NYPA Visitors Center Popularity Growing

Steve Ramsey

January 20, 2010


NORTH BLENHEIM—If you have not made your way to the New York Power Authority’s (NYPA) Blenheim-Gilboa Visitors Center recently, make plans to get there so you’ll know what everyone is talking about. Year-end attendance for the visitors center shows an increase of 5,000 more visitors in 2009 over the previous year. Total attendance at the visitors center for 2009 was 47,000. (According to the most recent census, the total population of Schoharie County is approximately 31,000.)

Educational programs offered by the visitors center accounted for the largest share of the total attendance.  Over 8,000 students benefited from an array of programs on energy and the environment. Attendance increased significantly despite a soft economy and a rainy start to the summer season. The weather did not dampen enthusiasm at the visitors centers most popular events – the Antique Car Show in August (6,500) and the Wildlife Festival in September (7,200).

A 2008 study by the Capital District Business Review ranked the Blenheim-Gilboa Visitors Center as 13th in the top 25 most popular Capital Region tourist attractions.

“These attendance figures tell us the Blenheim-Gilboa Visitors Center is popular and growing more so with each additional year,” said Richard M. Kessel, president and chief executive officer, NYPA. “It is the centerpiece of our community outreach efforts in central New York, so we are gratified to be able to quantify its success with this tremendous growth in attendance.”

“Forty-seven thousand is a number that speaks volumes about the work we’ve done to bring valuable programming to the visitors center complex,” said Lynn Hait, regional manager for Central New York, NYPA. “Whether it’s a photo opportunity with Santa Claus, a demonstration on how to chop wood, or a community meeting of local senior citizens, we are proud to have a hand in creating something that is both a valuable community resource and a significant tourist attraction.”

In 2010, along with the visitor center’s normal roster of popular events—many of which are scheduled around school breaks and holidays—the facility will also host a re-enactment of the Revolutionary War’s Battle of Cobleskill during the weekend of May 15 and 16.

The Power Authority is planning a full year of special events for 2010 at the visitors center and the adjacent Lansing Manor House and grounds. This year’s schedule of events is:

Jan. 24, 31                 Sunday Matinee Movies
Feb. 16-18                 Winter Break Series (programs and entertainment for school children)
March 7, 14, 21         World Travelogue Series
March 28                    Photos with the Easter Bunny
May 1                          Lansing Manor Opens for the Season
May 8                          Spring Hike
May 15-16                  Revolutionary War Re-enactment
June 5-6                     Annual Quilt Show
June 13                      Classic Car Show
June 19-20                American Mountain Men Weekend
July 10                        Summer Hike
July 18                        Antique Car Show and Collectibles Show
July 28-29                  Summer Break Series
August 7                     Victorian Tea at Lansing Manor
September 25           Annual Wildlife Festival and Energy Expo
October 9                   Fall Hike
October 23                 Spooky Halloween Event
Nov  7, 14,21,28        Sunday Matinee Movies
Dec. 1 – Jan. 4           Festival of Trees
Dec. 11                       Photos with Santa

NYPA’s handicapped-accessible visitors center is housed in a restored 19th-century dairy barn and features hands-on exhibits for students of all ages and abilities. Visitors can learn how the Blenheim-Gilboa Pumped Storage Power Project acts like a giant battery, generating hydroelectricity while recycling water between two huge reservoirs. Other displays demonstrate the basics of electricity, energy production and conservation. The visitors center is open daily from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., except for Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year’s Day.

The Lansing Manor House, open from May 1 through Oct. 31, is a classic example of Federalist period architecture.  It was built by John TenEyck Lansing Jr., a major figure in New York State politics and government before, during and after the American Revolution, as a wedding gift to his daughter Frances and her husband, Jacob Sutherland.

The Blenheim-Gilboa Visitors Center is located on Route 30, five miles north of Grand Gorge, 17 miles south of Middleburgh and 50 miles southwest of Albany. School groups and community organizations are welcome. For more information, call 800-724-0309 or visit www.nypa.gov.

About NYPA:

■ The New York Power Authority uses no tax money or state credit. It finances its operations through the sale of bonds and revenues earned in large part through sales of electricity. ■ NYPA is a leader in promoting energy efficiency, new energy technologies and electric transportation initiatives. ■ It is the nation's largest state public power organization, with 17 generating facilities in various parts of New York State and more than 1,400 circuit-miles of transmission lines. ■ More than 80 percent of the electricity it produces is clean renewable hydropower.  Its lower-cost power production and electricity purchases support hundreds of thousands of jobs throughout the state. ■For more information, www.nypa.gov.

Return to Media Center