HOW TO GET THERE
4332 Cheningo Solon Pond Rd, Taylor NY
Cradled in a peaceful valley in the quiet town of Taylor lies a glittering 45-acre pond surrounded by history. Solon Pond has no formal launch. Through the generosity of local historians, a short two-track drive between the old Solon Pond Church and the historic two-room school house is open to visitors. They may use this to launch their kayaks, canoes, paddle boards, and fish their shores. A few tactfully placed signs ask folks not to litter or start campfires lest they lose their access privileges. There is no launch fee, but a donation to the Taylor Historical Society is encouraged. As always, the DEC asks that you properly disinfect your boat before and after to prevent the spread of aquatic invasive species. DEC Procedures To Prevent the Spread of Aquatic Invasive Species.
WHAT TO EXPECT
All of the land surrounding Solon Pond is privately owned. Please be considerate and refrain from using motors and keep your volume low. Besides, you'll scare the fish. Everyone knows Solon Pond is some of the best fishing in Cortland County. Be respectful of other boaters and move your vehicle to the shoulder after unloading to make room in the small drive.
Solon Pond's shores have been home to many endeavors throughout its history; mills, cheese factories, farms, schools, and churches. While some have circum to the elements and time, the Taylor Center Methodist Episcopal Church and Taylor District No. 3 Schoolhouse have been lovingly preserved. It's easy to imagine myself in a different time as slipped into the quiet waters from between the two and made my way to the south end of the pond. Goose feathers littered the surface of the still waters as I paddled past a historic farm resting further up the hill. This section of the pond was erupting with purple pickerel water flowers and hosted a quaint footbridge, where the creek threads in.
As I paddled my way along the undeveloped eastern banks, I heard the distinctive plop of turtles abandoning their logs. From here, looking across the pond at the historic church and school, no sound but the water lapping the hull, I found myself entirely transported. The church was constructed in 1870, measuring a mere 30 feet by 40 feet. Its gable roof towering over the waters makes for a tremendous impression, regardless of its demure size. I tried to imagine what life was like for the early settlers, filling the pews and the desks, as I paddled toward the north end.
Solon pond rest in a dimple of a hollow, hills filled with lowing cows dominating the horizon to the north. Here, the pastures are still home to a small heard dairy heifers, who slowly meandered towards the water's edge to drink as I drifted past. Heading west, back towards the launch, a sweeping flock of Canadian geese landed in the water, goslings in toe. Clearly, the geese had chosen to make this their summer home, and I granted them a wide birth as they nosily made their way across the pond.
Returning to the church, I take a moment to watch its reflection shimmer across the sun-drenched pond. It's easy to see why they chose this location more than 100 years ago. Regardless of your beliefs, you can't help but feel a sense of tranquility in this place. Perhaps that's why so many fishermen swear by this pond. Maybe it isn't the fish they're after, after all.
If you paddle out to the center of Solon Pond and then navigate along its banks, as I did, you'll have paddled approximatley 1 mile.
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