The Erie Canal Experience...Is Canal Cruising for You?

Keith and Anne Wright have cruised with Erie Canal Cruise Lines six times. Their experience can benefit you.

First Mate Anne WrightThe Wright Cruise -- October, 2000
Day 1: Saturday

Anne packed the week prior, so we left home at 7 a.m. The five hour drive was glorious! Fall is our favorite time of year and the rolling hills were lit up with color this first week of October. After a quick stop at the grocery store we arrived in Seneca Falls at 1:00 p.m. We were welcomed and shown to our boat - Fair Dinkum. Moved aboard and cast off at 1:30, headed west to Lock 4 and continued to Seneca Lake State Park on the northeast side of Seneca Lake. Docked at our reserved slip, tied up, plugged in and unloaded a bike for Anne. She enjoyed the paved trail that winds several miles along the north end of the lake. I opted for the deck chaise and my new book. We watched the sunset on the lake during dinner on board.

Day 2: Sunday

Cast off for Belhurst Castle's widely acclaimed Sunday Brunch and our 10 a.m. seating. Cruising is safe on Seneca Lake 300 feet from the shore. Geneva's many church spires glistened in the morning sun. Turning south along the west shore, we soon spotted the dock. The grounds were lush and green with magnificent views. Boat at SunsetThe buffet style brunch was impressive. Eager to continue our cruise, we strolled back down to the dock. Several people were admiring Fair Dinkum. We invited them aboard, handed out a few brochures and answered their questions.

Noon: Cast off and set the throttle at 2500 rpm for our cruise to Watkins Glen. The lush vineyards and forests, the cascading waterfalls, the crystal clear waters of Seneca Lake - the things dream vacations are made of! The warm southerly breeze encouraged us to roll up the cockpit enclosure. Nearing the south end of the lake, I spotted the breakwater in front of the marina as shown on the chart. We slowly pulled up to the end dock, secured the lines and plugged in. Anne put dinner in the oven before we walked up to the ship's store to check in. We reserved a golf cart for Monday's tour of downtown and picked up a bottle of wine to enhance our meal. The sunset lit up the sky as we dined and settled in for the night.

Hector FallsDay 3: Monday

The townspeople bustling off to work reminded us how lucky we were to be vacationing. The bakery's aroma beckoned to us and we obliged. Downtown was quiet by 8 a.m. as we rode the shuttle bus up to the Glen Gorge. The views were astonishing! The waterfalls were flowing strong. We shot two rolls of film. Back to the boat at noon. Departing Watkins Glen, we cruised north along the east shore. Hector Falls, about an hour north of Watkins Glen was impressive. Halfway up the east side of the lake, Sampson State Park marina awaited us. We were secured by 4 p.m. and back into our books. Dined on deck since the evening was warm. Another glorious lake sunset ended the day.

Day 4: Tuesday

Cast off at 9 a.m. and had breakfast underway. Entered the canal around 11 a.m. and cruised east to Waterloo. Tied up west of Lock 4 and walked over the bridge to mail some post cards. Enjoyed a sumptuous Italian lunch at Amandrea's. Next door we were able to get on-line and check our email, pick up a local paper and some ice and headed back to the boat. Our next stop was Seneca Falls. Docked at 3 p.m. in time to visit the Women's Right's museums. We marveled at the low prices in the antique stores and bought a souvenir watercolor of our canal boat and some fresh-cut flowers. A short visit to Trinity Church to admire the stained glass windows. What an inspiration! Enjoyed delicious Chinese take-out from Main Moon on deck, savoring the fresh autumn air. The sun set on the canal past 'Angel bridge'. This truly is a wonderful life.

Day 5: Wednesday

Breakfast Special at Twin's Canalside Cafe, 2 eggs & toast for $.99! Underway at 8 a.m. for the first locking at the double locks, Lock 3 and 2 - a total drop of 50 feet! A fascinating engineering feat! Arrived at Cayuga Lake headwaters around 9:30 a.m. and turned north to Lock 1 toward Montezuma. Birds were in flight, fish were jumping. The fresh north wind made us grateful for our cockpit enclosure. We turned west at the junction of the Erie Canal and arrived at Lock 25 by 11 a.m. Anne made soup and grilled cheese sandwiches for lunch and took the helm while I read. Arrived in Newark around 4 p.m. We indulged in an afternoon nap - what a luxury! Walked across the bridge for an early dinner at The Corner Restaurant. Stopped in the supermarket before returning to Fair Dinkum. Another great day.

Day 6: Thursday

8 a.m. We continued west on the canal through Palmyra to Fairport. We encountered our first liftbridge in Fairport. Called the Bridge Tender on CH 13 for the 11:30 a.m. opening. Arrived in Pittsford at 12:30 p.m. with a need for a hearty lunch. Docked on the north side of the canal and enjoyed lunch just a few feet from Fair Dinkum. Back underway around 1:30 p.m.
and headed for Spencerport for the night. We passed under our second liftbridge and tied up at the canal park. The steaks were marinated and ready for the grill. Potatoes, corn on the cob, and pumpkin pie (all from Newark) completed the night's feast.

Fair DinkumDay 7: Friday

We departed Spencerport around 9 a.m. to enjoy our last cruising day. Had breakfast underway as we took our last pictures, the colors were more vivid in the morning sun. Back under Fairport's liftbridge, and docked on the north side. We were well rested, relaxed, and glad we took the time to go canallingagain.

Day 8: Saturday

We enjoyed our last morning aboard, and were sad to leave Fair Dinkum.

Next year, we'll go for two weeks.

BonVoyage to you!
Keith and Anne Wright
Montvale, NJ

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