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Sunday, May 15, 2011

New York's Erie Canal for bikes, boats and buffs

The historic Erie Canal stretches from Buffalo, New York, all the way to the New York state capital of Albany and the Hudson River, about 360 miles to the east. Bike trails parallel much of the legendary waterway, and the smooth, level paths offer a great way to take the entire family outdoors for exercise and sight seeing.

"Proposed in 1808 and completed in 1825, the canal links the waters of Lake Erie in the west to the Hudson River in the east. An engineering marvel when it was built, some called it the Eighth Wonder of the World. In order to open the country west of the Appalachian Mountains to settlers and to offer a cheap and safe way to carry produce to a market, the construction of a canal was proposed as early as 1768." From The Erie Canal web site.  Most of the canal traffic in the early years was commercial, but now is mostly tourist-oriented. Excursions depart daily from cities along the canal, including Lockport. The canal is living history at its finest.

At Lockport, visit the museum there and see pleasure boats and tourist sight seeing boats move up and down the locks. This archived photo shows the locks being built.

At Rochester, and off the canal, check the Lilac Festival that continues until May 22. The lilacs were just short of peak bloom May 12, but there were plenty of other brilliant flowers to keep a photographer busy.

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