Thursday, October 21, 2010

Canandaigua Treaty Keynote Speaker Oren Lyons

When I first heard that Oren Lyons, Faithkeeper of the Turtle Clan of the Onondaga Nation, would be the keynote speaker at this year's commemoration on Thursday, November 11 of the Canandaigua Treaty of 1794, it brought back my first experience hearing this quietly charismatic and visionary man. In the summer of 1991, I happened to catch Oren's interview with PBS television host Bill Moyers. I was taken with Oren's tremendous historical knowledge and perspective, his awareness of the importance of bringing the past into the present with consideration for the future, and of his tremendous sense of responsibility in his role as Faithkeeper. (A year later, he addressed the General Assembly of the United Nation, where he opened the International Year of the World's Indigenous People.)

It is remarkable that one man has done so much for so many. The awards he's received for his range of accomplishments is stunning: the Ellis Island Congressional Medal of Honor; the National Audubon Award; the Earth Day International Award of the United Nations; the Elder and Wiser Award from the Rosa Parks Institute for Human Rights; and the Universal Award from the World Association of Non-Governmental Organizations.

As if that's not enough for one man, this author, artist, and professor also received an Honorary Doctor of Law from Syracuse University, and was an All-American lacrosse player at S.U., receiving Man of the Year in Lacrosse by the NCAA.

So, on Thursday, November 11, I'll be there at the 216th commemoration of the Canandaigua Treaty between the Six Nations and the United States, rededicating the agreement that secures perpetual peace and friendship between the two. And I'll be grabbing a front-row seat to hear Oren. Hope you'll be there too for what I know will be an unforgettable experience.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Fall Beauty

Maple Leaves at Ganondagan
Perhaps I'm a bit partial, but I think New York State has the best Autumns. The leaf color is amazing. Warm days, crisp evenings. Fall activities are full of unique experiences and fun that are free or for very little cost. Crunchy apples and tangy cider and "sincere pumpkin patches" with pumpkins as far as the eye can see. Be sure to take in some of these wonderful Fall sights, sounds, and flavors.

In planning your Fall experiences, be sure to include Ganondagan. We have miles of trails lined with some of the most specular trees for fall color - oaks, maples, sassafras, dogwood, and more. The late fruit producing trees and shrubs like spicebush, hawthorn, and dogwood add their brilliant berries to the tapestry. Late Fall blooming plants like asters, goldenrod, and witch hazel can be seen.

Garden Spider on asters
Animals such as geese that are starting their yearly migrations, can be seen flying overhead. Deer are taking on their more gray winter coats and are in the midst of their yearly courtship rituals. The last of the butterflies as well as other small visitors such as spiders and toads can be seen.

Fungi of unusual shapes, sizes, and colors dot the woodland trails. Some of them are quite beautiful while others look as if they are from another world.

The Ganondagan State Historic closes for the season at the end of October. While the trails are open year-round, the site (giftshop, longhouse, etc.) will close at the end of October. This leaves you a very short window if you had planned to visit this year.

Fall at Ganondagan
I would suggest making a day of it. Pack a picnic lunch and bring your camera on your visit to Ganondagan. Take in the sights and sounds. Smell the crisp Autumn air with the pleasantly acrid background scent of fallen leaves. See the flaming colors of the maple and sassafras. Walk the trails and revel in the serene fall beauty.

The sights of Bristol's Sky RidesAfter you've finished your visit with us, be sure to check out one of the other nearby fall fun locations. Check out our neighbor the Apple Farm for fresh apples, cider, wagon rides, and lots of family fun in the U-pick orchard.  Long Acres Farms in Macedon operates one of the best corn mazes around not to mention they offer a wide range of other family fun activities. Bristol Mountain operates their ski chair lifts to give visitors "Sky Rides" that offer an unrivaled view of the beauty that is the Finger Lakes in fall. And Sonnenberg Gardens is also nearing the end of their season and will also close at the end of October.  Besides touring their gorgeous gardens and estate, they are offering special "Mansion Mystery" events. Because Ganondagan is so conveniently located, all these other fall attraction locations are within a short drive of the site.

Please come and enjoy what a New York fall has to offer!