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Guest Column: State Sen. Tom O'Mara

"An abundance of fall tourism"

ALBANY, Oct. 1 -- New York Governor Andrew Cuomo recently brought together a group of
state tourism experts, Cabinet members and newspaper reporters to spend a day canoeing, fishing and hiking in the state’s vast Adirondack Park.

One of the many great facts about the Adirondack Park that I’ve always found most striking is this one: its 6.1 million acres constitute a land area greater than Yellowstone, Yosemite, Grand Canyon, Glacier and Great Smoky Mountains National Parks combined. Amazing.

And an amazing New York State resource that we would like to see become even better. Of course the governor’s gathering wasn’t really about a day of fishing at its heart. It was about promoting New York State tourism, one of our premiere assets and strengths.

We’re fortunate in the Southern Tier and Finger Lakes regions to hang our collective hat on tourism as a cultural and economic anchor. From the Corning Glass Museum to Watkins Glen State Park, from Hammondsport, America’s Coolest Small Town to Mark Twain Country, and from cheese making to a world-class wine industry, tourism is big business around here – and we’re lucky for it. We can never do enough to promote it.

The opportunities are endless.

In late summer, for example, my father and I visited Sunset View Creamery in Schuyler County to sample a few locally made cheeses and help bring attention to an important sector of New York State’s agricultural industry. (As a brief aside, it was also an opportunity for both of us to reflect on our own family’s history in New York State cheese making. My grandfather John O’Mara was a cheese maker who owned and operated the Colosse Cheese Factory in Oswego County in the early 20th Century. My father, also named John, grew up working in the factory throughout his high school and college years. Colosse Cheese is still produced in Pulaski although our family’s no longer involved in the business.)

But back to Sunset View Creamery ( It’s a Farmstead & Artisan Cheese Production Facility that’s operated on the Hoffman Dairy Farm, a century farm located in Odessa, New York, just south of Watkins Glen. Fourth and fifth generation Hoffmans operate the farm, and all the milk used in their cheese making comes from their predominantly Holstein herd.

My father and I appreciated the recent hospitality of Ron Hoffman and his family, as well as the opportunity to sample their great cheeses. It was also an occasion, like I said, for my father to remember his father, for me to recall my grandfather, and for all of us to reflect on how far the industry’s come since the first half of the 20th century.

Cheese making has long played an important role in so many upstate New York communities, including Schuyler County. The great news is that it’s still going strong and has an exciting and promising future. For more information on local cheese makers, including dates for Open Houses being held during the upcoming Columbus Day weekend and other fall events, visit the Finger Lake Cheese Trail online at

Remember it’s a great complement to the wine trails of the Finger Lakes (, or Or the Finger Lakes Beer Trail, which helps to show off our growing and vibrant craft beer industry ( Evidence of the success – and especially the future promise – of these two industries came with last week’s announcement that the governor will convene a “Wine and Beer Summit” at the Capitol in late October. It’ll be an opportunity for regional leaders and industry representatives to share ideas and suggestions for how the state can help strengthen the industries, similar to New York’s first-ever and well-received “Yogurt Summit” in August.

While you’re out and about this autumn, keep in mind that many of the region’s Farmers’ Markets continue to operate into October. For more information, visit

Don’t forget our apple growers ( It’s apple picking season!

In other words, we offer an abundance of fall tourism opportunities and you can read all about them through the state’s official tourism website,, or

Photos in text: State Senator Tom O'Mara; Senator O'Mara with his father John, right, and the Hoffman Dairy Farm's Ron Hoffman. (Photo provided)

Schuyler County Officials

Legislature Members:

Top row (from left): Dennis Fagan, Thomas Gifford, Doris Karius, Glenn Larison

Bottom row: Michael A. Yuhasz, Barbara Halpin, Phil Barnes, Stewart Field


Legislature Chairman

Dennis Fagan, Tyrone 607-292-3687

Legislature Members:

Michael A. Yuhasz, 535-4967

Doris L. Karius, 546-5544

Barbara Halpin, 594-3683

Glenn R. Larison, 594-3385

Thomas M. Gifford, 535-9517

Phil Barnes, Watkins Glen 481-0482

Stewart Field, Watkins Glen 535-2335

County Clerk: Linda Compton, 535-8133

Sheriff: William Yessman, 535-8222

Undersheriff: Breck Spaulding, 535-8222

County Treasurer: Margaret Starbuck, 535-8181

District Attorney: Joseph Fazzary, 535-8383


State, Federal Officials for Schuyler County

Sen. Charles E. Schumer

United States Senate
313 Hart Senate Office Building
Washington, D.C. 20510-3201
DC Phone: 202-224-6542
DC Fax: 202-228-3027
Email Address:

Sen. Kirsten E. Gillibrand

United States Senate
478 Russell Senate Office Building
Washington, D.C. 20510
DC Phone: 202-224-4451

State Senator Tom O'Mara -- Chemung, Schuyler, Steuben, Yates, western Tompkins, Enfield, Ithaca (Town and City), Newfield, Ulysses(Trumansburg)

Room 812, Legislative Office Building
Albany, NY 12247
Phone: (518) 455-2091
Fax: (518) 426-6976

Assemblyman Christopher Friend -- Chemung, Schuyler, Tioga
Room 720, Legislative Office Building
Albany, NY 12248
Phone: (518) 455-4538


© The Odessa File 2011
Charles Haeffner
P.O. Box 365
Odessa, New York 14869