The Nature Nearby: Splashing in a Finger Lakes Creek

After completing a long, overseas work trip, it was wonderful to arrive back home to family and friends. Our neighbors invited my kids and me to an old cabin in the woods. Situated just feet from a feeder stream of Seneca Lake (part of the Finger Lakes chain of lakes in New York), the cabin was a genuinely rustic camp crafted of hand-hewn logs, held together with spit and spiderwebs.

Finger Lakes Cabin (8 of 9)

A fishing pole rested against the door jamb, framing a dented minnow bucket at its base. It belonged to a ghost of a man with a prickly beard who rocked on the front porch. His tobacco-stained thumb pulled at antique suspenders that held up muddy dungarees. Every now and then he’d spit a wad of tobacco into a rusty can of Genesee, then let out a hacking cough. I was sure that if I watched him long enough, his chin would slump and he’d fall asleep to cicadas and birdsong.

None of that is actually true, but the ghosts of times gone by ran wild through this property, taking our imaginations with it.  It seemed right to invent a spirited specter, the leading man of the house.

Just up the creek, about a hundred yards or so, was a cascading waterfall that over the millenia has carved out a swimming hole beneath. Parents led the smaller kids into the creek as older kids poked around the shale creekbed, hunting for crawdads.

Finger Lakes Cabin (6 of 9)

The Finger Lakes is full of isolated nooks and crannies with cascading waterfalls like this. Some are private gems, like this one, but plenty have public access. Here’s a guide to waterfalls and birding sites.

  1. Map of waterfalls (public and private) in the Fingers Lakes
  2. Guide to public waterfalls in the Finger Lakes
  3. Laura Kammermeier’s Guide to Birding Sites in the Finger Lakes
  4. provides excellent overview information for the whole region

The Finger Lakes region is a day drive from surrounding states like Ohio, Pennsylvania, Vermont, Massachusetts and others. Include some sight-seeing of the region on your daughter’s college tour, do a winery tour and have a luxury weekend at Belhurst Castle, participate in a Ghost Summoning at The Naples Hotel, and of course if you love birds, make a pilgrimage to Sapsucker Woods at Cornell Lab of Ornithology.

It’s a beautiful region that I’m proud to live in. Grab the family and come!

Finger Lakes Cabin (3 of 9)

Image courtesy of Eric Smith.

Have you been to the Finger Lakes? What is your favorite thing to do?

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