So you?re sick of the snow. You think to yourself that if you see one more cloudy, overcast day you?re going to throw yourself off the Phase bridge.
Before you plunge to your death, however, reach back to the depths of your memory and recall how nice it is here during the late spring and summer.
With the onset of warm weather, there are a million different parks in Rochester that look like travel brochures to go frolic in and shed those winter pounds.
At the beginning of the 19th century, Rochester had a bit of a park-building frenzy. Frederick Law Olmsted, a landscaper who is also responsible for New York City?s Central Park, designed Seneca Park and Genesee Valley Park.
Seneca Park is a 297-acre park probably best known for the Seneca Park Zoo, which was created in 1894. It also has some great walking trails and Trout Lake.
Genesee Valley Park, located right in our backyard, contains 800-acres of sprawling park and, of course, the good ol? Genesee River. In addition, there are biking paths, playground areas, cross-country ski trails and two golf courses.
One of the most beautiful parks, created in 1888, is Highland Park.
Home of the famous Lilac Festival held each year in May, the park hosts visitors from all over the world who gather each year to see the collection of lilacs in full bloom.
This full fledged arboretum has over 1,200 lilac shrubs, a Japanese Maple collection, 35 varieties of magnolias, a rock garden with dwarf evergreens and over 700 varieties of rhododendron, azaleas, mountain laurel, andromeda, horse chestnuts, spring bulbs, wildflowers and a ton of trees. There is also a pansy bed made of 10,000 plants that has a new pattern every year.
Maplewood Park, located on the city?s northwest side next to the Genesee Gorge, has beautiful rose gardens and access to hikes along the edge of the gorge.
If the beach is more your scene, then Ontario Beach Park is an interesting option. This 39-acre park is perfect for that romantic stroll or picnic, and is located in the northwest corner of Rochester on the shore of Lake Ontario.
The park is one of the most heavily used in the area, and around the turn of the century it was known as the ?Coney Island of Rochester.? Besides picnicking or strolling down the pier, you can also go boating or ride the restored antique carousel dating back to 1905.
For a more relaxing afternoon, Durand-Eastman Park is an option. The park, like most of Rochester ? so it seems ? was a gift to the city from Eastman, who acquired some adjacent lands to increase the size of the park to 965 acres. Durand-Eastman Park also includes 5,000 feet of Lake Ontario waterfront and is a favorite spot for sunbathers. In the winter, cross-country skiers enjoy the hilly terrain.
Mendon Ponds Park is a particularly interesting spot with a variety of trails to appeal to everyone.
Because of its unique complex glacial features, the park was added to the registry of National History Landmarks in 1969.
The park has approximately seven miles of self-guided nature trails and each has something different to offer.
The Old Orchard Trail is handicapped-accessible, the Bird Song Trail is filled with bird-feeding stations and the Swamp Trail leads to a raised boardwalk through a swamp. This trail also provides a close-up look at the type of wildlife that thrives in this wet environment.
Perhaps one of the best-known parks is Letchworth State Park, which is sometimes known as the ?Grand Canyon of the East.?
Although it is a somewhat exaggerated nickname, this 22-mile segment along the Genesee River is quite beautiful.
The park also contains three major canyons and a large number of streams that flow into the park creating many waterfalls, some of which are 500 feet high.
So maybe the night life in Rochester is not everything you dreamed of, but with all these parks around there is certainly plenty to shake your booty about. This is just the tip of the iceberg, so get out and explore your surroundings this spring.