Posts filed under ‘Nature Conservancy’

The Secret Sidewalk of Charlotte

Sidewalk between houses and Lake Ontario

Sidewalk between houses and Lake Ontario

Several years ago my husband surprised me with an invitation to go for a walk. Usually it is me that is begging to get outside, but he had a received some inside information on a secret sidewalk in Charlotte.

Lakeside view from the sidewalk.

Lakeside view from the sidewalk.

View the back yards of the most beautiful lakeside homesWe parked our car on a side street off Beach Avenue and walked west from the public beach. Maybe a half mile down the road of lovely lake houses we noticed that there was a paved sidewalk, connecting to the main street sidewalk at a 90 degree angle, with a painted marker on it, passing between two of the houses. It initially looks like you might be trespassing on someone’s property, and in any other neighborhood you would be, but (80 years ago) there used to be a street running between these houses and the beach. Today it is only a right-of-way, but what a tremendous glimpse you get!

Markers on the sidewalk indicate and entrance

Markers on the sidewalk indicate and entrance

One of the entrances is very near the intersection Clematis St. and Beach Ave.

For more information on the history and zoning of this lovely stretch of land.

December 16, 2012 at 10:08 pm 2 comments

Cracker Box Palace — “we’ve been expecting you”

Finger Lakes Summer

Kids have an opportunity to get up close and meet farm animals

Many of you may know “Cracker Box Palace” as a song from a George Harrison album. “We welcome you to Cracker Box Palace, we’ve been expecting you..” That song  is a memory from my childhood. If you want to make some more great memories for your kids, bring them to the Finger Lakes version of Cracker Box Palace. It’s a perfect family destination with many kid-friendly activities throughout the year.

Cracker Box Palace is a not for profit, no-kill rescue and rehabilitation shelter for over 180 farm animals. Animals of every kind come to recover from illness, neglect or abuse. Once given necessary adjustment time and veterinary care, animals are available for adoption.

Finger Lakes Summer

View of the farm and a variety of very happy animals

In early 2011, Cracker Box Palace achieved ownership of  a beautiful piece of property — Alasa Farms. This farm was formerly a historic Shaker community in the early 1800’s. Some years later, it served as a migrant camp. Today it is home to horses, geese, ducks, chickens, rabbits, goats, sheep, several breeds of pigs, llamas and (see the video) donkeys.

The farm is funded totally through memberships, sponsorships, donations, and grants. If animals cannot be placed in suitable adoptive homes they will stay on the farm. They also offer a sponsorship program for people who love animals but do not have facilities to care for them. Cracker Box Palace also offers a variety of Youth Programs for scouts, special needs groups, and school community service projects.

The farm has apple orchards as well. The month-long, Apple Pic-n-Picnic starts around the 2nd week of September with U-Pick apples from dwarf trees. Alasa Farms also participates in the annual Apple Tasting Tour.

Finger LakesView of Alasa Farms in proximity to Sodus Bay

Alasa Farms is located just southwest of Sodus Bay. The property and surrounding land is very beautiful and contains many waterways that flow to the bay.  With the assistance of the Genesee Land Trust, Alasa Farms has ensured that their 627 acres of forests, wetlands, working crop lands and orchards, will remain open land. By spring of 2012 there will be trails through the woods and around the farm marked for horseback riding and hiking.

Finger Lakes Summer

There are several waterfalls on the property

Additionally, The Nature Conservancy has acquired another 500 +acres between the Farm and Sodus Bay, including 800’ of frontage on the bay. It will remain undisturbed and eventually be transferred to New York state for inclusion in a wildlife management area.

Finger Lakes Summer

Location of Cracker Box Palace/Alasa Farms

HOURS:  10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturdays
Contact us to inquire about tours, call 315.483.2493.

Cracker Box Palace on Facebook.

Location:  6450 Shaker Road, Alton, NY, 14413

February 10, 2012 at 11:30 pm Leave a comment

Rob’s Trail joins Canadice and Hemlock

Finger Lakes Summer

View from Rob's Trail towards Canadice Lake

Two of my favorite spots in the Finger Lakes are Canadice lake and Hemlock  Lake. Hemlock and Canadice are the only Finger Lakes with undeveloped shorelines.

Finger Lakes Summer

Icey shoreline of Canadice Lake

The City of Rochester spent over 100 years acquiring all lakeshore properties to prevent development of the watershed and to safeguard its primary source of drinking water. When you hike, bike or ski along these shorelines you feel like you are in total wilderness.

Finger Lakes Summer

View looking west on Rob's Trail

When I saw that there was a trail connecting Hemlock Lake to Canadice Lake, I had to check it out. Rob’s Trail starts just off 15A, on the southern end of Hemlock. The trail is part of the newly designated Hemlock-Canadice State Forest.

Who is Rob? Rob van der Stricht was an avid naturalist, especially fond of the Finger Lakes. The Nature Conservancy officially dedicated this trail to his memory. Thanks Rob, this is an awesome piece of land.

Finger Lakes Summer

Map of Rob's Trail and spur to Canadice

The 1.75 mile circular trail takes you up over the ridge between the two lakes. Despite the altitude,  this is a very wet area. Fortunately it was cold enough to keep the ground hard, but I noticed a lot of board walks for navigating the muddy trails.

Finger Lakes Summer

Hiking the winding and sometimes steep spur trail to Canadice

As the trail starts to head east, over the top of the ridge and into the woods, there is a spur trail .75 mi. long, that winds down to the Canadice Lake trail.

I was on the look out for black bears, eagles, deer, ruffed grouse, wild turkey, weasels, but all I saw was some Chickadees and Juncos. However, on the drive back into Hemlock, A gorgeous pheasant sauntered across the road.

Finger Lakes Summer

Ice sculpture, au natural

I was most impressed by the variety of ice formations in the hundreds of little creeks that wind down the hill to the lake.

Finger Lakes Summer

I recommend if you hike during cold weather that you wear good hiking shoes or Yak Tracks. The trail can get very steep in parts.

Finger Lakes Summer

View of 15A from entrance to parking lot

To find Rob’s Trail:  15A south, and through the Village of Hemlock. Continue to top of hill above Hemlock Lake, veering left onto South Old Bald Hill Road. Parking on left.

Other great posts on this topic:  New York Outdoors Blog.

December 30, 2011 at 2:01 pm 1 comment

Finger Lakes Summer Says Don’t Miss Greentopia Festival

The Greentopia Festival is a two-day “World’s Fair” of environmental education, arts, music, activism and inspiration taking place in Rochester New York, Saturday and Sunday, September 17 and 18.

Join us at Rochester’s sustainability celebration to explore green living, Rochester style. It’s a two-day “World’s Fair” of inspiration through art, music, ideas and activism.

Speakers like Author and Activist Ed Begley Jr and Author, Educator, Environmentalist Bill McKibben. There will be workshops, how tos and films  Learn how you can think greens and how to apply it creatively in everyday life. There will be unusual family activities, community recycled art installations, mouthwatering organic and local food and beverages, and all kinds of live music.

There will even be an opportunity to “Bike the Bridges.” This ride allows Rochesterians and their families a highly accessible way to view and experience the bridges and falls of Rochester up close with other cyclists in a fun and celebratory way.

Some Local Environmental Groups appearing at Greentopia that I am exceptionally fond of: Will be showcased Saturday, 12:30 – 1:20 pm @ The Atrium in Max at High Falls

Jim Howe, The Nature Conservancy
Protecting Hemlock & Canadice Lakes – Rochester’s Drinking Water

Gay Mills, Genesee Land Trust
Connecting to Nature in the City and other Projects of Genesee Land Trust

June Summers, Genesee Valley Audobon Society
Native and Invasive Plants

You can help keep Lake Ontario beautiful

Paul Sawyko, Water Education Collaborative & H2O Hero
Lake Ontario Needs Heros

ALSO:  Sunday, 11:00 – 11:30 @ Seneca Room in Max at High Falls. Sarah Meyer, Finger Lakes Institute & Paul Sawyko are doing a demonstration on Rain Barrels & Rain Gardens.

The Driftwood Sailors

Sunday at 12:30 there will be music by The Driftwood Sailors, who I just heard on the Sunday night Shakedown with Frank DeBlaise. Lead singer Amanda Lee Peers haas a lovely voice reminiscent of Amy Winehouse.

Greentopia will provide incentives for participants using greener modes of transportation. Everything that can be recycled at the festival will be recycled. Every plate, fork, spoon, knife, cup, bowl, napkin, coffee stirrer and sample cup will be 100% compostable. And all food scraps will be collected and composted. All Greentopia collateral will be made with recycled and/or earth-friendly materials. Every event sign will be designed with reuse in mind. Each piece will be made from environmentally friendly materials.

Greentopia is being produced by the The GardenAerial.

The GardenAerial is a 501(c)3 non-profit grassroots organization advocating for the conversion of pre-existing structures and trails along the Genesee Gorge at High Falls into a multi-use, extraordinary public green space.

It is their vision to transform the perimeter of the Genesee Gorge,  including the Ponte de Rennes bridge, into a magical hanging outdoor arboretum – becoming a real and lasting symbol of the “Flower City”.

September 14, 2011 at 2:39 am Leave a comment

Finger Lakes Mother’s Day

Finger Lakes

Southern view of Owasco Lake

West side Skaneateles

Skaneateles from West Lake Road

Trillium Fields

Carp in the chute, Montezuma Wildlife Refuge

Sunset in Montezuma WIldlife Refuge

May 9, 2011 at 1:16 am Leave a comment

Finger Lakes Summer: Fall on Canadice Lake

A hike around Canadice Lake is like going back in time.

Canadice Lake used to have cottages all along its shore. Staring in 1872 the city of Rochester decided to use Canadice and Hemlock Lakes as a water supply, and began buying all the shoreline property.

Continue Reading October 10, 2010 at 1:44 pm Leave a comment

Finger Lakes Summer Climbs in Grimes Glen, Naples

At the southern end of Canandaigua Lake is the town of Naples. This charming little town is branded around grapes. Even the fire hydrants are purple. Right in the center of town is Vine Street. Follow vine to the end and you’re at Grimes Glen. Bring water shoes or sneakers that are good for walking on a slippery creek bottom AND hiking up the steep cliff walls.

Continue Reading August 22, 2010 at 12:15 pm 3 comments

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