September 20, 2023


Today our goal was to explore some of the other state parks and hikes near Watkins Glen, verifying whether Ithaca really is “Gorges”, and try out a few wineries on the shores of Cayuga lake. It was a good day!

We started out with the Gorge Hike at Robert Treman State Park. We were there early enough to get some beautiful morning light.

The Gorge Hike at Robert Treman SP

The hike takes you to the top of Lucifer Falls, and then you descend The view looking back and up is also amazing, but then you realize you have a lot of climbing to do to get back where you started. But it was such a beautiful morning and we almost had the trail to ourselves.

Lucifer Falls from below

After this hike we made a quick stop at Buttermilk Falls just on the edge of Ithaca.

Buttermilk Falls

We were noticing that the falls were a bit dry compared to the descriptions and other pictures we have seen.

Both Jane and I have been to Ithaca before, back when Kaia was doing her college search. But, that was in much cooler weather. It was nice to be able to explore. The motto of Ithaca is “Ithaca is gorges,” and it is a very pretty town, very hilly, but areas and paths along the waterfalls leading right to campus.

A beautiful walk from downtown to campus

We headed over to the shore of Cayuga lake at Taughannock Falls state park. We at our sandwiches and enjoyed the lake, and I answered a couple of emails on my iPad. Our post lunch hike was to the falls. It was a nice flat hike leading back to the falls, where we also saw a group of Perigrine Falcons circling. These falcons can dive at speeds of 200mph to knock out their prey!

Although high, the water flow at these falls was very low. So after our hike we continued north along the lake to check out some wineries: Sheldrake Point, the Thirsty Owl, and Buttonwood grove. All had great views of the lake so we could sip and enjoy the view. We thought that the Thirsty Owl should be introduced to the Thirsty Otter in Balsam Lake. We are learning that there are lots of good wines in the region if not what we are used to. Most are more of a German style like a dry Riesling or even a dry Gewurstraminer on the white side. While the reds tend to be a little more traditional, but with Cab Franck being a bit more prevalent. We definitely found something to like everywhere.

We finished our wine tasting a little too early to head back to town for a dinner out. So we stopped at a the Finger Lakes Distillery along the way to enjoy the waning sun and more lake views, and a cocktail.

Finger Lakes Distillery

Next stop Stowe Vermont!