Published on November 8th, 2013 | by growwny0
Feature Friday: Letchworth State Park
BY JOSHUA BERES, THE GROWWNY TEAM
Hands down one of my favorite autumn events is the annual Columbus Day trip I take to Letchworth State Park with my family. There’s something about enjoying a cool autumn day in the outdoors with your family that just can’t be beat. Early in the morning before the fog had even settled, we began our hour long trek to the park. Despite my lack of enthusiasm for waking up early, I would much rather suffer through my mother yelling at me to get up than sit in the long line of cars that forms if you don’t arrive early enough.
Every Columbus Day weekend they have a craft show that features an impressive variety of art, crafts, and amazing food. My grandfather and I always make sure that getting a blooming onion is at the very top of our priority list. For some crazy reason, it always seems that the guys are more concerned with all the great food spots while the girls are focused on the crafts. Usually, we tend to take an hour or so admiring the eloquent art and trying the wide range of seasonal food samples. The craft show never fails to disappoint with its large variety of goods and amorous atmosphere.
Afterwards, we made our way another 20 minutes into the park to get to the waterfall/gorge area that also boasts a hiking trail, museum, picnic tables, and the Glen Iris Inn. The ride itself is an adventure, with rolling hills and trees, blooming with the vibrant hues of autumn, beleaguering the roadway. Upon arrival, we found an open picnic table and began to set up shop with the grill, picnic food, and blankets. The main picnic area is first come first serve, and is right along the main road going through the park. It is also important to note that Letchworth is a carry-in/carry-out park; meaning that there aren’t any trash cans and you have to bring your own trash bags to take out any waste. Once we were all set, I broke out the football and Frisbee to play catch and run around. By this point, I had plenty of energy to burn, and may or may not have tackled my sister a couple times when nobody was looking.
After a little while, my grandpa fired up the grill to start cooking hot dogs and hamburgers. Luckily, we still had plenty of time before it would be ready. So we took advantage of the time by going on a hike. Walking along the gorge is truly an impressive sight, especially as you make your way towards the waterfall. The marked walkways offer a great view without letting you get too close to the river. But for the adventurous of heart, there are ways to safely get down the ravine and walk along the water. As the path made its way closer to the waterfall, the familiar and daunting task of making the stair climb up the ravine came into view. The stone stairway makes its way up the steep side of the ravine and offers an amazing view at the top for those who are willing to invest the energy and get a workout. Aside from the spectacular view, we had the revelation that we could have just driven up the road a little farther instead of using all the energy walking. However, at that point, I was more worried about making it all the way back down in time for lunch.
Sure enough, the potluck of delicious camp food was awaiting our arrival when we got back. The lunch was fantastic as always and so was the chance to enjoy the company of my family. For anyone wondering what to do during the Fall, I highly recommend taking a day to make the trip to Letchworth State Park. The natural scenery is incredible and there are plenty of ways to enjoy the outdoors!
To learn more about the park’s history, go to: www.letchworthparkhistory.com