California Couple Visits New York's Amish Trail and Amish Geo Trail
In planning a road trip around New York state, we found information on the Internet about Cattaraugus County, a short drive south of Niagara Falls and Buffalo. We were immediately attracted by the opportunity to visit the local Amish merchants - their craftsmanship is well-known to us, even in California. However, we were really sold when we discovered the New York Amish Geotrail, a set of geocaches located at interesting sites and businesses throughout the county. With so much to do, we rearranged our schedule slightly so we would be able to spend more time in the area without being rushed.
Geocaching is a recent but passionate hobby for us - we've found that 'caching always takes us to interesting sites, often off the beaten track, that we would never get to discover otherwise. The New York Amish Geotrail was no exception to this. In exploring the area and finding the geocaches, we met a wide variety of warm and friendly residents and merchants, both Amish and English. We started our journey at Jesse's Toy Box in Gowanda, where we were able to pick up an area map that helped us navigate the region. Along the way, we stopped at Malinda's Candy Shop, the Maple Lane Quilt Shop, the Mystic Hill Olde Barn, and a number of other shops that had no formal name. We walked away with an armload of treasures - peanut-butter goat milk fudge, cutting boards, potholders, table runners, and even a wooden basket in the shape of a boat that folds flat when you rotate its handle (this made for easy packing for the trip home). "Handmade" takes on a new meaning when you get to meet the people who made these items, and the craftsmanship is indeed exquisite.
Traveling from geocache to geocache led us across the area, often over hills with stunning pastoral views in every direction. We stopped several times just to appreciate the landscape and snap a quick photo or two. This is quite a difference from the nearly endless urban sprawl of Southern California. Also, in California you are unlikely to have a close encounter with some friendly alpacas, as we did while hunting for one geocache.
After finding all the trail's geocaches, we were too impatient to mail in our finds, so we stopped by the tourism office in Little Valley on our way through town. We were escorted up to the office and received a set of awesome buttons and a handsome geocoin trackable - without a doubt the best geocaching souvenirs we've gotten to date!
We very much enjoyed our time in Cattaraugus County - warm people, stunning vistas, and a fun geocaching adventure!
-- Amanda and Eric from California