Letchworth State Park: Grand Canyon of the East

Mary Jemison eventually lived in western New York on the Genesee River.

Letchworth State Park, July 17-18, 2016
When we traveled on vacation from northeast Ohio towards the Finger Lakes region of upstate New York, it was the longest time we spent continually in the car. So we were rather spent when we finally got to what has been described as the Grand Canyon of the East. In fact, by the time we drove into Letchworth State Park late that Sunday afternoon, there was no one collecting money. So we drove around, then got out of the car several times, and looked at the amazing scenery for a bit.

But we needed to get to our hotel before it got too late. So we came back the next day. As it turns out, because I’m 62 or over, with an NYS driver’s ID, we were able to get in for free!

The history of the area was fascinating to me. “The park is the present-day site of the grave of Mary Jemison, a Scots-Irish immigrant pioneer who was captured at the age of 12 from central Pennsylvania by a French and Shawnee raiding party during the French and Indian War. She was soon adopted by a family of Seneca people and eventually lived in western New York on the Genesee River. She had become thoroughly assimilated and chose to live with the Seneca for the rest of her long life.”
I can look at waterfalls for a good while, and we saw two of the three major ones in the park. Some of the picnic tables were made from stone. The playgrounds were nice, and my traveling companions liked posing in the giant chairs. Oh, and it had at least one antique: a working payphone.

Truth is, though, we didn’t come close to fully taking advantage of all the amenities, We didn’t get to the William Pryor Letchworth Museum. We didn’t walk on any of the “66 miles (106 km) of hiking trails” use the “two large swimming pools, cabins, campsites for tents, trailer sites with dumping stations, and horse-riding trails. Activities within the park include hiking, biking, fishing, whitewater rafting and kayaking, geocaching, and hunting.”

This means only one thing: we need to come back, and spend more time!

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