Spirit (Indian Orchard) Falls—East Guilford NY
One of the many places of Prayer in Upstate NY.
Spirit Falls, or Indian Orchard Falls, located in East Guilford NY (30 miles northeast of Binghamton) in Chenango County provides the pilgrim with an excellent opportunity for a soul connection in a beautiful setting. Spirit Falls is located on Guilford Creek and is made up of three sets of waterfalls. Guilford Creek continues on to empty into Unadilla (u-nah-DIL-lah) River. Peace and serenity are the feelings that Spirit Falls invokes.
Native American Connection
A flourishing Native American community of Oneidas once lived by the intersection of Unadillah and Susquehanna Rivers (a few miles from Spirit Falls) in present day Chenango County. Settlers to the area named it Indian Orchard since the Oneida had planted many apple trees in the area. The main settlement for the area was at the junction of the two rivers with many smaller settlements along the banks of each river. Many of the present day towns along the Unadilla River were the sites of older Oneida villages. Mount Upton, for example, was previously known as Hutted Knoll.
Guilford town historian Tom Gray notes that Spirit Falls had been a sacred or special place for the Oneidas. He said that the origins of the name Spirit Falls come from James H. Smith's book The History of Chenango County in 1880. Notes in the book contain information and the name of Spirit Falls. These notes were evidently passed down from the Cornell family that had documented the early history of settlement in the area. Cornell felt that the falls were a “spiritual” place for the Oneidas living in the area.
In 1789 the Preston brothers, Joshua and John, built a Wooden mill at Spirit Falls. Over the years they made additions to the original structure. The mill ceased operation 1905 and was torn down in 1912.
Spirit Falls is close to Route 35, which previously was a major Oneida trail. Before being converted to Route 35, it was the Catskill-Ithaca Turnpike, or Susquehanna Turnpike.
Guilford town historian Tom Gray and his wife Wilma rescued Spirit Falls in 1998 when they purchased the land around it. The area had become a place where teenagers would party and leave debris.
Visiting Spirit Falls
We visited Spirit Falls a little over week after the July 2006 Flood, which was the worst flood in the history of Chenango and for many other counties in the area. The water was running quite high. So the spray of water made a lot of noise. I am told that the water slows down in the summer but is a constant all year long.
You will be entering on the Northwest side of the falls. As you get close to the water you will see an old stonewall from the mill that once stood there. It provides an interesting remnant of the site’s history.
The falls area is majesticly serene and makes one pause when they are first taken in. The banks are made up of stones of varying size.
Your visit will be focused on the falls area. That path to Buttermilk Falls (upstream) was washed away during the flood, making it inaccessible. There is a path on the other side of the falls that allows you to traverse the length of Spirit Falls. You will have to cross Guilford Creek to get to the path.
I suggest you bring a pair of Teevas or some clinging type of water shoes that will allow you to cross Guilford Creek and move safely along the stone banks. Tom notes that because the water runs all the time there is almost no, or a minimal amount of, slippery slime that you often find on rocks in water. The tops of the falls area are flat bedrock and afford the best place to cross.
Tom noted that there is a deep hole in one of the tiers of the falls that acts like a natural Jacuzzi. We could not see it because the water level was very high during our visit. Bring a bathing suit if you plan on going in the natural Jacuzzi.
Also bring cushion to sit on while you mediate/pray. Otherwise, you will be sitting on hard rock and stones.
There was a minimal amount of debris from the flood. Tom lamented over the many large stones that had been moved by the rushing currents of the flood. All said, Spirit Falls is still a beautiful site.
Connecting at Spirit Falls
I would suggest tapping into the soothing sounds of the water. A relaxing meditation would be great. You could try Trataka on the moving water. In other words focus your attention exclusively on the moving water, only closing your eyes when they begin to hurt. Concentrate on nothing else besides the water.
There are two power points that I have marked with rock cairns. Each one marks the intersection of three ley lines. You might want to sit close to one of them while you do your meditation.
While peace and serenity may describe the physical realm at Spirit Falls, busy is the way I would describe the behind the scenes. There are two intersections of three ley lines on the northwest side of the falls. Three are several energy vortices close by that bring down heaven’s energy. On the other side of the falls there are a multitude of energy vortexes. Spirit Falls is a high-energy place.
Visiting Spirit Falls
Spirit Falls is located along East Guilford Road off of Rte 8 in East Guilford. Call Tom Gray 607-895-6532 to get permission to visit Spirit Falls. He told me he openly welcomes all visitors.
Help built upon the love Tom and Wilma created when they rescued Spirit Falls. Go meditate and tap into the serenity it exudes.
God Bless and Praise Allah,