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Rochester New York Travel Guide
Nestled against Lake Ontario, Durand Eastman Park has 977 beautiful acres in Rochester, New York. Formally dedicated in 1909, it offers fun to visitors in every season.
With 5,000 feet of Lake Ontario shoreline, its sandy beach is a favorite for sunbathers and swimmers. Water sports are enjoyed here n the summer including kayaking, canoeing, paddle boats, stand up paddleboards, and much more.
At the end of the year, water sports give way to winter sports. People come to the park for cross country skiing and snowshoeing.
In addition to Lake Ontario, the park is home to Durand Lake and Eastman Lake just south of the beach. There are some great spots for fishing.
Durand Eastman has over 5 miles of trails. The trails are varied as is the terrain in the park. There are accessible trails. Explore the many hiking trails that go over the sandy hills around ponds, through the forest and by shallow ravines.
Wildlife & Nature
The 4 ½ mile Eastman Lake Trail cuts through the forest and goes to Eastman Lake. At the Southern end of the lake, it turns into a cattail marsh. You’ll see water fowls and songbirds here. The trail then approaches the golf course so be on the look out for flying golf balls. Finally it runs along the shoreline with breathtaking lake views. This trail is spectacular in autumn with the abundance of fall foliage colors.
Over the years, specimens from around the U.S. and abroad have been planted to build an incredible collection of trees. The Durand Eastman Arboretum is one of the region’s premiere arboretums. It occupies a large portion of the west park. You’ll see maps, red oaks, exotic conifers, pines and more. In the spring, you’ll see a display of lovely colored petals. The brilliant autumn colors painted on the trees in the woods and on hillsides are breathtaking. The sparkling reflections of the colorful leaves in Durand and Eastman Lake are stunning.
You walk into the park and the feeling of the city evaporates. The sights and sounds of nature take over. Animals that can be found here include deer, groundhogs, eastern gray squirrels, raccoons, turkeys, turtles, mallards, chipmunks, and more. This is rare in an urban park.
Durand Eastman Park features an 18 hole golf course designed by architect Robert Trent Jones and opened in 1935. It’s a scenic oak lined course that crisscrosses small streams and winds in and around the hills and wetlands.
The course features 4 sets of tees for different skill levels.
Tees Par Yardage Slope
Blue 70 6,033 122
White 70 5,745 120
Gold 70 5,300 116
Red (W) 72 5,198 118
Durand Eastman Golf Course offers a putting green, driving range, pitching/chipping area and a teaching pro. Golf carts are available on a first come, first serve basis. Food and beverage can be purchased with outdoor seating.
There is a cobblestone wall between the Durand and Eastman Lakes and Lake Ontario. It is locally known as the “Lady in White’s Castle.” The wall is not what’s left of a castle or a house. And the “Lady in White” never lived there. It is what remained of the Durand Eastman Refectory, or dining hall, built in 1918. It was shut down during the Great Depression and was left to decay. And it fell victim to arson and vandalism. Overgrown and boarded up, its dilapidated appearance and lack of local knowledge about its origins, fed into the legend.
According to local legend, the troubled spirit of a farmer’s wife (whose name was Melissa in some of the stories) wanders the park in search of her daughter. There are many variations on the story, but most of them have the lady’s daughter kidnapped or raped and then murdered. The lady searches they park for her missing daughter and/or for whoever is responsible for her murder.
Most stories depict the lady as dressed in white with a faint glow emerging from Durand Lake or Eastman Lake at night. She is also said to coalesce from the mists of Durand Lake. The lady has also been described as being old and having two ferocious demonic hounds with her. Her nicknames include “The Lady in White,” the “White Lady” and “Lady of the Lake.” There have been hundreds of reports of sightings of the lady.
In 1988, Rochester director Frank LaLoggia made a feature horror film. “Lady In White,” based loosely on the Durand Eastman Park legend.
Campgrounds near Durand Eastman Park include Webster Campground, South Shore RV Park and Twilight on the Erie RV Park. These campgrounds feature large trailer and RV hook ups and tent camping sites.
If you’re interested in renting an RV, Green Vacation Deals recommends RVshare.
If your preference is for a hotel, please consider the following. These hotels have discounted rates up to 31% off the best available rates. Click here to find these cheap hotel rates.
Holiday Inn Express Rochester NE 31% Discount
Holiday Inn Express & Suites Rochester-Webster 31% Discount
Fairfield Inn & Suites by Marriott Rochester West 31% Discount
Holiday Inn Express Rochester-Greece 30% Discount
Hyatt Regency Rochester 20% Discount
School 31 Lofts at Color Studios 18% Discount
7 On Strath 17% Discount
Comfort Inn Rochester-Greece 14% Discount
Hampton Inn Rochester-Greece 14% Discount
Extended Stay America – Rochester – Greece 10% Discount
Inn on Broadway 9% Discount
The Strathallan Rochester Hotel & Spa 5% Discount