For years, I’ve been well aware of the existence of Letchworth State Park – but it took me until just recently to finally visit one of the most beautiful places in New York State. But finally, one Saturday afternoon, my fiancé and I finally made the drive. It wasn’t a long drive from Buffalo at all – just over an hour, really – took us to the southern part of Letchworth.
It being October, the weather was not fantastic, but also not as awful as it could’ve been. (See the October Storm of nine years ago). It was a slightly rainy drive, and overall, an autumn chill filled the air throughout the day, but the fall foliage was just emerging at Letchworth and it was spectacular.
With neither of us being big hikers, we elected to mostly drive around the park, stopping at various outlook points to take things in. With the weather being what it was (and with me already having a slight cold!), this was a great decision. Though the park is obviously much more expansive than what we got to see, I think we still got some wonderful glances at what it has to offer.
From the high points 550 feet above the gorge, to slightly lower lookout points roughly 300 feet above it — it was all spectacular. The weather made it quite a misty day at Letchworth, which could’ve obscured our great views but instead just made everything seem that much more spectacular.
My favorite view was undoubtedly the great one we found that allowed us to see at least two of the three waterfalls, plus the rail trestle bridge crossing the gorge. I can’t even imagine what taking a train over that bridge must be like; though the view would be awesome, I think I’d be too scared to enjoy it!
I also quite enjoyed the view of the river (or was it a creek?) that we found. Just something about the footbridges and the way the water flowed over the rocks was calming. We even stumbled upon a couple getting their engagement photos taken there that day.
Our drive through Letchworth took us to the northernmost part of the park, the Mount Morris Dam.
En route, we stopped at a gift shop in the park, wherein we bought something called “wine cake mix,” which is…. Intriguing, to say the least. I’ll let you know how that goes when we make it. I also got this beautiful dish (for candies, or small treasures) shaped like a tree log and adorned with a few black bears and fish. I can’t wait until Halloween-time is over so I can replace my pumpkin candy dish with this one. Sadly, the shop in the visitor’s center was closed by the time we got there, but I assume it would have much of the same items. We did get to stop at the visitor’s center, albeit briefly, and pick up a souvenir penny (for my collection) and some informational brochures.
The in-park restaurant was also closed.
Despite the windy, rainy, less-than-thrilling weather, we did manage to drive by some brave folks building campfires outside in the appropriate areas. Some of the cabins were also clearly in use – perhaps something I’d like to eventually look into – and we spotted one wildlife (a deer) through the park.
I think one of the funniest moments was found in the guest book at the visitor’s center, wherein people are encouraged to log the wildlife they’ve spotted. Some entries are legitimate, like foxes, birds, bears, etc. One really gave me a chuckle, though. The sighting was logged as: “my wife” and the added comment: “what a view!”
Ignoring the whole “your wife is definitely more than her looks, but okay,” spiel, I’d like to imagine this was left by an elderly couple, a husband madly, deeply in love with his wife of so many years – so much so that he, with a sense of humor, wanted to record her beauty for all to admire. (And before you ask, yes, I am hopelessly romantic like that.)
After leaving the park, we stopped at a local liquor store and picked up champagne (celebrating our anniversary!) and checked in at the Allegiance Bed & Breakfast, our home for evening. Since this was a last-minute trip, we booked the “Letchworth” room – only appropriate, no? Any other time, I wouldn’t have booked that room, as it was too large for the two of us, but desperate times call for desperate measures, my friend.
The room was beautiful, however. It had one large bed in the main area, with three additional beds in the “second room” – two singles and one that looked like a double. This room is big enough for an entire family! The home itself was spectacular, circa 1838, and absolutely breathtaking. From the fireplaces in the common areas, which we enjoyed late-night, to the grand piano, the chandeliers, etc…. all adding small, special touches to make it that much better.
We weren’t terribly impressed by the breakfast, as this was a “light” day that seemed, in my opinion, incredibly light. We came downstairs around 8:30 a.m. to find half a bowl of fruit salad left, three mini-bagels, some granola and oatmeal packets. While every B&B was different, and the gentleman in charge did say it was a light day (the day prior was heavier, with eggs, sausage, etc.), that just seemed like far too little food to feed an entirely filled B&B. Nonetheless, it wasn’t a breaking point and I’d definitely still return.
Our Saturday evening dinner was spent at Brian’s USA diner, just a few minutes’ drive down the street from the B&B. I was shocked that the diner is only open until 8 pm on Saturdays (!), but we managed to work with it. The fried macaroni and cheese was an interesting appetizer, while the “Best Dam Chicken Sandwich” provided a clever, tasty pun – and dinner. I would’ve liked to try dessert, but we had a) no time and b) no room in the stomach. Maybe next time!
If I have anything to say about it, I’ll definitely be returning to Letchworth again soon. It may have taken me just shy of 25 years to get there once, but I swear it won’t take me that long again!