path that is 12 feet across, making it fully accessible to wheelchairs, with an additional unpaved 8 feet for joggers and walkers.
The trail serves as a community resource as well. During your visit to the trail, you can see neighbors and friends stopping to greet each other, and the trail connects with the Town Square Mall, giving visitors the opportunity to enjoy some shopping, dining, or a movie. Other great features include informational signage about local history, play areas, bike racks, and a short nature walk around a marsh that loops back to the trail.
At the end of the trail, you will find the Vestal Coal House, a cafe and space for special events. The cafe offers healthy food and drink options, such as juices, wraps, and smoothies. This building gets its name from its unique history: it was the F.L. Rounds Coal Company Building, built in 1908, and served as a coal weighing station until 2002. The Vestal Coal House officially welcomed guests of the trail for use and entertainment in 2006.
In December 2019, the Town of Vestal received a $350,000 Regional Economic Development Council award to relocate the Vestal Building and Museum to the Rail Trail, a more appropriate and safe site. They also hope this will make the building more appealing to potential visitors. This will be the second time a historic building has been moved to the Rail Trail, following the Rounds building.
The historic Vestal Coal House building. The trail will soon be home to the historic Vestal Museum, thanks to a REDC award.
Even in the winter, the Vestal Rail Trail is quite popular for walkers and joggers.
A place to rest and park your bicycle has been cleared for users along the trail.
All 3.5 miles of the 12 foot wide path was cleared of snow, making it easy and safe to use the trail.