Hm. What can you do on a rainy Thursday afternoon at Keuka Lake? After finishing my cottage projects for the day, I hopped on the computer and received a nice reminder about Garrett Chapel on the Keuka Facebook page. Perfect timing! Despite the terrible weather, Chris and I took quick drive to the bluff to check it out.
The chapel is easy to find, but you can’t see the building from the road; it is set down a steep hillside. We flipped a u-turn and parked along the gate. Be very careful turning around! The ditch on the right (west) side is covered in foliage making it difficult to see how deep it is. I’ve been to Garrett Chapel just once before when I was a teenager and my brothers and I drove over for a friend’s wedding. One of my brothers (I think it was Mike) ended up in the ditch and we had to be towed out – yikes.
After safely parking, we walked the long switchbacks down to the chapel. It’s a quaint medieval-looking structure with stained glass, dark wood and old stone; I loved it instantly. My pictures don’t do it justice, but the chapel website provides photos, videos, and background information. It’s there I learned the chapel was built in 1931 with materials imported from around the world; in 2001 it was placed on the New York Sate Register of historic places. There’s a pamphlet just inside the main entrance that explains the beautiful stained glass; each window in the chapel portrays an incident in the Christ’s life, while the windows in the crypt below have subjects “…taken from some universally appreciated poems” from Tennyson, Longfellow and others. I was quite taken with a couple of the windows and wanted pictures, but Chris pointed out that no photography is permitted in the chapel :(.
We spent just 20 minutes or so exploring the chapel and crypt; we’ll come back in nicer weather to stroll the landscaped grounds. The chapel is situated high on the bluff and offers lovely views of the Penn Yan branch of the lake. Chris had never been to the bluff before so we took Skyline Drive out to the chapel, and West Bluff Drive back. It’s much slower going on West Bluff Drive, but the change of scenery was welcome and we were able to glimpse familiar landmarks on “our” side of the lake across Keuka’s Branchport branch.
The chapel offers a 9am Sunday service from July 4th through Labor Day. It is also open Tuesday and Thursday, 1-4pm from May to October.