Green Lakes State Park, NY mile 494

Its cool and dark outside and the silence is broken only by the echoes of children up too late, and parents calling them in. Our own child was asleep about five minutes after curling up in his bunk and is clutching his pillow like a life raft.

Its been an Eeyorish sort of day; damp and grey and underwhelming. We had porridge in the RV this morning – which set the tone, and set off for Seneca Falls on the tip of Seneca Lake. There are several things about Seneca Falls that put it on the map: it was the location of the first Women’s Rights convention and it was the home of Emilia Bloomer, the inventor of the famous women’s undergarment. Thanks to her, legions of women were able to leap about with abandon, unhindered by the traditional knickers made from whalebone and oak. The other thing about Seneca Falls is that it was the inspiration for the town in what classic movie…? Answer on a postcard please. 

We both had visions of Seneca Falls being a little slice of sunlit paradise, perched prettily on the point of the lake with chi-chi coffee shops and antiquarian bookstores. But as we arrived in the drizzle, it was clear that Seneca Falls’ glory days were behind it. There were lots of bric-a-brac places and grubby storefronts, including one called “Women-Made”, which I hilariously suggested would be selling things like shelving that wasn’t quite level. How we laughed. Well one of us laughed, another of us gave me a hard stare. The third carried on skipping. 

We ate in a down-home deli with a sandwich selection only slightly shorter than the bible. A well meaning team of teens was handling the orders and the young woman who took mine suddenly decided to go and work the till halfway through. Everyone else in the line got their food and went round me while our half-made sarnies sat on the side. Eventually I asked if someone else could perhaps finish making them, and when they were finished I got to the till where my original sandwich maestro was now working. I could see her suddenly remember me “Oh. Hi!” she said brightly and gave me a smile in recognition that we had once colluded in an order way back when. The food was good and worth the wait, but the rain was now falling heavily outside and we decided to press on. 

US 20 took us through farming country; a quilt of green fields spread over gentle hills. One farmbuilding we passed had clearly once been a railway station. The track was now gone but the line it took was still clear, stretching off through the fields. 
    
Many of the farms were Amish and behind one farmhouse, just off the road we saw a long line of parked buggies, with several Amish families sitting at long wooden benches having lunch. In fact most of our route seems to have been Amish country. On our first day in Pennsylvania – and even at the Ferry Landing Campsite, we saw several Amish men in their broad black hats, and women in long blue dresses with thick leather boots. Theirs is such an interesting language to listen to, a rolling German that sounds more like Dutch somehow. 

Skaneateles was more like the kind of Finger Lake town we had imagined, and indeed we made a bee line for the “Creekside Book store and Coffee Shop”. There we bought, er books and coffee, and the lady asked us what brought us to “Skinny-Atlas”. So that’s how you say it. We walked back to look at Skinny Atlas lake which was unbelievably clear and glacially blue. It would have been gorgeous on a brighter day.

And so to Green Lakes State Park where we were obliged to book two nights, even though we only really needed one. We made up for it by eating at the park’s clubhouse on top of a hill. The sweeping view down to the lake was a great backdrop and it was a fun evening eating outside as the evening began to draw on.

So, 500 miles down (almost), perhaps 3000 to go. And the movie you are struggling to remember was “Its a Wonderful Life” by the way.

Author: Richard Lister

Chasing horizons...

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