Hotel Frontenac

Hotel Frontenac on the west shore of Cayuga Lake north of Taughannock Falls State Park. Courtesy of Bill Hecht

During the steamboat era, there were a number of luxury hotels built along the shores of Cayuga Lake, including the Hotel Frontenac. 

“Around 1870 a hotel was built on Frontenac Point which was then known as Frog Point, or Point Deposit. The hotel was sold in 1878 to Thomas O’Connell and his brother Martin, who changed the name to the Frontenac Hotel in honor of the famous Cayuga Lake steamboat the Frontenac.”

The hotel is long gone and the Boy Scouts created Camp Barton on the site in 1927.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

On Cayuga Lake with the Haendel today

The tour boat MV Haendel of Tiohero Tours crosses Cayuga Lake today during one of its one hour tours.

Today, we held our regular Saturday Ithaca Farmers Market one hour, narrated tours of the south end of Cayuga Lake, a beautiful, warm, sunny day, with just a breeze. We usually run two tours, and sometimes a third if there are passengers, which is what we did today. The first two trips sold out!

The Haendel awaits departure today at the dock at the Farmers Market. Notice how muddy Cayuga Inlet was.

Cayuga Inlet was muddy, with the heavy runoff from yesterday’s downpours. Buttermilk Creek in Buttermilk Glen was muddy last evening. The muddiness, which attracted some people’s attention, was a great opportunity to explain how downtown Ithaca was formed, from the silt, sand, gravel, and clay washed from the surrounding hillsides through gorges into the south end of the lake for thousands of years. Ithaca is Gorges, and the gorges made Ithaca.

The Haendel will be back at the Market again tomorrow. For more information, see Tiohero Tours.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Ithaca Festival Parade!

Are you looking forward to the Ithaca Festival next month? Well you don’t have to wait! Relive the 2008 Ithaca Festival Parade on Ithaca’s public access cable TV channel 13, or online right here. Here’s the schedule of upcoming cablecasts of this 47-minute fun experience:

5/8         10am,    5/12       5pm,   5/14       6pm

To see the parade on your computer, click on the photo below!

He-Man Chainsaw Marching Band

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

New TV episode: The Treman Show

Spring is definitely upon us! Crews at the state parks in the area have been hard at work getting the trails open for the season. This episode of our TV show, Cayuga Lake Heritage, on Ithaca area public access cable channel 13, features The Treman Show, about Robert H. Treman State Park, produced several years ago by the Friends of Robert H. Treman State Park. There is also a short video about the opening of the Gorge Trail at Buttermilk Falls State Park.

This episode went live on Tuesday, April 26, and will repeat three more times:

Sunday, May 1, 10:00 a.m.

Tuesday, May 3, 8:00 p.m.

Sunday, May 8, 10:00 a.m.

If you can’t see the show on TV, you can see most of it right here. First of all, check out the one minute video about the Gorge Trail about Buttermilk Falls State Park:

And to see the full 25-minute Treman Show, click on this photograph:

Click on this photo to see The Treman Show!

For more information about the park, see the website of the Friends of Robert H. Treman State Park at

 This episode of Cayuga Lake Heritage will be the final one for the season.

Posted in Uncategorized | 1 Comment

Finger Lakes National Forest, Scaling Lucifer’s Wall, and Three Falls at Lick Brook

Ithaca cable channel 13, Tuesdays at 8:00 p.m. and Sundays at 10:00 a.m.

An old growth white pine tree rises above the forest canopy in Finger Lakes National Forest.

The current episode of our public access TV show, Cayuga Lake Heritage, on Ithaca’s cable channel 13, features another great video by Michael Ameigh of SUNY Oswego: Highland Homestead: Life on the Hector Backbone, about the Finger Lakes National Forest straddling the divide between Cayuga and Seneca Lakes.

The second part of the show includes my short video called Scaling Lucifer’s Wall. It shows park employees rappelling down the high cliff by Lucifer Falls at Robert H. Treman State Park, knocking off winter-loosened shale to minimize the risk of stones falling on the trail below when the gorge opens later this spring. This short video is an episode for a new YouTube channel I’ve begun called Walk in the Park, which is also a Facebook page I’ve created. I may begin showing Walk in the Park episodes on their own on PEGASYS public access.

You can watch Scaling Lucifer’s Wall here!

This current episode of Cayuga Lake Heritage will run through Sunday, April 24.

In the previous episode, I included another short video called Three Falls at Lick Brook. You can see that here as well:

Posted in Uncategorized | 2 Comments

Community Beautification Program of Tompkins County

An example of the gorgeous work of the Community Beautification Program

Who plants all those incredible flower beds around Ithaca each year? Find out on our current episode of our public access TV show, Cayuga Lake Heritage, on local cable channel 13: Sunday, March 20, 10:00 a.m., Tuesday, March 22, 8:00 p.m., and Sunday, March 27, 10:00 a.m. It will be scheduled by the station at other times as well, so check channel 13’s program lineup on the the screen at the end of each hour.

You can also see the entire 29-minute show online here:

Our guest this time is Dan Klein, coordinator of the Community Beautification Program. Dan organizes dozens of volunteers to create incredibly beautiful plantings all around Ithaca, all funded by the county’s hotel room tax, that is by visitors and tourists. Find out how you can become involved by going to , or call Dan at 607-272-2292.

Upcoming training sessions for the Community Beautification Brigade are on Tuesday, March 22 and Monday, March 28, from 6-8:30 p.m.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Does Cayuga Lake Ever Freeze Over?

Looking north over Farley's Point toward the frozen northern 8-10 miles of the lake. By Bill Hecht

OUR LATEST EPISODE OF CAYUGA LAKE HERITAGE, a public access TV series in Ithaca, NY. Find out when Cayuga Lake has frozen over and why it usually doesn’t.

This episode went live on March 1 and will be re-cablecast on the following dates on Ithaca’s cable channel 13: Sunday, March 6, 10:00 a.m.; Tuesday, March 8, 8:00 p.m.; and Sunday, March 13, at 10:00 a.m. It will also be shown at other times at the discretion of the station manager; check the schedule on the screen usually shown just before the hour.

If you can’t watch it on TV (the best option), I have posted it to YouTube and inserted it here. The show is 29 minutes long. Due to rendering among formats, the online version is not as sharp as on TV, but it is adequate, the audio is good, and you get the story!

Posted in Uncategorized | 3 Comments