By Mary Heyl
Take advantage of the final weeks of summer with your family by visiting the historic village of Randolph, where every weekend provides something fun to do for visitors of all ages. Located in the heart of the Amish Trail, Randolph has lots of unique adventures in store for visitors of all ages, and there’s no better time to plan your visit!
As the days become shorter, it’s important to make every minute of summer count! Before the kids head back to school, take them for an unforgettable experience at Mike and Sue Bean’s A Slice of Heaven alpaca farm, located at 11144 Pope Road. Meet their friendly herd of alpacas, which has recently grown. Just a few weeks ago, Stetson and Belleza’s cria (baby alpaca) was born—meet this sweet little addition to the herd when you visit.
Don’t forget to check out the farm’s Simply Natural Alpaca Gift Shop, which has a great selection of alpaca products. Start the school year out right with a new pair of cozy alpaca socks, which are sure to keep you warm on frosty fall mornings. Sue is excited to demonstrate her new felt loom, which uses alpaca fiber and fabric, such as scarves, to make unique gifts. Sign up for lessons by calling (716)358-5242!
Now is the perfect time to take a drive through Amish country, as late summer means lots of fresh produce picks, like corn, potatoes, beets, green beans, blueberries, peaches and more. Visitors can pick up a map of the Amish Trail, which begins in Randolph and takes visitors throughout Cattaraugus County’s Amish communities. These self-guided driving tours allow visitors to tour at their own pace. For a truly unforgettable experience, take a guided Amish tour this summer with one of Randolph’s experienced local guides.
Guided Amish tours are approximately three hours long and can be tailored to suit visitors’ interests, whether that includes furniture making, baked goods, produce, quilts, hand-made toys, and more. Contact the RACDC at (716)358-9701 ext. 208 to make a tour reservation (please make a reservation at least 48 hours in advance). As the Amish reserve Sunday for religious and family gatherings, no businesses are open, so be sure to plan your visit for Saturday if you plan to spend your weekend exploring Randolph.
Now is the time to plan a visit to the Randolph DEC Fish Hatchery, located just two miles east of the village at 10943 Hatchery Road. The Randolph Hatchery is one of just 12 hatcheries in New York State; these hatcheries stock fish in over 1,200 public waters across the state. The Randolph Hatchery mainly raises brook, brown, and rainbow trout, and stocks public waters in Allegany, Cattaraugus, Chautauqua, and Wyoming counties. The Randolph Hatchery is most known for stocking brook trout, commonly known as “brookies,” which are native to New York State and are the official state fish. Visitors are welcome to explore the hatchery year ‘round as it is open daily from 9 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. For more information, call the hatchery at (716)358-4755.
The hatchery is famous for the historic discovery of the “Randolph mammoth”: In 1934, pond excavators at the fish hatchery discovered the skull and both tusks of a Columbian mammoth that roamed the area some 12,000 years ago! These remains, which have been held at the state museum in Albany since their discovery, are now on display at the Cattaraugus County Museum in nearby Machias. Call the museum at (716)353-8200 to plan your visit!
For more information about Randolph businesses and upcoming events, visit www.EnjoyRandolph.org. Visitors can also contact the Randolph Area Community Development Corporation at (716)358-9701 ext. 208 or find Enjoy Randolph on Facebook for up-to-date announcements and event photos.