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Outside of Rochester, in the little town of Irondequoit, is the 977-acre Durand-Eastman Park, formally dedicated on May 22, 1909. The 5,000 feet of Lake Ontario shoreline at Durand Eastman Park is conducive to a peaceful summer atmosphere that draws many visitors. The park's incredible beauty, enhanced by its steep wooded slopes, stunning panoramas, and small lakes, keeps many hikers and nature lovers coming back for more.

But another type of traveler frequents Durand Eastman Park: fans of mystery and suspense. Many of these sightseers travel to the area hoping to catch a glimpse of the White Lady's Castle, a wall of stone that looks like something out of the Middle Ages. The wall, legend has it, was once part of a grand castle atop the hill, where a mysterious woman and her beautiful daughter are said to have lived in seclusion.

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The Story Of The Lady In White Of Durand Eastman Park

The legend of the White Lady's Castle and her ghostly appearance on Rochester's Durand Eastman Beach is widely known to the locals. A recluse mother and her adolescent daughter lived here before the land developed into Durand-Eastman Park. The daughter, who was very beautiful and the object of admiration from many young men, could not escape her mother's overbearing protection. The mother urged that she spend her time inside their remote manor, away from the attentions of these boys. While the daughter listened to her mother's warnings with dignity, she still yearned for the company of a young man.

The daughter sneaked out of the house and walked one night to the lake's edge. The young woman disappeared, and her mother was so distraught that she spent every night searching the deserted countryside with her two white dogs, hoping to come across her. Daily, the elderly lady in white would be spotted by passers-by as she took her evening stroll in search of her lost daughter. After years of searching, the older woman passed away alone and brokenhearted.

As time passed, her home deteriorated until all that was left was the foundation. The area quickly gained popularity among teens, who began utilizing it as a "lover's lane" to meet their dates in a more intimate setting. Strange rumors started circulating that something out of the ordinary was occurring there. The sight of the white ghost, followed by the two phantom dogs, scared off many of the young couples. The tragic story of the mother and daughter was passed on from one generation to the next, keeping the mystery of the white lady and her castle alive today.

Tips for Visiting The White Lady's Castle And Durand Eastman Park

Those interested in finding the white lady's castle can follow Route 590 North until the interchange with Seabreeze Drive. At the fourth roundabout, take a left onto Durand Boulevard and continue straight through the intersection until arriving at Sweet Fern Road on the right. After spending some time at the White Lady's Castle, located a mile down the road on the top of a knoll overlooking Lake Ontario, many guests decide to spend the rest of their day at Durand Eastman Park.

The park features several lakes, including Durand and Eastman, a swimming beach on Lake Ontario, a secret playground, a gorgeous botanic garden, and miles upon miles of hiking trails.

An ideal spot for some sandcastle building, Durand Eastman's beach is large and pristine. Different routes lead down to the beach from the parking area. Keep in mind that the sharp inclines of some of these paths make them exceedingly dangerous, and suitable footwear is highly recommended.

Those who aren't comfortable making the problematic descent can reach the beach by taking the paved path to the east through a more pedestrian-friendly approach.

The botanic garden on Pine Valley Road, directly opposite the lake, is a beautiful place to stroll with young children or a dog. The vast, well-kept grounds are perfect for a picnic or an excursion into nature. Numerous tree species exist, and many of them are rare.

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Other Things To Do In Rochester

Rochester, New York, is steeped in history and once served as the nation's leading flour mill. The town's growth was spurred by this sector, although these days it is more widely known for its exciting cultural scene, which features a wide range of annual events. Nearby natural wonders include Lake Ontario and the Genesee River, which flows through the city. The city is home to some 12,000 acres of parkland and recreational activities, including amusement and water parks. Travelers of all ages and demographics can enjoy the city's many attractions, which include zoos, museums, breweries, and art galleries.

  • How to arrive in Rochester from New York City: The Frederick Douglass - Greater Rochester International Airport (ROC) provides a convenient and economical travel option and is only four kilometers from the city center. Ground transportation is also accessible and reasonably priced. New York Trailways serves all major New York cities, and Amtrak provides daily, economical service to Rochester from destinations in the Northeast for those traveling further out. See visitrochester.com
  • Where to stay: Within 4.8 kilometers of the Hyatt Regency Rochester are the Frederick Douglass Greater Rochester International Airport, a train station, and a bus station. Hyatt Regency Rochester, located 150 meters from the Genesee, has a restaurant, lounge, and fitness center with a sun terrace. Find out more here.