A few years ago when I was at a genealogy conference I mentioned to someone that I was from Rochester. They only knew of Rochester as a point on the Erie Canal. But they didn’t know that the canal still existed. To remind people what the canal used to be and what it is now, the National Park Service puts out a guide every year. The guide is 8 pangs (13.5 x 11 inches) with old postcard views and new pictures. The center of the guide has a map that includes not only the Erie Canal but also the other canals that connect to it (Champlain Canal, Oswego Canal and Cayuga-Seneca Canal). The guide is available, while they last, at Rochester Public Library, Rochester Museum & Science Center, Wayne County Office of Tourism, Buffalo Convention & Visitors Bureau and other sites. If you can’t find the guide near you, you can download it from this web page along with other brochures and maps. They are all in PDF format that can be viewed using the free Adobe Reader program available on the web.
The Erie Canal doesn’t have any commercial traffic any more but efforts to clean up along the canal over the last 20 years have made a difference. It is a great place to walk, bicycle and kayak. One of the best things to see is a boat being lifted or lowered in one of the locks. Also watching a lift bridge as it makes way for a boat is amazing. Those old iron bridges creak as they slowly rise and lower. Plus there are numerous tours along the canal. There is even a place near Medina where a road goes under the canal. I have a picture somewhere of me standing under the canal. You just never know what you see along the mighty Erie Canal.