In the land between Seneca and Cayuga Lakes, and located just a few miles from this Upstate New York bed and breakfast lies 16,000 acres of green space in the form of the Finger Lakes National Forest. Filled with beauty, wildlife, and a variety of outdoor activities, the Forest is a must-see stop during your Trumansburg vacation getaway.
The Forest is located on lands that were probably widely used by tribes of the Iroquois Nation. Knowing the Iroquois, land use activities probably included hunting and gathering practices.
After the Revolutionary War, the non-native population moved in. Farms were started, resources were plundered, and the land began to show its wear. In the early 1900s, the Federal government stepped in, acquiring now-defunct farms to help residents move on to other areas where they might make a living. Originally named the Hector Forest (presumably after the town of the same name, just west of the Forest area), and sometimes called the State Forest, the land became a project for soil stabilization after the damage of the land by the farmers who used the land. Trees were planted, grazing areas were established, and the lands slowly regained their health through the early- to mid-1900’s.
At that time, the Government was very open to converting lands into National Parks for management and preservation purposes. The people of the Finger Lakes Region became interested in seeing the lands used for multiple purposes, and were interested in the Federal Government’s help in that area. Roxanne Leyes, a friend of Gothic Eves’ owner, was instrumental in this process, traveling to Washington D.C. to lobby for this conversion. In 1954, her work was finally rewarded when the Hector Forest became part of the U.S. Forest Service, becoming the Finger Lakes National Forest. Recreation, education, and productive land use were the order of the day, and the Forest grew to become the only National Forest in the state, and the only National Forest with the multi-use philosophy.
What does this mean for you? Well that means that if you can dream a natural activity, there is a decent chance you can do it here. Landscape-wise, there is a little bit of everything in the forest: gorges, water, grassy areas, and of course the woods! No matter what the season, there area activities that will suit your tastes: over 30 miles of trails allow for hiking, biking, and horseback riding in the warmer months; and snowmobiling, cross-country skiing, and snowshoeing are popular in the winter months. In between, there are flowers to watch bloom, wildlife to observe, trees to watch turn colors, waters to swim and fish in, and so much more.
A small side-note: you may still hear the FLNF referred to as the “Hector Forest” by locals. And if you hear the phrase “going over the backbone,” know that they are talking about passing through the park by trail or road either west-to-east, or east-to-west.
While the National Forest is just one of many smaller outdoor recreational activities in the Finger Lakes region, it has the widest variety of possibilities for visitors of all types, whether you’re looking for active adventures, or some time to relax outside. And when you stay here at the Inn at Gothic Eves, you will not only receive the warmest New York hospitality, but first-rate accommodations in a home-like setting. Each morning, a delicious breakfast will prepare you for your day of outdoor adventures, and each evening, you can return to the inn for relaxation in our common areas, a dip in one of our decadent hot tubs, and a comfortable night’s rest. Welcome to Trumansburg, where a wide variety of outdoor activity options is only a short distance away!