The back roads of Onondaga, Cayuga, and Cortland counties certainly welcomed us with a special pastoral kindness.
Have you ever experienced an overwhelming sensation that something was simply meant to be? That is exactly the feeling we’re left with following our trip. It truly was a delightfully fortunate happenstance; we both had good health, my breathing was good, the weather was gloriously warm and sunny, there were no border crossing queues, we ate delicious food and the countryside we toured through was beautiful. Serendipitous seems to be the best word to describe the timing and destination of our recent trip to the Finger Lakes. In this post I’d like to share with you my favourite stop on this trip.
Skaneateles is an Iroquois word meaning ‘long lake’ and this is, indeed, a long, narrow, finger-like lake. Interestingly, Skaneateles Lake is the cleanest of the Finger Lakes; its water is so pure that several local municipalities and the city of Syracuse all use it, unfiltered. On day two our travels took us all the way around Skaneateles Lake; south out of the village down the west side of the lake, and back to Skaneateles via the east side of the lake. Skaneateles Lake is the highest of the Finger Lakes so the back roads were hilly offering some fabulous views of the water. Our route led us uphill and down, through beautiful forests, rich farmlands, lush vineyards and picturesque hamlets and villages.
It was late afternoon by the time we returned to the village and we ended our day with a visit to Shotwell Park, a war memorial honouring local veterans.
The focal point of the park is a tribute garden to all local fallen warriors from The World War. It was meant to have been a single monument (this was, after all, to have been the war to end all wars).
A second tribute garden, with an honour roll of those who gave their lives in World War II was dedicated on Memorial Day 1950. Since then, two new tablets have been dedicated to those lost in the Korean and Vietnam wars. Plans are in place to add tablets in memory of those sacrificed in Grenada, Lebanon, Panama, the Persian Gulf and Afghanistan.
When we entered the park the sun was beginning to set, bathing the park, the monuments and the lake in a beautiful pinkish-mauve light.
The air was still, the flag unfurled, the lake as smooth as glass. Silent, serene, ethereal. There were no other visitors that afternoon. Reading the Honour Roll, I was overwhelmed by the number of fallen heroes from such a tiny village. The beauty of the tribute garden on the edge of the lake was breathtaking. I enjoyed a moment of reverence, of respect, of awe and of remembrance of The World War service of my Granddads and the World War II service of my dad. It was an emotional interlude and, easily, the highlight of my trip.
Shotwell Memorial Park truly is one of the most beautiful World War memorials and I am grateful for having had the chance to visit.
The back roads of New York State welcomed us with everyday kindness and gave us a splendid little holiday.
‘Til next time, y’all…