When the land for this conference & tourist center was acquired there was practically no open water on the site. Today, canals flow across the land and hundreds of acres of man-made ponds and marshes provide havens for wildlife. It was hard to find a pine tree on the property when it was purchased--the native forests had been harvested centuries ago, disrupting the composition of woodland species. Today large tracts of pine cover the premises. Over 500,000 deciduous and evergreen trees have been planted here since 1983.
The Conference Barn connects to the Pines Lodge by way of a 64-space, underground all-season parking garage. An extensive roof garden sits above this parking center, creating a seamless transition of greenery across the landscape. The sky lights for the parking garage are visible in the gardens, but they are cleverly designed to look like the tops of wood-framed greenhouses. Selected native plant species celebrate New York State’s flora and fauna. Orchard plantings showcase New York Finger Lakes’ apple, cider and wine industries. Natural flag-stone pathways are inlaid with wide grass joints, winding through the gardens and orchards. The three sets of grape vineyards travel up and over the roof garden, beginning at the driveway and following the lines of the fruiting trees. Perennial gardens were established to educate the visitors about medicinal plants used by indigenous tribes and settlers in the region. Most lawn areas are planted as wildflower meadows; these botanically diverse landscapes reduce the need for irrigation, herbicides, and mowing.