Cast upon the Erie Canal

Syracuse Travel Blog

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Leg up on the Erie Canal.
Mid-Lake Navigation cruises

Didn’t think it would work, but it did! Two weeks before our Erie Canal cruise/tour, I broke my heel. I called. Mid-Lakes Navigation (www.midlakesnav.com/daily cruises) said, “No problem!”  And, it wasn’t. Despite getting lost and arriving two minutes before departure, we were welcomed aboard with enthusiasm (a crew member was waiting in the parking lot!) and heard the last half of the Introduction - the part that included when the bar was open - all the important stuff, and we proceeded to cast off on our three-day cruise on the Erie Canal.

    We took the 3-day cruise from Syracuse to Lockport (entrance to Erie Canal); on the boat during the day for reading/enjoying/meals and off at night for sleep.
Boats on the canal are small - capacity 40 - because of the “low bridge rule”. . . perhaps you recall the song … low bridge everybody down, low bridge ‘cause we’re comin’ to a town. It was three days of NOTHING - amazing. Never did that before. BUT not boring. Captain gave narration, serious and comical, and I even read a book. At home we say we’re going to relax and do nothing but keep interrupting to do something - right? Well, on the canal you actually do nothing. And, we lucked out with the weather. The crew was great. All you had to do was ask - cold drinks, questions about the canal, what was that? What’s this? If they didn’t know, they found out. Food was great - breakfast/lunch/cheese & crackers at four/dinner. Fare all inclusive.

OK - 1st day we cruised from Syracuse to Newark (no - not NJ - pronounced New - ARK - who knew?), no stops just narrative and great scenery; 2nd day was Newark to Brockport - past Fairport .
Low bridge ... everybody down!
. pretty town, stopped to tour a lock and speak to the lock person on duty. Locks closed Nov 15th - May - and drained to prevent damage. Workers are on 2 eight-hour shifts; canal closed from 10 p.m.-8 a.m. Winter is used for maintenance; 3rd day from Brockport to Lockport - hit of this day was the Niagara escarpment - 2 twenty-five foot high locks - spectacular!! Used to have 4 locks but was replaced with 2. Keep going up and up. Read Wedding of the Waters by Peter L. Bernstein. Great background; quick read; non-fiction but reads like fiction. Canal was built in 1820’s with picks, shovels and wheel barrels - 100 years before the Panama Canal. Amazing! Great time. Would have loved to have traveled the aqueduct they had in Rochester. A glimpse into a world of waterway commerce. We arrived by motor coach on Tuesday night; stayed over in Syracuse to tour the Erie Canal Museum and Weighlock Building, take a tram around the Onondaga Lake and visit the Salt Museum. Salt industry thrived for 130 years. The cruise is a pleasure. Try it!

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Leg up on the Erie Canal.
Leg up on the Erie Canal.
Low bridge ... everybody down!
Low bridge ... everybody down!
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photo by: smhirsch