Vine Valley, located in the Town of Middlesex, NY, was the summer home of the Iroquois and then later the Seneca Indians. The Seneca Indians had a village on South Hill and came down to Vine Valley during the summer months to hunt, fish, and raise corn in the Valley.
A visit to Vine Valley takes one back about 100 – 150 years and is now the summer home for folks who like to live on Canandaigua Lake. Today’s Vine Valley dwellers are mostly seasonal folks who retreat to warmer places like Florida for the long cold New York winters.
Many changes have occurred at Vine Valley this summer. The country store has been remodeled and has now been placed on National Register. The store was first built in 1890. It was owned and operated by the Charles A. Robeson Family from 1898 until 1984. It was then acquired by the Town of Middlesex.
The state of New York has rebuilt the boat launch located a Vine Valley. There is a new dock and a cement launch pad so one can easily launch your boat into Canandaigua Lake.
Modern toilets have been built next to the beach. There is a newly built lifeguard chair on the beach. Not more than 200 – 300 yards from the General store is a NY State sign marking the site of an old Indian burial ground. The site was excavated by the State Museum in 1922. At this site, an Indian was found sitting upright in his chair, smoking his pipe, and facing the sun setting over Canandaigua Lake. It reminded me of our modern Lake Dwellers who like to watch the sun going down over the Lake. These early Indian inhabitants were no different than us!
The more that I think about our modern technology driven society, the more I am becoming convinced that we may be forced to change our lifestyles and go back and live like we did 100-150 years ago. If we do not control the burning of our forests, the destruction of our Finger Lake’s clean waters, and the burning of drilled and mined fossil fuels, Mother Nature will be forced to do the job herself of restoring our forests and streams to their once pristine condition. And there will be far fewer of us to enjoy the restoration!