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Niagara Region of Upstate New York

Updated: Aug 23, 2021

Imagine seeing that sight at the end of every day of your vacation. That’s what you’ll see on Lake Ontario (the American side) in up-state New York. This shot was taken at the #GoldenHillStatePark in Somerset County, New York. When you camp there, you’ll notice people starting to stake their claims to the lake shore with lawn chairs and blankets about an hour before sunset. Every one wants to get the best vantage point. This happens every night! It’s really quite fun to meet others in the sky appreciation moments of the day.

#UpstateNewYork, as it’s called, is separated into regions and this spot is in the #NiagaraRegion. When you look at it on a map, you’ll wonder what you can possibly find to do for a week. Believe me, it’s not difficult to fill your days!

But, this is not your typical, jam packed, rush-rush, glitz and glamor kind of vacation. This is the kind of vacation where you shop in small towns, find out-of-the way pizza shops and enjoy sunsets. The pace slows, and you really can relax.

About 15 minutes from the gorgeous sunset is a tiny town called #OlcottBeach. I am in love with Olcott and will go back every time I visit the area. I first stumbled on it years ago when I was looking for lake lights. Olcott has a lighthouse, unfortunately it’s not operational, but you can go inside. What‘s next to the lighthouse is the adorably, quaint shopping village Of Olcott Beach. The area has about a dozen uniquely painted shops. Some sell jewelry, some sell t-shirts while others sell wind chimes. (I still have a wind chime hanging on my pergola that I bought at Olcott). There is also a small take-out restaurant and ice cream shop that sells hand-dipped ice cream.

Another awesome treat is the town center amusement park in Olcott. #TheOlcottBeachCarouselPark has all the typical carnival rides, like boats and helicopters that were all vintage and restored. It also has a very old, well preserved and restored carousel.

This piece of history features a 1931 Wurlitzer Band Organ. All the original player piano rolls are still with it playing John Philip Sousa, loud and proud as the horses and the little one’s on board bob up and down in rhythm.

This is a vintage kiddie park that is well taken care of and should definitely be visited.

Another must see in the area is the Erie Canal. #TheErieCanal was built in 1825 and operated as a navigable water way carrying goods from New York City to the Great Lakes. Believe it or not, you can still take a ride on the Erie Canal. The Canal is open to private boaters to get across state. If you didn’t bring your boat, don’t worry, you can hop on one of the many cruises that depart from Lockport.

If you know anything about canals you know they keep the water at the same level through a system of locks. Some of the best preserved locks that are still in use are the Erie Canal locks at Lockport. It’s fascinating to watch the lock gates close and the water level rise and fall to meet the next step on the canal. It’s free to stand at the edge of locks 34 and 35 and watch kayakers, power boaters or tour boats tie up to the wall and slowly rise or fall depending on which way they’re going.

Underneath the town of Lockport is a cave that was discovered as the canal was being built. That limestone cave was sealed and another “cave” was built as a raceway to provide water to the canal as well as other industries in the area. Visitors can learn about the history of #TheLockportCaves on a 70 minute guided tour that includes a boat ride that glides under the streets of Lockport and a walk through the 2100 foot water power tunnel that was blasted out of solid rock.

At certain times throughout the year, (including Halloween) you can take a haunted cave tour. Some say that the miners who created the Lockport caves still occupy the space below ground. If you’re up to it, you can take a haunted lantern tour that will chill the soul and scare you with delight.

At the Golden Hill State Park there is a lighthouse. #The30MilePointLight sits on the southern shore of Lake Ontario and is within the state park. You don’t have to be camping there to visit it.

The lighthouse offers tours year-round and here is a super cool part, you can rent the place to stay in, also year-round. I know how beautiful it is during the summer, and I’ve always wanted to go in the winter but honestly, I’ve always been chicken. Maybe after I sign those retirement papers in a few years I’ll consider it, just in case I get snowed in for a couple weeks.

The lighthouse gets it’s name because it is 30 miles from the Niagara River. It was built in 1875 and is still used for navigation on Lake Ontario. The tower is 61 feet high and you can climb to the top and view the lake like the keepers once did.

Mostly what you’ll remember from this region is beautiful Lake Ontario. Lake Ontario is what feeds the Niagara River and ultimately Niagara Falls. It’s one of the five Great Lakes and is spectacular with the small waves and azure waters. There are 40 lighthouses along the shores of Lake Ontario. If you’re into lighthouses, this is definitely your place.

If you’re looking for relaxing, out-of-the-ordinary, and beautiful, then head to up-state New York. When you get there, tell them The Fun Chasers sent you.


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