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Monday, October 6, 2014

Prepare to be 'enchanted' in New York State's 'Enchanted Mountains'

   One-Tank Trip for Oct. 4/14

   By Jim Fox

   It’s called the “Enchanted Mountains” and is a four-season getaway destination for a growing number of people from southern Ontario.
   This rural part of Upstate New York in Cattaraugus County is a landscape of country roads and scenic drives, especially at this time of year.
A picturesque barn along the Amish Trail in Upstate New York. (Jim Fox photo)
   If you’ve seen Buffalo TV’s Eyewitness News, it’s the area referred to as the “Southern Tier” that gets all that snow in the winter.
   Less than an hour south of Buffalo, it takes in Allegany State Park, Holiday Valley and Sky High Adventure Park.
   There’s also the Amish Trail and the Seneca Nation with its Seneca Allegany Resort & Casino, historic Ellicottville has a collection of eclectic shops, fine dining and a brew pub.
   The village has been called one of America’s top adventure towns and reminiscent of something out of a Norman Rockwell painting.
Funky Ellicottville with its collection of eclectic shops. (Jim Fox photo)
   The area is so popular with Canadians that many Ontarians own ski chalets and vacation properties, said tour guide Jacquie Gardner of the county tourism office.

   Leaf peeping
   Driving the winding State Route 219 south from Buffalo at this time of year is ablaze with the changing colours of fall.
   The prime time for the changing colours is mid-October with great views continuing throughout the month.
   Allegany State Park, the largest in the N.Y. State Park System at 26,305 hectares (65,000 acres), in Salamanca is a busy spot throughout the fall.
The fall colours are showing at Allegany State Park. (Handout photo)
   It’s a yearly tradition for families and friends to camp there to take in autumn beauty, said Gary Quattrone, park manager.
   Open year-round, the park is spectacular in the fall and visitors can drive, hike, bike or horseback ride on the many roads and trails.
   There is camping in tents and trailers as well as furnished cabins and cottages for rent.
   And, watch out for the bears.
Allegany State Park in New York State is a busy spot throughout the fall. (Barbara Fox photo)
   The park is home to the American black bear and there are about “50 to 100” of them, said naturalist Adele Wellman. parks.ny.gov/parks
   Visitors can view the leaves as they climb through them at Sky High Adventure Park at the western end of Holiday Valley.
   This is an aerial park, climbing forest and has a popular Mountain Coaster that zigs, zags and spirals down the mountain through the trees.
Zigging and zagging through the trees on the Mountain Coaster at Sky High Adventure Park. (Jim Fox photo)
   The zip lines have a series of platforms and bridges with 13 courses of varying levels of difficulty built in the woods, said Jane Eshbaugh, marketing director.
    The challenge is to figure out how to get across to the next platform, while the climbing forest is a 3-D version of a climbing wall. holidayvalley.com
   Another great place for scenic views is the Amish Trail along the western side of the county where personalized tours are offered along with a self-driving route map.
A Saturday shopping trip to town powered by real horsepower (Jim Fox photo)
   In the Amish community, there is no commercialization and life is still carried on without modern conveniences including electricity and motorized vehicles.
   It’s a step back in time and as we stopped to take photos of a funky little train station originally built in 1875 in South Dayton.
A chair used by Robert Redford in The Natural at the train station in South Dayton, N.Y. (Barbara Fox photo)
   There’s an old wooden chair outside by the entrance and it turns out was used by Robert Redford in the movie The Natural. The station is also in the John Candy movie Planes, Trains and Automobiles.
The longhouse at Seneca-Iroquois National Museum (Jim Fox photo)
   Worth a visit is the Seneca-Iroquois National Museum in Salamanca that explains native history and has an authentic longhouse replica and cultural exhibits. senecamuseum.org

   Where to stay
   “If you don’t feel like roughing it, there’s the Seneca Allegany Resort & Casino in Salamanca,” said publicist Tony Astran.

Seneca Allegany Resort & Casino  (Barbara Fox photo)
   The resort has a AAA Four Diamond luxury hotel and views of the forested mountains from the rooms, the Spa and Salon, fine and casual dining, and entertainment.
   The 11-storey hotel has 413 rooms and suites with upscale amenities including pillow-top beds, oversized showers, flat-screen TVs and free Internet access.
   There are numerous overnight packages that tie in with recreational activities throughout the area, Astran said.
   A fall special has room rates from $95 a night. senecaalleganycasino.com; 1-877-873-6322

   Need to know
   For more information and links: EnchantedMountains.com or call 1-800-331-0543


Jim Fox can be reached at onetanktrips@hotmail.com
For more One-Tank Trips: http://1tanktrips.blogspot.ca

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