One of the best things about North Winton Village (and the Rochester area in general), is the availability of beautiful county-run parks. I’m lucky to live within walking distance of a few, most notably, Ellison Park.
Ellison is 400+ acres of everything one could want in a public park. It was Monroe County’s first official public park, founded in 1926 with the donation of 200 acres from the Ellison farmstead. It is located very close to the city of Rochester, running between Browncroft Boulevard and Blossom Road. For all you local history buffs out there, Ellison Park is also the site of Indian Landing, an important trading route for the Iroquois. Also taking advantage of that location was the Lost City of Tryon, one of the original settlements of Rochester that died out in the early 1800’s after the Erie Canal replaced Irondequoit Creek Valley as a central trade route.
If you’d like to take a nature walk or take a nice stroll with your dog, there are trails ranging from around a half mile to 1.5 miles, winding through woods and wetland. Sometimes it’s hard to believe you’re still so close to the city! You can also see the park by horseback: Heberle Stables offers group rides through the trails. Irondequoit creek runs through Ellison, and on nice days, you can watch canoes and kayaks paddling through the park. Fishing is allowed with a license and the park also has its own boat launch. In the winter, the park features an ice skating rink, two sledding hills, and is a great place to snowshoe or cross country ski. For parties or get-togethers, Ellison has closed and open lodges with a variety of amenities. I even had my wedding “reception” at the Pavilion Lodge, which was recently renovated and costs around $350 to rent for the day. (Note – this is one of the most expensive lodges to rent in all of the parks. There are many more inexpensive options in Ellison.)
One of the most popular features of the park is the disc golf course, located directly off North Landing Road in Brighton. The course features 18 holes, and has hosted disc golf championship tournaments. I have never attempted to play, but the course is always populated and it would be great exercise walking up and down those hills!
Ellison has long been a popular place for dog owners too – any nice day, you’re likely to see dogs frolicking off-leash down by the creek. It should be noted that this is illegal (dogs should be leashed at all times in the county parks) and recently police have been ticketing those who have violated this law. I will admit I’ve been guilty of this – my dog is well behaved, enjoys playing with the other dogs, and loves going in the creek! However, the politics of dog parks in Rochester is best saved for another day.
For a map of the park, trail details, and more information, you can visit the county park’s website. Or just take a drive or walk down and check it out. It’s a beautiful destination all four seasons!