Canal buffs can also enjoy Schoharie Crossing State Park in Fort Hunter, where remnants of all three eras of Erie Canal development are visible including a 2-mile long segment of the original “Clinton’s Ditch.” The Fort Plain Museum and Historical Park in Fort Plain spotlights life along the Erie Canal circa 1820-1850, while The Black River Canal Museum in Boonville features a full-scale canal boat replica and conveys a sense of the engineering accomplishment involved in building the 109-lock Black River Canal. For more about the Central New York region, visit www.nyfun4u.com.
The Finger Lakes:
Canal adventures continue just beyond Palmyra in the historic town of Montezuma, where the Cayuga-Seneca Canal shoots off to connect the Erie Canal with 92 miles of the region’s rivers and lakes, including two of the beautiful Finger Lakes, Cayuga and Seneca. The canal-connected waterways and trails provide a relaxed-paced way to explore the rural region, acclaimed for its fine wines, artisanal food and natural beauty, while a number of museums recreate the era when canals put the region on the transportation grid.
In Syracuse, the Erie Canal Museum, housed in America’s only remaining weigh-lock building, is a hub for narrated sightseeing tours and canal boat charters. In Seneca Falls, the Seneca Falls Museum of Waterways and Industry offers a thought-provoking look at how the commerce and industrial growth powered by the canals helped to foster and spread social reform movements, including women’s rights.
The Finger Lakes also played a key role in aviation. The Glenn H. Curtiss Museum in Hammondsport honors pioneer aviator Glenn Curtiss, who progressed from building bikes and motorcycles to planes, making the first official long distance flight in the U.S. He also built the first seaplanes for the U.S. Navy earning recognition as “the father of naval aviation.” Dedicated to the restoration of World War II and Korean War aircraft, the 1941 Historical Aircraft Group Museum features informational displays as well as air shows at the Geneseo Airport. And in Elmira, the National Soaring Museum explores the challenge and history of motor-less flight such as gliders.