Chasing Water Falls, Museum of Glass and Finger Lakes

August 8-14, 2019 — This second week of August found us traveling in the Finger Lakes region of central New York, a popular summer tourist area known for water sports, wineries, museums, and waterfalls. 

The Finger Lakes, comprised of eleven long, narrow, mostly north-south oriented lakes, have been high on our “places to visit” list for a long while. This trip to the northeast corner of the U.S. and Canada that we are currently on was planned back in January and this part of New York state was the driving force in mapping out our route. We definitely we wanted to spend plenty of time exploring the area and this week we did just that!

We criss-crossed around and between the lakes all week enjoying many of the scenic wonders while patronizing local farmers markets, cider houses, breweries and businesses along the way. For such a relatively small area there sure was a lot to see and do, so much in fact that we are already planning a return trip in the future. 

The Harvest Hosts program has certainly been a fantastic way to visit the Finger Lakes region as there are many participating members located around the area. We actually had a difficult time narrowing down which ones we wanted to stay at! We can’t express enough appreciation for the program and the hosts for their generosity in letting us overnight at their places of business. 

Follow along below for a pictorial glimpse of our visit to central New York. 

All nights this week were free stays with one night at a Cracker Barrel, three nights at a Boondockers Welcome host site and three nights at three separate Harvest Hosts locations. 

Mile Driven - RV
Miles Driven - Car

Cracker Barrel in Cicero, New York graciously provided a quiet overnight site and safe spot for us to stay out of harm’s way during a severe thunderstorm. We experienced plenty of thunder, lightning and rain but thankfully no damaging weather. 

If the phrase “you are what you eat” is true then we are peas, corn, cucumbers and peaches, all from Ontario Orchards in Oswego, New York. It’s a terrific produce market, bakery, cider mill, garden center, etc. located a short distance from Lake Ontario. They also are participants of the Harvest Hosts program and offer overnight parking a few miles away from their retail store at their apple orchard. 

Abbott Farms in Baldwinsville, New York is another outstanding Harvest Hosts location. The fifth generation family owned and operated farm features U-Pick fruit crops including strawberries, blueberries, raspberries, blackberries, apples, sweet cherries and more. They also have barnyard animals with goats, ducks, chickens, and pigs. We visited the farm during their annual blueberry festival and despite their busyness the farm owners still made room for us to park and took time to educate us on the farm history. How nice!

We stumbled upon the Montezuma National Wildlife Refuge while in route to the Finger Lakes. The 10,000 acre refuge is a significant spot along the Atlantic Flyway and provides crucial habitat for migratory waterfowl and other birds. Both hiking and driving trails lead to the swamps, pools, and channels that the birds frequent. 

The Scenic Overlook in the town of South Bristol offers views of Canadaigua Lake, the fourth largest of the New York Finger Lakes. So pretty!

The Gorge Trail in Watkins Glen State Park, Watkins Glen, New York is one of the most stunning hikes we’ve ever done. The trail features 19 waterfalls and winds over, under and even behind a few of them. The hike is 1.5 miles each way, has 832 steps to climb and is slippery/muddy in spots due to the waterfall spray and recent rains. The amazing beauty along the trail makes all that stair climbing so worth it. 

Hector Falls is located along Highway 414 just north of Watkins Glen, New York. Only about 50 feet of the 165 foot falls can be seen from the road. The remaining portion of the falls go under a bridge, through private property and then drain into Seneca Lake. The entire waterfall can be seen from the lake. Now we just need a boat…..

The Corning Museum of Glass in Corning, New York is an amazing stop and one that shouldn’t be missed when visiting the Finger Lakes area. The museum features the history and future of glass along with live demonstrations from master glassworkers. Be prepared to spend many hours at the museum in order to take a guided tour, attend the live demonstrations and the view the glass collection that includes pieces over 35 centuries old. 

What an awesome view overlooking Seneca Lake compliments of Harvest Hosts member Chateau LaFayette Reneau winery in Hector, New York! Great wines, great lake views, great overnight site. Just great!

Ithaca Falls is located within the city of Ithaca, New York. The large falls provided power for many businesses in the 1800’s including grist, plaster and woolen mills.  Ruins of these mills can still be seen around the falls area. 

The Cascadilla Gorge Trail connects Cornell University to downtown Ithaca, New York. The 1.3 mile trail follows the Cascadilla Creek and takes hikers through the three-quarter mile long Cascadilla Gorge section that contains eight waterfalls that range from 8 to 80 feet in height. It’s stunningly beautiful and well worth a stop when in the area. 

What a wonderful week spent chasing waterfalls in the state of New York! We’re not done with waterfalls yet as next week we discover many more. Stay tuned to find out where we go and which ones we find. See you then!

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