Category Archives: New York State

Abandoned Buildings Meet Nature Trail

An Unusual–Yet Brilliant–Combination

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Many thanks to Friends of the Outlet, Inc., who maintain the Keuka Outlet Trail, and who kindly assisted UndiscoveredWanderings in putting this article together.

We love a good nature trail, especially one that’s different from the rest. The Keuka Outlet Trail in New York’s Finger Lakes Region is, for all intents and purposes, your average trail……just kidding; we doesn’t cover “average”. Actually, this trail’s claim to fame is what’s along it: abandoned buildings.

And they blend in perfectly with the scenery.



So why abandoned buildings? Simply put, they’re icons from another era. The Outlet Trail is a seven-mile pathway from Pen Yann to Dresden, NY–right between Keuka and Seneca Lakes. Its location along what was once the Fall Brook Railroad and, before that, the Crooked Lake Canal gives you a peak into the trail’s industrial roots. It was once dotted with small businesses, including a mill. The remnants of some of these legacies of industry are clearly visible along the trail today, showing their age with decay and overgrown vegetation that would make any urban explorer or Walking Dead fan overjoyed. We’re not gonna lie–it’s really cool!

Although hikers are not allowed in the buildings for safety reasons, you can clearly see into them from the main footpath. Adding to the allure of urban decay is the scenery around it. Traces of canal locks and walls give the Outlet Trail an iconic beauty that is rarely seen. The best abandoned structures are located on the side closest to the Dresden, NY entrance.

The Outlet Trail is partially paved, but still accommodates for all seasons, including winter (snowshoers and cross-country skiers enjoy it). You can also bike it. We recommend visiting in late summer or early fall for the best views and weather. The Trail is open from dusk until dawn each day. Please stay on the trail and obey all signage.

Oh–and in the summertime, there’s an ice cream stand near the trail’s end in Dresden. Yum!

LINKS
Learn more about the Outlet Trail


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The Red British Phone Booth (That’s Not Really A Phone Booth)

We Found Another One

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We seem to have a fascination with phone booths–maybe because they’re disappearing from the landscape. We found one in the middle of rural Oregon last summer, and some months later, we stumbled upon this one, which is styled after the famous red phone booth icons found in London. It’s conveniently located in downtown Watkins Glen, NY right in from of the Wildflower Cafe.

But there’s a caveat: it’s not actually a phone booth because there’s no phone in it. It’s a tourist kiosk with brochures, but don’t let that stop you taking a picture with it 🙂

It’s A Wonderful Life Comes to Life

Bedford Falls is Alive and Well in Upstate New York

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How can we forget George Bailey running down the streets of his hometown, screaming Merry Christmas to everyone as he finally discovers his true purpose in life? Where did this miracle happen? Why, Bedford Falls, of course.

Sadly, Bedford Falls is a work of fiction. However, according to legend, it was inspired by a real life town in Upstate New York. Before the film was made, Director Frank Capra was a familiar visitor to Seneca Falls, NY. Long known for its contribution to the Women’s Rights Movement, Seneca Falls is believed to be the inspiration for the fictional town of Bedford Falls. The names are similar, anyway, although we did run into George Bailey himself. See video below:



Bedford Falls, Seneca Falls…OK there’s that. But the layout of each town is nearly identical, the politics of the time eerily similar. And then there’s the bridge. The famous bridge that George Bailey almost jumped off and into the river below. Seneca Falls has one of those, too.

The famous bridge

 There will always be skeptics, but Seneca Falls, NY long ago claimed the title of inspiration for Mr. Capra’s mythical town, going so far as establishing a museum devoted to the film. To celebrate, It’s a Wonderful Life actually comes to life each December in a winter festival. Karolyn Grimes, who played Zuzu Bailey—George’s youngest—returns each year for the festival to sign autographs. 



Zuzu–Karolyn Grimes–signs autographs at the Museum, December 2016

And there’s plenty of reenactors to go around—George, Violet, Mr. Potter, Clarence. They’re all roaming the streets of Seneca Bedford Falls one time each year.

 

Links
More info on It’s a Wonderful Life Festival
It’s a Wonderful Life Museum

North Manhattan…Have You Been?

Might as Well be the Sixth Borough

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If you’ve ever played tourist in New York City, chances are you’ve never been anywhere north of Central Park. But Manhattan is more than just concrete. Would you believe there’s actually dense woods and a medieval castle-looking place just a short subway ride away?

Northern Manhattan is a borough of its own in a way. Between Fort Tryon and Inwood Hill Parks, it’s easy to forget the trademark New York City hustle and bustle just a few miles away. And for NYC residents, the rent in northern Manhattan is a lot cheaper than the rest of the island, if you don’t mind a longer commute.



And if you’re in the area, you must visit The Cloisters, a 20th century building modeled after an ancient castle, although its courtyard looks like an Italian villa. It’s now a museum with relics from throughout the last millennium. Plus it provides fantastic views, but we won’t spoil it for you. Get on down there and see for yourself!

Fort Tryon Park
Inwood Hill Park
The Cloisters

Getting to Roosevelt Island the Fun Way: The Skyway

A Ride in the Sky

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See the time-lapse video of the tram ride below!

Parked in the middle of the East River, just between Manhattan and Queens, Roosevelt Island gives any tourist or resident a phenomenal view of the Upper East Side and Midtown. The island itself is going through some changes with new construction and such, but this small chunk of “small town” within the five boroughs (with very few cars) is sure to amaze even those who have called New York City home for decades.

Then of course, there’s the way to get there. Sure, you could take the subway and arrive the “normal way”, but imagine commuting to work every day through the air. Some people do. UndiscoveredWanderings recommends you take the Roosevelt Island Tramway. It’s just a lot more fun.

It’s easy and quick; no car, no train, no fuss. And the best part is, you can use your MTA card!

Information on the Roosevelt Island Tramway