You could spend a few pleasant hours or many days exploring the picturesque little chunk of ground that puffs into Vermont like an inflated balloon. Lying north of Rt. 4 and wrapped by the Poultney, it's a great place to bike with several loops heading out from Whitehall. If you cross over into Vermont there's a wild dirt road paralleling the river that you might need a mountain bike to ride. You can also paddle the Poultney and it's possible to go upstream on its lower reaches where it's called East Bay. Plan on seeing lots of birds and wildlife. New York State has a Wildlife Area on Co. Rt. 10 (bring a canoe) and the Nature Conservancy has protected a lot of land here on both sides of the river. This is also a great place to do geology with several interesting quarries, road cuts and exposures. It's a favorite stop on college field trips.
East Bay Wildlife Area
Quarry on Co. 10
In another tale, Miller went up on the roof of his house one rainy night to be closer to Jesus when he came. Wet and bedraggled, he came down in the morning and knocked on the locked door saying
"Let me in Lucy. It's your husband." To which Lucy supposedly replied "I don't have a husband. He's gone up to Heaven."
The Path to Ascension Rock
The Rock in Winter
It's a chunk of the carbonate shelf of ancient North America, deposited nearly 500 million years ago in shallow seas bordering the continent. Related layers include the ledge at Carvers Falls, cliffs and quarries between here and Whitehall and the active open pits in Kingsbury and South Glens Falls.
Extending from the southwest corner of Washington County in Easton diagonally up to Hampton and beyond, these carbonate rocks have been buried under strata from the east thrust over the top of them during the Taconic orogeny. Near the western edge of these darker, bent and broken Taconic rocks a hole has been eroded thru them opening a window to what lies beneath.
Ascension Rock functions as a window in another sense. People have an innate need to understand their place in the world. We turn to myth, art and religion as well as philosophy, history and science for answers. You can see this quest for meaning playing out on the stage of our little outcrop. Geologists see clues to the formation of the physical world. Historians and students of human nature find rich material in the Miller story. The faithful feel a strong spiritual presence here while artists along with anyone who appreciates natural beauty will be inspired.
Over the pulpit of the Miller Chapel are the words For At The Time Appointed The End Shall Be. You owe it to yourself to visit Ascension Rock before then.
Maybe there's something in the water but Washington County seems to have an extraordinarily rich diversity of spiritual communities, past and present. Here's a brief list:
- Moravians of Camden Valley
- Philip Embury and one of the earliest Methodist congregations in America also in Camden
- Miller and the beginning of Adventism in Hampton
- The Monks and Nuns of New Skete in White Creek
- In Easton there's the New Covenant Community, Christ the King Spiritual Life Center and
Easton Mountain-a community, retreat and sanctuary
- Common Sense Farm is a 12 Tribes Community in Cambridge
- There's a growing Amish community in the Whitehall area
- In Vermont, but a landmark from much of Washington County is Mt. Equinox where there is a