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The Declaration of Sentiments, a major milestone in women's rights in America was the result of a hastily organised conference that took place in 1848 in Seneca Falls

I spend a lot of time planning our trips but it is always nice to come across something along the way that hadn’t been included in these plans. 

One such find was the Women’s Rights National Historic Park in Seneca Falls, New York. We were travelling north from Ithaca along the shores of Cayuga Lake when this National Park showed up on the GPS map on Karen’s phone. It piqued our interest, so we decided to do a little detour to find out what this was all about.

The Historical Park is very small and is made up of a visitor centre, a memorial park and several historical buildings. The visitor centre is very small and covers the history of women’s rights in America. The visitor centre is only open Tuesday’s and Thursdays. As well as the buildings the National Park Service has Ranger programmes, and we were lucky enough to catch one of these. We were not raised in America, so we had not studied US history, but we have made efforts to learn as much as we can, yet we had not heard of the ‘Declaration of Sentiments. We were so happy to have discovered this historical park, and the Ranger programme was a perfect way to get a deeper insight into the background of the 1848 convention on women’s rights and the Declaration of Sentiments.

Now for a bit of history for those who are ignorant, as we were, of the Declaration of Sentiments. In early July 1848, five reform-minded women met in Waterloo, New York and decided to hold a convention. They published a call in the local newspaper inviting people to attend “… a Convention to discuss the social, civil and religious rights of women”. Just 10 days later, on the 19th July 1848, 300 people gathered in the Wesleyan Chapel in Seneca Falls. The convention lasted 2-days at the conclusion was the signing of the Declaration of Sentiments by 100 attendees; 68 women and 32 men. Elizabeth Cady Stanton wrote the Declaration of Sentiments to dramatize the denied citizenship claims of elite women during a period when the early republic’s founding documents privileged white propertied males. The document has long been recognized for the sharp critique she made of gender inequality in the U.S.

The convention was the clarion for the women’s rights movement in the United States. Incredibly, it took another 70-years for women to get the vote in the U.S., with the ratification of the 19th amendment in 1920.

We are glad we decided to follow our instincts and make the detour to Seneca Falls. The Historical Park commemorates an important chapter in the women’s rights movement in America. This is a battle that continues into the present day!

Park Ranger talk at Women's Rights National Historical Park in Seneca Falls
Commemorating the women and men who attended the first convention on Women's Rights in America

Planning your visit to the Women’s Rights National Historical Park

Address:136 Fall St, Seneca Falls, NY
Website:https://www.nps.gov/wori/index.htm
Telephone:T: (315) 568-0024
Hours:

Park grounds are open Dawn to Dusk. The Visitor Center at 136 Fall Street is open Tuesdays and Thursdays from 10AM to 4PM.

Admission Fees

Free

Best time to visit Finger Lakes

The best time to visit the Finger Lakes region is from May to September, when there are plenty of opportunities to take advantage of the area’s outdoor pursuits. Expect higher accommodation rates in the peak months of June to August and longer lines at attractions and wineries.

Other places to visit in the Finger Lakes

1. ROCKWELL MUSEUM – CORNING

The core of this interesting and diverse collection was gifted by Bob and Hertha Rockwell, local business owners who amassed an incredible collection of American art and artefacts. 

The Rockwells had keen eyes for art and exquisite taste.  They owned a department store in the area and used their store as a venue to display their remarkable collection of American art and artefacts, Carder Steuben glass, classic firearms, and antique toys.

Their collection quickly outgrew their department store.  In 1974, the Rockwells and a group of executives from Corning Glass Works (now Corning Incorporated) began working together to turn the collection into a museum for the benefit of the Corning, NY community. The Rockwells would donate their collection, and the company and the community would support the museum moving forward.

2. WATKINS GLEN STATE PARK

Known for its natural beauty, the Watkins Glen State Park features a series of waterfalls and gorges that are sure to amaze anyone. An almost two-mile hike will take you past 19 waterfalls and up over 800 stone steps.

There are a number of small trails leading off of the Gorge Trail, giving way to a number of other outdoor activities close by the main trail. There are tent and trailer campsites, swimming pools, picnic facilities as well as guided tours of the local topography.

Leashed dogs are allowed on the outer rim trails but not on the Gorge Trail.

The entrance to the park is right on Main Street in Watkins Glen. You are never far from the conveniences of a town while being able to get away to the wonders that are the gorges and waterfalls of Watkins Glen State Park.

3. TAUGHANNOCK FALLS STATE PARK

Pronounced Tuh-GA-nick. The falls’ name is believed to have derived from the Algonquian Taconic (“in the trees”) or Taghkanic (after a Lenape chieftain killed in battle nearby). Taughannock Falls carves a 400ft deep gorge through layers of sandstone, shale and limestone that were once the bed of an ancient sea. With a 215 foot plunge, this waterfall stands three stories taller than Niagara Falls.

Where to stay near Seneca Falls

1. GENEVA ON THE LAKE – BOUTIQUE HOTEL

This luxury 4-star boutique hotel sits on a peaceful 10-acre bluff in the Finger Lakes, overlooking beautiful Seneca Lake in historic Geneva, New York. A landmark on the National Register of Historic Places and long-time AAA Four-Diamond Award Winner in hospitality, Geneva On The Lake was founded by Norbert H. Schickel Jr. in 1981, to be “an oasis, a little island of beauty, peace and friendliness in a busy world.”
 
There are a variety of suites and studios that offer breathtaking views, wood-burning fireplaces, Jacuzzi tubs and cathedral ceilings. The two-story townhouses are situated 25 feet from the main villa, each featuring private furnished lakeside patios and two bedrooms, perfect for a reunion or family vacation.

2. BARRISTERS BED & BREAKFAST

This 1888 Colonial Revival home in the heart of the Seneca Falls Historic District features beautifully carved fireplaces, stained glass windows, walled courtyard, porch and all the comforts of home in a gracious historic setting. All five rooms feature en suite baths, A/C and queen or king beds. Whirlpools and a private sitting room with fireplace available. Choose to be served breakfast in the formal dining room or enjoy breakfast delivered to your door.

3. THE GRIDLEY INN

The Gridley Inn – Right in the heart of the Finger Lakes Region. Our charming Victorian home can be the perfect setting for your special occasion. We are minutes away from Hobart William Smith College and the New York Chiropractic College, del Lago Resort and Casino, the Women’s Rights Museum and the Cayuga and Seneca Lakes Wine Trails, as well as the Waterloo Premium Outlets. Choose The Gridley Inn for your Bridal Shower, Wedding, Baby Shower, Child Birthday Party, Girl’s Weekend, Family Reunions, please contact us for details and availability.

 

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