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Barbara Lombardo of Saratoga Springs, NY, is a journalism adjunct at University at Albany and retired executive editor of The Saratogian, The Record and the Community News. Follow her on Twitter @Barb_Lombardo.

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Letchworth State Park: the peak of fall vacation

I'm tempted to call it gorge-ous. The views at Letchworth
State Part just after Columbus Day were spectacular.
Cleaning out the garage to make room for the cars before snow falls was a gratifying accomplishment on my vacation last week.

But what I really loved about this vacation was the breathtaking fall foliage enjoyed from four vantage points not all that far from home: to and from the Clark Art Institute in Williamstown, Mass.; an afternoon with fellow members of the Voorheesville High School Class of 1972 on George and Judy Klapp’s lovely homestead; an early evening on the gorgeous 60 acres of DZ Enterprise’s newest project in Galway, a place for parties, meetings and get-togethers amid ponds, trails and rolling hills; and, last but not least, a morning taking in the place that bills itself,
The Middle Falls has a railroad trestle in the distance and is a
stone's throw from the quaint Glen Iris Inn, which
offers this view if you're lucky enough to dine there.
immodestly but not too unreasonably, as “The Grand Canyon of the East” – Letchworth State Park, in western New York.

Letchworth is what I want to tell you about today.

One of Letchworth State Park's three waterfalls.
At its northernmost entrance is Mt. Morris, which accurately boasts about being “best town by a dam site.” It is home, after all, to the oldest dam of its type east of the Mississippi. Last week, as turkey vultures weaved overhead, the water was pretty much non-existent on the dammed side; my husband, Jim, who grew up in Mt. Morris, remembers how it was filled to overflowing when the valley flooded in 1972.

Several times a year we return to the town to visit my Jim’s father. But it had been years since we drove through Letchworth, long past the days of bringing the boys and even longer past searching for a place to neck. The park last week was a carpet of trees in bright yellow, orange, green and red, rising above the Genesee River and along the cliffs of three waterfalls. A bit past peak, it could hardly have been more beautiful – if you like that sort of scenery. I love it.

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