I thought I knew all about things to see and do in Western New York and the Finger Lakes region when I set out to write a local travel guide a few years ago. However, I found there was much more to learn, especially about some of the more obscure attractions.
To make up for it, some of our area's lesser-known destinations are described here. Most are open year-round; a few are only open seasonally.
Museums and more
Benjamin Patterson Museum (Corning, Steuben County): Located just down the street from the well-known Corning Museum of Glass, this museum celebrates life in the 1800s. The museum complex, which is operated by the Corning-Painted Post Historical Society, includes the Benjamin Patterson Inn (1796), a 1794 settler's cabin, a 1787 one-room schoolhouse and a replica blacksmith shop. Benjamin Patterson was the first innkeeper in Corning, and the inn sits on its original site; the other buildings were brought in from their original sites. The museum is at 59 W. Pulteney St., Corning (607-937-5281, www.pattersoninnmuseum.org). Open from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday-Friday.
Niagara Science Museum (Niagara Falls, Niagara County): Open since 2009 in the original 1910 National Carbon Co. office building, it has the distinction of being on listverse.com as "one of the top 10 museums for geeks." Created by physicist Nick Dalacu, the museum presents a collection of scientific instruments and demonstration apparatus in a series of laboratories as at the beginning of the 20th century. The museum is at 3625 Highland Ave., Niagara Falls (525-4126, www.niagarasciencemuseum.org). Open from noon to 5 p.m. daily.
1941 Historical Aircraft Group Museum (Geneseo, Livingston County): The 1941 HAG Museum, established in 1994 by a group of aviation enthusiasts, is dedicated to restoring and flying vintage aircraft and preserving aviation history. This museum hosts an annual air show in mid-July. Find it at 1941 HAG Museum, Geneseo Airport (off Route 63) Geneseo (585-243-2100, www.1941hag.org). Open from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday, Wednesday, Friday and Saturday.
Garrett Memorial Chapel (Bluff Point, Yates County): This unique stone chapel was built in 1931 by Paul Garrett, a wine magnate, and his wife as a memorial to their son, Charles, who died at age 28 of tuberculosis. Located in the woods overlooking Keuka Lake at scenic Bluff Point near Penn Yan, the chapel is open seasonally from July 4 through Labor Day, from 1 to 4 p.m. Tuesday and Thursday. Services are held in the chapel at 9 a.m. on Sundays during the summer. The grounds are open from dawn to dusk daily, from March to October. It is not handicap accessible, and there are no rest rooms. Garrett Memorial Chapel is at 5251 Skyline Drive, Bluff Point (www.garrettchapel.org).
Mount Albion Cemetery (Albion, Orleans County): Set on a hill just outside of Albion, this 100-acre garden-type cemetery, which opened in 1843, has 25 miles of paths winding through it. A designated National Historic Site, it has many outstanding monuments, including the Sailors Civil War Memorial Tower. A map to the cemetery can be picked up at the main gate or at the Orleans County Chamber of Commerce. The cemetery, 14925 Route 31 East, Albion, is open from dawn to dusk daily (585-589-5416).
Lewiston Mound and Lewiston Portage Landing Site (Lewiston, Niagara County): This Native American Hopewell-style burial mound dates to A.D. 160, and is located just off the lower parking lot at Artpark State Park by the Lewiston Portage Landing Site, a National Historic Landmark site. This site marks the spot where Native Americans and European fur traders would land their vessels to portage their boats and goods to the upper landing above Niagara Falls, avoiding the lower rapids and the falls.
Scenic sites throughout our area are too numerous to list, but these are some you may have missed:
Holley Falls (Holley, Orleans County): Holley Falls is well-hidden; you would never know this picturesque waterfall is there if you weren't looking for it. It is located in a small park accessed by a service road next to the Public Works Garage in Holley. The waterfall flows from the Erie Canal into the East Branch of Sandy Creek. Park amenities include a picnic shelter and a nature trail. To get to the falls, take Frisbee Terrace from the village square until you reach the service road.
The "Secret Sidewalk" (Rochester, Monroe County): This public walkway, located along Lake Ontario near Ontario Beach Park, offers a great view of the lake. It takes you through the backyards of the well-manicured homes that overlook the lake. During the summer months, you can enjoy their flower gardens. The walkway can be accessed between the driveways of 490 and 510 Beach Ave., from one end, and next to 720 Beach Ave., on the other end. Bicycles are not allowed, but you can bring leashed pets, provided you clean up after them.
South Bristol Scenic Overlook (South Bristol, Ontario County): The South Bristol Scenic Overlook, also known as Carolabarb Park, has one of the most breathtaking views in the Finger Lakes region. Located at the southern end of Canandaigua Lake near Naples, the overlook, which was dedicated in 2005, has a wonderful view of the lake and surrounding hills. The 38-acre site was a gift to the town of South Bristol from the late Odell Scott and named in honor of Scott's first wife, the late Carol Scott, and his second wife, Barbara. There are a few benches, a small parking lot and a picnic table. It is located along County Road 12, off Route 21 south, in South Bristol.
>Shopping and dining
@Body copy rag:The Windmill Farm & Craft Market (Penn Yan, Yates County): While people in the Finger Lakes region flock to this popular farm market, it's relatively unknown in the Buffalo area. The market opened in 1987 and has more than 250 vendors who carry fresh produce, Amish and Mennonite crafts, baked goods, furniture and more. About 8,000 to 10,000 people visit each week. It is open from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Saturdays only, from the last Saturday in April to the second Saturday in December. The market is at 3900 Route 14A, Penn Yan (315-536-3032; www.thewindmill.com).
Weaver View Farms Country Store (Penn Yan, Yates County): This shop, which is run by a Mennonite family, is filled with all sorts of country décor items, including hundreds of hand-stitched Amish quilts, jams, baskets, pottery, fabrics and furniture. Located in a working dairy farm overlooking Seneca Lake, it is open year-round from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday-Saturday; 1190 Earls Hill Road, Penn Yan (315-781-2571, www.weaverviewfarms.com).Village of Angelica (Angelica, Allegany County): This quaint little village has many buildings listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The town's historic district centers around Park Circle, which has a gazebo (the site of summer concerts) and a playground. There are many antique and gift shops in the town (www.angelica-ny.net or www.visitangelica.com).