The first major stop on our journey landed us in Canandaigua, New York. Located about 45 minutes southeast of Rochester, Canandaigua lake holds the distinction of having the second most expensive lakefront property in the country (according to the Finger Lakes Visitors Association), as well as “the best drinking water in NY state”. We can attest to that as we actually drank the tap water there! (Not something Amalia would usually be into).
We found the lake and the surrounding area impressively beautiful, with all the old barns and rolling farm land. The lake itself is crystal clear and the we found plenty of hiking trails that led us up awesome shale river beds; climbing over, to, through and up waterfalls of all sizes.
We spent two weeks at Amalia’s client’s barn/guesthouse where we were able to park the RV in the driveway and stay in the barn. The term “barn” may be misleading... it was a luxurious yet down to earth home; with a full kitchen, lofted bedroom, a personal gym (that we designed and installed!!) and a waterfall in the backyard! It was a very beautiful and comfortable setting and we were very appreciative of their generous hospitality. While we stayed there, Amalia trained members of the family and friends in the barn gym and I took as many pictures as possible of the area and the family.
When we concluded our engagement with the family, they suggested we check out the town of Ithaca and a landmark called Taughannock Falls. We “boondock” (dry camp for free in national forests) as much as possible and luckily for us, Finger Lakes National Forest was only 20/30 min from Taughannock Falls. After a brief phone call to the Ranger Station I was informed of an “obvious” camp site in the heart of the forest. Lesson learned that “obvious” to a park ranger is not obvious to us. After a bit of driving in circles, in the rain, Val in tow, we finally found a sweet little spot. It felt like we had the whole park to ourselves.
The next day we headed off to check out Taughannock Falls. There was only about 5 miles of hiking to do in the park, but it ended up being a perfect distance as we had plans to go into Ithaca and get some work done. The falls were pretty awesome and are apparently the single highest drop east of the Rockies (even taller than Niagara Falls). It was a little touristy, but we still thoroughly enjoyed the scenery and hike.
We spent one more night in the National Forest. We chopped our own wood, made food on the fire and just soaked up Mother Earth. Watching fire flies light up the night, the smell of our campfire, being totally surrounded by wilderness... This is what I was dreaming about when I was stuck at my desk 10 hours a day. Living in the woods with Amalia and our puppy. To some this sounds like a bad dream, but this IS our dream. The simplicity (and the complication) is such a gift.
The next morning we headed back through Canandaigua to Niagara Falls and on to Canada. In search of more of the same… earth, beauty, simple pleasures and unexpected snafus.
Check out all the pictures from the Finger Lakes HERE!