Overview - Madison County Madison County is a largely rural county of about 73,000 residents in central New York, part of the Syracuse Metropolitan area and about halfway between Syracuse (to the west) and Utica (to the east). The northern edge of the county straddles Oneida Lake, the largest lake entirely in New York State. The much smaller Cazenovia Lake is in the western part of the county and the village built around it, Cazenovia, is a popular upscale summertime resort.
The county has 16 towns and one city, Oneida, which is in the northeast corner. Several colleges are located in Madison County, including Colgate University, Cazenovia College and Morrisville State College, part of the State University of New York. The county seat is the small village of Munnsville.
The busier, more populated towns are on the northern and western ends of Madison County. Those on the southern and eastern edges are more wide-open towns with plenty of undeveloped land for farming and other outdoor ventures.
You’ll find interesting attractions throughout Madison County. Chittenango, in the town of Sullivan holds an annual festival dedicated to “The Wizard of Oz,” as the author, L. Frank Baum, was born there. Canastota is home to the International Boxing Hall of Fame and Museum. Cazenovia and Hamilton have lovely, historic downtown shopping districts made for strolling. The region once played a major role in the Underground Railroad movement to help freed slaves, and the National Abolition Hall of Fame and Museum is in the hamlet of Peterboro.
There are plenty of places to go out and enjoy nature, like Chittenango Falls State Park in Cazenovia. The county has established several hiking trails linked to popular sites. Chittenango and Canastota both have canal boat museums attesting to the days of the old, original Erie Canal that ran through those towns.
History comes alive at places the Earlville Opera House (a National Historic Landmark) and the Lorenzo State Historic Site.
Madison County has lots to see and do and still plenty of natural, undisturbed beauty. Plus, it’s a quick drive from the western side to busier Syracuse and from the eastern side to Utica.