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Three Great Reasons To Visit the Erie Canal (Part 1)

posted by Teresa Farrell at 2017-11-17 20:25:00

As the Erie Canal celebrates its 200th anniversary, take some time to check out the many things to see and do along the 500-plus miles of the most famous man-made waterway in America.

The History

The history of the Erie Canal is intertwined with the history of New York State and of America in its earliest days. Built between 1817 and 1825, the canal marked a new era of innovation and progress and opened up trade to the interior of the country. Today, the canal is commemorated at museums throughout the towns surrounding it that offer guided tours, living history demonstrations, exhibits, kids activities, and even old canal boats on display. Some are located right alongside the canal, while others are in the cities and towns that surround it. A few stops to check out: the Chittenango Landing Canal Boat Museum, the Erie Canal Museum, the Erie Canal Discovery Center, and the Seneca Museum of Waterways and Industry.

The Tours

Today, tour boats traffic the waterway where canal boats once traveled, and one of the best ways to experience the Erie Canal is to climb aboard one. Tour companies offer a narrated look at historic sites and the chance to pass through a lock, and many have special events like dinner cruises, party cruises and other outings as well. Mid-Lakes Navigation, based in Skaneateles, and has a variety of tours to choose from, and the Erie Canal Cruises in Herkimer are just two companies that offer Erie Canal Tours. Or, you can rent a houseboat and journey along the canal at your own pace.

The Parks, Bike Trails, and Byways

The Erie Canal has become a recreational treasure throughout the state. Canal parks offer historic information, picnic areas, walking trails, and an up-close view of locks, dams and lift bridges  in action; they can be found in most of the towns situated along the canal. Much to the delight of cyclists everywhere, the historic towpaths that used to provide a place for mules to pull canal boats have now largely been converted to bike trails. The Erie Canalway Trail, at 365 miles long, passes through peaceful natural settings and charming, historic small towns, and is popular with cyclists and walkers out for an afternoon or for a multi-day excursion across the state. The trail is more than ¾ of the way completed, and when it’s done, it’ll be the longest multiple-use trail in the country.  

Photo Credits -Teresa Farrell
posted at: 2017-11-17 20:25:00, last updated: 2018-04-20 17:39:34

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