Hello all you lovely people.
I may sound a wee bit chirpier today as i have just had 3 days away from the craziness of New York City. As amazing as this city is sometimes you just need to get the hell out for a couple of days to appreciate it again. Luckily there is a lot more to New York State than New York City and it’s not too far away! The original plan was to go to Niagara Falls but because of the terrible weather the East Coast had this Winter parts of it are still closed off so it’s not the best time to visit. I started researching and found some really beautiful places Upstate to visit.
We hired a car through Budget using discount codes from USAA which is a military website. I heard that anyone can sign up and use the codes so that’s what I did! If you are Under 25 and renting a car over here you get charged all kinds of absurd fees. The discount codes were meant to get rid of these. It worked out to be $244 for 3 days which is extremely cheap. Of course though, this was too good to be true. When we got to the pick up destination in Jersey City they said we couldn’t use the code because we didn’t use the USAA services such as insurance or banking. Urrrrrgh. This was extremely stressful seeing as I had already booked accommodation so couldn’t really cancel the car rental. He ended up giving us the car for the same price as a one off probably because we seemed so foreign. So that was amazing!
First stop – Scranton, PA! Mine and Will’s favourite TV Show is the US version of The Office. We knew that we had to visit the town that is is based in at some stage while we are over. Everyone we told that we were going there told us not to. They said it was miserable and there is nothing to see. But we didn’t listen. I’m not going to lie, it was a little disappointing. Probably because we went a year after the show finished. We thought they’d be taking advantage of The Office and have it everywhere – but there was nothing. We went to some of the places that were mentioned in the show like The Steamtown Mall, Poor Richards and Alfredo’s Pizza Café. Other than that there wasn’t an Office themed thing in site. We took what we could get though and got photos of anything that had the slightest resemblance of The Office.
After the above mentioned researching, i found Letchworth State Park which i knew i had to see. Described as “the Grand Canyon of the East”, Letchworth State Park is 5 hours from the city. It has over 60 miles of hiking tracks and some of the most beautiful waterfalls i have ever laid eyes on. When i told the New Yorkers that I work with where I was going none of them had heard of it. I thought this was strange for somewhere that had been compared to the Grand Canyon. But no worries, this is what i like to do. Find hidden and unknown treasures. Driving into the State Park, we got a good taste of what we were in for as 3 deer crossed the road right in front of us – it was incredible. It takes 30 minutes to drive from one side of the park to the other, but it took us longer as we had to keep stopping to take it the views.
When I googled “hotels near Letchworth State Park” the place that kept coming up was Glen Iris Inn. It had good reviews and was reasonably priced so decided to book there. On their website it said that it was in the park and overlooked the waterfalls. When i saw this I thought it would be an exaggeration and that it would be in a town somewhere ages away from the park. But their description was spot on. In the heart of the park, Glen Iris Inn sits right by the Middle Falls which are the biggest falls in the park. It was the most gorgeous Bed and Breakfast with a restaurant and veranda. Before checking in we did The Gorge Trail at the park which went alongside all of the falls. Starting at Inspiration Point and continuing up to the top of the Upper Falls. When we got up close and personal with the Middle Falls and saw them from a certain angle there was a rainbow at the bottom. It was beautiful. I cried. Everyone has to go see this park. I cannot recommend it highly enough.
On Sunday it was time to head back to the city (wahh). We took our time and stopped in little towns along the way. It was so interesting getting to see these tiny American towns where they have a Sheriff and every house has an American flag proudly hanging. My favourite town we stopped in was Watkins Glen. I had seen photos of a State Park at Watkins Glen that looked stunning so wanted to check those out. Of course when we got there though the trail was closed due to snow. I thought they might have been exaggerating but i jumped the fence and my god was there some ice. Thick, thick ice. So we gave that a miss and headed to the township where we were pleasantly surprised with a harbor view. We went to the local bar that was sitting right on the water and had a drink in the sun. It would have been rude not to. The people in this town were absolutely lovely. So helpful and gave us places to go and see because the trail was closed. It reminded me of home because it was such a little summer town that i can imagine going on holiday to and camping by the water.
Seeing the small towns and meeting the rural Americans really was a highlight for me. So many people say you shouldn’t judge America by New York City and I totally get that now. I love New York, but there really is so much more to America. This small trip made me really want to see as much of America as I can. If only it wasn’t so god damn expensive (see below).