Exploring Middle Earth

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Ahh…the very best fun is summer fun!

As we made plans for this unusual summer, we began constructing lists of fun activities to do at home and fun places to visit in the area. We didn’t want to venture far in the midst of this pandemic so we decided to be hometown tourists. Some of the destinations on our list were places that none of us have visited before, but were ones we had heard about from friends. Others on the list were spots we enjoyed previously but hadn’t visited recently. This week’s destination fell squarely in the middle of those two categories. It was a place that I had visited twice before and LOVED, but it was a destination new for the boys. This past week we made plans to visit Panama Rocks.

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 Braden was still visiting familiy out of town, so it was going to be a three person road trip for “Travel Tuesday.” At the last minute Tyler decided to stay home and hang out with Gracie for the day, so in the end it was just Rusty and I hitting the road. It was fun having a full day of one-on-one bonding with Russ. We drove two hours north (just over the New York border) to Panama, New York…home of Panama Rocks Scenic Park.

Panama Rocks Scenic Park is advertised as, “An enchanting world of towering rocks, deep crevices and passageways, cool, cavernous dens, and small caves.”

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Formations are composed of conglomerate sedimentary rock, according to their website, and “extend about a half a mile and read upwards of 60 feet tall — one of the largest of its kind in the world.”

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There’s not many people in this day and age that aren’t familiar with the J. R. R. Tolkien’s famous trilogy, Lord of the Rings. Most of Tolkien’s well-known storyline takes place in the magical setting of Middle Earth, a fictional fantasy world that’s covered in vibrant green landscapes and mythical wonders. If the idea of not being able to visit this fantastical place has broken your heart, then no need to get upset…

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We found Middle Earth!

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And it is only a two-hour drive away!

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Operating since 1885, Panama Rocks Scenic Park is touted as one of the best outdoor attractions you’ll find in this area of New York.

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From deep crevices to cavernous dens, there was so much to see and explore in this extraordinary scenic park.

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Not only does the scenic park feature a one-mile long trail that leads visitors to fascinating places, off-trail exploring is also allowed here! Rusty and I were able to make our way through passageways and explore crevices that looked like places from a fantasy world.

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It was so nice. We had the place pretty much to ourselves. In compliance with local and state regulations, this privately owned park adhered to social-distancing guidelines by asking guests to pre-register for a time slot on their website before showing up. This new policy allows them to limit the number of guests exploring the park at any one time. It was wonderful, we saw nary a soul as we played among the boulders.

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One of the main reasons that this park is so eye-catching and unique is that the mosses and ferns stand in sharp contrast to the rough formations.

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It really was nothing short of magical and I found myself looking for the fairies and gnomes that I knew must call this fantasyland home.

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Pictures just don’t do justice to the awe-inspiring magnificence of this magical park. It really is another world and by far one of the most beautiful places I have ever been…And it was a joy sharing this special place with Rusty. We had a wonderful time making magical memories at Panama Rocks!

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