Week-long Journey by Boat and Bike Along New York’s Historic Erie Canal Ends in Palmyra, ‘Queen of Canal Towns’

Neil, piloting the Canadice through a Lock 32 along the Erie Canal © 2012 Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com

by Karen Rubin

We awake in Pittsford, and knowing we will have a long day of sailing – our goal is to reach Palmyra for the last night of our week-long journey – we once again take that picturesque ride to Fairport (this proves to be a mistake, because we get to Palmyra too late for the museums, which all close by 4 pm).

All along the canal, which is designated the Eric Canalway National Heritage Corridor – there are fascinating historic markers, often where you can compare photos from a century ago to what it looks like today. They also provide fascinating explanations that are like chapters to a story. The historic marker in Pittsford though, provides the best summary:

“The Erie Canal was the most important of America’s inland waterways. It facilitated opening the American frontier and provided route west for tens of thousands of settlers and immigrants – Villages, towns and cities were born along its route while commerce spread from Hudson Valley to the Midwest. The Erie Canal transformed NY into the Empire State, and the nation into an economic superpower. Almost 2 centuries later, its name is still synonymous with American industry and ingenuity.”

“The Erie Canal keeps evolving. Put into service in 1825, enlarged from 1834-62 and again in the 1890s, the canal finally underwent last and largest expansion in 1918.

The Erie Canal has evolved over its history. Rarely used for shipping, it has become a recreational byway © 2013 Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com.

“Each era reflected demand for larger barges and bigger cargoes. Introduction of self-propelled boats in 20th century allowed path of canal to be changed, utilizing New York’s lakes and rivers. During a century of evolution, canal’s infrastructure incorporated many new technologies, transitioning from cut stone to poured concrete, wooden lock gates to giant steel, hand-operated cranks to electrified push-button controls.

“Modernized barges, canal locks designed for steel barges with 3000 tons of cargo could accommodate boats with 100 times the capacity of those from 1820s.

“As the nation changed, the canal adapted. By the 1960s, the canal could no longer compete with modern modes of commercial transportation and the St. Lawrence Seaway. It lost its economic viability as a commercial corridor. Although still used commercially, recreational use has become primary function. (Vicky Daly, Palmyra mayor says that are beginning to ship more cargo again along the eastern section, from the Oswego Canal into the Erie, to the Hudson River).

“Steel fabricated oil barges now replaced by tour boats, pleasure boats, canoes and kayaks.”

We have been leapfrogging ports in order to see more of the canal, by boat and bike. My strategy today, for our last night, is to overshoot Macedon, where the Mid-Lakes Navigation marina is and where we need to return the boat by 9 am tomorrow, and go to Palmyra, just on the other side of two locks.

I calculate this will take about 2 hours, depending upon how long it takes to get through the locks (they estimate 25 minutes each).

The lock closes behind us as we make our way to Palmyra © 2013 Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com

We pass through Fairport at 1 pm.  The lift operator asks our destination: Palmyra, I say.  He says he will alert Lock 30.

We do not have to wait to go through the lock – the operator tells us that when he sees us, he will begin to open the gates so we can go right in. He also operates Lock 29; it takes us 25 minutes to get there and he is already there.

Going through the locks is better than a theme park ride, because it matters.

I expect to find the town of Palmyra right on the canal, so overshoot the port. I call Mid-Lakes to get directions and find out the town is a couple of blocks up from the marina.

Palmyra calls itself the “Queen of Erie Canal towns” (it was a model for the book, Canal Town).

Most interestingly (which I did not know), it was the birthplace of the Mormon religion (how timely), and thousands of visitors converge at the nearby Hill Cumorah each July for the largest outdoor religious pageant in the world (Hillcumorah.org).

William Phelps Store in Palmyra is dubbed, the museum “where time stands still.” Established in 1826, and renovated by Proprietor William Phelps in 1875, when he died, his son Julius locked the doors and walked away in 1940, leaving everything as it was © 2013 Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com.

As we walk up from the marina, we pass one of the most unusual museums: William Phelps Store and Home. Dubbed, the museum “where time stands still” it has been a boarding house, tavern, bakery and general store since it was built in 1826. Proprietor William Phelps completed renovations by 1875, but when he died, his son Julius simply locked the doors (and everything as it was on the shelves) in 1940 and walked away, leaving a sort of time capsule into that time. Upstairs, you can visit the Phelps’ family home with post-Civil War furnishings (no electricity or indoor plumbing), where Sibyl Phelps lived until she passed away in 1976 (unfortunately, it is already closed by the time we come: hours are June-Sept., Tuesday-Sat, 11-4; Oct 1-May 1 (Tues-Thurs.), and in winter by appointment, 315-597-6981.

The Palmyra Historical Museum (also closed by the time we arrive) was a former hotel and tavern, and now offers 23 themed rooms on such subjects as local business, government, police and fire service, medicine, education, tools, toys. It tells the story of Erie Canal and Underground Railroad history, Civil War, Women’s Suffrage, and personalities such as Winston Churchill, Joseph Smith and Palmyra founder John Swift, a Revolutionary War general who moved here in 1790.

The Palmyra Print Shop, the newest addition to the Historic Palmyra collection, was established by John M. Jones who came to Palmyra in 1856 and changed the face of the printing industry. He produced printing presses and cutters for export around the world via the Erie Canal.

The Alling Coverlet Museum presents the largest collection of American hand woven coverlets in the country. It is named for Mrs. Merle Alling, a Rochester resident and coverlet collector, and is housed in a 1901 newspaper printing office (open Jun to mid-September, 1-4 pm)

You can purchase admission to individual museums, or get a Trail Ticket to visit all four. In addition, the museum offers walking tours, including the Erie Canal, village and cemeteries (351-597-6981, www.historicpalmyrany.com).

It has a broad boulevard that runs through, flanked on each side by interesting buildings and shops.

A sign in from of this Palmyra building: “This House (322 Main Street) built by Pliny Sexton in 1827 was a station on underground railway in days of slavery” © 2013 Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com.

Here we discover the Grandin Print shop where the Book of Mormon was first published in 1830, says the marker. (They offer free tours.)

One of Palmyra’s most famous spots is the intersection at Main and Canandaigua/Church Streets with each of the four corners dominated by a church: Western Presbyterian (1832), First United Methodist (1867), First Baptist (1870) and Zion Episcopal (1873).

We also see a beautiful Village Hall, dated 1867; and the Liberty House BnB (Liberty St), in a stunning Victorian.

Walking, we find on one corner a monument dated 1892 that is reminiscent of the Eiffel Tower (it is called a flagpole), dedicated to President Ben Harrison and Civil War Veterans, rededicated 2005 as sign of Palmyra’s pride (why not Abe Lincoln, what did Harrison have to do with Civil War? I wonder. I learn that it was put up during Harrison’s reelection campaign by the Republican committee. Harrison lost to Grover Cleveland).

Just beyond, a sign stops us: “This House 322 Main Street) built by Pliny Sexton in 1827 was a station on underground railway in days of slavery.”

Strolling about Palmyra’s Main Street © 2013 Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com.

Some gorgeous Victorian homes, buildings. – no café, not even ice cream shop (Pittsford has 4), and not obvious option for a restaurant beyond pizza and Chinese take-out.

Just at the dock (and along the bike route and the bridge), we find Muddy Waters which is normally open only for breakfast and lunch, but on Friday nights, 7-9, it hosts folk music and food.

Muddy Waters is absolutely delightful, decorated with crew, canoe oars, flags, and serves up delectable paninis, sandwiches and salads (the Eastern Canal salad has romaine, feta cheese, cranberries, walnuts and balsamic dressing), and for dessert, a Belgian waffle that is packed high with ice cream fresh strawberries and whipped cream.

Allen Hopkins and Jim Clare, 60s-something folksingers from the Rochester area, play folk music classics as well as own music- accompanied with clever banter and stories. Their songs about the canal and people’s struggle provides the perfect connection of the Erie Canal of long ago and today.

Jim says how these upstate villages have been so hurt by economy – brick buildings shuttered, so sad.

Al introduces a song about a woolen mill in Georgia, which applies equally to what is happening in these factory towns: “Where people came up expecting to spend their lives there supporting their family, and we’re seeing that here.”

“Think of people’s lives. Whoever thought [this would happen to] Xerox, Kodak – scary,” Jim says.

Folk singers Allen Hopkins and Jim Clare perform at Muddy Waters on a Friday night in Palmyra © 2013 Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com.

They sing,  ‘The only tune I hear is the sound of the wind as it blows through town… Too old to work, too young to die.’

They provide the perfect epilogue to our trip.

“More than just a heroic feat of engineering, the Erie Canal opened the interior of the continent, providing a safe and reliable route for west-bound migrants and manufactured goods and east-bound products of forests, farms and mines,” reads a brochure describing the Erie Canalway National Heritage Corridor (established by Congress in 2000). “connecting places, people and ideas, it strengthened the union and fostered social and reform movements. Celebrated in art, literature, story and song, it helped establish an American identify, both here and abroad.”

Erie Canalway National Heritage Corridor, PO Box 219, Waterford, NY 12188, 518-237-8643, ext 3110, www.eriecanalway.org.

If we didn’t have to return the Canadice to the Mid-Lakes marina by 9 am, we would have loved to spend the day in Palmyra visiting the museums.

Do a better job than we did and plan at least a day in Palmyra (Palmyra, NY & Wayne County, 315-597-4849, www.palmyrany.com; Wayne County Tourism, 800-527-6510, www.waynecountytourism.com).

End of a Perfect Journey Aboard Canalboat

Now old hands at navigating the locks, we entering the lock on our way from Palmyra back to the Mid-Lakes Navigation marina at Macedon © 2013 Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com

We radio ahead to Lock 29 to say we are preparing to leave, and the operator says that once he gets a visual, he will open the gates. We are able to just sail through and on to Lock 30.

Just after Lock 30, we see the turn-in for the Mid-Lakes marina at Macedon, where we had set out a week before.

Matt is on the dock waiting for us, helping us to guide the Canadice back into the slip.

Peter Wiles, whose family owns Mid-Lakes Navigation, is here too.

The canalboat, he says, “is a platform you can design, extend, expand your activities” Peter says. “You can move around or stay longer, store stuff, but if you want to do more, you can.” Some people even simply dock the boat, and rent a car to go to Niagara Falls or travel through New York’s wine country.

The trip is ideal for any age, young couples or empty nesters; families or couples traveling together. It is fabulous for families – even with younger children – because you don’t get bored and you can stop and tie up and bike or visit places; ideal for multi-generational families; and for couples traveling together, particularly if you want to bike more of the canal trail (you can switch off, with one couple driving the boat while the other couple bikes, then reverse on the return).

The only caveat would be you need to be reasonably agile in order to jump off the boat to tie up (though people on shore are very helpful, too), and get on/and off the boat.

It is ideal for people who like to be independent, to explore.

The lifestyle onboard is much more comfortable and luxurious compared to camping.

Our luxurious Lockmaster, The Canadice, a houseboat specially designed for the Erie Canal, tied up at Pittsford © 2013 Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com

Mid-Lakes does a superb job of preparing you for the trip – with lists of what is on the boat and what to bring; a superb job of orienting you to the boat, even taking you on a “shake down” cruise so you go through a lock with your trainer; orienting you to your itinerary so you have some idea of what is ahead. You know they really care about the guest experience when you receive a questionnaire in the mail a day after you return home. Just about every need has been anticipated and they are eager to know what else they can do to make the experience even better.

If you do not want to do the self-skippered trip, Mid-Lakes also offers 2-3 day escorted cruises on the Emita II, a 65-foot retired ferry (each day includes cruising on the canal, several lockings and lively commentary; a tour of a working lock and a historical site; meals served on board; overnight accommodations in nearby hotels; the one-way itineraries include the return by motorcoach).

Mid-Lakes Navigation has just issued its 2013 schedule which features new Tuesday departures and lower fares on weekends.

You can choose 3, 4, or 7 nights aboard your own canalboat – an amazingly comfortable houseboat with turning-heads charm.

Rates range from $1550 for three nights on the smaller Lockmasters, to $3075 for seven nights on the larger Lockmasters.

The cruising season is mid-May (when they refill the Erie Canal) to mid-October (they drain the Canal each year).

Mid-Lakes Navigation, 11 Jordan St, PO Box 61, skaneateles, NY 13152, 315-685-8500, 800-545-4318, www.midlakesnav.com.

Erie Canalway National Heritage Corridor, PO Box 219, Waterford, NY 12188, 518-237-8643, ext 3110, www.eriecanalway.org.

See also:

Journey by boat and bike along the Erie Canal: Macedon-Fairport-Pittsford and slideshow

Erie Canal journey by boat, bike: Exploring canaltowns from Pittsford to Albion and slideshow

Erie Canal journey: Albion-Medina bikeride is most scenic, illuminating and slideshow

Erie Canal journey by boat and bike: Palmyra, ‘Queen of Canal Towns’ and slideshow

New season of self-skippered canalboat cruises on New York’s historic Erie Canal (Photos)

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© 2013 Travel Features Syndicate, a division of Workstyles, Inc. All rights reserved. Visit www.examiner.com/eclectic-travel-in-national/karen-rubin, www.examiner.com/eclectic-traveler-in-long-island/karen-rubin, www.examiner.com/international-travel-in-national/karen-rubin and travelwritersmagazine.com/TravelFeaturesSyndicate. Blogging at goingplacesnearandfar.wordpress.com. Send comments or questions to FamTravLtr@aol.com. Tweet @TravelFeatures. ‘Like’ us at facebook.com/NewsPhotoFeatures.

Journey by Boat and Bike Along New York’s Historic Erie Canal: Day 4

Where the Erie Canal is built over a creek and makes a sharp turn entering Medina © 2013 Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com

Discovering the Architectural, Historical Treasures of Albion-Medina-Brockport

by Karen Rubin 

We awake Wednesday morning on our Lockmaster canalboat, docked at the port of Albion.

I have a chance to explore Albion on foot and find it the most interesting and the most indicative of a city which has not quite caught up to the economic transition.

The Village of Albion here in upstate New York was home to George Pullman, the inventor of the railroad sleeping car! The story goes that he got the idea from watching passengers travel by canal packet boats.

Albion, another town that owes its existence to the Erie Canal, has some of the most majestic buildings but also bears the scars of decline. It does not take much to imagine the city in its more prosperous days.

Here you see pawn shops and storefront churches.

Albion, another town that owes its existence to the Erie Canal, has some of the most majestic buildings but also bears the scars of decline. It does not take much to imagine the city in its more prosperous days © 2013 Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com

The architecture in Albion is more than beautiful, it is magnificent. Most impressive is the silver domed County Courthouse, a Greek Revival structure built in 1858 and listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The Historic Courthouse District includes 34 buildings, from private homes to seven churches.

Albion is still the county seat but there is not even a coffee shop open in the morning as lawyers gather on the porch of the courthouse. I find it odd that a Liberty Tree was planted on the lawn in 1979 for the Bicentennial (1776-1976).

Most impressive of all are the churches – at least eight of them that go back to the Victorian/Gilded Age. On one corner (called Church Square), you see Universalist Church, Christ Church, a Catholic church and Presbyterian Church with a 175-foot spire, built 1874.

And that’s not all: there is the First Baptist Church (South Main Street) and the Christ Episcopal Church (erected 1830, it is the oldest church building in Orleans County still being used for worship).

And just a block away there is the Free Methodist Church across from the First United Methodist Church (get a glimpse of magnificent, stained glass windows. Built in 1861, the First United Methodist Church part of a Courthouse Square cluster of churches and government buildings named to the National Register of Historic Places; it recently needed $420,000 worth of repairs; about 70 people still attend.

There is a reason for this, I discover:

The Free Methodist Church was organized nearby at Pekin, New York, August 23, 1860 in the apple orchard of I. M. Chesbrough. The first Bishop of the new church was Benjamin Titus Roberts. He was a champion for equal rights, especially for women. He was also a writer, publisher, Christian educator, and holiness preacher.

Loren Stiles — who defended Roberts at his trial at the Methodist Genesee Annual Conference in 1858 — founded Albion FMC. Stiles was expelled from the Methodist Episcopal denomination in 1859 and proceeded to form a new church, the Congregational Free Methodist Church, across the street from the in 1859, a year before the Free Methodist denomination was formed in 1860. The Albion FMC currently is the largest Protestant church in Orleans County, N.Y.

The Albion FMC  was the first Free Methodist congregation. The building’s grand, white exterior is impressive, and the interior was originally constructed to seat 1,000.

Albion’s Courthouse, indicative of the fabulous architecture that abounds in this historic Erie Canal town © 2013 Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com

meet a man who reminds me that the opulent buildings that were constructed around Church Square, away from the canal, was where the more affluent managers and owners used to live. The common people lived closer to the canal. When the Erie Canal was finished, the masons were put to work on these buildings.

Another impressive building is the Swan Library, established by William G. Swan, benefactor, Dec. 21, 1899, and opened March 17, 1906, the oldest Orleans Co. library. Lillian Achilles was the 1st Librarian. This was the former R. S. Burrows mansion until 1851. (The library is moving from the building).

The furthest west we will be able to travel is Medina (which conveniently is the westernmost town in the “100 Must See Miles” brochure. But rather than boat to Medina, which would add four hours, round-trip (at least) to our travel, I realize we bike twice as fast as we boat, and since we adore biking this 12-mile trip (24 miles roundtrip) will be our major bikeride.

It also turns out to be the most scenic and the most fascinating part of the bikeway, and should not be missed, because you see things by bike that you cannot experience from the boat.

Biking to Medina

The pastoral countryside along the Erie Canal bikeway, between Albion and Medina © 2013 Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com

It’s exactly mid-week of our week-long trip along the Erie Canal by canalboat. This will be as far as we go by boat, since we need to travel back the same way.

After exploring Albion on foot, we set out at 10:30 am for the 12-mile bikeride on the Erie Canalway to Medina for what proves to be the most fascinating and scenic bikeride of our trip along the Erie Canal Heritage Trail.

This portion that we ride today is just a fraction of the 114-mile long Erie Canal Heritage Trail, which itself is only a section of the 376-mile long Erie Canalway that follows the Erie Canal from Albany to Buffalo.

Just two miles west of Albion, and I finally see the farms and pastoral countryside that I had been expecting. Hard to believe this is New York State; the scenery is more what you associate with the Midwest: classic red barns, fields of gold and green, apple orchards.

Birds are profuse – goldfinch, woodpeckers, heron, red shouldered blackbirds. In fact, I learn there are some 100 birdhouses set along the canal.

We come to a thick flock of geese that has basically taken over the bikepath. We have to basically ride through them, hoping they will move or separate to make way. As we ride through, they straighten up their necks for added height, hiss and show their tongues and teeth and are genuinely intimidating.

I see an animal that looks like a beaver or otter scamper from the canal into the bush.

On the south side of the canal, I get a view of the massive prison that has become Albion’s main industry – it is hideous, with shining silver fencing. A historic home is set in the middle, like a hostage.

Biking on the Erie Canal to Medina you get to explore The Culvert Road, the only road built under the Eric Canal, in 1823. The culvert was so extraordinary, it was even listed in Ripley’s Believe it or Not © 2013 Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com

About two miles outside Medina we come upon a major historic attraction: the Culvert road, the only road built under the Eric Canal, in 1823. The culvert was so extraordinary, it was even listed in Ripley’s Believe it or Not. We climb down from the biketrail to the road to see this tunnel that goes under the canal: water actually drips down into the tunnel, and the echo is amazing. From here, you can best appreciate how shallow the canal is, even today at 12 feet, and how it is truly a man-made construction.

This part, too, was rebuilt – stone from the original is now part of foundation of the Verios Touissant home, 3704 Culvert Road; the original was dismantled in 1854 and rebuilt in 1855 on the enlarged canal’s new alignment. Forty years later, in 1895, it was altered again during a $9 million improvement (that’s like $9 billion today).

You can’t see this (or appreciate it) from the boat because there is no place to tie up; to see it you would have to tie up in Medina and walk back.

But that is not all.

A little further on, just as you enter Medina, the canal is constructed OVER a rushing creek that drops into waterfalls, and makes an extraordinary turn.

Here, you bike over the concrete – which apparently was quite innovative at the time; you can look under the canal which is like a reverse dam, with the tunnel opening the way for the river.

This is a stunning engineering achievement, as the historical marker notes. “During construction of the canal, a host of technical, physical and organizational challenges inspired innovative solutions. The Oak Orchard Creek passed deep below level of canal and the sharp curve of the canal here complicated matters further. The solution that engineers chose was to create 125-foot wide canal channel – which required massive amount of high strength concrete, specially formulated and tested for this application. Oak Orchard Creek passes 45 feet under canal in 50-ft wide arch.”

Amazing.

Biking along the Erie Canal, you see where the Erie Canal is built over a creek and makes a sharp turn entering Medina © 2013 Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com

The marker, which offers historical photos so you can visualize the construction process, also notes the claim to Medina’s fame: sandstone. During the building of the canal, workers discovered a beautiful reddish brown stone that came to be known as Medina sandstone. The deep color and durability made it desirable as a building material and it was close to the surface and easy to reach. This stone was exported on the Erie Canal to markets worldwide – from the Buckingham Palace in London to the pillars of the Brooklyn Bridge. It can be seen in churches and buildings including the steps of the Capitol building in Albany and the George Washington Bridge.

John Ryan opened first sandstone quarry in 1837. Demand peaked in the early 1900s; from 1903-4, 1200 men were employed in 48 quarries.

It’s about 12:45 pm when we arrive at Medina – frankly because we have been stopping so often to shoot photos and take in the scenery. The Main Street is quite nice and welcoming – with Victorian light poles decorated with flowers and speakers which pipe in music (a little eerie, actually), and the most interesting shops we have seen so far. Here you should also visit the Medina Railroad Museum and important historical buildings.

We see a banner draped across one of the imposing buildings to “Save the Opera House.”

This is Bent’s Opera House. During Lincoln’s Presidency, in 1864, as the Civil War was raging, Don C Bent built his opera House as a social center of the village and surrounding area. It operated until the early 20th century. Built of Medina sandstone, it is one of the oldest surviving opera houses in the country. The campaign to save it is being mounted by Orleans Renaissance Group of Medina (eggstreet.org).

The shops reflect an affluent suburban lifestyle, not unlike Great Neck or Port Washington, Long Island, rather than long-distance visitors – artisan food shop, a visual arts academy, dance academy, art gallery, pottery, florist, computer. There’s a Florsheim shoes and the Rosenkrans Pharmacy and Rosenkrans Gift Shop (despite the name, there isn’t a single Erie Canal souvenir and the shopkeeper shoots me a puzzled look when I ask her) but there is also the English Tea Shoppe, Delia’s Chocolates, and most phenomenal of all, the Candle Nook, which also serves as a bike rental and repair shop, and a very pleasant ice cream parlor, and offers the only truly Erie Canal oriented items we have seen so far.

Mark McDaniel in his extraordinary shop, the Candle Nook, makes every candle by hand; each is scented using natural ingredients and he says he has invented the recipes for 22,000 different scents © 2013 Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com

You have never seen a candle shop like this – there are more than 2000 different scents on display and Mark McDaniel, who makes each and every candle by hand, using natural ingredients, says he has created (invented) the recipes for 22,000 and can customize just about anything.

“My motto is: Your color, your scent, your choice,” McDaniel, who makes every candle himself, tells us.

The “nook” comes from the fact that the sho is divided into various different sections – or themes: Mama’s Kitchen (the Popcorn candle smells exactly like buttered movie popcorn); Butcher Nook has “manly” candles include BBQ, bacon and beer candles, “Red Neck Wedding” with scents created from Moonshine and Jack Daniels (and they smell good!); Monkey Fart (made with banana, celery, pickles – everything a monkey would eat -and it smells good!); North Pole (Santa’s Lucky Night, inspired by a 16-year old, is made with scents of Victoria’s Secret Love Spell, chocolate brownies and chocolate milk). He ships, but it is enormous fun to go through the actual shop. (The Candle Nook, 409 Main Street, Medina NY14103; 585-798-3888).

We feel we could visit a lot longer in Medina, but we head back on our bikes at 3:30 pm, returning to Albion at 5:15 pm (about 12 miles).

This proves to be the best bikeride of our trip.

Brockport at night © 2013 Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com

We set off by boat back to Brockport where we stay over for the night (the best equipped port we have found, Brockport is the only one so far that charges to overnight, $15 for the largest boat).

Helpful contacts:

Mid-Lakes Navigation, 11 Jordan St, PO Box 61, skaneateles, NY 13152, 315-685-8500, 800-545-4318, www.midlakesnav.com.

Erie Canalway National Heritage Corridor, PO Box 219, Waterford, NY 12188, 518-237-8643, ext 3110, www.eriecanalway.org.

See also:

Journey by boat and bike along the Erie Canal: Macedon-Fairport-Pittsford and slideshow

Erie Canal journey by boat, bike: Exploring canaltowns from Pittsford to Albion and slideshow

Erie Canal journey: Albion-Medina bikeride is most scenic, illuminating and slideshow

Erie Canal journey by boat and bike: Palmyra, ‘Queen of Canal Towns’ and slideshow

New season of self-skippered canalboat cruises on New York’s historic Erie Canal (Photos)

______________________

© 2013 Travel Features Syndicate, a division of Workstyles, Inc. All rights reserved. Visit www.examiner.com/eclectic-travel-in-national/karen-rubin, www.examiner.com/eclectic-traveler-in-long-island/karen-rubin, www.examiner.com/international-travel-in-national/karen-rubin and travelwritersmagazine.com/TravelFeaturesSyndicate. Blogging at goingplacesnearandfar.wordpress.com. Send comments or questions to FamTravLtr@aol.com. Tweet @TravelFeatures. ‘Like’ us at facebook.com/NewsPhotoFeatures.