All About The Finger Lakes
A brief tour through history
Just what is it that makes the Finger Lakes so special? The region has a long record of natural development and migratory activity and includes deeply rooted and rich Native American history. And even in the more recent record the local towns and cities are full of stories of innovation, artistic and cultural growth (and of course academic prestige). However, the land itself, beautiful and charming, tells a tale of great geologic upheavel.
From the Paleontological Research Institute:
The Finger Lakes originated as a series of northward-flowing rivers that existed in what is now central New York State. Around two million years ago the first of numerous continental glaciers moved southward from the Hudson Bay area, initiating the Pleistocene glaciation, commonly known as the “Ice age.”
Ice sheets more than two miles thick flowed southward, parallel but opposite to the flow of the rivers, gouging deep trenches into these river valleys. Traces of most of the earlier glacial events have vanished, but much evidence remains of the last one or two glaciers that covered New York.
The latest glacial episode was most extensive around 21,000 years ago, when glaciers covered almost the entire state. Around 19,000 years ago, the climate warmed, and the glacier began to retreat, disappearing entirely from New York for the last time around 11,000 years ago.
As we conduct our tour you will get a bird’s eye view of all of this activity and more. From the sky we can show off the Alegghenny Plateau and you’ll note the way the gorges and lakes formed through the repetitive glacial scarring as outlined above. Today we are lucky to have our culture-rich towns surrounded by vineyards, rolling farmlands and innumerable falls/gorges. And we have the incredible geologic heritage of Central New York to thank.
Additionally, according to the Finger Lakes Tourism Alliance our region is home to more than 400 registered historic sites and landmarks, 135 museums, 80 art galleries, 14 professional theater companies, 100 wineries, 300 bed and breakfasts and 650 miles of shoreline! Come visit us and find out for yourself what the Finger Lakes are all about and embark on the adventure of a lifetime in the skies above.