Without question, the feature attraction of Letchworth State Park…
has to be the trinity of waterfalls in the southern corridor of America’s favorite State Park (USA TODAY, 2015 Reader’s Choice), that stretches from the newly-replaced railroad trestle crossing the Portageville Entrance…
to the Mt. Morris Dam, 17 miles to the north.
And it’s the mighty Genesee River that flows between both boundaries–
continuing to carve out a bedrock gorge of mostly shale,
with exposed cliffs that rise 600 feet into the air,
earning Letchworth the distinction of being known as the “Grand Canyon of the East.”
But it’s the waterfalls that most visitors come to see…
Well almost, because there are as many as 50 smaller waterfalls throughout the park that flow into the Genesee. But none are as impressive as Middle Falls, which cascades over a 107 ft drop.
As the name suggests, Middle Falls falls directly in the middle,
between Upper Falls…
and Lower Falls.
While the names of the waterfalls seem conventional, it was an unconventional man, William Pryer Letchworth, who had the foresight to buy the property surrounding Upper and Middle Falls to thwart the installation of a hydro-electric turbine, and save the falls from ruin.
Letchworth also transformed an existing building atop the cliff overlooking Middle Falls into his estate, and named it Glen Iris.
Today, it operates as a shabby-chic Bed and Breakfast, offering meals in the garden on the lawn, on the porch under the veranda, or in any one of several indoor dining rooms.
Leah and I sat outside, dining on spicy pizza and Parmesan-garlic chicken wings. We kept our eye on the New York sky, and we were eager for dusk to arrive.
At the appointed time–when daylight surrenders–the floodlights flashed on and burned onto the water spill.
Bar tab and entrees came to $60 bucks, but the view of the falls from the top of the cliff was priceless.