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June 20 – Seneca Falls, NY

Seneca Falls Town Dock

“Not until we are lost do we begin to find ourselves.” —Henry David Thoreau

The Cayuga-Seneca Canal is actually two short canals that join the Erie Canal to Cayuga and Seneca Lakes. The first lock is about four miles south of the Erie Canal, this lock takes you into Cayuga Lake. We decided to complete the Cayuga-Seneca Canal so we took a right after lock 1 and followed a well-defined canal about 8 miles to Seneca Lake. We’ve now done all the canals in New York.

June 19 – 15 Years on the Erie Canal

We’re headed east today, we went 50 miles, did seven locks that lowered us 110′ and went under 88 bridges…other than that there is nothing new to tell you about. So I guess I’ll share a little more history on the Erie Canal.

The first company to offer travel on the canal was the Canal Navigation Company. One could travel upon the canal for the small fee of four cents per mile which accounted for board and lodging. A tourist at that time would have paid approximately $2.80 per day. Horses would tow the boats while walking along a towpath paved next to the canal. The boats, held up to 30 people and would travel nearly 80 miles per day switching horses every six hours.  
A typical packet boat could accommodate about 30 people. It was about 60-70 feet long, with accommodations for a dining room, where two rows of tables were set. At night, mattresses were spread on the seats of the table and cots were suspended from the roof. The deck was perhaps the biggest attraction of the packet boats. Tourists could see nature, sing, dance, play instruments and completely immerse themselves in this totally new experience. However, passengers quickly discovered that there were many complications that could hamper their experience. Deck-top activity was interrupted every quarter mile by low bridges. When the captain screamed “Low bridge, everybody down!” passengers had to either scamper back into the cabin or lay face down on the deck to avoid getting knocked off the boat. Considering these bridges were a common occurrence, it made recreation on the deck extremely difficult. Inside the boat wasn’t much better either, there was not much of a view and the heat in the summer was unbearable.  
The Erie Canal Song was written in 1905 to memorializes life on the Erie Canal between 1825 to 1880 when the mule barges made boomtowns out of Utica, Rome, Syracuse, Rochester and Buffalo, and transformed New York into the Empire State. It’s the most recognized of all the Erie Canal folksongs. It’s interesting to note that the cover depicts a boy riding a mule leaned down to fit under a bridge, but in actuality the song is about the people on the boats and the way they had to duck down or get off the roof to fit under bridges.
You can listen to the song here

June 17 – Waterfalls and Small Town Charm

Spencerport Town Dock

“It’s the preoccupation with possessions, more than anything else, that prevents us from living freely and nobly.” —Bertrand Russell

We made another stop along the way today. The small town of Holley has a pretty park that provides free docking. It’s just a short walk through the park to the Holley Canal Falls. The falls are about 35 ft and are feed from the overflow water from the Erie Canal. The water empties into the East Branch of Sandy Creek and eventually makes its way to Lake Ontario. It made a nice place to stretch our legs and have lunch.

June 16 – Lockport Flight of Five

Canal Port Medina

“If we all did the things we are capable of doing, we would literally astound ourselves.” —Thomas Edison

We started our morning by visiting the North Tonawanda farmers market…it was full of wonderful sections. After enjoying our breakfast at the market and picking up a few items (we should have gotten more) we headed back to the boat and started our trip east, back to Ithaca. Our planned destination for the day was Lockport, so we could explore the old Flight of Five locks. After spending a few hours wandering through town, reading the history of the area and visiting another farmers market, we decided to move a little further east before finishing our day.

June 14-15 West to Tonawanda

Gateway Harbor

“We live in a wonderful world that is full of beauty, charm and adventure. There is no end to the adventures that we can have if only we seek them with our eyes open.” ― Jawaharlal Nehru

We woke up on Thursday morning to a sunny but VERY windy day…20+ MPH winds. We usually don’t mind the wind especially when we’re in a river or canal, but we have our isinglass and bimini down. Sitting in the wind gets a little old, so we spent most of the day exploring Medina, visiting with a few people and relaxing. By the middle of the afternoon the wind had laid down a little and we moved on to a little park in Gasport…absolutely nothing in town, but it was a nice peaceful little spot. 


June 13 – Medina, NY

Canal Port Medina

If we were meant to stay in one place we would have roots instead of feet.” – Rachel Wolchin

We had a lazy morning in Brockport since we woke to wet windy weather. We caught up on cleaning chores, inside and out. By lunch the weather had cleared some, so we moved west. We chose to stay in Albion. We actually dock and had a look around, but we didn’t find much of a reason to stay…so we moved on to Medina. It was a much better choice and we had fun visiting with a few other boaters and enjoyed a good meal at Fitzgibbon’s on Main Street.


June 12 – Brockport, NY

Brockport Town Dock

“Let the beauty of what you love be what you do.” ―Rumi

We’ve been having beautiful days and probably should be traveling more each day…but we really have nowhere in particular to go and we’re having fun relaxing and exploring this wonderful little towns. Stan went back to Cafe Macchiato for breakfast and brought me back a huge cinnamon roll. What’s not to like about spending the morning having coffee and a cinnamon roll on the flybridge…with a great view.

June 11 – Bridges, Bridges, Bridges

Spencerport Town Dock

Low bridge, everybody down, low bridge for we’re coming to a town, and you’ll always know your neighbor, and you’ll always know your pal. If you’ve ever navigated on the Erie Canal” -Thomas S. Allen

The last 100 miles of the Erie Canal from Fairport to Tonawanda most resembles the original Erie Canal. Miles and miles of straight dug canal with towpaths on both side. This section of the Western Erie has more dockage points with electric and miles of developed walking/biking paths along the old towpath than the previous 246 miles. The little towns along the canal are so pretty, with nice canalside parks, gazebos, walking trail, restaurants, shops and very nice people. The towns are clean and there are beautiful flowers everywhere…very picturesque.


June 10 – Fairport, NY

Fairport Town Dock

“Once the travel bug bites there is no known antidote, and I know that I shall be happily infected until the end of my life.” ―Michael Palin

Our next stop on our western travels was Fairport. It’s a wonderful little town that really caters to boaters on the Erie. It was a beauty stop..we met a few very nice people, enjoyed a local brewery and had an amazing dinner at Mr. Dominic’s. The Village of Fairport is a suburb east of Rochester. It’s known as the “Crown Jewel of the Erie Canal” and was named as one of the “Best Places to Live” by Money Magazine in 2005. From what we could see wandering around and from the canal…I can see why. 

June 9 – Newark, NY

Newark Town Dock

“I’ve come to know that what we want in life is the greatest indication of who we really are.” —Richard Paul Evans

We had another short day planned, so we thought we’d wander through Lyons a little more and visit the farmers market. The only problem we encountered…the farmers market doesn’t start for another week or so. Too sad, we enjoy farmers markets, but not a surprise since summer really doesn’t start around here till the middle of June…or even July.