After hanging out in North Carolina for a few days we headed north for our road trip. Passing through the Shenandoah National Park in Virginia we crossed through Maryland and Pennsylvania. We stopped to stretch our legs in Pennsylvania by visiting Hershey and Lancaster, otherwise known as Amish Country. We bought some candy from the Hershey Factory and shoofly pie from Dutch Haven before heading to New York.
Our first stop in New York was Watkins Glen. We arrived at Watkins Glen State Park around 9:30am shortly after the park opened. Since there is social distancing in place we wanted to make sure we got in before the park reached capacity. We entered through the south entrance and started on the Gorge Trail there. There was a one-way trail sign in place, I’m guessing that’s new for the social distancing. Walking along on a paved/maintained path we explored the glen, which is a narrow valley, where water flowed continuously with waterfalls all around.
After our relatively short trail walk at the state park (part of the trail was closed for maintenance), we drove through the downtown portion of the town of Watkins Glen and made our way to the scenic byway around Seneca Lake. I never knew wine country existed in New York until then! The warm summer air was pleasant after a quite gloomy morning. We love our wine so we decided to stop at Damani Wine Cellars to do a tasting and purchase some bottles to bring with us. We continued our drive around Seneca Lake, the largest finger lake by volume, and through rural New York to our next stop at Letchworth State Park.
Letchworth State Park is nicknamed ‘Grand Canyon of the East’ and it certainly lives up to the name. It consists of a huge gorge where the Genesee River rages through creating magnificent waterfalls. We started at the upper falls and hiked down to the middle falls, which were our favorite. After walking along the path overlooking the river and falls we made our way back to the car to drive to lower falls. We hiked around here and viewed Inspiration Point as well. We wanted to make our way to Niagara Falls before the night so we headed out but there are numerous activities you can enjoy at the park for days of fun.
We arrived in Niagara Falls and had a quick bite to eat before entering Niagara Falls State Park. This park is the oldest state park in the US and was interesting to explore. It’s more of a city/tourist trap surrounding the falls, but the natural beauty is there and an amazing experience none the less. We parked at the rapids and walked along the Niagara River admiring the speed and force of the water rushing by. We wandered onto Goat Island and viewed the American Falls and Bridal Veil Falls from the top. It gave us a good idea of what we would be exploring better the next day when the park services were open. The next morning we parked at the rapids again since it was a nice walk along the river and not too far from the Cave of the Winds and Maid of the Mist tours. The Cave of the Winds was an incredible (and wet) experience. We were able to get up close to the falls and view them from the bottom, with the opportunity to stand in the falls and soak up all the power from the water falling above. On the Maid of the Mist, we grabbed a spot on the top and were brought past the American and Bridal Veil Falls to the Horseshoe Falls (Canadian falls). While all the falls are incredible, Horseshoe Falls takes the cake.
Following Niagara our next stop was Moravia in the rural farmlands of New York. We took the back roads all the way there exploring parts of the state I never imagined existed. We spent the 4th of July weekend with Ricky’s parents on Lake Owasco. Being in the country with friendly faces and fireworks over the lake was one of the best ways we could’ve spent the weekend. I was able to finish the book I was reading Cosmic Trigger and start my next one, The Pilgrimage. While we were there we also did a short hike to Parsons Falls as well as play disc golf at Emerson Park. We learned about the elusive Champ in Lake Champlain and decided to go hunting for him on our way to Vermont. We stopped at Port Henry and watched the sun move across the sky at Lake Champlain until a storm rumbled in.
From New York our next leg of the journey is Vermont, New Hampshire, Maine, Massachusetts…stay tuned for our next post with our adventures from here! Much love and light to all. Continue to spread the love and stop the hate. <3
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