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Three More Reasons To Visit the Erie Canal (Part 2)

posted by Teresa Farrell at 2017-11-25 20:59:00

> The Second in a Series, Part 1 was titled "Three Great Reasons to Visit the Erie Canal"

A big part of the Erie Canal’s charm can be found in the communities that surround it. From tiny, quaint villages to some of Upstate New York’s biggest cities, there are dozens of towns along the canal that warrant a visit. Some of the highlights you’ll find along the way:


Whatever the season, the towns along the Erie Canal are full of festivals and special events that you won’t want to miss. Villages like Palmyra (right), Canastota and Waterford celebrate their history with canal-centric events and attractions throughout the year. From Christmas tree lightings and holiday strolls down tree-lined, brightly decorated main streets, to harvest festivals and farmer’s markets, arts and crafts shows, musical performances, and canal-focused events like tug boat roundups, each town has its own calendar of celebrations to check out. What makes it even better this year is the beginning of the Erie Canal Bicentennial celebrations— they’re ongoing throughout the year and across the state to commemorate the beginning of the construction of the canal in 1817. The list includes fireworks, festivals, a canal schooner on tour, and more.

Restaurants, shops and attractions

Because canal towns often grew up because of the industry necessary to support the canal during its heyday as a shipping route, many were designed with the canal as their central focus. Today, instead of providing spots to load and unload cargo, many of them feature restaurants and shops overlooking the waterway. Towns like Fairport, Seneca Falls and Lockport are all teeming with things to see and do along the canal. Dinner on the patio overlooking a lock is an excellent way to enjoy part of a leisurely visit along the Erie Canal. After dinner, check out everything from boutiques to antique shops, art galleries, museums, and other local businesses in the small towns along the way. Meanwhile, Buffalo’s new park, Canalside, located at the canal’s western terminus, has an ice skating rink and lodge to enjoy in the winter, bike rentals in the summer, and concerts, festivals, celebrations, restaurants, cultural events, and more to enjoy throughout the year.

Check out the craft beverage scene

Thanks to rich soil, the local climate, and the miles of rolling farmland throughout Central and Western New York, there is a staggering abundance of entrepreneurs harvesting grapes, grains, hops and crops to create their own beverages at local craft breweries, wineries, cider mills, and distilleries in the area surrounding the Erie Canal. Some, like Pittsford’s Lock 32 Brewing Company, are located immediately on the canal itself. Others, like many of Central New York’s wineries and breweries, are located in surrounding towns. Not to mention that the canal cuts through a portion of Finger Lake wine country, with a seemingly endless list of wineries, breweries, restaurants and trails serving the world-famous local beverages.

posted at: 2017-11-25 20:59:00, last updated: 2021-04-06 14:38:03

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