As we slow the pace of life during this time of social distancing, I’ve found it helpful to consider a variety of new and interesting day trip destinations. Take a drive through the Livingston County countryside and explore for yourself.
Enjoy a Walk in an Historic Village
Village Main Streets and Historic Districts were made for walking and shopping! Take a stroll to appreciate the details in architecture, landscaping, displays in shop windows, and memorials to our local heroes.
Livingston County Villages:
Geneseo is the County Seat, and home to SUNY Geneseo, whose beautiful campus overlooks the river valley and parallels Main Street.
Take a free audio walking tour of historic downtown Dansville. There are ten stops within three blocks surrounding Main Street.
Avon is situated along the Genesee River at the western terminus of Routes 5 & 20 and grew as a stagecoach crossing and place of healing.
If ever there was a Main Street, USA Cinderella-story, it’s living a happy ending—rather, a new beginning—here in Mount Morris!
Caledonia has historically been an important resting place for travelers, used by Senecas traveling between Canandaigua and the Niagara.
Lima has been known as a vibrant and successful agricultural, commercial, and academic center—the Crossroads of Western New York.
Livonia, established during the height of our railroad history, is home to two of our beautiful Finger Lakes—Hemlock and Conesus.
Livingston County Lakes, Parks & Preserves
Al Lorenz Park
Located just across the Genesee River from the Mount Morris entrance to Letchworth park, Al Lorenz is a hidden gem! Tucked down into the river valley, it offers a variety of walking paths, water elements, and diversity of trees, including an extraordinary pine grove.
Papermill Falls Park
Park your car right next to Papermill Falls in Avon! Open up the windows or pull up a chair & relax to sound of Conesus Creek. Wander down the trail for fall-facing view.
Start your exploration of a series of historic locks at a little park at the intersection of NY-436 and Oakland Road. The lock system is part of the greater historic Genesee Valley Canal. This is a branch that ran from the main canal in today’s Letchworth State Park down into the Village of Nunda.
MacKay Wildlife Preserve
There are interesting man-made and geologic wonders to discover at MacKay Wildlife Preserve in Caledonia. You’ll find a sea of round, moss-covered boulders, a diverse collection of hardwoods, and unusual land formations.
Christine Sevilla Wetland Preserve
Take a stroll along the boardwalk to see what you can find hidden among the many species of grasses, ferns and sedges lining the trial.
The half mile trail begins at the kiosk near the Preserve entrance. A trail map is present on the kiosk. There is a mowed trail in the field leading to a boardwalk trail and an observation deck.
New York State land, managed by the Department of Environmental Conservation, offers some of the most secluded spots to get away.
Conesus Inlet Wildlife Management Area
Conesus Inlet WMA is bounded on the west by West Swamp Road (State Route 256), on the east by East Swamp Road, on the south by Guiltner Road, and on the north by Conesus Lake. There are several places to park and walk or launch a car-top boat.
Sonyea State Forest
The 922-acre Sonyea State Forest offers a rustic experience with a limited amount of development. This forest shares a common boundary with Groveland Correctional Facility. As regulations differ between these areas, users should remain aware of which unit they are on. The Keshequa Creek Gorge occurs along the western boundary of this state forest, and the eastern portion includes the headwaters of Two Mile Creek.
Ossian State Forest
The 1,303-acre Ossian State Forest offers a rustic experience with a limited amount of development. This forest shares a long common boundary with Rattlesnake Hill State Wildlife Management Area and also has a common boundary with a parcel of Allegany County forest lands. The 7-acre Evergreen Pond features paddling opportunities. A hand boat launch is located off Scoville Road.
Letchworth State Park
Letchworth is a massive park, with plenty of places to enjoy away from high-traffic areas like Middle Falls. Look at the trail maps for secluded spots on both sides of the Genesee!
On the west side of the river there are trail heads all along Park Road, and spots less frequented north of the Castile entrance, like Wolf Creek and the beautiful Gardeau Overlook.
Genesee Valley Greenway
Genesee Valley Greenway State Park extends from Rochester to Olean, but there are some beautiful spots right within Livingston County to explore!
There’s a little car lot in Caledonia on River Road where you can start on the Lehigh Valley Trail, heading east to connect with the Greenway Trail at Wadsworth Junction.
Or start in Avon along the Erie-Attica Trail near the western terminus of Routes 5 & 20. Park at the trail head next to Barilla pasta and head west across the Genesee River.
Other spots to begin include York Landing in Piffard near the Abbey of the Genesee, Yard of Ale in Piffard, National Hotel in Cuylerville, and the RG&E substation in Mount Morris, right in the heart of Mount Morris. The Genesee Valley Greenway weaves for two miles along Main Street making for a great round-trip walk with spots to eat and shop along the way. You’ll pass the General William A. Mills House, and colorful wall art dedicated to the memory of hometown hero Francis Bellamy, author of the “Pledge of Allegiance to the Flag.”
Genesee Valley Conservancy
The GVC manages several preserve throughout Livingston County. Explore Indian Fort Nature Preserve and Island Preserve in Geneseo, and the Railroad Bed Trail in Avon that runs between Nations Road and NY-39.
Mount Morris Dam
Before the dam was constructed, vicious floods ravaged river-side communities downstream, including the City of Rochester. We’re so thankful it exists today! When things get back to normal, and if you’re in town between April and October, and 18+ years of age, take a tour of Mount Morris Dam, guided by a US Army Corps of Engineers Ranger.
Take a Drive through the Livingston County Countryside
Speaking of Nations Road, it’s a favorite among area photographers. Its bucolic Genesee Valley view, concentration of great oak trees, & horses in the fields make for an excellent slow drive through the countryside in any season, and especially in Autumn. It’s also where you’ll find the Genesee Valley Hunt Races in October!
These trees are even featured in the painting “Genesee Oaks” by Asher B. Durand—an American painter of the Hudson River School—which hangs in Rochester’s Memorial Art Gallery. The MAG website states that he was “commissioned to paint this magnificent vista overlooking the Genesee River Valley in Geneseo, New York, by a member of the Wadsworth family, the village founders. At one time, they owned all the land from Geneseo to Rochester.”
Oak trees are so prevalent around Geneseo the APOG and Genesee Valley Conservancy have designed a self-guided scenic oak tree driving tour!
Abbey of the Genesee
Abbey of the Genesee, in the hamlet of Piffard, is best know to most Rochesterians for their delicious Monk’s Bread. You can purchase the bread and other items from the on-site store. The Abbey also welcomes visitors to join the community for liturgical prayer in the Abbey Church or to spend time in quiet solitary prayer.
Williamsburgh, in the Town of Groveland, was the original settlement in Livingston County after the American Revolution. Today there is a cemetery on the historic site overlooking the American Rock Salt mine.
In this cemetery are the final resting places of two of Rochester’s founding fathers—Major Charles Carroll and Colonel William Fitzhugh—along with their extended families.
Groveland is also the site of the final battle of Sullivan’s expedition on the New York frontier, under General George Washington’s orders to completely destroy the principal villages and food supplies, forcing their removal. Lieutenant Boyd and Sergeant Parker were taken prisoner during the Groveland Ambuscade, and tortured for information back in Little Beard’s Town.
Livingston County is located directly south of Monroe and they share more than just a county line! Both were founded in 1821, and will be celebrating bicentennials in 2021.
Both share stewardship of the Genesee River, and an origin story along her banks. Ebenezer “Indian” Allan, in 1788, settled first in Mount Morris, then Scottsville, before building the first sawmill and gristmill near today’s Graves & Race Streets in Center City Rochester.
Then in 1803, Colonels Nathaniel Rochester and William Fitzhugh with Major Charles Carroll saw the business potential of the Genesee Falls from their homes in Dansville and Groveland and together purchased the infamous 100-acre tract.
We also share two school districts—Caledonia-Mumford and Honeoye Falls-Lima.
Where are your favorite day trips around Livingston County?
Share your thoughts with us in the comments. Your insight and experience is invaluable!