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The Genesee River Valley, New York

New York’s Genesee River Valley is known for its incredible lakes and rivers. It’s where farmlands and waterfalls are protected, and where the beauty of the land inspires a silence when life becomes too amplified. It’s a place that honors the traditions of the past but also makes space for its future, creating an element of surprise and beauty around every corner.  It’s easy to see why Livingston County, in the heart of the Genesee River Valley of New York, is a Place to Love.


genesee river valley - places to love - samantha brown

Grand Canyon of The East

The Genesee River Valley is located in the western part of the Empire State, New York. Here, you’ll find one of the country’s most magnificent places: Letchworth State Park. The park offers many wonderful features, including one of the most impressive waterfalls in the state, lovingly called the “Grand Canyon Of The East.”

Good to Know

The historic completely restored Glen Iris Inn offers overnight accommodations. Some of its properties are seasonal, and others open year-round.


Letchworth State Park
1 Letchworth State Park
Castile, NY 14427

Autism Nature Trail

The Autism Nature Trail

Another highlight at Letchworth State Park is its new Autism Nature Trail. The A.N.T. provides a safe and inclusive area for individuals with autism or other related disabilities. Autism advocate Temple Grandin served as an advisor on the project. She ensured her seven guiding principles, including that the trail has to be in deep nature, are featured in the design.

Interesting Fact

The trail features a “cut-through path,” designed so anyone can easily leave the trail once they’ve had enough of the experience. It’s an empowering element for those with sensory sensitivity.


Autism Nature Trail
Letchworth State Park/Castile Entrance
6787 Co Rd 38
Castile, NY 14427

genesee river valley - places to love - samantha brown

Boriken Restaurant

Mount Morris, New York may be a long way from Puerto Rico. But a meal at Boriken will transport you there. Chef Melanie Alvarez Santiago specializes in traditional Puerto Rican dishes made the old-school way. Enjoy her take on chinchorro de Puerto Rico, a variety of small plates meant to be shared with friends.

If you go

Don’t skip the mofongo, mashed plantain stuffed with chicken, pork, skirt steak, shrimp, or sautéed veggies.


Boriken Restaurant
4 O’Connell Ave
Mt. Morris, NY 14510

genesee river valley - places to love - samantha brown

Abbey of the Genesee

I’ve lived in New York a long time, and didn’t realize we had our very own Trappist Monk Abbey! The monks at the Abbey of the Genesee are cloistered, which means they stay in one place, focused on contemplation and the search for the union with God. On my visit, they were rolling out a new biscotti line. Learn about their baking traditions – and where to shop for them.

Fun Fact

Looking for some solitude? They offer facilities for men or women wishing to make a quiet, monastic retreat. All faiths are welcome. More information here.


The Abbey of the Genesee
3258 River Rd.
Piffard, NY 14533
(585) 243-0660)

genesee river valley - places to love - samantha brown

Shawn Dunwoody

Shawn Dunwoody is an artist and mural painter who believes that to make strong public art, you should involve the public. I joined Shawn in helping the Livonia community paint a brand new mural in what was a drab cinderblock alley. We teamed up with locals (and lots of kids) to bring his design to life.

Did you know?

The Pledge of Allegiance was written in 1892 by Francis Bellamy, who was born in Mount Morris.

More information

Learn more about Shawn here.

genesee river valley

Genesee Country Village And Museum

Founded in Western New York in 1996, the Genesee Country Village is the largest living history museum in New York State. Here, you’ll find structures and exhibits ranging from pioneer cabins from the late 1700s to gaslit towns and homes from the early 20th Century. Join me as I explore this museum and learn more about its collections.

What is a cooper?

A cooper is a person trained to make wooden casks, barrels, vats, buckets, tubs, troughs and other similar containers from timber staves that were usually heated or steamed to make them pliable.


Genesee Country Village & Museum
1410 Flint Hill Road
Mumford, NY 14511

genesee river valley - places to love - samantha brown

Linwood Gardens

Linwood Gardens, built in the 1900s, is a private residence that opens up to the public for events, like when the garden is coming into bloom. I decided to meet up with my friend, travel writer Carol Cain, to explore this stunning property.

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Waterfalls, great cuisine, stunning gardens and even an abbey, It’s easy to see why New York's Genesee River Valley is a place to love.

When to Visit

The gardens include a distinguished collection of Japanese and American tree peonies. Every May, they host the Tree Peony Festival of Flowers to celebrate these beautiful blooms.


Linwood Gardens
1912 York Road West
Linwood, NY 14486

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