Wandering Watkins Glen, New York

Watkins Glen

Leaving Niagara Falls we had several driving options to get us to Long Island where we had a wedding to attend.  Looking at the map we decided to go through the Finger Lakes region of upstate, New York. It’s pretty, it’s one of New York’s bigger wine districts, so a few vineyards could be visited, and there were any number of golf courses  for our golfing pleasure. Plus, they had Watkins Glen. When I mention Watkins Glen, what do you think of ?  If you are a NASCAR fan you might think of Watkins Glen International Speedway. Or, maybe you are a Phish fan you think of their concert there last year. To me it brings back memories of camping in the early 1970’s with my college friends. I remember old, leaky canvas tents, shots of tequila, way too many off key versions of Sweet Caroline and Rocky Raccoon and hiking The  Gorge  at Watkins Glen State Park.

It’s a three mile trail, has about 800 steps, and winds its way through dark spiraling tunnels cut into the cliffs. It is a world of undulating walls of stone, mortared bridges, natural sculptures and 19 waterfalls. Hubby and I hiked it early before the crowds arrived. While my memories of our trips there in the early 70’s were a little purple hazy, it did not seem to have changed much. The walks were now paved, but it still lived up to its reputation as one of the most photogenic spots in New York State.

Watkins Glen Falls

We had some time to spare before heading to Long Island, so we took a drive to the Corning Museum of Glass. It had an incredible array of glass art and artifacts. We spent the morning wandering around, taking in the exhibits on the history of glass, watching a glass blowing demonstration and ogling the works of glass art.  It was a little overwhelming and is definitely a place to go more than once and take in smaller doses. Corning, an old New York Town, has been nicely gentrified and we enjoyed wandering around  exploring the shops and having lunch.

We continued our visit the next morning with a drive north to The Lakewood Country Club in Pan Yan, for a round of golf. It was a glorious day for golf,  cool and breezy, with lots of clouds. The front nine was very pretty with many views of Keuka Lake. The back nine had fewer views but more interesting (and more difficult) holes. We finished up around two and stopped at one of the many vineyards to do a wine tasting before heading home and packing up to continue our journey. The Finger Lakes Wine area is best known for it Rieslings, usually too sweet for my taste, but we did discover a few dry one’s that we liked.  Because of our short stay we saw only a small portion of the area, all the more reason for us to come back.

Watkins Glen State Park

Watkins Glen State Park

About JudithC99

Wanderer. Writer. Artist. Photographer. Learner. Traveler of the Red Roads


  1. How beautiful… Serene! Definitely a must-see.

  2. reneesylvie

    We need to go visit there, OMG, BEAUTIFUL!!!

  3. Very unique, I don’t believe I have seen anything like it before.

  4. Your pictures are gorgeous!

  5. Lovely pictures. Be well and safe travels, Ann and Jerry

  6. Oooh! Love the gorge walk at Watkins Glen! Your photos bring back memories from my childhood way back when I used to live in Western New York. It must have been back in the 60’s when my dad took us kids there. We also visited Corning Glass Museum. Awesome place as well! I would love to revisit Watkins Glen one of these days! Thanks for the photos and memories!

  7. Beautiful captures of an amazing spot.

  8. Nice photos. I just got back from a trip to Watkins Glen. I’ve lived in southeastern PA most of my life and can’t believe I’ve never heard of it until recently. I imagine it was a lot less crowded when you first started camping there in the ’70s.

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