Skaneateles is another lake near Syracuse. A Finger Lake. I learned to swim in another Finger Lake, Canandaigua. It was cold. Finger Lakes are stoney, long and narrow, deep, and if you had a map, they look like fingers. They are beautifully framed by long hills, and home to a burgeoning wine industry. It used to be that NY State wine was basic rotgut, but that has changed big time. Read Summer in a Glass by Evan Dawson, and you’ll be running out to get some.
Another lake that features in upstate New York topography is Lake Ontario. It’s a Great Lake. My cousin lives there most of the summer and delighted us with descriptions of the ice caves that form from wind action on the shoreline in winter. Big ice caves.
As a child, we went to Lake Ontario to experience big waves in the summer. Maybe they just seemed big, but that was our little ocean, complete with sunsets from the bluffs of Fairhaven State Park.
Another exciting topographic feature Upstate is Montezuma Swamp. It’s a national wildlife refuge, close to my heart because I volunteer at Ding Darlilng NWR here in Florida.
Montezuma is a great birding spot, especially during migration, but July wasn’t bad either. We saw black terns (I hesitate to call it a life bird, but it was one, see my post “A Crow Gets Even” http://wp.me/p3cJ8X-bd) and many other shorebirds. Great to see birds in their proper colors, unlike the drab plumage we experience during Florida winters when the birds spend their time with us. Topping off the trip to Montezuma, we counted 22 great blue herons in one spot. That would be a Battery of Herons.
And then there’s my friend Lauren’s backyard. She has transformed a city lot near the University into a Garden Haven. (capitalization deliberate). She has three ponds, bird feeders, lawn chairs and art shows in her backyard…she is a ceramic artist who makes pierced lanterns, dragons and other things, but many come by just to see the garden. You can get an idea why.
For our final day upstate, we choose a walk in Green Lakes State Park. The lakes really are green, and very deep, so deep the bottom water never gets to the top, and who knows what lives down there. Stuff that makes it green, I think.
Next up, heading downstate…Stone Barns, Rockefellers and Roosevelts, Storm King and Tarrytown ahead.