Recently I went on a trip to Silver Lake, N.Y. When most people from Upstate New York talk about Silver Lake, they mention the drive-in theatre or the Charcoal Corral
, which has awesome ice cream and burgers. But, if you venture beyond the traffic and head toward the lake, you will find a delightful, secluded paradise. There are old cottages with wind chimes and a small playground that bring back memories of the simple days of living locally and being connected to a small community.
The lake itself is small, but is part of the Silver Lake State Park, and is protected under the Environmental Management Bureau, so park officials regulate boating and fishing activities for the sake of biodiversity and natural heritage of the area. When I went there, I stayed at my cousin's cottage, and we heard woodpeckers as well as plenty of sea gulls. In fact, even though you may not see them all when you visit just one state park, there are over 900 occurrences of 359 rare species of various animals throughout the entire state park system
. That just goes to show why biodiversity in state parks is crucial, not just for nature lovers and hiking enthusiasts, but for the survival of ecosystems like Silver Lake.
While enjoying the company of family and friends, I was able to wander around the neighborhoods along the lake front, and came across a public beach. A stroll down along the tall grasses and feeling the sea breeze upon my face was a nice escape from the thunderous sound of airplanes taking off and the constant buzzing of cars in "civilization." Being there, and seeing residents walking their dogs along uneven paved roads, makes me wonder why small communities are fading away.
Everything these days seems to come in two sizes: big and bigger. Bigger cars, bigger houses, bigger TVs ... you name it. Silver Lake is just one shining example of how living can be simple, yet so fulfilling.
I highly recommend a visit to the oasis of Silver Lake in Perry, N.Y.
Photo: Katherine Bailey