By Michael Hockey
Special to Niagara Frontier Publications
A town with something for everyone. Located between the Western New York cities of Buffalo and Rochester, you will find a small town that breaks away from the typical stereotypes associated with them. That town is Perry.
During the past few years, we have all faced many challenges and hardships. Due to COVID-19, you probably have not been able to do some of the fun activities that you used to. Whether you are looking for a place to live and start fresh or just to visit for a day, this town has what you need.
The town has a size of 5,575 people and, although that number may be small, it makes for a very tightknit community. Perry has everything a small town has to offer with plenty to do and see, along with a very rich history for you to explore.
The Town of Perry was established in 1814 and is named after General Oliver Hazzard Perry, hero of the Battle of Lake Erie during the War of 1812. It is located just north of Silver Lake and to the west of Letchworth State Park. In its earlier days, the town was a thriving mill community utilizing the creek that flows out of Silver Lake. Today, there are no mills but rather a variety of small businesses that are ready to suit your needs.
So, what are some things you can do and expect if you come to Perry? Well, if you’re a farmer you will fall in love with the area immediately. Perry, as well as the entirety of Wyoming County, is well-known for its farms. Specifically, dairy farms, as there are more dairy cows in the county than people. The county is also the largest dairy producer in New York. Each year, at the end of the summer, there is the annual Wyoming County Fair where people come together to celebrate the area’s farming community with tractor pulls, animal shows, talent shows and much more.
If you are not into farming but still love outdoor activities, there is lots to do in Perry and the surrounding area. Perry borders the famous Letchworth State Park, nicknamed “The Grand Canyon of the East,” that attracts large amounts of tourists every year wanting to take in its natural beauty. The park has been an even more popular destination during COVID-19 since most indoor forms of entertainment have been closed. The gorge, formed by the Genesee River, has three different waterfalls in the park as well as the Mount Morris Dam. There are 66 miles of hiking trails to utilize with some of the most breathtaking views you will ever see. The park plays host to lots of different events throughout the year and when the snow starts to fly, you can spend your time snow tubing, cross-country skiing, or snowmobiling.
“I love the park because it is great for everyone,” Perry resident Lauren Manning said. “It has so many trails if I am looking to hike, but it also has beautiful sights without having to even get out of the car.”
Another outdoor place with a lot to offer in Perry is Silver Lake, considered to be the westernmost Finger Lake. You can do things such as fishing, boating, water-skiing, tubing, swimming, kayaking and much more. If you are looking to rent a boat, you can head over to Silver Lake Marine, and help you get what you need. Or, if you just want to spend the day by the lake, the Perry Public Beach is open daily with no parking or entrance fees. In the winter, many people use the lake for ice fishing.
For anybody who likes to golf, The Club at Silver Lake is the area’s premier golf destination. The 18-hole course is one of the most beautiful in all Western New York. It also has a restaurant and bar overlooking the lake that hosts many events including weddings. Over just the past year or so, it has built a new deck for the pro shop, roof for the outdoor dining area, and outdoor bar.
After a long day of doing any of these activities, you can stop by the Charcoal Corral for some good food. They also have many other fun things for you to do. You can play mini golf with some friends or family on their 18-hole course, head over to the stage where they host different shows throughout the week or go to the drive-in to watch a movie. This past summer, it even started hosting concerts at the drive-in allowing for a safe way to enjoy a concert during COVID-19. It hosted some big-name bands including the popular country music duo Maddie and Tae. Every Thursday, it also has a Cruise Night where people bring their old cars and trucks to show off. You can walk around and look at all the cool cars people have and at the end they vote for the best car.
“People like to joke and say that the Charcoal Corral is the capitol of Perry,” Mitchel Hockey said. “It is a one stop shop for all the food and entertainment you need. While in Perry, you will probably find yourself spending a lot of time there.”
One last highlight on the Town of Perry is the high school. In small towns like these, people rally around the schools’ sports teams and there is a lot of school spirit. With only about 800 students in the whole district, you are guaranteed to develop close and lasting friendships with all your peers. The teachers care a lot for the students and with classes typically less than 20 people, you can form connections with the teachers and be more than just a number to them.
“The high school has a great atmosphere and makes it very easy to learn and interact with both your friends and teachers,” former Perry High School student Cole Leitten said. “It is also a very active district, opening up various opportunities for its students.”
A trip to Perry during times like these will not only be beneficial to you, but also to all these small businesses that have suffered because of the pandemic. So, if you are looking to get-a-way from the harsh realities of our world today, come to Perry and make some great memories that will last a lifetime.
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