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On a recent FLM&A Adventure Team visit to Cayuga Lake, I was charmed by a visit to the Ithaca Children’s Garden!  In a picturesque setting overlooking the south end of the lake, the Ithaca Children’s Garden is “an award-winning 3-acre public children’s garden designed for kids, enjoyed by all, and driven by a mission to inspire the next generation of environmental stewards” (ithacachildrensgarden.org).  It can be found at 121 Turtle Lane at the end of Cass Park on Rt 89.

As an environmental educator (and admittedly, a big kid), I understand the importance of free play and interaction with the natural world as part of a child’s development, but I would not be able to say it as eloquently as it is stated in this article by Katherine Sommerville of the American Horticultural Society (ahsgardening.org):

"For kids, play is serious business.  It’s not 'just about having fun, but taking risks, experimenting, and testing boundaries,' states the American Academy of Pediatrics in a clinical r...

October 12, 2018

Did you know that Taughannock Falls - "tuh-GAN-uck" is 33 feet taller than Niagara Falls and it is the highest single-drop waterfall in the north east?   According to the Paleontological Research Institution (https://www.priweb.org/)  Taughannock gorge was formed as the creek cut through 400 feet of shale. The result was a broad delta on the west side of Cayuga Lake where Taughannock Falls State Park now stands.  The park was created in 1925 and, like many State Parks in the Finger Lakes area, the Civilian Conservation Corps built much of the infrastructure in the 1930s.

I often travel to Ithaca and always try to make time to stop by to view the falls. Rock falls are not uncommon sending chucks of limestone to the gorge floor so there is a chance the gorge will look different one visit to the next. Also, the water flow over the caprock varies thanks to rain, snow and droughts, and the trees, shrubs and wildflowers around the gorge change color with the seasons. 

Park trails off...

First stop:  Skaneateles Conservation Area (SCA) in the Town of Skaneateles, northeast of the lake.  According to the NY Falls website [http://nyfalls.com/waterfalls/guppy-falls/], the SCA is a “unique habitat protected by the Town of Skaneateles who purchased land around this crucial tributary from owners and farmers in order to preserve the unique ecosystem. The area contains two ponds, numerous acres of wetland habitat, and stream access.”

A steep but brief start to the hike got us to the Rudl Trail, which we followed to get to Guppy Falls, which is a 20-foot cascade over the shale bedrock, typical of the area.  The stream flow is very dependent upon rainfall.  As we have had a fair amount of rain in recent weeks, we were treated to the delightful sound of water tripping down the rock face.

On the way back from the falls, we were enchanted to come across this blanket of Myrtle in the middle of the woods.  I imagined it to be a little gnome city, with all kinds of activity going o...

September 21, 2018

One of my favorite activities during our 2018 Focus on the Finger Lakes campaign has taken place when I return home from one of our lake adventures.  Don't get me wrong, there is nothing like experiencing all the beauty of our eleven Finger Lakes in person but for me the adventure continues as I go back through my pictures and take time to learn a little about the history of the images in them.

The Teasel Capital of the World!

In the 1840's a gentleman by the name of John Snook brought cultivated teasel seed to Skaneateles from England.  Teasel had been used there for centuries to comb the nap of woolen goods.  The locally grown teasels quickly gained a reputation as superior to imported teasel and became a major cash crop for local farmers.  Cultivated teasel is not the same as the wild teasel we encounter today.  It is believed to be extinct here in the Finger Lakes now, having been displaced by two wild strains.

Thayer House and Thayer Park Main Street Skaneateles

Joel Th...

If you are looking for peace and quiet, this is the lake for you.  The depth of the lake keeps the water temperatures cool enough that lingering in the water is reserved for the most rugged of individuals and fish.  Seneca never freezes over because of its size, but frigid temperatures and dock structures can create super interesting ice sculptures.  This cooling effect has encouraged the growth of many vineyards which in turn has created some of the best wineries, breweries and distilleries to line it shores.  Scuba divers may still be able to find some of the coal barges that have sunk to the bottom.  Unfortunately, time has been taking its toll on the structures.  The size of the lake also allows for great sailing.  Southern and northern winds funnel up the lake to create wild and wonderful sailing experiences on both ends of the lake while the west wind allows for smooth sailing. 

If you are in the mood for dry land, there are plenty of parks.  Wat...

August 24, 2018

Seneca Lake, our featured Finger Lake for the month of August, is home to two New York State Parks. Seneca Lake Sate Park began as a 141-acre municipal park developed by the city of Geneva in 1922.  In 1957 the park was transferred to the state of New York and opened as Seneca Lake State Park.  Sampson State Park, a much larger park covering 2,070 acres and located a few miles south of Geneva, was created in 1960.  Sampson State Park is a popular destination for boating, picnics, swimming and camping, but did you know that, like its neighbor the former Seneca Army Depot, it has roots in military history?

With the outbreak of World War II the second largest naval training station in the country, named for Rear Admiral William T. Sampson from Palmyra, NY, acquired the lake side farm land that is known as Sampson State Park today. In May of 1942 plans were announced to build next to what was then known as the Army Ordnance Depot.  Six days after that announcement contractors were...

August 17, 2018


First of all, on behalf of the Finger Lakes Museum & Aquarium trustees, staff, and volunteers, I wish to offer our sincere condolences to the people of Seneca County who lost their homes or incurred property damage in the recent flood event this week. We wish a speedy recovery to those families who were affected.

This month we are celebrating Seneca Lake as part of our year long focus on the eleven Finger Lakes.  At the south end of Seneca Lake lies the picturesque village of Watkins Glen, home to one of America’s best state parks and where American auto road racing experienced its revival.  Last Saturday, the FLM&A Adventure Team set out for Watkins Glen State Park with the intent of hiking the South Rim Trail. We chose the South Rim trail because most people who have visited the park have hiked the famous Gorge Trail.  Unfortunately, Mother Nature had her own plan of what we should be doing that day, and it did not include...

August 13, 2018

Many thanks to all of the

participants, sponsors, staff & volunteers

who made the 2018 Paddle Keuka 5K a splashing success! 

We had so much fun and look forward to seeing everyone again next year!

August 11, 2018

Seneca Lake is well known as the largest and deepest of the Finger Lakes, but lesser known is the abundance of marine fossils to be found on the north half of the lake. About 385 million years ago, a shallow sea covered most of western and central New York during the Middle Devonian. Located near the equator, a coral reef community thrived until the Late Devonian mass extinction about 375 - 360 million years ago. Animals that were common during that time period were brachiopods, gastropods, bivalves, corals, trilobites, shelled cephalopods and crinoids (Sea Lilies).

Fossil hunting is one of my favorite hobbies. For me it is like a treasure hunt! Living in Dundee, I frequent spots from Severne Point to Kashong creek along Route 14 which runs along the west side of the lake. Of all the places along the west side that I go to, Severne Point is my favorite hunting spot. Located near Himrod, NY, Severne Point is a public beach with a boat launch. Swimming is prohibited but the beach is rich...

August 8, 2018

One of the things I love about summer is the ability to do almost everything outside. Enjoying an outdoor concert is a beautiful thing, and in Canandaigua, we are fortunate to have the CMAC venue at the Finger Lakes Community College. This large and popular locale draws some pretty big names from all kinds of musical genre. The
Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra (RPO) comes to perform each summer, and I had a front row seat for their early July “Red, White, and Boom!” concert.

If you enjoy the sound of a full orchestra, the RPO is not to be missed. Their concert series typically covers classical, pop, movie soundtracks (live music while you watch the movie – very cool!), show tunes and more. RPO Music Director Ward Stare, who

conducted this concert, is energetic, engaging, and quite entertaining. This highly polished group of musicians is also committed to giving back to the community. In 2017-18, more than 40% performances were educational or free community concerts.

The concert started...

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Day-tripping and More around Cayuga Lake

March 28, 2019

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3369 Guyanoga Road

 Branchport, NY 14418


Tel: 315-595-2200

A Cultural and Natural History Museum