May 31, 2017

Letchworth State Park

I have a handful of videos from that trip in my phone, which I wanted to upload to Instagram, but for some reason my videos are taking forever to upload. So, I decided to consolidate it into a highlights video instead, and upload it to YouTube. Et voilà!


En Route to Letchworth State Park

The weather forecast on the day of our trip was cloudy with a chance of showers. At first we were hesitant to push through, but then considered that it was Memorial Day (long) weekend, with a scheduled balloon fest set to happen at the park. We made our final decision to go ahead with our plans over lunch; it was a 45-minute drive from Rochester to Letchworth State Park. We took the scenic route to the park, and made two stopovers for photo ops.

Five Arch Bridge

Our first stopover is the Five Arch Bridge in Avon, a limestone 5-arch railroad bridge which was built in 1856-57.

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This piece of architecture was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 2012; recognized as an important link in the Genesee Valley in the mid 1800s. It was built to carry rail traffic over the Consensus Outlet, and connected Avon, Geneseo, and Mt. Morris with Rochester.

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Geneseo Historic District (AKA Main Street Historic District)

Our second (and last) stopover is the Geneseo Historical District, a preserved landmark listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1977. The place reminded me of Hill Valley Main Street in the 50's from Back to the Future.

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Geneseo was settled in 1790, and was founded by the brothers James and William Wadsworth. Geneseo is since considered as one of the most remarkably picturesque villages in northwestern New York. The surviving structures by the Main Street reflect the village's early 19th century prosperity as a market place for the valley's farming communities.

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After which, we continued our drive down the countryside to Letchworth State Park.

Half Day Visit to Letchworth State Park

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Quick Facts About Letchworth State Park

  • Letchworth State Park is located 35 miles south of Rochester, NY
  • The state park comprises 14,350 acres along the Genesee River
  • There are three major waterfalls inside the park, the tallest is 107 feet high
  • Cliffs that are carved by the river approach 600 feet, dubbing the park as the "Grand Canyon of the East"
  • Amenities include cabins, camping sites, swimming pools, fishing areas, hiking trails, hot air ballooning, whitewater rafting, and canoeing
  • There is a Vehicle Use Fee of 10 USD per car (35 USD for non-profit, tax-exempt non-commercial buses | 75 USD for commercial buses), which is collected during weekends April to mid-May and in winter; daily mid-May through October
  • Click on this link for more information
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The waterfalls of Letchworth State Park led me to expect arduous hours of hiking up and down trails, but to my surprise getting around the park is extremely convenient (if you have a car). There are parking areas right next to the attractions, and proper roads to get there. The hiking trails are more of an optional means to get around the park.

Seriously, first-world countries continue to surprise me.

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There's an ongoing renovation on the railroad bridge by the Upper Falls, which is scheduled for the whole of 2017, because of this the trail to the Upper Falls is closed to the public. We were only able to go near the Middle Falls, which is perfectly fine because it also had breathtaking views to offer.

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If the sun hits the waterfall mists at a certain angle, you should be able to see a rainbow forming on the mists. And because of the Middle Falls' size, the rainbow created is strong enough to be captured by the camera. Seeing the rainbow next to the waterfall, with the canyon as backdrop, is truly an awesome sight.

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Memorial Day Balloon Fest

Every year, the Friends of Letchworth State Park hosts a Red, White, and Blue Balloon Festival. Weather permitting, balloons are launched twice a day (6AM and 6:30PM), but unfortunately for this year, the weather did not cooperate.

However, during our visit, they allowed the participants to at least inflate their balloons for a pa-consuelo photo op.

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All in all, it was a fun and relaxing day; the makings of a perfect long weekend. There are still a LOT of places to explore within Letchworth State Park; the places we have visited needs to be revisited when the seasons change.

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Not bad for my first tourist road trip experience since my move to Rochester, I may say.

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