LEARNING ON THE LAKE WITH ROBYN LOVE
Robyn Love joined the new Inns of Aurora Outdoor Program in 2021 as an Outdoor Adventure Guide, leading guests on outdoor adventures along with Matt Stevenson and Michael Shaw. Robyn specializes in kayaking and stand-up paddleboarding and is ready to help guests get the most out of our new waterfront.
Robyn, what's your experience with outdoor adventure pursuits?
I've been kayaking on lakes and rivers since I was a kid. I've been hiking since I was a child, as well, and now, as an adult I'm trying to conquer the forty-six [high peaks] in the Adirondacks. Also biking, downhill skiing, cross-country skiing, snowshoeing, paddleboarding, canoeing, motor boating, trail running… I love it all.
And you have a pretty strong connection to the Finger Lakes region?
I grew up in Syracuse and spent a lot of time on Skaneateles Lake with my family growing up: we always had a boat when I was younger. I have family with camps on Otisco Lake… my uncle lives on Cayuga Lake, so I've been in the area a lot growing up.
What's your professional background?
I've been teaching science for the past ten years: high school for four years, middle school for five or six years. I've taught everything from earth science to environmental science to biology… anything to do with natural science in terms of the Earth and animals.
Do you think there's any connection between the outdoor adventure hobbies that you grew up with in the Finger Lakes, and the focus on the natural sciences in your teaching?
Definitely. For me, I was drawn to learning about biology, evolution, and ecology because it lit a lightbulb in my head for understanding the world around me that I spent so much time exploring.
Some of that teaching will fit into your current role at the Inns of Aurora, right?
Yep. I'll be providing some educational moments for guests, talking about the ecology of Cayuga Lake, or the geology of the Finger Lakes in general. Maybe a little bit of bird identification and animal identification in general, talking about their role in the environment. In addition to my role at the waterfront, if it's a rainy day, no worries, come catch a half-hour lecture with Robyn.
Do you have any favorite outdoor adventure stories?
I have so many! Every summer and fall, I've been choosing at least three to five peaks [in the Adirondacks] to conquer, and this last year my hiking buddy and I went out with a larger group, which we don't normally do. It was a group with mixed experience, some people had never been hiking before. We were hiking Grey, Skylight, and Marcy—three peaks in one day—and if you do it correctly, it should be about 19 miles. It took us around twenty-three miles, and ended up being a sixteen-hour day, because some people were struggling. There were lots of moments where we had to collaborate to figure out what was best for everybody, whether everyone would be able to reach their goals or whether we'd have to turn back… we were able to get three peaks in that day, and everybody got through it safely. It was one of those experiences where you're not just hiking for yourself, and you have other people's safety to consider.
What's your favorite hike up in the Adirondacks?
There's a classic hike, Bald Mountain, that will always have a place in my heart because it's so intertwined with my childhood. My hike up Skylight, Gray, and Marcy—those were three peaks that I did in one day, and that was just beautiful. Each of those peaks has an amazing view...Marcy and Skylight have three-hundred-and-sixty-degree views because they're bald peaks, up above the treeline, and it's just awesome.
What can you share about the waterfront programming that you'll be involved with at the Inns of Aurora?
The waterfront will offer opportunities for guests to get lessons and instructions in kayaking and paddleboarding, while also giving them the autonomy to go out and try things on their own… the waterfront is really becoming more developed, including nice areas to lounge and sunbathe right by the lake, a new dock, some new ways to access the water, help from the staff, and of course instruction—by me! So that'll be cool.
Is there anything in particular that you're excited to share with guests?
All of it. I'm truly passionate about the things I'll be able to do in this position. When I saw the job description, I was like “This is all the stuff I do in my real life anyway.” So I'm really excited to share that passion and engagement with the outdoors, kayaking and hiking, getting people outside, sharing my interest in ecology and wildlife and geology… that's always something I love passing on.