Salisbury’s “Twin Lakes” are notorious for their idyllic setting and allure to outdoor enthusiasts. It’s common knowledge that days on the lake are always accompanied by jubilant laughter and carefree smiles. Local legends of the Housatonic region reaffirm this passionate spirit.
The original Mahican chief had claimed the lands between the Hudson and Housatonic Rivers, taking particular interest in the Twin Lakes region – eventually naming each lake after his two beautiful daughters, Washinee & Washining. Lake Washinee, ‘Smiling Water’, and Lake Washining, ‘Laughing Water’ were desired by many for their blue waters and surrounding mountainside. The natural beauty attracted continual threat from nearby hostile tribes.
During one attack, the rebellious leader of a nearby tribe was captured and held hostage. To the great dismay of his daughters, the Mohican Chief condemned this rebel to cruel treatment and life as a prisoner. Over time Washinee and Washining explored their interest in this captive, bringing him food and other materials. Unbeknownst to one another each sister came to love and care for this young man – he passionately enlivened each of their spirits. Despite great efforts, the two Princesses were unable to persuade their father to release this young brave. On the night that the sisters learned of the prisoner’s fateful day of no reprieve, in anguish they confided their unspoken love of this young man to each other. That night, Washinee & Washining pushed offshore in their frail canoe and jumped into the lake – forever becoming part of the lake’s passionate nature.
Washinee and Washining were able to see the depth of love and joy in others – sharing laughter and smiles with all. With each full moon, it is believed that the silhouette of “an empty canoe is seen floating, it may be on Washining, it may be on Washinee ; if you gaze long it will fade away, and the stillness is broken only by the hoot of the night-owl.”
To this day, Lake Washinee & Lake Washining are charged with zealousness – a sanctuary where laughing and smiling are contagious – a place that makes us live in the moment.
Visit O’Hara’s Landing on Twin Lakes; have breakfast, rent a boat, explore the lakes – experience one of the area’s most coveted treasure.