Watch the sun rise up over the rolling hills that surround our beautiful campus. Take a self-guided walk through our labyrinth, stroll or jog along our serene meditation trail or take an early morning walk to visit our Red Schoolhouse. Maps and information will be provided upon check-in at Watson.
In the Dining Room at 7:00 a.m., cereal, yogurt, fresh fruit, and juice, coffee, tea, water will be available. At 7:45 a.m. and each day of the program following, there will a rotating variety of choices such as a hot cereal, eggs, bacon, sausage, pancakes, or French toast. Breakfast in the Dining Room. Pack your lunch to be delivered later.
We’ll set out by motor coach and ride to the trailhead where our first hike on the Finger Lakes Trail (FLT) system will begin. Along the way, Neil Yoder will tell us about local history. Our hike will lead to the beautiful gorge at Watkins Glen State Park, named one of the top three state parks in the country. The walk begins on private property and then joins NYS Park. We will see 16 waterfalls and the exposed shale layers of this very deep gorge. After a devastating flood in 1935, the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) built stone pathways through the gorge. Our whole mileage is 6 miles today. There will be a crossover site on the last leg of the hike for those who wish to view the spectacular waterfalls in the lower gorge.
Inside a stone pavilion built by the CCC, we’ll will have our picnic lunch.
Next, we’ll ride up the west side of Seneca Lake on our coach to Lakewood Vineyards and meet members of the Stamp family, the third generation of wine-makers and grape-growers. We’ll walk through vineyards, see the lake from their deck, and be treated to a flight of wine tastes — sweet or dry, your choice. This is also a place to smell the roses, a particular attraction at the winery. We’ll do a “drive-by” of the famous Watkins Glen International race track on our way back to Watson. Debbie will address the cultural tourism economy that has now taken the lead from the region’s agricultural and industrial sectors. Back at Watson Homestead, we’ll walk over to the three-sided climbing and rappelling tower. Neil will assist those who would like to climb up 36 feet to the top and rappel back down.
Dinner in the Dining Room.
Local historian, John Babbitt, will give us a slideshow presentation on the CCC and their work in the region building and rebuilding many park trails, stone knee-walls, and buildings. We will see pictures of their work and how the trails look today.