Archive for the ‘Erie Canal’ Category

YNN, link to original post

It’s a quiet, pretty walk along the Erie Canal path in Chittenango. The area’s history dates back centuries. However, you might not be aware its rich paranormal activity. “When we first started investigating the Erie Canal, we came as a fluke. We didn’t really expect much, but we did get a lot of evidence,” said Stacey Jones, the founder of CNY Ghost Hunters.

The original Erie Canal is actually half a mile up the road. It was 40 feet wide and four feet deep. It was used from the 1820s through the 1850s. The area is believed to be haunted. “There was an outbreak of Cholera at one point and a lot of the people building the canal were buried out in the woods and were not given proper burials,” said Jones.

Douglas Rainbow, the Co-Founder of the Chittenango Landing Canalboat Museum added, “Clay Hill road, which sits up here about half a mile on the right, was originally called Cholera Hill. And the mass graves are still visible if you know where to find them.”

This canal, or the Enlarged Erie Canal was expanded to 70 feet wide and 7 feet deep to allow for larger barges. It was used from the 1850s through 1917. It also has its share of paranormal stories.

In the 1800s, a Sheriff and his horse died there. “The lore surrounding it is that the horse got spooked by something that was on the other side of the canal and it was describe as being something like a ghost-like figure or a shadow figure. And that’s what ended up spooking the horse and killing them both,” said Jones.

That death was documented in local papers. Two other deaths were also well known. “The boiler exploded here in 1906. And there was two men killed. One guy was pushed through the building by timbers and was crushed and died later on that night. The other one had his head blown off. And the body was found down in the woods down there, and they never did find his head,” said Rainbow.

However, there’s one death that very few people know about. In a dying message to his sister, a man told her about a boy who he and his friend witnessed drown in the canal when they were just 10 or 12 years old. And before the sister died, she told the story to Douglas Rainbow, the Co-Founder of the Chittenango Landing Canal Boat Museum.

“This kid was from out of town and they goaded him into jumping off the bridge, which he went into the mud head first. I don’t think he jumped. I think he was pushed. And they realized that he died. He suffocated and died. And they didn’t know what to do with him. And there was an old barge parked along here, called the “Beech Nut.” And it was far enough away from the wall, and they buried the body in the mud,” said Rainbow.

There isn’t any record of the death. “You didn’t report it nationwide. It didn’t go out in a bulletin. You went to your local PD if you son or grandson was missing. And generally, that’s as far as it went,” said Rainbow.

Stacey Jones and her team, the CNY Ghost Hunters, have done several paranormal investigations there.

Jones said, “We get a lot of EVP which is electronic voice phenomenon. And the phenomenon is disembodied voices. We’ll ask questions, and these voices will come back and give us answers.” She continued, “Everybody experiences something different here. Some people get pictures. Some get EVP. Some people actually physically see things.”

Jones and her team say it’s the compelling evidence they get every visit that will keep them coming back for years to come.

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Click here to watch the video: Reflections on Biking the Erie Canalway Trail

Click here o find out more about the Erie Canway Tour.

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by Meg Vanek, Auburn Citizen, link to original post

With the weather getting warmer, there is no better place to enjoy water activities than in Cayuga County. Our surveys tell us that one of the top two reasons visitors come to Cayuga County is to enjoy our amazing lakes, and with Owasco Lake in the center, Lake Ontario to the north, Skaneateles and Cross lakes to the east, and Cayuga Lake to the west plus several smaller lakes and the Erie Canal, people in Cayuga County have abundant opportunities to spend time in, on and around the water. In fact, Cayuga County has 170 square miles of water, making almost 20 percent of the county water and giving us more freshwater coastline than any other county in New York state. Whether you simply want to lounge around a lake or you prefer the excitement of water-skiing and windsurfing, Cayuga County is a definitely the place to be for water-filled fun!

200 Waterfalls in Central & Western NY

200 Waterfalls in Central & Western NY

Most of us remember a favorite swimming spot from our youth, whether it was a pond, lake or stream, it was a great way to cool off on a hot summer day. There are plenty of wonderful places to splash around and swim in Cayuga County. Emerson Park, along with our three state parks — Fillmore Glen, Long Point and Fair Haven Beach — are all great places to take a dip in a safe environment. Smaller parks, like Frontenac Park in Union Springs and John Harris Park in Cayuga, also offer swimming on uncrowded, pristine beaches. Most parks not only offer swimming but also picnic areas, boat launches, hiking and fishing.

You might not think of the Finger Lakes as a place for a scuba diving, but it certainly is! You don’t have to go to the ocean to find sunken treasures and interesting aquatic life; the waters of the Finger Lakes can yield plenty of surprises. Finger Lakes Scuba provides local dive opportunities on the Dive Deck, a 24-foot dive charter pontoon from May through October. If you don’t already have your scuba certification, sign up for a class at the Auburn YMCA, then gather your gear and get ready for a diving adventure.

Take A Paddle - Finger Lakes

Take A Paddle – Finger Lakes

If you would rather be on the water than in the water, you can canoe, kayak, sail, powerboat or take a cruise on our waterways. Boat launches are located at most public parks, and boat rentals are available at many private marinas. Silver Waters Sailing on Lake Ontario offers sailing excursions and day trips as well as several learn-to-sail programs, so you can master the sailing basics. New this year, Owasco Paddles at Emerson Park offers canoes, kayaks and standup paddleboards for rent. And if you don’t know how to use a standup paddleboard, Finger Lakes Paddleboard offers lessons with certified PaddleFit instructors on Owasco Lake. This ancient Hawaiian sport is an ideal way to experience the beauty of the Finger Lakes.

Take A Hike - Finger Lakes

Take A Hike – Finger Lakes

A unique opportunity to experience our waterways and another one of our most popular attractions, wineries, is to jump on board Water to Wine Tours, offering tours of award-winning Finger Lakes wineries by boat along beautiful Cayuga Lake. Scenic wine-tasting boat tours, dinner cruises, happy hour cruises and private charter cruises are all available from Water to Wine Tours, with scheduled cruises departing from the Aurora Inn.

For more information on great things to see and do in, on and around the waterways of Cayuga County, stop in the Cayuga County Office of Tourism and pick up our on-the-water map and guide, or visit www.tourcayuga.com. To purchase guidebooks to the area, including @00 Waterfalls & Take A paddle – Finger Lakes, visit Footprint Press.com.

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Written by Caurie Putnam, Democrat & Chronicle, link to original post

Two years ago Carol Colton, 42, of Le Roy, was invited to go kayaking in Black Creek with friends. She had never been kayaking and didn’t have her own kayak, but it was no matter her friends told her, they had one she could borrow.

Take A Paddle - Western NY

Take A Paddle – Western NY

“It took me about 10 minutes to fall in love with it and decide I would get my own kayak,” Colton, said. Now, she has five kayaks.

Kayaking has become an important part of Colton’s life and a way she spends quality time with her husband Brian and four children Natalie, 8, Sara, 10, Emily,11, and Sam, 13.

“The kids are growing up so fast; this is a way to slow things down,” said Colton, whose family usually kayaks in Oatka or Black Creeks, but have also kayaked in the Adirondacks. “There’s a sense of peacefulness and calm when you’re kayaking that’s hard to find in day to day life.”

All over the Rochester region individuals and families like the Coltons are discovering the benefits of kayaking and taking advantage of the plethora of waterways that run through the area. “We’ve seen a huge growth in kayaking over the past few years,” said Peter Abele, president of the Erie Canal Boat Company Inc., located in the village of Fairport.

In 2006, Abele’s company — which rents recreational kayak and canoes designed for those with little or no paddling experience — put 1,500 paddlers in the Erie Canal. In 2012, that number swelled to 4,000.

“It’s becoming more popular with families because it’s something all ages can do together,” said Abele, who last year saw kayakers ranging from ages 8 to late 80s in his boats.

Take A Paddle - Finger Lakes

Take A Paddle – Finger Lakes

Abele also believes that handicapped accessibility has played a part in the growth of kayaking. He has a Hoyer Lift on his docks that allows him to place wheel chair bound individuals into a kayak.

Abele considers the canal to be an excellent place for beginners to learn to kayak. “The nice thing about the canal is that there are virtually no waves,” Abele said. “In Fairport we have 16 miles of almost no currents, which makes it great for beginners.”

Another popular Rochester waterway to learn to kayak is Irondequoit Bay, which is home to several paddling companies, including BayCreek Paddling Center, founded in 1996

“Kayaking is a really easy sport for people of all ages to get into,” said Dave Hulburt, manager and head sea kayak coach at BayCreek. “And having the resource of Irondequoit Bay and Irondequoit Creek right here, 10 minutes from downtown Rochester is a huge advantage.”

Hulburt says BayCreek’s business has grown “leaps and bounds” over the years as Rochesterians discover the “secret wilderness” of the waterways around it. “We have five miles of wetlands in Irondequoit Creek and it almost feels like you’re in the Adirondacks,” Hulburt said. “On the bay there’s tons of wildlife and you see things you wouldn’t expect to see just 10 minutes from downtown Rochester.”

BayCreek offers sales, rentals, classes, overnight kayak camping excursions, and a kayak summer camp for kids ages 7 to 13.

Elena Vandebroek, 24, was one of the first campers to go through BayCreek’s camp. She was eight and fell in love with kayaking immediately. “I like being on the water,” Vandebroek, a Penfield native, said in an interview from her current home in San Francisco, Calif. “It’s like being on top of a mountain, but you’re looking out instead of down. ”

When Vandebroek aged-out of the camp, she was still too young to be an instructor, so she volunteered to wash boats at BayCreek just to be around the kayaking scene.

She later became a counselor and then an instructor of a kayaking class at Cornell University, where she attended college. Currently, she is a coastal engineer and sea kayaks in the San Francisco Bay and Santa Barbara area.

Before moving to California Vandebroek achieved a goal of kayaking in each of the eleven Finger Lakes — her favorites were Canadice and Cayuga. “It was really fun because each of the lakes is really different,” Vandebroek said. “Some have wetlands and secret waterfalls. Each lake has its own history and paddling experience.”

Vandebroek meticulously and beautifully chronicled each of her Finger Lakes kayaking explorations in a kayaking blog she still maintains called http://www.nakedkayaker.com/ “I’m really glad I grew up in Rochester,” Vandebroek said. “It was such a great place to learn how to paddle.”

Learning how to paddle is a key component of one of Rochester’s most important resources for kayaking: the Genesee Waterways Center (GWC). Founded in 1996, the GWC is an independent, not-for-profit organization, promoting affordable human-powered paddling, rowing, and related outdoor activities in the Genesee region.

Instructors at the GWC have taught students from around the world and with varying degrees of experience at their two facilities in Rochester: the GWC Boathouse on the Genesee River at Genesee Valley Park on Elmwood Ave. and The Lock 32 Whitewater Park, which opened in 2000.

“Lock 32 is unique and extremely fascinating,” said Cindy M. Stachowski, executive director of the GWC. “We took a spillway used for flood control and adjusting water levels and created a 700 yard whitewater kayaking course. There is no other such place in New York state like it.”

Lock 32, which opened in 2000, provides a controlled environment in which students can learn and a challenging area for experienced paddlers to practice. The course features a set of squirt lines, two wave and two holes and a constant source of water every day.

At the Genesee River facility, flat water kayak rentals and classes are offered for all individuals and groups of all levels. “You can paddle 26 miles to the Mount Morris Dam or north one and a half miles for a spectacular view of the city skyline,” Stachowski said.

Stachowski took over the helm of the GWC in 2009 and has seen tremendous growth. A Groupon promotion last May offering a ½ day of canoe or kayak rental at the GWC for $15 sold a staggering 3,000 coupons. “When I first started working here it was a hidden treasure and I said ‘We don’t want to be a hidden treasure,’ ” Stachowski said.

She believes the growing popularity of kayaking in Rochester is due to a greater awareness of our natural and water resources. “I’ve traveled the whole of the U.S., but the water resources here in Rochester are phenomenal,” Stachowski said. “We have the Genesee River, Erie Canal, Lake Erie, Lake Ontario, the Finger Lakes, Letchworth, creeks, Irondequoit Bay… We’re very lucky.”

Two guidebooks offer detailed maps and information on paddling options in the greater Rochester NY area:
Take A Paddle – Western New York Quiet Water for Canoes & Kayaks
Take A Paddle – Finger Lakes New York Quiet Water for Canoes & Kayaks

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By GLENN GRIFFITH, CNweekly, link to original post

Historic Erie Canal Lock 19 footbridge in Vischer Ferry NY

Historic Erie Canal Lock 19 footbridge in Vischer Ferry NY

The president and CEO of the Chamber of Southern Saratoga County joined with representatives of a variety of public and private entities April 29 to open a footbridge over the Erie Canal’s historic Lock 19.

The wooden and steel span allows visitors access to the middle section of the canal’s 1842 historic double lock. More than a dozen private businesses partnered with the Chamber, the town and the Shenendehowa Central School District on the footbridge project. The site, which is in the hamlet of Vischer Ferry, is accessed from Ferry Park, at the end of Ferry Drive.

The idea for the project began with Chamber President Pete Bardunias. In the spring of 2012 he posed the project as a partnership between public and private entities as a way of putting the old lock site back into passive recreational use. The idea expanded from simply clearing brush and debris away to giving private business mentoring to 80 Shen students.

In addition to helping clear the brush, the students formed teams that were mentored by volunteer engineers to compete on a bridge design and its marketing campaign. The final design for the footbridge was chosen last June.

More than 1,700 volunteer hours and tens of thousands of dollars of donated materials and labor went into the construction, which was completed in December. The footbridge project will serve as a template for several more partnership projects on the Chamber’s agenda.

On Monday, representatives from the businesses and the public sector organizations joined Bardunias, Clifton Park Town Supervisor Philip Barrett, Shen Superintendent L. Oliver Robinson and New York State Canal Corporation Director Brian Stratton to officially open the facility for public use.

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by Sue Freeman

Ice skating was an integral part of my childhood. My street backed up to the Erie Canal, so in winter, my brothers and I toted our skates and snow shovels down the rocky embankment, into the lowered Erie Canal. We shoveled away the snow and spent many wonderful hours playing hockey and pretending to be Olympic ice skaters on the often bumpy surface. For a smoother glide, we piled into the car and went to the outdoor rink at Potter Memorial Park in Fairport.

Years later at Holiday Harbour in Canandaigua, I shoveled a large area of the boat canals and invited a gang of friends over for a rousing game of broom hockey, followed by hot chocolate in my parent’s house. These were examples of ice skating in its raw, natural form – with lots of shoveling involved, and a high tolerance for bumpy ice. A potential skating rink exists anywhere you have shallow water such as a pond or canal that freezes solidly. For instance, people like to skate on Long Pond in Greece.

If you prefer less physical prep work and smoother ice, you probably want to opt for an indoor ice rink. You’ll have to pay a fee but ice rinks often offer skate rentals and a warmer environment or a warming hut. Ice rinks in the Rochester area offer open public skating as well as hockey leagues, and skating lessons. They even provide options for birthday parties and special events. Visit the web site for specifics on each venue.
– Manhattan Square Park and Ice Rink, downtown Rochester was renovated & expanded in 2008, www.cityofrochester.gov/article.aspx?id=8589935137
-The Sports Center at MCC in Henrietta, www.tscmcc.com/page/show/223069-public-skating
-Frank Ritter Memorial Ice Arena at RIT in Henrietta, www.rit.edu/studentaffairs/ciar/facilities_icearena.php
-Lakeshore Hockey Arena on Ling Road in Rochester, www.lakeshorehockeyarena.com
-Scottsville Ice Arena in Scottsville, www.scottsvilleicearena.com
-Genesee Valley Sports Complex Ice Skating Rink in Rochester, www.cityofrochester.gov/GVPSC
-Village Sports Ice Skating Rink on Baird Road in Fairport, www.villagesports.net
-Webster Ice Arena in Webster, www.websterarena.org
-Thomas Creek Ice Arena on Lyndon Road in Fairport, www.tcice.com
-Tuttle North Ice Arena in Brockport, www.brockport.edu/recservices/ice_arena/index.html
-Greater Canandaigua Civic Center in Canandaigua, www.gccc.org

For good free fun, outdoor rinks can be found at Churchville Park, Ellison Park, Highland Park, Fairport Junction Ice Arena next to the Box Factory in Fairport, and Veteran’s Memorial Park in Henrietta. There may be others in your neighborhood. In addition to being free, these rinks come pre-shoveled and are watered regularly to provide a smooth surface. Of course, you’re unlikely to have the rink to yourself as you would on a do-it-yourself pond.

Many ice rinks rent skates but, for a pair of your own, visit the Fairport or Canandaigua locations of RVE Bike & Skate (www.rvebike.com/skates.html), Rochester’s premier ice skate retailer. They’ll help you find the perfect pair for a winter full of skating fun.

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Winter 2012: Canalway Trail Times

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The Erie Canal Discovery Center (24 Church Street  Lockport, NY 14094) is pleased to announce a new series of weekly documentary movies, “Movies and Popcorn” to be shown every Saturday morning this winter at 11 a.m. beginning Dec. 15.

These full-length features will include several award-winning productions from around WNY as well as other documentaries and travelogues prepared by National Geographic and PBS.

The first film in the series is entitled, “Celebrate Niagara-USA,” a feature film produced by Trellis Marketing of Buffalo which aired this summer on local broadcast stations. This fascinating video includes segments of over a dozen local tourist and cultural attractions around Niagara County, including the Erie Canal Discovery Center and the Lockport Cave and Underground Boat Ride in Lockport.

“If you didn’t get a chance to see this film on TV, this would be a good opportunity to see the show, and we’ll even throw in the popcorn for your enjoyment,” said Discovery Center Director Douglas Farley.

The schedule of upcoming Saturday matinees includes:
• Dec. 22 “WNY from A to Z,” a local travelogue by WNED
• Dec. 29 “Lockport Old Home Week Parade,” the complete 2010 centennial parade by LCTV
• Jan. 5 “Lockport Remembers 180 Years of History,” filmed in Lockport in 2008 by Low Bridge Productions
• Jan. 12 “Lock-Tide,” the story of how boats travel uphill by Low Bridge Productions

Additional new films will continue throughout the winter months. Admission to these feature films is included in Erie Canal Discovery Center general admission of $6 adults, $5 seniors and $4 students.

Reservations, though not required, are encouraged and can be made by calling 716-439-0431.


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Sophie is a 90 pound St Bernard Lab mix. She is three years old. On this day in the Fall of 2012 Blair & Sophie hiked about 5 miles along the New York State Canal Way Trail in Central New York. They visited Lock 20 and saw lots of NY Canal Corp boats and equipment getting their winter maintenance service such as scraping off the Zebra Mussels and Painting.

Sophie is a STAR! Blair loved seeing her enjoy the sights and sounds of the Erie Canal and the way her black and white beautiful coat stood out among all the shades of gray. Click here to watch: Hike Along the Erie Canal with Sophie

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The public is invited to pick up a free 2013 Erie Canalway National Heritage Corridor calendar starting December 1, 2012 at selected libraries and visitor centers throughout the National Heritage Corridor.

Each month features one of twelve winning images from this year’s Erie Canalway photo contest. The calendar captures the unique beauty, history, and character of New York’s canals and canal communities.

Fifteen thousand calendars will be available on a first-come, first-served basis, thanks to generous sponsorship by the NYS Canal Corporation and the Erie Canalway Heritage Fund.

See attached list of calendar distribution sites or visit www.eriecanalway.org.

The Erie Canalway National Heritage Corridor spans 524 miles across the full expanse of upstate New York, encompassing the Erie, Cayuga-Seneca, Oswego, and Champlain canals and their historic alignments, as well as more than 230 canal communities. The Erie Canalway National Heritage Corridor Commission collaborates with government agencies, communities and organizations to preserve and share our extraordinary canal heritage and promote the Corridor as a world class tourism destination. www.eriecanalway.org

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