Letchworth State Park is in upstate New York in the middle of nowhere. It can only be reached via secondary roads from Rochester or Buffalo. I first visited the park on a school field trip.
I love the park because I’m a history buff and there’s plenty of history in the park. On our school trip we visited the pioneer and Seneca Indian museum and the restored Seneca Council House. Near the Council House we saw the statue of a truly remarkable woman named Mary Jemison.
Mary’s family emigrated from Ireland in the early 1700’s. After her family died in a frontier raid, a common occurrence in those days, she was adopted by the Seneca tribe. At the time of her adoption into the tribe Mary was about 15 years old. She spent the rest of her life as a member of the tribe and her descendants can still be found among them.
Mary farmed land that is now within the borders of the park. Traces of her life and farm remain, including a log home built for one of her daughters. Mary is buried in the park near the land she used to farm.
Of course, not everyone cares about history as I do. So if history is not your thing, there’s plenty of natural beauty on display in the park. The primary natural attraction is the waterfalls on the Genesee River. The river is shallow but it narrows into a deep gorge that descends through a series of three waterfalls. At the lower falls, a stone bridge spans the river gorge allowing a wonderful view upstream of the middle falls.
If you ever find yourself in the middle of nowhere near Buffalo or Rochester, consider taking a side trip to Letchworth State Park. You can eat lunch at the Glen Iris Inn, formerly the home of William P. Letchworth who donated the park land. Then take a stroll to the nearby historical and natural sights in the park. It’ll be worth the trip, I promise!