Cindy DeCarolis

Do You Have A Happy Place?

I think it is important to have a happy place. I define a happy place as a place where as soon as you arrive you feel calm, grounded, happy, and at peace. It’s a place you can go physically to be alone, meditate, walk, or enjoy it in the companionship of friends. It’s a place you can revisit through photos and memories when you need those feelings, but you can’t physically be there.

I have many happy places near and far. Most of my happy places are in nature; they are all beautiful. John Muir said “The forests of America, however slighted by man, must have been a great delight to God; for they were the best he ever planted. The whole continent was a garden…” I think that we have the best of the best right here in New York State. I am delighted to share some of my happy places located in upstate New York.

I love walking in the woods and there are many places local to Rochester and Central New York to get out for a hike. These are two of my faves:

Corbett’s Glen Nature Park, Brighton: This is one of my favorite places to walk. On mornings when I am not going to have time to get in my own workout and take Barry for a long walk I go to Corbett’s Glen. It is close to my house and because there are a few hills I still get my heartrate up – even walking at Barry’s pace. I call this my kill two birds with one stone workout.

The trails run by meadows, wetlands, and waterfalls and there is an abundance of birds and wildlife. While you may pass others enjoying the trails, I have never experienced it to be crowded. There is a small parking lot at the park entrance on Penfield Road.

Green Lakes State Park, Fayetteville: Before I moved away from Syracuse, I walked at Green Lakes most of the year and cross-country skied in the winter. There is a trail that loops around both Round and Green lakes that is roughly 3 miles. I always loved walking or skiing around the lakes and just soaking in the beauty. Each season is different, and they are all spectacular.

There are 15 miles of trails throughout the park. The lakes are meromictic lakes, meaning that the surface and bottom waters don’t mix. I believe that this is what gives the lakes their deep green color. In addition to the trails, Green Lakes offers camping, a public beach, and an 18-hole golf course designed by Robert Trent Jones. Although it has been 25 years since I lived in Syracuse, I still love walking at Green Lakes when I am in town.

I am Aquarius, the water-bearer, so it makes sense that being around water soothes my soul. Just being near water, watching it flow, and listening to its music calms me. Bordered by two great lakes, Ontario and Erie, the Finger Lakes and countless other lakes across the state, as well as the St. Lawrence and Hudson rivers, New York State is a great place for water lovers.

There are so many places where I have loved spending time on the water throughout my life. Because my family roots are in the North Country my childhood summer weekends were spent visiting family at various spots on Lake Ontario and the St. Lawrence River. But now, my most favorite place is one of the Finger Lakes:

Canandaigua Lake: Canandaigua is the fourth largest of the Finger Lakes and the westernmost of the major Finger Lakes. I am extremely fortunate that my husband’s family has a cottage on the lake. They have a beautiful spot with a large lawn and a dock. Facing west, the sunsets are gorgeous explosions of color. I am so content to just sit out under the trees reading a book, watching the boats, or chatting with family and friends. It is incredibly peaceful.

Kershaw Park on the north end of the lake features a landscaped beach, lakefront walkways, a public dock, and picnic pavilions.

I hope that you have enjoyed reading about a few of my happy places. If you don’t have a happy place of your own, I hope you will visit one of mine until you find yours.

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