On a beautiful summer day, my friend, Val, and I decided to explore some nearby Syracuse-area parks we'd never been to.
We packed a picnic, made a quick stop at Dunkin Donuts, and were on our way.
Our first stop was Chittenango Falls Park in Chittenango NY. This state park had no entrance fee, and it showed a little. It seemed lacking in upkeep and there was a bit of litter in places. NY State parks are usually greatly maintained. and this one fell short of my usual experiences. This didn't hamper my trip at all, however.
We walked the paths through wooded areas to get to the river. The walking paths often go in the river, which really is more like a very shallow creek, so I would suggest some good waterproof athletic shoes. We were wearing flip-flops, which was quite stupid. I worried about cutting my feet on the small, pointy rocks I had to keep stepping over. We managed to reach the falls without injury, and it was a lovely little relaxing spot.
Since the park has no entry fee, it was quite crowded. The area underneath the falls was forbidden to enter, due
to some environmental reason which was posted but escapes my mind. Plenty of idiots disregarded the sign and waded in the area anyway. A few other idiots were perched on top of the waterfall, which is forbidden and also would be a disastrous fall. The park could easily be enjoyed without stepping over the boundaries.
We waded around in the water and took photos of the falls. It was a lovely little spot on this summer day. When we were through with that, we walked through the wooded trails to the top of the falls for some more views.
Back at the car, we got our picnic out. I can't even remember the last time I had a simple picnic with ADULTS ONLY, and I really must do this more often! We had a nice plate of cheese, pepperoni and crackers, some grapes, and some drinks. We laughed, chatted and did some people watching before packing it in.
After this, we stopped at the nearby, newly-opened Yellow Brick Road Casino, so called due to Chittenango being the birthplace of Wizard of Oz author Frank L Baum. Val and I are not big gamblers, but it was HOT
out that day, and we were seeking out some air conditioning. We walked through the casino, which didn't seem too thrilling to me..just a large room filled with slot machines. We gambled about five dollars each on the slots as we cooled down. Towards the back of the casino is a little drink area, where coffee and sodas are free. This was perfect! While I can't recommend Yellow Brick as a hoppin' casino, it is a great place to cool off if you are at the nearby parks.
Next, we went to Green Lakes State Park. Now, this place is a beauty! There is an entrance fee, and therefore, all the roads, facilities and trails are kept up and the park is clean as can be. There are two lakes, and both are meromictic, meaning the layers do not mix. The crap on the bottom does not mix with the water on top. The lakes are a beautiful greenish blue color, and the clarity is astounding. The trails are wide enough to allow dog-walkers, runners, and casual visitors space to enjoy without having to worry about running into one another. We only walked one of the lakes, which took
as about 45 minutes at a very leisurely pace. We stopped often to look at fish under the water and to take photos. There are educational sign posts as well, explaining the uniqueness of this lake.
At the end of our walk, we came to a canoe rental place. We didn't have time to rent one, but I made a mental note to come back. We wanted to swim! At the front of the park, there is a beach area. It was super crowded and not very large, but we changed into swimsuits and cooled off for a bit anyway.
I loved this park, and would love to come back. One could make a full day of visiting here, with walking, picnicking, canoeing and swimming. Of all the places we visited today, this one was by far my favorite, and one I would love to return to.
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