We drove from New York city north and west through NY state, passing through some of the lower Hudson valley, through the Catskills and further up to Ithaca, about 4 1/2 hours. We Gothamites forget that most of our state is made up of small towns, mountains, lakes and rivers. We went so far from the city that no one was discussing the proposed Islamic Center…amazing…and a relief.
The Finger Lakes were created by the receding glaciers of about 20,000 years ago. The glacial movement carved out the 11 Finger Lakes from older river banks, and simultaneously created absolutely astounding gorges complete with many many waterfalls.
Today, the gorges are long narrow state parks which you can walk through either at rim level and/ or nearly at ground level. They are 40 stories of deep, jagged, slashes into the earth, with sides made of layers of slate with trees hanging on to the ledges, and waterfalls, waterfalls and waterfalls, all along their routes. The gorges are cool, breezy and astonishing.
Here is a waterfall map of NY State..pretty amazing.
The water runs NORTH through the gorges, which is a bit disorienting for a Gothamite, until they run into the Finger Lakes which eventually, slowly feed into Lake Ontario.
The Lakes are lovely, with vineyards, farms, and state parks along their shores.
In 5 days we:
explored Cornell campus in Ithaca on Lake Cayuga, a city unto itself with a gorge running right through campus, visited the Cornell Ornithology Lab and walked Sapsucker Woods, enjoyed the Ithaca downtown “mall” filled with restaurants shops and very young students, visited Buttermilk Falls State Park, and Tremon State Marine Park, Taughannock Falls, visited 2 vineyards, searched for the White White-Tailed Deer of Cayuga ( fat chance to actually see one- the former army base is closed, new housing is there, only a prison is fenced in and it is not recommended to try to search for the white deer there! If you want to know, this is the story: the army fenced in a large area between Lake Cayuga and Lake Seneca, the deer population was trapped, over time white coated deer emerged, about 200 out of a population of 800, here’s link to photos of the white deer, but the info on this site is dated ), and we visited other parks along the Cayuga lake shores.
We drove up to Seneca Falls, through real farm land, past Amish in horse drawn wagons, tractors on
the road, cows and sheep and horses, about 40 minutes, and visited the birthplace of the women’s suffragist movement and the very fine Women’s Rights National Park Museum, which tells the story of how 5 women changed the world. Very special, do not miss this.
We drove to Watkins Glen, about 30 minutes, and visited Watkins Glen State Park, which is right in town with a truly awesome, waterfall filled gorge, visited 3 more wineries and purchased white wine,walked around the marina and watched the sun set on Lake Seneca……
We drove south for about 30 minutes to Corning New York and spent a day in the Corning Museum of Glass. If you go to the Finger Lakes region, do not miss this museum. It has a world class collection of historic glass and the most spectacular collection of modern American and some European Art glass. There are glass blowing demos and a large shop and cafe. My friend who was born upstate in Glens Falls, says that it is not nice to say that this museum should be in New York City.
We returned happy and tired. This is what we could have done more of: fishing, we went to a few wineries but some of you would do more of this, more hanging around the lakes and swimming, and boating.
It is a worthwhile trip. If it were somewhere far away, you would be amazed and tell all of your friends..also, people were friendly, and took their time to speak with us.
it’s not that far so go and visit….