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Visit Perry: Gateway to the Grand Canyon of the East

posted by Teresa Farrell at 2024-06-30 10:43:00

Upstate New York’s Letchworth State Park, nicknamed the “Grand Canyon of the East,” is a popular spot, attracting nearly a million visitors each year. It’s no wonder why: Conde Nast recently named it the “Most Beautiful Place in the US,” and it’s won several years’ worth of similar competitions as a top destination throughout the country. But if you’re heading out to visit Letchworth, don’t miss the hidden gems that surround it, including the historic village of Perry.

Located on the Western New York end of the Finger Lakes region, Perry serves as the western gateway to Letchworth State Park. A small rural village that prides itself on offering a level of art, food and beverage, and events on par with those fund in larger urban areas, Perry offers a unique mix of small-town charm, a vibrant arts scene, craft beverages, destination dining, agriculture, outdoor recreation, and unique overnight accommodations, without a single fast food chain or strip mall in sight.

Perry offers nature lovers a blend of scenic countryside vistas, and of course, its proximity to Letchworth, but it’s also home to the lesser-known beauty of Silver Lake. Perry and Silver Lake are connected by walking and biking trails, including a well-marked, two-mile-long path starts at the downtown mural, meanders along the Silver Lake outlet, passes the Pioneer Cabin, where you can visit a one-room schoolhouse, and ends up at the village beach and lakeside pavilion. Kayaks, paddleboats, sailboats and motor boats are available for rent on Silver Lake. Explore the protected wetlands at the north or south ends of the lake to spot turtles, beavers, and bald eagles. Keep your eye out for sea serpents! A local legend from 1855 tells the story of a massive sea monster spotted by fishermen on Silver Lake in 1855. They weren’t wrong—they did see something-- but it turned out to be a stunt pulled by the owner of the local Walker Hotel, designed to drive tourism, which was found out when the costume was discovered after the hotel caught fire. Still, to this day, the locals of Silver Lake and Perry celebrate the story and retain the monster as a mascot.

When it’s time to shop, dine, or otherwise entertain yourself away from the trails and parks, you’ll find that downtown Perry is compact, walkable, and full of little shops and restaurants, including the Lumberyard Steakhouse, a wine bar, and the Silver Lake Brewing Project microbrewery. The splash pad at the village park is a great place for the kids to cool off.  Just outside the village, there is a creamery offering grass-fed artisan cheese—it even has a 24/7 cheese vending machine! The Charcoal Corral and Silver Lake Twin Drive-In Theatre is another popular destination, offering barbecue, mini golf, ice cream and drive-in movies. If your timing is right, you can also catch an outdoor concert or vintage car show there as well; or you may catch a glimpse of a dairy cow hanging out behind screen two!

Perry is also home to a wide variety of events, from farmers markets, arts and crafts shows and Shakespeare performances to triathlons, bike races, and boat parades, to name a few. The New York State Puppet Festival even makes its home here each year. A full listing, and more information to help you plan your trip to Perry, can be found on the Wyoming County Tourism website.  
Charcoal Corral and Silver Lake Twin Drive In photo credit Charcoal Corral and Silver Lake Twin Drive In

Photo Credits:

Letchworth State Park photo credit Letchworth State
ParkMain Street photo credit Village of Perry
Silver Lake photo credit Silverlaken Estate
Silver Lake Brewing Project sign photo credit Silver Lake Brewing Project
Charcoal Corral and Silver Lake Twin Drive In photo credit Charcoal Corral and Silver Lake Twin Drive In

posted at: 2024-06-30 10:43:00, last updated: 2024-06-30 11:08:58

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