There is a big difference between the two, but there are some people in the Hudson Valley who don't know that. So how about we straighten some stuff out!

Cortland Versus Cortlandt

Why am I even bringing this up? Shouldn't it be clear that these are two different places? Well, I was talking with a friend of mine, and they were saying that they were going to an event in "Cortland." I asked them which one, and they looked at me as if I had two heads. They said, "Near the college, right? Isn't there only one Cortland?"

I had to tell them there is SUNY Cortland in the town of Cortland in the County of Cortland, BUT there is also Cortlandt (silent "t") which is a town in Westchester County. I had my friend look up the event, and turns out the event was in Cortlandt Manor, a Hamlet of the Town of Cortlandt.

This encounter was not the only one recently where I've discovered people didn't realize there was a difference. I've asked other friends, coworkers, and family members, and I'd say about half did not know the difference. I'm curious what people that live in Cortland and Cortlandt think of this conundrum? I wonder if they have issues at all with mail or other misinformation.

I'm going to try to break down many of the key differences for you. The number one thing to do to get the best perspective is to visit both!

Cortlandt, New York

The Town of Cortlandt, New York is located in the northwestern corner of Westchester County. With a population of almost 43,000 citizens, Cortlandt includes two incorporated villages, Buchanan and Croton-on-Hudson, and several hamlets including Montrose, Crugers and Verplanck.

According to Visit Westchester NY, Cortlandt features:

  • A total of 34.5 square miles
  • 15 miles of Hudson River shoreline with access to the river from Cortlandt Waterfront Park unencumbered by railroad lines
  • Route 6 commercial corridor including the Cortlandt Town Center shopping center
  • Expanded and enhanced Cortlandt Train Station—and only one hour to midtown Manhattan
  • Rail service by both Metro North RailroadPDF File (Cortlandt and Croton-Harmon stations) and Amtrak (Croton-Harmon)

Some great local outdoor attractions include the Arboretum, Gateway Park, and the Hollow Brook Trail. The Jane E. Lytle Arboretum in Croton-on-Hudson offers walking trails through 22 acres of woods and wetlands. Trails through the 352-acre Hudson Highlands Gateway Park in the Town of Cortlandt follow woodlands, streams, steep slopes, exposed bedrock and meadows. For a shorter hike, Cortlandt is also home to the three-quarter-mile Hollow Brook Trail. And of course, Cortlandt Waterfront Park in Verplanck is a perfect place to spend a weekend morning, with a riverfront pedestrian trail, fishing pier, great lawn and aviation-themed playground.

When it comes to some of the historical aspects of Cortlandt, it is known for its Revolutionary War history, as it was the location of the strategic Kings Ferry between Stony Point and Verplanck's Point, which George Washington's army used to cross the Hudson on its march to Yorktown Virginia in 1781, which is depicted in John Trumbull's Washington at Verplanck's Point oil portrait.. 

Cortlandt also houses a couple of landmarks that are registered in the National Register of Historic Places: Bear Mountain Bridge and Toll House and the Old Croton Dam. As for historic landmarks, the Van Cortlandt Manor is considered an official National Historic Landmark. It's a 17th-century house and property built by the  by the van Cortland family located near the confluence of the Croton and Hudson Rivers in the village of Croton-on-Hudson in Westchester County

Van Cortlandt Manor is home to The Great Jack O’Lantern Blaze, a major driver of economic development in the Lower Hudson Valley. Throughout the year, Van Cortlandt Manor also welcomes tourists and schoolchildren to the site to explore life in the “New Nation” period, when the political and social aftershocks of the Revolutionary War were experienced by a community that included enslaved Black residents as well as wealthy and working-class whites.

Cortland, NY

Cortland, without the "t" at the end, is not in the Hudson Valley, but a crucial part of New York State. Cortland County is located in the glaciated Appalachian Plateau area of Central New York, midway between Syracuse and Binghamton. The first settlers of Cortland County were primarily of English and Dutch descent and most had been born in the United States. The settlers transformed this heavily wooded region into tillable acres supporting mixed crop agriculture. The county's industrial history goes back to 1789 when the first grist mill in the county was established in the Town of Homer.

According to Experience Cortland,

In Cortland County, you'll find endless unpaved footpaths in green rolling hills. Serene lakes and quaint villages. You'll find cotton-candy skies and heart-racing thrills. There are museums alive with history, churches buzzing with rock 'n roll, and splashes of color around every corner. You’ll find soul-warming dishes and sweet tastes of nostalgia. One-of-a-kind shops and theater that moves you.

Within Cortland County is the City of Cortland. Known as the Crown City, Cortland is in New York's Southern Tier region. As of the 2020 census it had a population of 17,556. The city is within the former Central New York Military Tract. It is named after Pierre Van Cortlandt, the first lieutenant governor of New York.

One of the most notable landmarks of Cortland is SUNY Cortland. Founded in 1868 originally under the name Cortland Normal School. SUNY Cortland stands out as one of New York’s top public universities — a medium-sized school that offers academic strength across 68 majors, a high quality of student life and a degree that pays back graduates. Reputations in teacher education and health-related majors laid the foundation for exciting new programs related to business, natural sciences, the arts and specialized professional fields. Some notable alumni of SUNY Cortland include comedian Kevin James and retired professional wrestler Mick Foley.

Of course, these are just very basic information of Cortland and Cortlandt. The best way to get to know these areas is to visit them! And if you are from them, or have visited, what do you have to say? What makes each community great and what sets them apart? Let us know on the app or hit us up on social media!

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