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Hat Trick on Main Street
by Pat Pendleton
An easy daytrip to three waterfalls
Leave the buzz of the city to visit three restorative waters within 30 miles of Buffalo without going onto the Thruway. Western New York is nestled within Lake Erie and Niagara River and populated with abundant waterfalls, where a thriving number of mills once produced essentials of daily life. Route 5 begins at the Pennsylvania border in Chautauqua County and weaves up through Buffalo and eastward all the way to Route 9 in Albany, a 370-mile highway. The ribbon of road through the city and into the suburbs of Williamsville and Clarence is known as Main Street. Glen Falls, Akron Falls, and Indian Falls are all found off Route 5—an easy daytrip.
Locals will recall the days a few decades ago when Glen Park Casino, dance hall, and amusement park in Williamsville were popular spots for family fun. Those are long gone, but a well-tended park remains off Main Street just 11 miles from downtown. Take a left at Mill Street and another left at Glen Avenue. There is a parking lot on the right with rolling, grassy areas for lounging. Across the way are the pathways to duck ponds and the cascading waters of Ellicott Creek descending the Onondaga Escarpment. This park is both an ideal place to take the baby for a stroll or invite a friend who are unable to do a lot of walking. The location is also a prime photo opportunity. There are several benches in the area for resting, including one up close to the magnificent Glen Falls. Take your morning coffee there for a contemplative start to the day.
Drive further away, another 14 miles east on Main to Akron Falls Park, a good spot for a picnic lunch. Pack your own or stop at Anderson’s on Main near Youngs Road for takeout. There are plenty of shops and garage sales along the way for anyone seeking a leisurely time. Turn left on Buell Street and right on Parkview Drive to find the Erie County park, once the site of the Iroquois Trail and home to the Seneca Nation. The area is ripe with mythology and stories of paranormal activity—Google it. The grassy lawns and quiet are of another time when groups gathered under picnic shelters and children played on metal swings, slides, and turning disks—now weathered with rust. I recommend sitting down for a bit of swinging pleasure. Look over the rail to see the falls or head down the steep paved trail, a short walk to a closer water view. Other trails wind back down into the creek bed and there is plenty of area for hikers to explore.
Head back out to Route 5 and another five miles east to Route 77. Turn left and drive to the intersection of Indian Falls Road and Gilmore—take a right up to where Tonawanda Creek flows over the Onondaga Escarpment in Genesee County. The main attraction at the edge of Pembroke in Corfu is the Log Cabin Restaurant at 1227 Gilmore next to Indian Falls. It features a seating area that overlooks the water, a picturesque place to conclude the three-waterfall hat trick with a cold drink before returning home.
Summer Guide: Intro • Festivals, Garden Walks, and Tours
Destinations: Griffis Sculpture Park
• Explore Orleans County
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