Getting a Haendel on Cayuga Lake

For ten years, the tour boat/floating classroom MV Haendel has chugged up and down Cayuga Lake revealing the lake’s stories, taking its vital signs, and expanding our awareness of this dominant, beautiful body of water in New York’s Finger Lakes region. I have worked on the Haendel since late in its first season in 2003, mostly as an interpreter of the natural and cultural history of the lake on the boat’s tours out of Cayuga Inlet in Ithaca. The company, Tiohero Tours, has changed its name now to Ithaca Boat Tours, and we look forward to the new season sharing Cayuga’s waters with thousands of visitors, residents, and students.

The tour boat MV Haendel in Cayuga Inlet, Ithaca, NY

The MV Haendel heads down Cayuga Inlet toward Cayuga Lake on another tour from the Ithaca Farmers Market.

The other part of the Haendel’s mission is the Cayuga Lake Floating Classroom, where the crew takes school groups, college classes, camp groups, public eco-tours, and scientific monitoring teams out on the water to probe and learn more about what is happening below the surface. Besides teaching thousands about lake science, the Floating Classroom has played a vital role in assessing the health of the lake; most notably in discovering the aggressive, and potentially disastrous, exotic, invasive, aquatic weed hydrilla in Cayuga Inlet, setting off a major institutional and governmental response to try to control and eradicate the infestation.

Cayuga Lake Floating Classroom public eco-tour

Cayuga Lake Floating Classroom director Bill Foster instructs a public eco-tour participant during a lake sampling outing.

In this week’s episode of Walk in the Park TV, we take a visual tour of Cayuga Lake on the Haendel, from the Ithaca Farmers Market to Wells College in Aurora, as if we were on the boat itself. There is a lot to see from the water (and from the air in this case as we integrate Bill Hecht’s amazing aerial photography.) You can watch the show on Ithaca’s public access cable TV channel 13 (next scheduled showings: Saturday and Sunday at 10:30 a.m., and Tuesday, March 5, at 8:00 p.m., and at other times the station may add).

Or you can watch it online right here!

Fillmore Glen State Park

“Ithaca is Gorges” they say in this town at the south end of Cayuga Lake. But there are lots of other beautiful gorges in New York’s Finger Lakes region, including Fillmore Glen by the little village of Moravia in Cayuga County south of Owasco Lake, the next Finger Lake to the east of Cayuga Lake. This lush and scenic gorge is preserved in Fillmore Glen State Park, due to the efforts of Dr. Charles Atwood, a local physician and amateur botanist, who advocated for its protection and establishment of the park in the 1920s. The new episode of “Walk in the Park,” our public access TV show in the Ithaca area, features Fillmore Glen with photographs and video taken recently.

Fillmore Glen State Park waterfall Gorge Trail Moravia, NY Cayuga County

A small waterfall about a mile up the Gorge Trail in Fillmore Glen

Fillmore Glen is named for Millard Fillmore, 13th president of the United States, who was born in 1800 in a cabin a few miles east of the park. He was the first “log cabin president” and the first president born in the nineteenth century. He was also the first president who rose from modest means to the middle class. Find out more about Millard Fillmore in our Walk in the Park video episode, “Fillmore Glen State Park.”

Official White House painting of President Millard Fillmore

Official White House painting of President Millard Fillmore, by G.P.A. Healy 1857

The climax of Fillmore Glen, and also the part most easily viewed, is the Cowsheds, a waterfall, rock amphitheater, and overhanging rock formation just a short walk from the picnic pavilion and swimming area in the mouth of the gorge.

Waterfall Cowsheds Fillmore Glen State Park gorge Moravia, NY, Cayuga County, Finger Lakes

The Cowsheds is the scenic star of Fillmore Glen.

In the photograph above, large slabs of limestone have fallen from the overhanging roof-like ledge up to the left. Freezing, thawing, wetting, drying, and high water have weathered and eroded out the Cowsheds.

For a full photo essay see our earlier posting, Fillmore Glen in Fall.

Our show on PEGASYS, “Fillmore Glen State Park,” also includes scenery from Cayuga Lake, Lick Brook Glen, Buttermilk Falls State Park, and culminates with photographs and video of fall foliage in Fall Creek Gorge, Ithaca Falls, and Cascadilla Glen in Ithaca and next to Cornell University. Watch our show on Ithaca’s cable access channel 13 at the schedule below or right here online.

View over Ithaca Falls and the city of Ithaca

Looking over Ithaca Falls and the city

Watch the show right here without leaving this page:

This episode, “Fillmore Glen State Park,” will premier on Ithaca’s channel 13 this evening at 9:00 p.m. It will be shown again according to the following schedule.

Walk in the Park, the TV show, airs weekly on Ithaca, NY’s public access cable TV channel 13:

Thursday,  9:00 p.m.

Saturday, 10:30 a.m.

Sunday,    10:30 a.m.

Tuesday,    8:00 p.m.

It also is shown at other times as the station manager chooses.

College Crew Teams on Cayuga Lake

With the arrival of autumn, Cornell and Ithaca College crew teams are busy practicing on Cayuga Inlet and Cayuga Lake. Upon returning from a late afternoon tour on the lake on the MV Haendel of Tiohero Tours last month, we passed many boats rowing on the calm waters as the sun lowered on West Hill.

Crew boats Cayuga Lake Ithaca College

Two crew boats practice on Cayuga Lake under the direction of the coach's boat.

Crew boat, Cayuga Lake, Ithaca College

Crew boats row through the lowering sun on Cayuga Lake.

Crew boat on Cayuga Lake rows through the sun, Ithaca, NY.

Crew boats, probably Ithaca College, row on Cayuga Lake in the sunlight, Ithaca, NY

Ithaca College crew boat rows near the lighthouse on Cayuga Inlet in Ithaca, NY.

A college crew boat rows near one of the lighthouses at the mouth of Cayuga Inlet.

They rowed out to Cayuga Lake from their boathouse (apparently Ithaca College’s) farther up Cayuga Inlet.

Closeup of college crew boat in Cayuga Inlet, Ithaca, NY

In the late afternoon, Cayuga Lake and Cayuga Inlet tend to be calmer, and the light is beautiful, a great time for rowing and for photography.

Tour boat MV Haendel of Tiohero Tours on Cayuga Inlet, Ithaca, NY

The tour boat MV Haendel of Tiohero Tours returns up Cayuga Inlet following a two hour trip on Cayuga Lake, passing college crew teams rowing.


Walk in the Park, TV Show, episode 19

Ithaca, Cayuga Lake, aerial

Cayuga Lake winds north from Ithaca, NY in this photograph by Bill Hecht. The Cornell campus is in the lower right. See the photo essay in this week's episode of Walk in the Park!

My new episode of Walk in the Park on public access television in Ithaca is now showing  on Ithaca’s cable channel 13, and you can see it online here!

This week, we go to several places during the show: Flying over Ithaca and Cayuga Lake with Bill Hecht’s marvelous photos; sunset and blue moon on Cayuga Lake with Tiohero Tours last week; back to last week’s “Don’t Frack NY” rally at Corning Preserve Park along the Hudson River in Albany, where we will hear acclaimed writer, educator, and environmental activist Bill McKibben speak about fracking and global warming; to Taughannock Point and the Sim Redmond Band; to Ithaca’s Civil War encampment last month; and finally to the Ithaca Commons summer concert series.

If you didn’t see it Thursday evening at 9:00, you can catch it on Saturday or Sunday at 10:30 a.m., and finally next Tuesday, September 11 at 8:00 p.m. The 29-minute show is on Ithaca’s cable channel 13.

Or, watch it online right here!

Walk in the Park, the TV show, airs weekly on Ithaca, NY’s public access cable TV channel 13:

Thursday,  9:00 p.m.

Saturday, 10:30 a.m.

Sunday,    10:30 a.m.

Tuesday,    8:00 p.m.

It also is shown at other times as the station manager chooses.

You can see all Walk in the Park episodes online on this website by selecting the category “Walk in the Park TV show” in the category drop-down list in the upper right. Or you can go to Walk in the Park’s YouTube channel.


Gorge Beauty, Gorge Safety

Joints, pothole by Pinnacle Rock in the gorge at Buttermilk Falls State Park in Ithaca, NY

A unique rock and water formation in the gorge below Pinnacle Rock in Buttermilk Falls State Park.

Episode 16 of my Walk in the Park TV show on Ithaca’s public access cable channel 13 begins showing tonight, Thursday August 16, at 9:00 p.m. It will air again at 10:30 a.m. on both Saturday and Sunday, and finally on Tuesday, August 21 at 8:00 p.m. And you can see it ONLINE here!

This episode includes beautiful pictures of forest reflections in gorge pools in Buttermilk Falls State Park, views of low water at Taughannock Falls, a family cliff jumping into a gorge pothole, and a powerful Cornell video explaining the dangers of swimming in our gorges, including a lab demo of dangerous stream hydraulics, and a first hand account from a student who could not save his friend from drowning while they swam in a gorge. You can watch the Cornell video separately here, if you wish. Everyone who lives in Ithaca, goes to college here, or visits during the summer should see this short video. Please share it widely.

Another segment covers the Lansing Harbor Festival, which also was posted as a separate video in a previous post on this blog.


Lansing Harbor Festival

The lighthouse at Myers Pt. in Lansing NY during the Lansing Harbor Festival

This lighthouse on Myers Point is a landmark along Cayuga's east shore in Lansing.

Join Walk in the Park host Tony Ingraham at the Lansing Harbor Festival on August 11, 2012 at Myers Point on the east shore of Cayuga Lake, a few miles north of Ithaca, NY. Music, games, crafts, educational booths, food, and the Cayuga Lake Floating Classroom. And watch kite surfers harnessing the wind on this sunny summer day with their colorful parachute-like kites to surf the lake surface! This short video lasts 9 minutes, 43 seconds.

TV Show, episode 13!

Our newest episode of WALK IN THE PARK, the TV show, is now posted here online. It began being cablecast Thursday evening at 9:00 on Ithaca, NY public access cable channel 13. The 30-minute show will air again on Saturday and Sunday at 10:30 a.m. and finally next Tuesday, July 31 at 8:00 p.m., and at other times the station may choose.

This week’s episode goes up close to Cayuga Lake’s power plant and links it to destructive, controversial mountain top removal coal mining in West Virginia.  We visit Buttermilk Falls State Park, Cape Hatteras National Seashore, the Grassroots Festival in Trumansburg, NY, and the Finger Lakes Land Trust’s Etna Nature Preserve. You can watch the full show right here on this post, or go direct to the YouTube channel.

The Ithaca public access cable channel 13 broadcast of Walk in the Park begins each week on Thursday evenings  9:00 p.m. and continues through the following Tuesday on the schedule listed above through August.

Autumn Falls along the Lake

Tiohero Tours has resumed its one hour narrated boat trips from the Ithaca Farmers Market around the south end of Cayuga Lake, following the temporary closure to treat the hydrilla infestation of Cayuga Inlet. And there is no better time to see the lake and the fall foliage along its shores than right now!

One of the best places to see fall colors in the Finger Lakes region is from a boat!

While the colors are gone on the hilltops in the Finger Lakes, they are still changing along the lake shores, for two reasons. First, the lake is lower, so the climate is a little warmer and the color season starts a little later there. In fact, at about 381 feet above sea level, Cayuga Lake is the lowest of the eleven Finger Lakes. Second, the lake is warmer. The water has been absorbing the sun’s energy all summer and it slowly releases it throughout the fall and even into the winter, moderating the climate.

Two waterfalls just north of Esty Point on the East Shore

Another reason fall colors are great from the water is that you can see great distances, more than most places on the land. An added bonus right now is that, with the recent rains, the waterfalls are full. What are dry or nearly dry ravines during much of the year have ribbon waterfalls splashing down the cliffs to the lake!

The waterfall in Esty Glen along the East Shore was flowing better than usual today.

Tiohero Tours’ one hour narrated trips around the south end of Cayuga Lake from the Ithaca Farmers Market will continue only on Saturdays and Sundays through the end of October. We had two dazzling trips today! Tours are offered at 11 a.m. and 12:30 p.m. Walk down to the end of the Farmers Market dock in the half hour before tour departure time and book passage into natural beauty while a guide interprets this marvelous place.
For more information about Tiohero Tours (and special “Eco-Cruises”) see