Finger Lakes Summer’s Conesus Treat

November 6, 2010 at 11:34 am 1 comment

Conesus Wildlife Preserve

This is where we put the canoe in — summery day!

Saturday, October 30th: After a morning raki therapy at our cottage (think leaves), I decided to bring our aluminum canoe home for a Finger Lakes explore. As we don’t have a canoe rack, nor do I have any upper body strength to hoist it over my head and onto the roof of the minivan, I had to rely on some good old country cobbling, not easy for a city girl.

Finger Lakes Summer

bungee cords and duct tape = high-tech

As you can see from the photo, I used one of my favorite “magic tools”  to secure the canoe to the roof of the van, a Quest mind you. How I managed to hoist it up there is still a mystery to me.

Sunday, October 31st: My friend Jane had given me a terrific lead on a couple of sites on Conesus Lake, and though the weather was not even close to summery, I hoped my pilot wouldn’t notice.

Grocery on Conesius Lake

Closing day at Shoreless Acres

Shoreless Acres locator

This is like an old-time GPS at Shoreless Acres

shoreless Acres

Note sign: "Extra Lucky Worms" fridge and crate o' critters on top

We made it to East Lake Road and headed south, looking for “Shoreless Acres Grocery.” This would be a lucky day in so many ways, and it started when we met the store owners. We discovered that this was closing day for the season. 25-cent cups of coffee and a couple of questions about the history of the store make us instant friends.

The Grocery has been in operation for 27 years and the pictures show that decorating is an ongoing process. The entire neighborhood was inside the store, eating muffins, drinking coffee and enjoying the last chance to swap stories.

Shoreless Acres Cantina

"Serious Food" Cantina at Shoreless Acres

Fay insisted that we come back in peak summer to enjoy some “Serious Food” served up at the outdoor café. That is a promise!

A bag of Fritos and a bottle of water made gluten-free breakfast fare. We continued south to find the Conesus Inlet Wildlife Management Area. The CIWMA had a parking lot and a nice trail as well as an easy (400 yd) portage for small boats. Charlie will vouch that with me involved, there is no such thing as an easy portage.

The image at the top of the post shows where we launched our canoe. It wasn’t exactly a summery day. In fact, at that point it was about 44 degrees and fairly calm. We wore winter coats, gloves, wool hats and looked comical in our life jackets —worn for additional warmth as it was only about 3’ deep at most.

Conesus Inlet

Eagle-eyed spotter and steersman

Once on the water my biggest worry was that I had conned Charlie into thinking we were going to see something wonderful on our canoe ride. All the research said that the best time to visit this area was in spring during pike spawning season. The weather report had strongly suggested snow or rain, and based upon the silence, I was pretty convinced that all the intelligent life forms had flown south, hibernated, or like our friends at Shoreless Acres,  closed up shop for the season.

conesus Inlet Wildlife management Area

Paddling through the cat tails

Charlie enjoyed exploring the narrow channels between the cat tails which helped protect us from the wind. I noticed it blowing south, the same direction we were paddling.

As it was getting increasingly dark and windy, Charlie said “look over there, see those diagonal stripes in the sky? That’s rain. We should head back.”

Heading back was quite a bit harder. The canoe was tossed back and forth by the gusts. “What’s that big lump in the top of the tree?” Charlie asked. He steered in that direction. It took a few minutes of steady paddling, but it became obvious that this was no ordinary lump. It was a bald eagle — WOW! By then it hailed full force, but the eagle was not phased by the crummy weather or our noisy approach.


“I can’t paddle if I’m taking pictures.”

“We’re blowing away!”

“I’m freezing to death!”

“Did you get a picture of it?”

“The boat’s too bouncy. Can you hold it still?”

Conesus eagle spotting

The super hero of birds

It was an eagle, and hail. We made it back to shore.

A shot of whiskey and a bowl of homemade soup at the American Hotel in Lima had a magical effect on the thawing process.

This looks green, but it's mostly water

The Wildlife Area is relatively easy to find with the parking lot (County Rd 33) just east of West Lake Rd. (RT 256)



Entry filed under: Activities, canoeing, Conesus, Dining, Environmental Protection Fund, Grocery Store, New York, Rochester.

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