No Better Place Than Here in Autumn

Black Diamond Trail in Ithaca. Photo by Derek Doeffinger
by Mark Stash

Summer and autumn weather in the Finger Lakes Region affords residents and visitors alike the opportunity to enjoy the area in a myriad of activities. This region is probably one of the greatest places to be during warmer weather. I’m sure that residents who aren’t big fans of the colder winter months are rewarded every year with a warm beauty that encourages them to keep living here.

Once in a awhile I’ll take a personal part in one of the magazine articles. This time, I met my friend Derek Doeffinger for a bicycle ride on the Black Diamond Trail in Ithaca (page 44). This old railroad bed has been turned into a well manicured and attractive trail that hikers and bicyclists use on an everyday basis. It’s an 8-mile trip one way, but we recommend starting in Ithaca, riding the 8 miles on a slight uphill grade to the turnaround at Taughannock Creek, and riding back to Ithaca, which is basically a very long downhill. You can’t coast all the way back, but it’s much easier. Even for riders who only go out a few times a year, this is a beautiful excursion and very doable. The variety of fields and woods along the way make the ride even more visually interesting.

There is currently a rail line that’s in use for both freight and passengers, and all it takes to enjoy a picturesque ride is to book a trip on a Budd Car from Finger Lakes Railway (page 28). The diesel-powered car travels through such communities as Clifton Springs, Canandaigua and Geneva, and even ventures across Cayuga Lake at the north end.

Along with the countless trails in the region, another way to love autumn is to paddle – whether it’s in a canoe or kayak. The Finger Lakes Museum in Branchport (page 72) is set up with boats to rent if you don’t have one, along with a nice boat launch at Sugar Creek, which carries a paddler into Keuka Lake.

After working up an appetite doing all these activities, why not sit down to some traditional Finger Lakes feasts. One such meal is Cornell Chicken, which can be served with the Native Haudenosaunee (Iroquois) “Three Sisters” – corn, beans and squash. Check out more Finger Lakes foods on page 16.

This region continues to fascinate and inspire me to try new things and be active in pursuing those interests. It’s a feeling that never gets old, and in fact, prompts me to be even more curious as the years fly by. Let’s all be a little more curious, and maybe try a new activity this fall in the Finger Lakes. There’s no better place to be.


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