"The sea, once it casts its spell, holds one in
its net of wonder forever."—Jacques Cousteau

June 18, 2018

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 15, 2018

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.

Medina developed after construction of the Erie Canal. The canal bends as it passes through the village, creating a basin that served as a stopover point. This became the center of businesses that served trade and passenger traffic on canal boats. 

Medina is known for its Medina Sandstone, a stone used widely in buildings across the region. Some local examples include the "million dollar staircase" at the New York State Capitol in Albany,  the Richardson Olmsted Complex in Buffalo and in buildings at Cornell University.

Today we went over Culvert Road in an aqueduct. This is the only place where someone can drive under the Erie Canal. This picture is looking south from the Erie Canal.
Looking north
Coming into Medina the Erie Canal crosses over Orchard Creek. There is a waterfall on the other side.
Our view of the basin for the evening 
Fitzgibbon's in downtown Medina
Orchard Creek and the waterfall
Looking at the Erie Canal (on right) and the waterfall on Orchard Creek
Looking towards Medina, the Erie Canal on the left. This picture shows how the canal was built above the land to the right.

June 14, 2018

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.

We only had six bridges today, but we only traveled eight miles. We left late and arrived in Brockport just in time for lunch. We spent the afternoon wandering through little shops, exploring this cute canal town and visiting with people who wandered by on the path. 

Brockport calls itself "The Victorian Village on the Erie Canal." It recently remodeled the village portion of the Erie canal, providing a bricked walkway, a brand new canal visitor's center and several pieces of art. The village was founded around 1820 and grew to importance as a port on the Erie Canal, and the village was briefly the canal's terminus until the canal's western end was complete.

Brockport
Brockport Visitors Center and our view for the day
Looking north on Main Street, towards the Erie Canal and the Main Street Lift Bridge.
Looking south on Main Street
The Decker Block building built in 1877 by J.D. Decker. Now home to a cute little boutique called Bittersweet.
Morgan-Manning House built in 1915. Now the headquarter of the Monroe Historical Society. 
One of Brockport's fire stations and their 911 memorial 

June 13, 2018

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.
We went through two more locks today and only have two more towards the end of the canal to deal with...the new thing added today was lift bridges...very small, still very low bridges. There are 151 bridges and guard gates, from Fairport to Tonawanda, including 16 lift bridges. We went under 64 of them today (a new record for us)...most were pretty low and some much lower than the stated heights in the guide books. We remeasured our height (again)...with the bimini up we're 15', there were many places where that was too high, so we removed our icinglass and lowered the bimini so we didn't have to worry about getting under any of the bridges. We are now down to 12'.

Leaving Fairport this morning we went under our first lift bridge
A cute little boat we saw this morning
Can you see how many bridges and guard gates there are in this picture...and how low they are?
There are four bridges in this picture. We went through Rochester and by the airport...lots and lots of bridges in this area.
 Guard gates and bridges...everywhere
Pedestrian bridges in Rochester 
The bridges are very old...and very low
The section of the Erie Canal just past Rochester is referred to as the "Rock Cut", because it required the most extensive excavation of the whole canal. The deep cut was made through solid rock. Definitely not the prettiest part of the canal, but very interesting. 
Spencerport
People in New York and New England love their ice cream...we figured we deserved to indulge after a long hard day on the Erie Canal. 
 Our dock in Spencerport
A Lift Bridge is a low bridge designed to lift up out of the way of canal boat traffic. These short bridges carried the towpath over a canal slip, a small canal perpendicular to the main canal, built to provide access to docking areas or mills. A closed lift bridge would enable traffic to cross the Canal at the same grade as the towpath compared to the slope on either side of a regular bridge. Since the slip was used much less frequently than the canal itself, the bridge was only open occasionally and traffic was rarely affected. Lift bridges also were used in cities where it was inconvenient to raise street levels to cross the canal.

Lift Bridge in Spencerport
The lift bridge going up in Spencerport

June 11, 2018

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. 

What became the village of Fairport was a swampy area until the 1820s, when it was drained during the construction of the Erie Canal. It quickly became a busy canal port with a reputation for being a "fair port." Legend has it that Fairport acquired its name in the mid-19th century from a traveler on the Erie Canal who was overheard at a tavern referring to the village as a fair port. It's also said that the same visitor vociferously complained the next morning that the Millstone Block Hotel had bedbugs, and he stormed out of Fairport, never to return. The name, however, stuck.

Typical countryside today.
We had two locks today, we went up 32'
The view from the top of Lock 29
A few of the little fishing homes we saw today
Fairport is much busier than the other stops we've made so far.
The Lift Bridge in Fairport has allegedly appeared in Ripley's Believe It or Not because of its unusual construction. The bridge is an irregular decagon, a ten-sided structure, and crosses the canal at a 32-degree angle. No two angles in the bridge are the same, and no corners on the bridge are square. It's one of sixteen vertical lift bridges located along the western portion of the Erie Canal between Fairport and Lockport. 
Looking east from the bridge...can you see The Pearl.
Fairport Village Hall built in 1906 
It was a wonderful afternoon so we sat on the patio of this brewery and enjoyed a few beers.
The dockmasters building use to be Stop 22's waiting station of the Rochester Syracuse Eastern Rapid Trolly line that operated from 1906 to 1931. 
The building that is now Mr. Dominic’s Restaurant and the Green Lantern Inn was originally built as a private home for the DeLand family in 1876. It became an inn in 1928.