• Frances Schwabenland

Waterfalls, Negative Ions and Hot air Balloons

Updated: Jun 9, 2021

Day 1 - Next Part Of The Journey


We departed Corning and headed to the Glen Iris Inn located in the heart of the Letchworth State Park, Castile, NY. The drive took approximately 1 hour and 15 minutes and was a distance of 70.5 miles. It was wonderful to leave the major highway and journey along the winding roads of the park not knowing what would surprise us around the next turn. The park is roughly 17 miles long following the course of the Genesee River as it flows north through a deep gorge and over 3 major waterfalls between cliffs - as high as 600 feet. It is aptly known as the Grand Canyon of the East. In 2015, Letchworth won the USA Today Readers' Choice Award for Best State Park in the United States, chosen from 6,000 parks across the nation.


As the story goes, William Pryor Letchworth was an extremely successful business man and like most of us, was in need of an escape from all the stressors of life. In his mid-thirties, he stood on the Portage Bridge of the Genesee and he knew he found his heart's home. In 1859, he made his first purchase of land near the Portage Falls and with the help of the famous landscape artist, William Webster, he began to design the Glen Iris Estate. Letchworth never married and was able to retire from business at the age of 48. The Glenn Iris Estate was always "alive with relatives and friends as they shared the poetry, literature and art their host enjoyed so much."



Fast forward to 2021... we drove up to that very same mansion Mr. Letchworth built and entertained in. My sincere thanks to this man from another century who used his riches well! The sight is breathtaking because it was built with the most magnificent view of the Middle Falls of Letchworth which are over 100 ft. in height. As soon as we got out of our car, our senses went into ecstasy...the roaring could be heard and as we walked into the entrance, the intoxicating smell of lilac trees graced the breeze and then... the negative ions were in overload... the falls were right in the front yard of the mansion. It was a moment to just stop and take it all in with true gratitude as many seemed to be doing!



The staff could not have been nicer and sent us up to our room on the third floor (pack simply!). Our room was very small since I think Mr. Letchworth wanted as many people as possible to share his oasis! We then went straight to Caroline's Dining Room which is located on the first floor and ordered a delicious meal served out on the patio. With the sun setting, we saw a sight I can truly say was a first for me... a beautiful hot air balloon suddenly come out from the trees and hovered right above the falls. It was wild - for us to watch and for the people on the ride to experience. Then up, up and away only to have another one right behind. It is a father and son team who are the pilots and as one of the locals told us, "They are the best in the business!" The son took the path of landing on a rock formation right before the falls and then hovering near the tree line. This moment was orgasmic with beauty and the unknown. If you decide to add in this adventure, you will not be disappointed... Balloonsoverletchworth.com



So the yin and the yang were at work here too...surrounded by nature at its finest, internet and cell service from T-Mobile was non existent. There was also only one outlet in the room, so if you are not a photographer with many things to charge, you will be just fine. We went down to the library at the end of the hallway with wires in hand and while our batteries were coming back to life, we had very nice conversations with other guests who were drawn to the this gathering spot as well. We learned about dairy farming in Lancaster and from another couple, what is has been like to travel 300 miles a day by trike (it is harder to drive than a motorcycle) from Arkansas to NY!


The site for the Glen Iris Inn was not a secure site on my computer so I am not copying the link. The contact number is 548-493-2622. I had to call several times because their internet was sporadic while trying to put in the reservation information...just a small hiccup!

They also have the Stone House, Chalet House and Caroline's Cottage which are available year round.


This was just day one...have I mentioned how much I love to travel? "Yes" to it all!



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