We stayed on the wall in Tonawanda Gateway Park this week. Super easy for Scott to get to work and good friends made in the other boaters. Met some families from Greater Niagara Boat Club, our home club and some friends from a Grand Island club, Red Oaks Club. Came home for a couple days to catch up on work stuff, had some work friends out on the boat for a cruise around Grand Island and then decided to head on out to Canal Days in Port Colborne stopping at a few new spots along the way.
Holy Party Batman!!! With concerts every night, a carnival, streets closed down, hundreds of boats in the harbour, people literally everywhere, kids games, scavenger hunts, obstacle course, and everything else you can think of, we certainly were not bored this week. Some boats from a local yacht club decorated their boats for a Christmas in July theme after dark. The bands were amazing every single night. Next year if we choose to come to this event we will be prepared instead of showing up the day it starts after a 10 vacation.
………………and HOT, ridiculously hot temps hovering around 35 degrees, 90’s for our American neighbours. It was difficult to get around in the crowds in that heat but we all did it anyway. Tracey, Brian and family made it out to our Friday night concert to be met by an insane thunderstorm. Beautiful light show in the lightening for a couple hours and then crazy wind, rain and literally pounding rain until the wee hours of the next day. Everything shut down at that point. We managed to have a great time anyway. Wine, beer and Jamieson’s flowed with a dinner better than any 5 star restaurant. Great company.
The week ended with a fireworks show on the Sunday night. Stunning show, although short, with a huge crowd. We had to clear out the harbour so it was interesting moving about 30+ boats back behind the main barrier. A lot of boats had left already but there were still several sticking around till Monday. After the fireworks we made our way back to our favourite spot on the terminal wall and stayed there for another week.
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Leaving Holley at a reasonable hour did not make the 9 hour trip back to Tonawanda any quicker. The trek back through, what we consider the most boring stretch of the Erie Canal, was still full of surprises. We definitely saw more boat traffic along the route going in both directions. We had heard that the canal had both opened and then closed a portion of the canal on the eastern half. Maybe that is what created folks deciding to push on.
We did have the opportunity to watch the geese, a lonely doe, a few ducks, and a few osprey along the way. It was our first time locking up at Lockport, NY. We didn’t realize that the locks were as large as they are. Being a set of flight locks the two locks did seem a bit cavernous after the much smaller locks that we have had. We did lock down them but they didn’t seem as large. It’s all perspective, I suppose.
It was a hot, hot day too. Not able to swim in the canal makes it all seem even hotter. Surrounded by water and no way in. Not fun. The waterway is so silty and polluted at this portion not a sole goes in. As we made our way closer to our end stop of Tonawanda the water did open up to the more clear green, blue colour of the Niagara River. A welcome sight.
Upon arriving in Tonawanda, after the dinner hour, the harbour was full with Canal Fest going on. The first day. Not a spot available anywhere. We saw a couple boats from our home club of the Greater Niagara Boat Club on the wall and were going to ask to raft but “John” said he was leaving and could have his space. We didn’t even know that this was a space. Actually it isn’t, but at Canal Fest it is a free for all and anything goes scenario. You have got to see this place for the next week to believe it. Bands every night, a carnival, streets shut down, vendors, games, food, literally everywhere. It starts at 10:00 am and goes till 11:00 pm every single night this week. It is truly amazing to see all the boats, lights and sounds. So if you are looking for things to do this week, trip on over to the Tonawanda Gateway Harbour. Don’t forget your bathing suit!
We traveled through only 2 locks today to get here but spent about 5 hours on the water. Doesn’t matter though as the weather is cooperating and the skies are blue. Same old, same old on the Erie Canal at this point. We reached Holley which is really the last nature style port before we start into the industrial style port of tomorrow.
Holley had so many surprises for us. A beautiful park complete with a pond and fountain. Bike paths, walking paths and nature paths through the woods. We managed to find a gorgeous waterfall at a park just after the canal park. With water so high this year she was flowing with tons of water. Aiden and Scott couldn’t wait to explore. They found their way around the waterfall to the top and then down the other side. Now they are out on another nature walk to explore even more history. An original train station is still here and is now a museum, but it is closed. Next time hopefully we’ll have the opportunity to visit there. There will be a next time. This sleepy little town has all you need. The terminal wall has water and electric with gorgeous views and parks. Very quiet. The grocery store for supplies is a mere 5 minute walk to town. Although it is shut down for Saturday it is interesting to see all the old buildings from the original canal days.
Tomorrow we travel to Tonawanda and keep Conductance there yet again. Our yard is still a flood zone and the grass is dying there so to keep her clean she’ll have to stay in Tonawanda. It is so close for Scott for work anyhow.
The trip from Palmyra to Pittsford was the same as always. A duck, the odd waterfall and lots and lots of beautiful foliage all to enjoy at a whopping 8 knots.
Forgot to mention that we did get contact from Amy who has arrived in Amsterdam, Holland while we snoozed. She is tired but her flight was good. Apparently a bottle of maple syrup didn’t make it though. Exploded in her luggage. Bet she had the best smelling luggage ever. Also received a call from Aunt Heather last night. First time ever that there is wifi in Port Loring, Ontario at the rustic cottages we have gone to. Watched Uncle Joe build the fire and heard all about how great the weather has been for them up there. What would we do without technology these days?
Found my new favourite stop on the Erie Canal. There are no showers in Pittsford but the town is still the nicest stop. They have created a canal park directly at the terminal wall and added enough electric and water for about 8-10 boats. This town has a downtown area with lots of fashion places. Home grown artists that create everything from pottery to jewellery. I even found my spinning shoes here at a reasonable price. On the north shore there is still no power or water but the Sam Patch a local tourist boat is waiting for its patrons to take them for a spin on the canal and pass through a lock or two. There are quaint artistry shops all placed in a sort of old town area just off the terminal wall. A restaurant or two right there at the waters edge. Great spot if you don’t need any supplies but if you do a walk of about 1.5 km will take you to a supermarket.
We happened to stop here on a Friday night where they have bands available for the town folk to enjoy. Great 50’s and 60’s tunes with the seniors, kids and their parents all lined up in their lawn chairs. Great band with a home town feel. I couldn’t help but dance a bit on the boat while making our BBQ salmon dinner.
Aiden and Scott finally finished and succeeded running Aiden’s RC car. The thing blasts at 50 km per hour. Watch your toes when you see this thing go. It wasn’t an easy build by no means. This was a Christmas gift to Aiden and it has literally taken 3 times to get the thing to run correctly. I guess that is what happens when you use some older components. Now she is running smoothly.
Tomorrow we take off for Albion, maybe Holley. We can’t decide how long a run we want to take on Sunday to get home.
Today we are making our trek back to home over traveled terrain on the Erie Canal. We will pass many a town that we have stayed at or want to stay at in the future. We set our sights on a small town that we saw that had a cute harbour called Palmyra. We locked through 8 locks with 3 on the Cayuga/Seneca Canal and 5 on the Erie Canal. Aiden is a pro now having taken the crew position at the stern of the boat.
Arriving at Palmyra we are greeted by a volunteer with info on the town. A much larger town than we expected with lots to see and do. The old bridge beside the harbour is now decommissioned as a roadway and offers cyclists and pedestrians with their dogs a path to cross the canal to the towpath on the other side. Therefore the road noise is no longer. It is quite beautiful a spot. We have electric, showers, restrooms, wifi, shops, restaurants, water and a coffee shop within steps of the small harbour. The locals were swimming in the silty water. Apparently, the local kids do swim here. It may look muddy but in reality it is only that, a bit of silt. Besides you eat a bucket of dirt before you die anyway so swimming here could become reality if you are so inclined.
The town experienced a devastating fire on the main downtown closing 5 shops and apartments above. The town has stated that a local entrepreneur is buying the land, making his pizza place larger and offering a small park with an open air atmosphere. Currently the insurance companies involved are working it all out but “Mark” has his approval for his plan which will offer the boater a great space just in town along with the locals.
Tomorrow we have a short day of travel because we want to stop in Pittsford, NY.
So really , where did the time go? Aiden turns 11 today. Hard to believe that this much time has passed when it feels like he was a toddler just a couple years ago. We started the day out with running to the bakery to pick up the special order cupcakes I ordered and bring back coffee for Scott and I. Of course it was raining during the 4 block walk there and back to the boat. We headed out back down the lake after that.
In the rain the lake’s wind had picked up a bit but nothing compared to the winds we have seen on other travels. By the time we reached the north end of Seneca Lake the rain had stopped, the humidity had started and the sun was shining. Stopping for a bit of diesel and then back down the Cayuga Seneca Canal to our final destination of Seneca Falls.
Seneca Falls is a cute town that has catered to the boaters. All amenities, including laundry, are available at the terminal wall. The only problem I see is that there are only 4 poles with electric, plus 1 more with 50 amp. We finally picked up some local wine that was found at the liquor store a couple blocks away. After our regular get to know the town walkabout we stopped back at the boat for the swim in the canal. The locals thought we were a bit crazy, but seriously, it is fed by Seneca Lake with one lock between here and there. What is a little seaweed floating by?
Great little town with an Italian flavour everywhere. Lots of restaurants, museums, antique shops and whatever else your heart desires. I see why people like this spot. Tree lined terminal wall with old buildings of yester year and a park on the other side of the canal. It is a lovely spot to stop.
This will be our last time to enjoy the clean waters as we head back out on the Erie Canal towards home tomorrow. A swim in the morning to set us up and then start making our way back. Apparently the weather man is calling for 90 degrees tomorrow. Figures! ….and we can’t swim to stay cool.
Last day of being 10. Aiden’s birthday is tomorrow. Where did the time go?
We decided to stay in Watkin’s Glen another day and enjoy the area. Absolutely beautiful here. We had to move the boat to accommodate an already reserved boat for our spot but they did have another for us to use. After that we walked the 10 blocks to the State Park to see what all this commotion was about the falls being here. About 3 km long with 19 falls and winding paths made by centuries of falling waters. This is one of those places that you don’t realize how beautiful it is until you see it first hand. Each and every falls has a distinct beauty. If you love the outdoors and a bit of hiking you have to make it here just to see this wonder.
The main street was bustling with people going here and there. Funny thing is that “they” proclaim this to be wine country but there is no wine to buy. No winery to see. You have to get to the winery by car and the only place to buy any local wines is no where near the downtown of this cute little town. Seems odd. So we picked up a bottle of beer from a local micro brewery and had dinner and brews as well. A great send off to a great day.
Tomorrow we will travel down a small canal that isn’t a canal anymore but has another falls at it. Montour Falls awaits us for tomorrow and then we start to head back.
Leaving the beautiful Oak Island with its simple style we head on down to Seneca Lake. It is a mere 1 hour travel time to get there. It took about 30 minutes to get to the mouth of the lake and it opened up with huge treed cliffs on both sides. Stunning beauty. Many a vineyard, farm and cottage greeted us. After about 30 minutes on the water we were almost at Watkins Glen but decided to stop for lunch beside a beautiful waterfall named Hector Falls. Sometimes this falls is merely a rock face but today we were happy to see a full on waterfall cascading down several hundred feet. During lunch we watched the beauty of nature in full action and sound. After that we though a dip would be nice. A storm was brewing but it seemed far enough off that it would pass us. We watched the beauty of the stormy sky, swam and just enjoyed. Next thing you know the 3 of us started to clean the outside of the boat. The only way to do that is by sitting on a pool noodle, wash mitt in hand, and start rubbing. Once again Conductance was shiny and new looking.
The storm was starting to rumble now so we headed to the marina to find a spot with a gorgeous view of the lake and hillside. Now I sit here at 9:30 with the odd mosquito looking for dinner and enjoy the sounds of ducks on a very calm night.
Tomorrow we head to Watkins Gorge to view the sites. Aiden’s birthday is only 2 days away so we are also planning for that big day as well. I think he is more excited about the Gorge and his day though.