New York Museum of Transportation and Rochester & Genesee Valley Railroad Museum
The New York Museum of Transportation spend a day exploring the history of transportation in Western New York with a visit to the New York Museum of Transportation and the Rochester & Genesee Valley Railroad Museum. Enjoy exhibits featuring antique trolley cars, trains, a fire truck and other old vehicles, as well as transportation photos and artifacts from days gone by.
The two museums, located in the Town of Rush, NY, have cooperated to offer visitors a one-price joint experience in the world of transportation. The two museum complexes are connected by a railroad line which was built by members of the two organizations.
From May to October, electric trolley rides (the only such rides in New York State) are run frequently during museum operating hours to provide a leisurely ride through the fields and forests between the tours of both museum complexes. To learn more about these remarkable museums visit their web sites at: www.nymtmuseum.org and www.rgvrrm.org.
Lehigh Valley/Black Diamond Trail
In 1978, Monroe County bought the abandoned Lehigh Valley Railroad bed with the intent of development a walking, biking, and hiking park. Due to a lack of resources, this was never accomplished, and in 1995 Monroe County awarded the development rights for 13 miles of trail through the Towns of Rush and Mendon to the Mendon Foundation. This non-profit corporation whose mission is to preserve, protect and enhance the scenic, natural, recreational and structural resources in the Town of Mendon and directly adjacent properties willingly accepted that responsibility and began working with a team of people in the Towns of Rush and Mendon to develop the 13 miles of trail -- seven in Mendon and six in Rush.
Since 1995, the trail has been further improved and extended through the work of countless volunteers and government grants and funding as well as private donations. Today it is used year-round by hikers, joggers, bicyclists, cross-country skiers and many others who enjoy traversing this historic route.
More information on the Lehigh Valley Trail can be found at the Mendon Foundation website.
Trail rules and regulations, hours of use and a downloadable map can be found at the Monroe County website.
Rush Oak Openings (a.k.a. Quinn Oak Openings)
Oak openings (also called "oak savannahs"), are some of the rarest natural communities in North America, featuring grassy, savanna-like landscapes. Historically restricted in New York State to sites with droughty soils, these areas were maintained by periodic fires and grazing. Development and subsequent fire suppression have eradicated more than 99% of original oak openings throughout North America.
Rush Oak Openings is the only known intact oak opening remaining in New York State. Oak openings were very common in the Midwest (where the prairie met eastern forests) prior to European settlement. Today, Rush Oak Openings is the easternmost remaining oak opening.
The site, which also supports wetlands and a rich limestone woodland, is the focus of a highly collaborative effort between private landowners, The Nature Conservancy, the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation and the Town of Rush. The Conservancy owns an eleven-acre tract, adjacent to 228 acres managed by the DEC as a &Unique Area,& and is currently working with descendants of original European settlers in the area to protect 105 acres. Another neighboring private landowner is actively managing his own property to enhance the Oak Openings community. The east area with road frontage on Honeoye Falls-5 Points Road is known as the Quinn Tract. The west area with road frontage on West Henrietta Road (US Rt. 15) is known as the Goff Tract.
Rush Oak Openings offers a kaleidoscope of wildflower and butterfly displays. From early spring through fall an ever changing sequence of wood lily, black-eyed susan, butterfly weed, wild bergamot, ladies' tresses and gentian blossoms parade across the open landscape dominated by Indian grass and little bluestem grass. Dancing among them one might glimpse a hummingbird moth, swallowtail, monarch or fritillary butterfly. In the shaded oak and limestone woodlands, a spring display of trillium, mayapple, hepatica, green violet and dutchman's breeches are followed by summer blooms of horse balm, great lobelia, tick trefoils, and pokeweed.
Visit one of only 20 oak openings left in the world today, and enjoy a true New York State ecological treasure.