Watkins Glen and Then Home

19-year-old Helena Muffly wrote exactly 100 years ago today: 

Friday, August 21, 1914: We breakfasted about seven this morning, after which we started out on our tour through the glen. I was so disappointed that I could not get any pictures. The day was so gloomy. They wouldn’t have been good, so I just had to swallow it. The glen proved to be almost as wonderful as Niagara Falls. We climbed stairs after stairs, and still seemed to be no nearer the top.

When we got part way through, it commenced to rain, but still we kept on for we were determined to see the place. At one spot the water rushes down over the passageway. We ran past this and managed not to get wet. This place is called Rainbow Falls for when the sun shines they say it forms a rainbow. How I wish I could have seen it, but the sun kept himself hid that morning. I am afraid my hat is well nigh ruined from the wetting it got, and Ruthie’s also.

We arrived at the station and still had about fifteen minutes to wait for the train. It stopped raining towards noon, and when we reached Williamsport it was as bright as it would be. I believe I was really glad to get home. Nothing had run away during our absence. I don’t believe I spent more than $20, coming out better than I expected. I will always have the memory of this trip, and the fact that it was enjoyed.

watkins glen rainbow falls 1916
Old postcard showing Rainbow Falls at Watkins Glen

Her middle-aged granddaughter’s comments 100 years later:

What an awesome trip! I can’t add anything to Grandma’s wonderful descriptions, so I’m not going to even try. 🙂

45 thoughts on “Watkins Glen and Then Home

    1. I really enjoy family history. When I first started posting the diary in 2011, I worried that I’d tire of family history. That definitely hasn’t been the case–I enjoy it more than ever.

    1. There’s been a lot of inflation since then. It probably includes her share of the hotel rooms, and any admission fees. If I had to guess, I’d also guess that it includes the train fares; but she may have purchased the tickets in advance and not counted that.

  1. I had no idea that Watkins Glen actually has a glen! I love the postcard. I think I’d rather visit there than Niagara Falls, if I could only do one place.

    1. I haven’t been to either in years, but I like them both. Niagara Falls is so massive that it invokes a sense of awe; whereas Watkins Glen is absolutely beautiful, but much more nuanced.

    1. Thanks for the picture. It’s fun to see how similar it looks now to the way it looked back then–though, of course, some things have changed (railings, bridge)

  2. This girl lives for action. Sort of sad she’s stuck away on a farm with limited access to adventure. I can see her becoming a photojournalist if the times had been different.

    1. Your comment really resonates with me. I never thought about it until I read it, but I think you’re absolutely right. She definitely had the skills to do photojournalism–and in a more modern era it might have been a possibility.

    1. It seems really impractical to wear hats while hiking through Watkins Glen. If style dictated the women wear hats while hiking and doing other outdoor activities, lot of hats must have gotten ruined back then.

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