Otherwise Known As The Grand Canyon Of The East

July 31, 2016
Site #2 Letchworth
Site #2 Letchworth


Ok, totally not enough time to really get the whole experience…we got like a taste and we’re pretty confident we will need to spend more time here sometime… in the future. Letchworth State Park and the surrounding towns have so much to see and so much to do and we didn’t touch on nearly enough!

We left on Friday for the Fourth of July weekend.  (yes, I got out of work on time and we left the driveway about 15 minutes later than planned…..not to shabby)

And.....we're off...
And…..we’re off…

This trip up was going to be longer than our maiden voyage to Lake Placid, so I was still concerned about how the dogs would be in the truck.   They were GREAT.  Titan seems to have the excitement of a child and literally sits up and looks out the window the entire ride.  Sacchi was MUCH more relaxed.  She has definitely adjusted to the truck and feels comfortable on her blanket in the back seat.  George and I put in a book on tape and the bad news is that I didn’t do any of my planned “productive” work on the ride up, but we loved the first story of Sherlock Holmes. I guess I’m a little late to this Book on tape thing, huh? I had no ideas how quickly it would pass the time.

About 50 miles from Buffalo and 40 miles from Rochester, Letchworth State Park encompasses over 14,000 acres and extends through two counties.  The trip for us from Dutchess County was about 7 hours including stops and a few run ins with holiday traffic.  We hit some immediately crossing the Mid Hudson bridge over to Ulster County.  Fortunately, George and I work well together with the overall “potty stop” and “grab a bite”.  Having the dogs on board also helps us make a point of stopping and stretching our legs.  Aviary Photo_131144541726084539 A straight shot- door to door with no traffic would be 5 hours so we were satisfied with our time. So were the dogs which is what was most important.  Since we had eaten we could get in and relax for the night as soon as we got into our site. The sun was going down and it was getting dark so we stepped it up.

Once we were close to our destination our goal was to find the HIGHBANKS CAMPING AREA within the park.  George had been here about 11 years ago and knew where he was going. Yeah, I didn’t have a clue. There are 6 entrances to the park.  We came in through the Mount Morris entrance.  There are entrances from the towns of Portageville and Castile that access Highbanks easily.  It had gotten dark so once we found our site (#708) we were done for the night.  Inevitably, we did not really “settle in” here because we were only at this site for 2 nights and then a second site (#221) for 2 nights. Reserving camp sites in the USA is internet based through www.reserveamerica.com and you really need to work within some time restrictions to reserve the high demand parks and specific sites.  We are planning to practice.

Camping here at Letchworth would allow us to conveniently experience three regions of New York…the Niagara Frontier, the Finger Lakes and Chautaugua-Alleghany.  I think we would need a month or more here to see half of the natural beauty, shops, dining and history in the radius of Letchworth State Park.  This state park is definitely worth coming back to for its location to so many activities and we took some time to look at most of the sites and found a few that we will try to get next time. (certain loops are dog friendly and others they are restricted)

Well, up the first morning and we needed a Walmart. The ranger station supplies maps for Walmart and no… I never thought that would be something I needed a map for…but hey I’m a camper now!  (and I know that internet service is sketchy at best and Walmart is a necessity) George was going to get hose (lol) and wood. (this was said for my friend Christina)  I IMG_1147guess from any point, you’re about 30 minutes or less from a Walmart… FINNissues hits at random moments…today, unexpectedly with a rouge coffee cup on the edge of the truck.  Fortunately, the coffee cup survived.  This isn’t the first time…it won’t be the last. We cope.
After the run thru Walmart, we found “the best” deal on firewood.  On the way to a small town craft fair and farm market we passed by a residential property that sold us a huge load for $20. I guess it worked out that we went for a ride.  The craft fair was cute and just small enough to get us back early enough to cook dinner and get in a game or two of Yahtzee. Seem things I didn’t want to do as a kid are fun now. Who woulda thunk it?

Our second night at Letchworth State Park, George took me to dinner at Glen Iris Inn for my birthday dinner at the southwest end of the park. The restaurant is named Caroline’s.Aviary Photo_131121281797966193  The Inn is beautiful, with decor that has remained in the time period dating back to the late 1800’s.  Originally, this property was the private estate of William Letchworth and the restaurant is named for his executive assistant Caroline Bishop .  Glen Iris has some of the best views of the area and overlooks the middle falls.

Day three we proceeded to the hiking part of our trip.  Beautiful… even if we didn’t put the milage on my new hiking shoes. We saw the three falls and took some nice pictures. We are learning the new camera slowly but between the Sony Cybershot and our iphones we are doing ok.

Inspiration Point
Inspiration Point

We found Inspiration Point and looked around for Richie, Fonzie and the gang from Happy Days.  The overlook is the best vantage point of the Letchworth Gorge and the Genesee River and getting a clear view of the middle falls upstream but nothing of  The Fonz. Once I get the videos on to our Youtube channel I will come back and put a link here. (I’m struggling through some of this technology) We have a great video of the drive.

Brand Spankin' New! Letchworth State Park Nature Center
Brand Spankin’ New!
Letchworth State Park Nature Center


We made a point to stop and see the new Humphrey Nature Center.  Beautifully done, the facility concentrates on sustainability and environmental education.  It was July 4th, so it was a quiet day and that was just fine for us. Very hands on with interactive exhibits and fun for adults and the kiddies.  We came

Critter 1
Critter 2

across a couple of well, moths (???) as we entered and the staff was doing their best to define what they were. There is a small butterfly garden on site that we didn’t see but I think these are moths. (yeah, like I’m an expert)  Anyway they didn’t take flight and cause any screaming.


We weren’t ready to leave when the time came. I guess we didn’t want to go home. Another adventure would have been good if we couldn’t stay but tomorrow there was work.  RVing is working for us with these short trips but we are wanting more of the lifestyle. We have a long one planned for 2016 with just a few little ones to keep us happy.  Stay tuned…


….oh…PS…we found the best chocolate milk on the planet

Best Chocolate milk in the New York State farmlands!
Best Chocolate milk in the New York State farmlands!



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