Out of the 80 world wide peace pagodas, four are located in the United States. One is currently being built in the Great Smoky Mountains in Tennessee, another is located in Leverett, Massachusetts, another in San Francisco, California and the last is located in Grafton, New York. During our recent trip to New York we made it a priority to find the Grafton Peace Pagoda, and it wasn’t exactly easy.
Now don’t get me wrong, we googled the address and our GPS took us right there. Well, sort of… We went down dirt roads, pebble roads, blacktop and highway, although not necessarily in that order, to get there. And when we finally reached a small sign that said Peace Pagoda parking, we were out in the middle of nowhere. We pulled over to the side of the road, and got out of the car and walked toward to woods. At the edge of the woods there was a sign that said the elderly can drive back, but the rest should take a short nature walk.
Now the walk through the woods is marked relatively well, so you won’t lose your way and only takes about 6 minutes, but I still highly suggest bug spray if you go in the summer. The first thing you come to is a rock depicting how the land was received. And then you see the Peace Pagoda. It’s huge! So impressive, in fact, that the first thing Drew said is ‘how did they get all the materials back here?’
When we went, there wasn’t a person in sight, so we took our time as we walked up and around the Peace Pagoda reading and enjoying the pictures. I say reading because someone thoughtfully wrote out what each picture was portraying for those of us who do not know about anything really about Buddha. There are also signs showing which way you should walk around the pagoda to get the whole story in the correct order.
I would definitely say this is a must see if you are in the area. There is a huge open lawn, and benches if you want to take a snack and just relax. As cliché as it sounds, it was very peaceful there and Drew and I just sat on the steps and didn’t want to leave.
A few quick tips if you are planning on going. You are walking through the woods to get there so wear closed toed comfy shoes to walk in. You will probably be parking on the street, don’t let this bother you as I use the term “street” loosely. It’s a gravel road in the middle of nowhere, no one is going to care if you block the whole road. Also, look around. There are numerous rock formations walking up and little things that you could miss if you are in a hurry. Most importantly enjoy!