Greg and I love taking long summer walks and one that we enjoy is going to Knox Farm in East Aurora. I would like to share with you a few pictures and my impression of this beautiful estate. Where else can you walk down tree-lined roads that slow down time and instantly relax you? The pressure, stress, and problems of the day disappear! The first time I went there I was overwhelmed by its beauty and no matter how many times I go there I am still impressed. The air is so fresh and clean – you instantly feel healthier when breathing pure nature into your body. As a background, the Knox family sold their farm to New York State to ensure it would not be developed or turned into a golf course. The Knox Farm opened as a park in 2001. It consists of 633 acres of open space with over 400 acres of grasslands and hayfields.
As I stroll through the park, I am reminded of my favorite movie Pride & Prejudice – the A&E version. I first watched this move on Masterpiece Theatre and have watched many versions. I enjoy watching all of them but the A&E production to me is perfection. The casting, the reproduction of the clothes, and scenery was perfect. I own the VHS version, the DVD, and the book “The Making of Pride & Prejudice”.
The first time I saw this beautiful pond on Knox Farm I am reminded of one of my favorite scene when Darcy’s swims in a lake as he is conflicted over his love for Elizabeth. He is trying to work through his emotions, as a man born in his class is not to love and marry someone from a lower class. He was born into a society with rules and regulations that his class must follow or be outcast from the upper crust. I love that this scene shows the human and emotional side of Darcy instead of the proud and arrogant man. And maybe we can have empathy with his situation. Though born into power and wealth – is he really happy?
Another favorite scene from this movie is when the Elizabeth and Jane are walking with their beaus down a tree-lined road. They were beautifully dressed walking comfortably in each other’s company. Then Darcy proposes for a second time to Elizabeth and it is such a magical scene. I love how Darcy and Elizabeth share a secret between them for the remainder of the walk! Strolling down this lane on Knox Farm, I am taken back to England’s beautiful countryside and can visualize them walking down a similar road. If the trees could talk, imagine how many secrets could they tell! Isn’t the below picture just beautiful!
As we continue our walk, I Imagine what it would be like living on this estate where people would come from miles to attend parties where only the elite are invited. In Pride & Prejudice we are treated to many scenes were the Bennett family are getting ready to attend a ball or a dance. There is much debate over what dress to wear, the accessories, and much attention is paid to their hairstyles. I can imagine a similar scene with the Knox’s parties except the styles are updated for the current century. The guests would be elaborately dressed where money would be of no expense when selecting the right outfit and jewelry. The tree-line driveway with a turnaround would allow drivers to drop off their guests while servants open the car door escorting them to the house.
And to think, this was the Knox’s summer home! The house is strategically located on the highest point of the property. This provides endless beauty and rolling hills to surround the property and goes as far as the eye can see. The grounds must have been very impressive with manicured gardens when the Knox family lived there and had hired help to manage the estate.
Another beautiful area of the property is located on the right side of the house, which has a Zen garden, in ground pool, and a pool house. Again the scenery is just breathtaking! I can just imagine a warm summer day where you can go for an afternoon swim and then relax in the Zen garden breathing in the beauty that surrounds you!
When New York State took over the estate, the lower part was a working farm with sheep, llamas, and gardens that included flowers and pumpkins. When we first came onto the property, there was a horse barn with a friendly horse. He always stuck his head out of the window when he heard someone coming because he liked the visitors to pet him. There was a really cool cat named Bob that took a slow stroll around the property – he was never in a hurry. Except, Bob loved to chase the birds and they would get mad at him. There was a particular barn that the birds like and when Bob came near them they would dive-bomb him. If you happened to get to close to that barn, you needed to be careful because you did not want to get in the middle of that fight.
A couple of years ago, the state threatened to close the park due to lack of funding. That decision was such a disappointment because so much green space is being developed for houses and shopping malls. This was under the directive of then-Gov. David A. Paterson. Instead, the park was kept open on a minimal basis at Gov.-elect Andrew M. Cuomo’s request but without the animals and gardens. I must admit we miss the animals, pumpkins garden, and flower beds. The below picture is the barn that the sheep and Llama lived in. You could walk up to the fence and watch them graze the grass while the Llama kept a watchful eye over them. You did not want to get close to that Llama, as he did not look too friendly!
At Knox Farm you can ride horses – though I believe you need a permit to ride. Below is a picture of the Knox’s impressive horse barn. From the 1930’s and into the 1970’s the Knox’s were known to participate in international polo competitions.
You can go for long walks; hike through the woods; bird-watch; and ski. I think during our next visit we will go on a hike and I will provide a different view of Knox Farm gorgeous estate!
And now for a quick-to-make and healthy snack recipe!
After a long-walk on a beautiful night, sometimes a snack is in order. However, before treating yourself, consider how many calories did you burn and how many calories will you be taking in? When Greg and I complete a serious cycling outing where we burn more than 800-calories, a recovery protein shake may be necessary to repair our muscles. However, a walk may only burn 200-calories so the first question becomes: is a snack really needed? On a warm summer evening it is always tempting to get an ice cream cone that can be 200 or more calories! When I want a snack, I keep it simple, healthy, and low-calorie! For about 90-calories I will make a fresh fruit yogurt cup.
1/2 cup no-fat, plain yogurt (about 55 calories)
1/4 cup blueberries (about 20 calories)
1/4 cup strawberries, sliced (about 15 calories)
Some people do not like plain yogurt – you can add your own sweetener and cinnamon. Just be careful how many calories you add. I do not recommend substituting vanilla yogurt because it is much higher in sugar. Greek yogurt is becoming very popular. Keep in mind if you substitute Greek yogurt for regular yogurt you will add more protein to your snack and potentially a few more calories.
After a long-walk breathing in the fresh air at Knox Farm and then a healthy snack, you will feel better overall!
For more information on Knox Farm go to here.