Soaring Into The Finger Lakes

When most people think of the Finger Lakes the first things that come to mind are the lakes and wineries. These are both great reasons to visit. But while you are here one place you should put on your list to visit is the National Soaring Museum.

The National Soaring Museum can be found high above you on the top of Harris Hill in Elmira. When you arrive take a moment to absorb the beauty of the open sky. On a clear day the blue is vibrant and the white, puffy clouds seem close enough to touch.

Yesterday the NSM was celebrating their 27th Annual Community Soaring Day. This interactive aviation museum is focused on the history of motorless flight. They feature the transition of gliders thoughout the years. A glider is a fixed-wing aircraft that is supported by air on its lifting surfaces. You soar through the sky with no motor. We watched a small plane tow a glider into the sky for a ride. Once in the air the plane releases the glider and let’s them soar!

When you visit the NSM you can sign up to take your own glider ride. The cost is $105 per person and there is a weight limit. I have it on my list of things to do this fall. I can’t wait to see the spectacular fall colors while soaring over the hills!

Once inside the museum we were able to checkout all the interactive displays and take in the history of motorless flight. The Elmira area has a rich history with soaring and aviation in general. The display’s in the museum are very informative for adults and kids of all ages.

As part of the 27th Annual Community Soaring Day activities, they had an amazing show by Baywing Falconry. These birds of prey are fascinating. The Master Falconer, Cheri Heimbach, gives educational advice throughout the show. One piece of information that stuck with me is about the barn owl. This beautiful bird is decreasing in population. One of the main causes is rat poison. People put out the poison to eliminate their rodent infestation. The owl eats the rodent that has ingested the poison then the owl is also killed. We are actually killing off one of the best rodent predators by using poison.

I was excited to also be part of the falcon show! Six adults (kids were not allowed to do this part) were lined up, three on each side, facing each other. Then Cheri, the Master Falconer, had an 11 year old falcon fly from his perch to her going in between us. The wing span was so large I could feel the feathers tickle my nose as he went by. What an amazing experience to be so close to that beautiful creature!

Give yourself a couple hours to make it through the entire museum. Plus additional time if you are going to soar among the clouds! The museum is located at: 51 Soaring Hill Dr. Elmira, NY 14903.

Thank you for exploring with me – Shelly

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