In a state chockablock with wonderful parks, Fillmore Glen is one of the best. It’s fairly small, under a thousand acres – basically a cool, shady little gorge, with a series of waterfalls and miniature bridges. Millard Fillmore, our 13th President, was born near here, and there’s a replica of his log cabin birthplace. He grew up dirt poor, son of a tenant farmer, and the park was constructed by other poor folks, in the Civilian Conservation Corps during the Great Depression. They did an amazing job – picnic pavilions and a lot of the stonework retaining walls, etc. have survived from the 1930’s, despite a number of floods over the years.
The woods reflected in a pond. It was very still, but there are small ripples throughout the picture, if you look closely. Last year, they gave a Nobel to some scientists who were able to detect infinitesimal ripples – apparently just good vibrations are surfing through the whole darn universe all the time now. I have sometimes felt a tingling sensation up my spine, and thought it was the anticipation of eating a jelly doughnut after the hike, but it could be Einstein’s gravitational waves. Far out, dude, feeling totally amped about this whole ripple thing.
a picture of exuberance
OK, not taken in August, but the only picture I could find of the first bridge.
A close call, encountering the dreaded Dark Newt of Doom, and barely surviving. “Only these marishes and myrie bogs, In which the fearefull ewftes do build their bowres, Yeeld me an hostry mongst the croking frogs …” (The Faerie Queen)
Seriously, can you imagine this little creature inspiring dread? Shame on Spenser for kicking up a skink, perhaps he was thinking of Warty Newts, or had a bad experience with salamanders, after a night tossing back mulled wine. I know Renaissance folks associated newts and efts with sorcery, but personally, I’m always delighted to spot these cute little guys, and the Eastern Newts really are this bright and colorful, almost fluorescent.
Fillmore Glen is just outside of Moravia, NY, at the south end of Owasco Lake, one of the eastern Finger Lakes. It’s a sleepy little village, but it produced the industrialist John D. Rockefeller, a U.S. President, and the first president of Cornell University.
42 thoughts on “Walks Around The Finger Lakes. August. Fillmore Glen”
I’ve always considered the Finger Lakes as a place to visit and Fillmore Glen would certainly be among the locations of interest….now that I have heard about it from you. Watkins Glen also.
Maybe Spenser tried to nibble a newt. They are orange for a reason.
The way things are going, the CCC may make a comeback.
Please let me know if you head this way and would like a tour guide! 🧐
Will do, Robert. Thanks!
I am amazed to learn how close you live to Nature’s paradise so close to the City of NY, Robert. Great post, Robert!
Thank you, so glad you enjoyed it
the little bright orange newt is amazing. He really does not blend in. i would have thought that made him likely to be picked off by a predator.
The bright color is a warning to predators, like the monarch butterflies. The toxins are not harmful to people, but I guess they’re very unpleasant to eat
Oh..I see. So the color warns off predators. I had never thought of that. Thanks for the info.
I think if I wore a suit that color, people would probably avoid me too! Unless they thought I was a crossing guard. 🙂
My son used to have a pair of baggy trousers that were that color. He thought they were fabulous. He was about 14 at the time.
The technical term for warning colors or designs in an animal is aposematism:
Like reverse camouflage
That’s a good way to put it.
Look at the interesting etymology of newt as given in the American Heritage Dictionary:
Middle English neute, from a neute, alteration of an eute, variant of evete, from Old English efete.
Several times when I lived for half a year in Union Springs I drove through Locke, just a few miles south of Fillmore Glen, but somehow I don’t think I ever visited the park. Now you’ve made me want to see it.
I go through Union Springs on me way there, and head east from Aurora. Glad to play ace tourguide if you visit!
So are you back in the Finger Lakes now?
Well, right now I’m in Milwaukee again, for a job interview, but I expect to always be visiting the Finger Lakes, where my family lives. My contract in Boston ended, and probably won’t stay there.
If you have any spare time in Milwaukee, it’s worth visiting the art museum, which looks like a ship, and also driving along the shore from there. That’s what we did two years ago.
It’s a wonderful museum – I’m currently in Chicago, missed the connection last night, but I spent a year working for City Year in a Milwaukee school, and visited the museum then.
If you have a few spare weeks (ha!), Chicago has plenty of cultural things. We spent an entire day each at the Field Museum and the Art Institute.
Lovely pictures, Robert.
Thank you, They give some idea of the place, it’s such a nice spot, but almost all my shots stunk, so I’ll go back to try to get some decent ones of the path along the stream.
Love the quote about queen of the faeries. Sounds like a magical place. Lovely post.
Thank you, it’s one of the best parks.
Wonderful pictures, Robert: so green and so refresching to look at. But they make me envious. 😉
Thank you, Pit! We began to have a drought, but then the rain came, and everything is still very green. The rain came back with a vengeance! About 20 miles south of my hometown, in Lodi, they got 10″ of rain in 24 hours! Kind of muddy down there right now.
10″ in 24 hours! I can imagine what that must have looked like. Here, rain has been distributed very unevenly. We didn’t get much at all, but close by, in Uvalde County, they got between 8 and 9 inches in just 3 hours, and the Nueces River became a raging torrent, from which 27 people had to be rescued. Luckily, though, nobody lost their lieves.
Have a wonderful weekend,
You, too, Pit. Kind of ironic, all this water caused them to cancel a Phish concert in Watkins Glen.
Great photos Robert! I’m actually developing a screenplay that is set in upstate NY. I can definitely use your photos as a muse.
Like you, I’ve seen bioluminescence in the ocean (and with lightning bugs, of course) but foxfire’s not an experience I’ve had. Of course I’d love to see it, and here are some guidelines for tracking it down that I found online:
“The best way to see foxfire is in old, moist oak woods where plenty of big dead limbs and old stumps litter the ground. Foxfire can be seen in the spring as the forest floor warms. The light is so dim, many people never notice it. To see foxfire, pick a night with no moon. Keep away from areas with artificial lights and do not use a flashlight. Your eyes must be well adjusted to the dark.”
“The aim is to be out on a dark night, with a mild temperature and to walk in woods that are damp but not wet. Think of foxfire as Goldilocks — not too hot, not too cold, not too wet, not too dry. When conditions are just right, and you’re in just the right spot with your eyes adjusted to the dark, the forest around you will glow — and it’s magical.”
A couple of my favorite places here were built by the CCC during the same time period. They also have exquisite stonework. At Garner State Park, there’s a pavilion where dances still are held during the summer. It’s along my favorite Texas river, the Frio, which is indeed nice and cold. It’s a favorite river for tubing, when there’s good flow to it.
It’s always hard to pick ‘a favorite’ from among your photos. This time your “picture of exuberance” and the wintertime bridge are locked in a tie. Down here in muddy river country, I’m always attracted to clean, clear water, and right now anything that looks like snow is going to appeal. We’re not suffering anything unusual, heat-wise, but even the usual is getting a little tiresome.
The first time I heard of foxfire, was in a young person’s history of the Turtle, a submarine built during the Revolution. The inventor used it to illuminate his compass.
I was just looking at more fungi today, and there were definitely oak trees in those woods, but not sure it would be dark enough, it was only a few miles outside a small city. They also mention decaying oak logs as the best for growing shiitake mushrooms, so an old oak forest is looking better and better. Maybe I’ll join the Druids, they probably know all the best groves.
Around the NE, it’s been a summer of high humidity, and we’re all ready for some nice dry, crisp weather.
You’re very entertaining! We must have gone to Filmore Glen when I was a child and we lived in Syracuse – the name’s familiar but that’s about it. I love the CCC though, and I can imagine all the solid construction work. But those ripples and jelly donuts, YES! 🙂 The rippled clouds: very subtle, nice. The exuberant water too! And I love the little newt against the green moss, but it’s interesting to see the black and white version as well.
i don’t know about bioluminesence in that image….those coral mushrooms can be very colorful in any light, as I remember, and I know you have quite an imagination. 🙂 The last photo is beautiful, all dark and cool, yet feeling transcendent.
Thank you! I remember you’d mentioned living in NYS, but I thought NYC, I hadn’t remembered Syracuse. I’ve really wondered if it wouldn’t be a good idea to revive the CCC, on a smaller scale.
It would be great, wouldn’t it? But probably not a chance in this era of low unemployment. (I was actually born in Michigan, did elem, school in Syracuse on the outskirts of town, then Junior High in Orchard Park and HS in suburban NJ. We moved a lot. Then art school in NYC, where I stayed a while, leaving for a time for upstate NY – Westchester & Putnam counties, and CT, and there was a year in western NC. Back to NYC, then moved out here 6 yrs ago. There you have it!)
We used to see those red salamanders in the woods by our house when we lived in the Poconos. I heard they were poisonous and admired from a distance. Hadn’t thought of them in ages.
They are poisonous, but not like those poison dart frogs, you see in the zoo, that can kill you just by handling them. When I was a kid, I picked up a bunch and put them into my cap, to bring home as pets – – my parents made me release them, of course, and I got a leopard gecko instead. But I didn’t get sick from picking them up.
Did you put the cap back on your head with the salamanders inside? Nevermind, just let me picture it that way. I was afraid to pick up toads too because my brother told me I’d get a wart if one peed on me. I should be honest and say not picking up either was a particular hardship.
What a wonderful post. I could just feel the cool air next to the water…must have been the ripples. I am so glad to live in a time when we can celebrate a sighting of a wee beastie, and not fear it. We have a scientist here who is working diligently to restore populations of salamanders, frogs and turtles to our woods. I just saw an article about him in the newspaper yesterday. Cheers to the beasties and the ripples!
Thank you, Melissa! And I’m really glad to hear about the critters coming back to the woods near you.