Ep. 360: Finger Lakes | New York RV travel camping tourism gorges Watkins Glen

Ep. 360: Finger Lakes | New York RV travel camping tourism gorges Watkins Glen

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Greetings friends, and welcome  back to Grand Adventure! I'm your host Marc Guido, and  this week we're bringing you to Upstate New York's beautiful  Finger Lakes region, so stay tuned! This episode of Grand Adventure  is sponsored by etrailer.com, where you'll find thousands of  products for RVing, towing, camping, outdoor recreation, vehicles, boating and more. Use the link down below in the video description to shop etrailer with Grand Adventure! Our eastward march on our Northeastern  Tour 2024 continues this week, and our drive from our last  stop in Erie, Pennsylvania across New York State's Southern  Tier to the Finger Lakes Region largely follows Interstate 86 through  rolling, bucolic farmlands and forests. These rolling hills provide the first real  grades we've encountered since we left Wyoming, and if it's truly possible things  are getting even more green. Our destination this week, the Finger  Lakes are a group of eleven long, narrow, roughly north/south-oriented lakes located directly south of Lake  Ontario in Upstate New York. We're spending our week at their southern end, known as the Finger Lakes  Uplands and Gorges ecoregion where small towns and villages  dot an agrarian landscape that is now home to New York State's  largest wine producing region.

Over 400 wineries and vineyards  surround Seneca, Cayuga, Canandaigua, Keuka, Conesus, and Hemlock Lakes. These glacial lakes originated as a  series of northward-flowing streams. Around two million years ago, the  area was glaciated by the first of many continental glaciers  of the Laurentide Ice Sheet as they moved southward from the Hudson Bay area. Subglacial meltwater and  glacial ice widened, deepened, and accentuated the existing river  valleys to form subglacial tunnel valleys.

Glacial debris, possibly terminal  moraine left behind by the receding ice, acted as dams, allowing lakes to form. The deep cutting by glacial erosion left some  tributaries hanging high above the lakes. Both Seneca and Cayuga Lakes have tributaries  hanging nearly 400 feet above the valley floors. These tributaries have since eroded  their way through the layered shale, limestone and sandstone ancient sea  bed of the Finger Lakes Uplands, often with truly spectacular results.

Situated on the southern shore of Cayuga Lake, Ithaca has a full-time population  of over 32,000 residents. The area was first settled  in 1789 along the flat ground created by the silt deposited by the Cayuga Inlet where it empties into Cayuga Lake. While Ithaca's downtown area may be flat, it's surrounded by ridiculously steep  hills onto which the city has grown.

These hills inhibited Ithaca's  early transportation development when railroads following easier  routes began to bypass the city. Ithaca is a college town, boosting the city's population well  beyond the number of full-time residents. It's home to both Ithaca College and  the ivy-league Cornell University, which sits atop one of the steep  hills on the east side of Ithaca. Whether you need products for  your RV, boat, trailer, vehicle, hunting & fishing, off-roading and more, our video sponsor etrailer has you covered.

Best of all, you'll find over 100  US-based enthusiast Customer Service Reps ready to help via phone, chat, or  email, both before and after the sale. These folks have used themselves the  products that you're shopping for, and you won't find a more  knowledgeable team anywhere to help you with your outdoor project. Click the link down below in the video description  to shop etrailer.com with Grand Adventure!

For our week in the Finger Lakes we're doing  something that we've only done once before, and that's moochdocking. Our Grand Adventurers met our  friends Catherine and Frank when they joined us last fall at  Elephant Butte Reservoir in New Mexico. They own a beautiful 30-acre  spread outside of Ithaca, and we're enjoying a week on their  property with their generous companionship. The hardest part about staying  here was backing our trailer down the entirety of Frank's  long, narrow driveway, for there wasn't enough room to  get turned around near the house.

I was sure happy that I'm not  new to backing up a trailer! A short walk through the woods leads  to a pond on our friends' property which has become something of  a great blue heron sanctuary. They own a little slice of  heaven here outside of Ithaca, and we've had a wonderfully peaceful  and relaxing experience RV camping here. A great dog-friendly diversion for lunch  or a light dinner is Brookton's Market, in the quiet nearby village of Brooktondale. Here you'll find a wide assortment of  local craft beers and ciders on tap, and a delicious assortment of tasty  sandwiches served hot or cold.

The patio here is bustling with  locals on this Thursday evening. Zoe approves! A short hike up Cascadilla Gorge  begins right in downtown Ithaca. Here, the Cascadilla Creek ascends 400 feet  of elevation in only a third of a mile, resulting in six separate  waterfalls right through town. It's a remarkable geologic gem right  in the heart of a bustling small city, but it's presented with a minimum of fanfare, part of Cornell University's 3,600  acres of protected natural areas throughout Tompkins County managed  by Cornell Botanic Gardens. As Frank told me, this southern region of the  Finger Lakes is all about nooks and crannies. Topographic anomalies here  are nearly hidden from view, but reveal themselves to those willing  to spend the time to seek them out.

When we come right back  following a quick ad break, we'll bring you along on a wine tasting, and visit the world famous  Watkins Glen, so stay tuned! No visit to the Finger Lakes would be complete  without sampling its world famous wines, so we're stopping by Six Mile Creek Vineyards. Having first opened in 1987,  Six Mile Creek Vineyards is one of the oldest members  of the Cayuga Lake Wine Trail. They now produce over 10,000  gallons of wine annually, as well as a full line of  grape-based spirits and liqueurs. The climate of the Finger Lakes more  closely resembles that of France, Germany and Austria than that  of, say, Italy or California, so the varietals grown here more closely  resemble those of northern Europe.

You'll find an abundance of Rieslings,  Chardonnays, Pinots and Grüners produced here. A tasting of six wines costs $8,   and bottles are available for purchase  to take home, or enjoy on premise. The next Finger Lake to our west is Seneca Lake, which at over 38 miles long and  covering nearly 67 square miles is the largest of New York's Finger  Lakes, in terms of total area. Much like Ithaca on Cayuga Lake, the village of Watkins Glen sits  at the southern end of Seneca Lake.

It was first settled in 1791, but  with a population of only 1,800 today it's significantly smaller than Ithaca. The village was renamed from Jefferson  in 1852 to honor Dr. Samuel Watkins, whose older brother John purchased  property around the town's nearly hidden gorge in 1794 and constructed mills. After his brother's death, Samuel  Watkins inherited the property and spent four decades building up the  area with roads, shops, and a hotel.

Watkins Glen State Park opened to the public  right on the edge of the village in 1863, and was privately run as a  tourist resort until 1906, when it was purchased by New York  State to become a State Park. The 778-acre park's centerpiece  is a 400-foot-deep narrow gorge cut through rock by Glen Creek,  a stream that was left hanging when glaciers of the Ice Age  deepened the Seneca Valley, increasing the tributary stream  gradient to create rapids and waterfalls wherever there were layers of hard rock. The park features several hiking trails,  open from mid-May to early November, by which one can climb or descend the gorge. The Southern Rim and Indian Trails  run along the gorge's wooded rim, while the Gorge Trail follows the  stream and runs over, under and along the park's 19 waterfalls by way of stone  bridges and more than 800 stone steps. Those 19 waterfalls occur within a  mere two-mile stretch of Glen Creek.

Admission to the park costs $10 per vehicle. There's a large 276-site  campground within the park, and many of those sites have electrical hookups, but it hasn't yet opened for the season. The third Saturday in a row for  us has arrived dreary and wet, scuttling any plans I may have  had to kayak the Finger Lakes. To be honest, though, their straight shorelines  were rather unappealing to me for paddling, so it's a good day to do chores instead.

A common misconception is that full-time  RVing must be like a full-time vacation. Nothing could be further from the truth. There are chores to keep up on, just  like in a sticks-and-bricks home. Sometimes those chores are the same as  for those living in a conventional house. Others, though, can be a bit different. Mrs. Grand Adventure always says  that summers in the mountains

always require that I drag  her to closed ski areas, and it's not any different here. This is Greek Peak ski area in  Virgil, just northeast of Ithaca. We're here to dine with our friend Carol. The last time I saw Carol, we were skiing  together in Utah about 10 years ago. At a spry 88 years young, Carol is still an  active member of the Greek Peak ski patrol.

So we hope that you've enjoyed visiting the  Finger Lakes region of Upstate New York with us! Coming up next week we're going to be  headed for beautiful Lake Champlain, so if you're not yet a Grand Adventurer  I can't think of a better time than now for you to go smash that little "subscribe" button right down there in the lower  right-hand corner of your screen, and ring that notification bell to be sure  that you never miss a Grand Adventure, which we Premiere every Wednesday evening. We'd be honored if you shared the channel with  your friends, family, and on social media. However, it's extremely important to  us that if you liked this episode, please be sure to give us a  big "thumbs up" down below! And while you're down below, that's  where you'll find the comments section where we always love to hear from you.

So until next week from Lake  Champlain please remember, life is nothing but a Grand  Adventure! We'll see you then.

2024-05-27 17:28

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