2009, the end of August/Beginning of September, I was moving from Chicago to Boston for school. Scott and I decided to make a mini road trip out of the occasion. We were driving together from Pittsburgh to Boston and made 2 stops at state parks in New York.
A few weeks ago, we told you all about the first day of the first road trip Scott and I ever took together. Day 1 consisted of lots of getting lost, lots of stairs and some beautiful waterfall views. Read more HERE. Below is an account of the first half of Day 2.
Only half an hour away, what could go wrong?…First it was another detour. All well and good, until the signs stopped. We managed to find our way back to the road without too much trouble or swearing. Then we hit a road block. No warning, just no more road. So back to the previous intersection to find a cop there NOW telling people not to take the road we just had.
So now we’re in Ithaca, looking for a hotel. We ask at a gas station, “Oh, it’s really easy…” An hour later, a random kind soul follows os of to the side of the road and gives us directions that finally make sense. Hotel room, check.
We are hungry. Surely a Pizza Hut in a city would be simple to find. An hour and a half later, we’re back at the hotel ordering delivery.
Next morning, it’s off to Buttermilk Falls. no real tricks this time. Plenty more stairs once we arrive though. I come from the rolling hills of PA and still New York dared show us up. Beautiful, steep and far less crowded, we put in enough cardio to last the year.
Some history of the park via NYFalls website:
During the early 1700s, Tutelo and Saponi Indians lived in the village of Coreorgonel near Ithaca. They were remnants of a large nation in the Virginia/North Carolina region. Driven from their homeland by colonists, they settled with the Cayugas as part of the Iroquois Confederacy and established a home near Buttermilk Falls. There were over twenty log cabins, with farm fields and orchards, which were abandoned and then burned to the ground by Continental soldiers during the Revolutionary War. The remaining tribe members fled towards Canada and have since been scattered.
Numerous mills existed along the creek during the 1850s. A dam was built above Buttermilk Falls and supplied water to the City of Ithaca until the early 1900s. A large grist mill operated in the upper section of the park. Like nearby Robert Treman State Park, the initial grant of land for the park came from Robert and Laura Treman. Since 1924, the original 154 acres have grown to the present size of 751 acres.
From Kendra – So, while doing some research for this post, I’m looking through pictures and information about the park. And realize, silly us, we missed almost the entire park! Ha! We were tired, and on a time crunch that day, so maybe we can be forgiven? But I’m pretty sad about it, the rest of the park looks even more beautiful than what you see here. Hopefully we can go back some day.
And some general information about the park via NYFalls website:
Number of falls: Ten. Buttermilk Falls, the main attraction, is directly accessible and visible from the parking lot in the lower area. Additionally, there are 9 or so other waterfalls, accessible by hiking the gorge trail, which you’ll find by crossing the bridge over the creek near the main parking area. Not all of the waterfalls are accessible to photography as the steepness and available angles in the gorge make it difficult.
Size/Types: Cascades, staircases, segmented falls, and plunges. The main falls, or Buttermilk Falls, is 165 ft high, tumbling in a wide, frothy cascade. It is divided into two equally high segments (the ‘first’ and ‘second’ fall), with a twist around the gorge in-between. There are numerous cascades and plunges along the rest of the trail, varying from 5 to 35 ft in height.
Best time to visit: Spring, early summer, fall. The park’s trails are closed after November, but Buttermilk Falls is still accessible from the lower parking lot area.
Flow: Variable, depending on rainfall. May be a trickle in mid-summer.
Waterway: Buttermilk Creek
Time: 10 minutes for Buttermilk Falls and the swimming area. 1 hour for the gorge trail, 2-3 hours for the gorge and rim trails.
Because we had a time crunch, we spent about an hour at Buttermilk Falls.
Now we’re back on the road. Shipping at last to Boston.
And we are so intrigued we have to stop. But you’ll hear about that on another day in which Kendra and I tell you all about our interest in silly tourist traps and why you should be willing to stop at them too!