Wednesday, 8/31/11 - Will and I learned about the Erie Canal in grammar school but never realized it was in New York and how important it was to the development of our nation. Not to far from our RV park is a place called Erie Canal Village www.eriecanalvillage.net it is a re-creation of an 1840 community with museums and restored buildings. They were SUPPOSE TO HAVE a 30 minute horse-drawn packet boat ride along a restored part of the canal (Clinton's Ditch) but alas...the boat is in dry dock this year! Unfortunately, the whole place is pretty run down and we can't imagine they will be in business much longer....however, this is their 37th year in business. They are being optimistic saying they are "searching" for a new boat but by the looks of the place.....it ain't happening!
However, we did learn a lot about the Erie Canal and how it started in Rome, New York. When actually finished the canal opened up a waterway in New York that stretched from Albany to Buffalo, 363 miles, with a series of locks. An amazing story and so interesting to hear and learn about and I honestly would urge you to Google Erie Canal and learn for yourself .....fascinating! The ride we hoped to take on a "packet boat" was a small passenger boat that would be hooked up by rope to a horse that walked a trail along side the canal and pulled the boat at about 4 miles per hour. The canal was used to transport freight and passengers that wanted to head West and settlein new communities. What an amazing feat it was.
We went in and out of the buildings that were original buildings moved to this location to restore and preserve them. They had several demonstrations put on by the people who were in clothing of the era. There was a blacksmith but my favorite was a lady playing a musical instrument, and singing songs about the Erie Canal. She told us that there were many, many songs written about the Canal and amazing enough, Will and I even knew one and were able to sing along. We sat on logs in a circle while she played and sang. Some of the buildings were the Bennett Tavern (yeah, Alice) the school house, a church, several homes of the era, blacksmith shop and a museum which was fascinating. We had our "standard" lunch in the pavilion and then took a 4.5 mile train ride they had there. It was a fun day and we felt bad it has fallen on hard times.
Every Wednesday, in Sylvan Beach, right downtown in the park gazebo, they have a free country music concert from 7 to 9 pm all summer long and tonight is the last one....lucky us! We headed into town about 6:30 pm, hauled our lawn chairs out of the trunk and headed over to the park to get ourselves set up. It seemed to be a small crowd but "our neighbor" Randy said, "last week you couldn't find a place to sit." The evening is mild weather and it's great people watching and the band, The Ghost Riders www.theghostriders.com were setting up. Most of the crowd this evening was of "the older type"...sort of looked like us and the music was mellow country and not blasting...which was good for Will, he could stand it. Our favorite was an "older lady" by herself standing up for most of the concert and dancing, swaying & waving her arms. We just couldn't get over how much she was enjoying herself and the people enjoyed watching her. Then a neighboring restaurant, Eddie's, started in 1939 in Sylvan Beach.... sent their mascot out....a PIG to entertain the crowd. We enjoyed the concert and certain "our neighbor" Randy & Mrs. Randy (sorry I didn't get her name) they had wonderful information for us about the area and were very kind and so helpful....thank you! It's been a long day and we are tired but grateful for another very fun day "on the road again." Much love to all our family and friends.