Our History

The Busy Bee Market is a seasonal lakeside grocery and café. Accessible by car, bike & boat; the Bee provides groceries, local goods & produce, breakfast and lunch menu, as well as souvenirs. Stop in for a bite and our beautiful view of Cayuga Lake.

The industry of Kidders Landing, New York, was mainly developed due to the ferry and steamboat business in the 18 and 1900's. For over one hundred years, crafts of varied sizes traveled up and down, over and across Seneca and Cayuga Lakes, transporting tourists to all the “ports of call” along the lakes.  One of the most notable of the skippers in Seneca County was Capt. James Voorhees Quick of Kidders. 

The “Busy Bee” was 67 feet overall and was built by James Bennett of Sheldrake. The boat had four-foot gunwales and a 17 foot beam. It was equipped with either sail or steam. In the early years, a horse went along on the boat. It was trained to walk a treadmill as an extra source of power if and when the wind failed.

The Busy Bee made regular trips every day to meet the trains and to carry mail. The ferry could be signaled from either side through the use of a large board, nailed in a certain spot where Quick could see it in any weather. A white board meant the ferry was needed, a black board meant there were no passengers that trip. In an interview, Quick was asked about any trips that stood out in his memory. He recalled the two largest loads. One, the largest was the participants for a Quaker funeral which would take place at Jacksonville in Tompkins County. Included were 10 carriages, 14 horses and 83 people.

It wasn't until the railroads that brought an end to the ferries. The development of the automobile brought about a great change to lake shore activities. Business dropped off to such an extent that the Busy Bee only crossed from May to November and it was probably the only ferry left on Cayuga Lake, at least in the northern end of the lake.

The boat needed frequent repairs which were costly. Without the needed revenue, Quick terminated the service and scuttled the boat. It was sunk near the dock at Kidders. It was partially visible under the water for several years until it finally broke apart and disappeared from sight.

UPDATE: Bob has found what we believe to be some remains of the Busy Bee ferry – complete with zebra mussels and hand-hewn nails – we will have the planks on display at the market this summer! Come visit and see a piece of Kidder’s Landing history.