Canalling as a Family Adventure
had never spent any time on a boat as a family, so
my wife and I approached our trip with some trepidation.
From the outset, the staff of Erie Canal Cruise Lines
was great, providing us information in advance including
an introductory video tape that was required viewing
in the Blinn household, an inventory of the boat's
contents and clear directions as to how to get to
our starting point at Fairport.
We had a group of six - myself, my wife, my three
teenage sons and my sister's son as well. If you can
imagine, we were not sure how a several day trip would
work out together. We rented the Endless Summer, a
twin screw boat new to Erie Canal Cruise Lines' fleet.
From the start, the trip provided new experiences
to us all. While I had grown up reading about locks
in canals, I didn't have much of a sense of what they
would be like. There is no way to describe the feeling
of power of water flowing in and out of a lock. The
sound of the water flowing in and out, coupled with
the enormous doors is astounding. On the other hand,
the lockmasters were consistently friendly and helpful.
In addition, going through the locks gave the boys
something to do, helping to secure the boat against
As the days progressed, we became increasingly comfortable
with the experience. We chose our daily activities
with a minimum of planning but always found there
to be a diversity of adventures from which to chose.
Some days, we would travel down the canal with the
boys sunning themselves, listening to the radio, fishing,
and reading books. The boys found it incredibly entertaining
to signal to the freight and Amtrak trains running
along the canal and have them signal back. Where appropriate,
I let everybody drive the boat which was a thrill
In the afternoon or evening, we would find a place
to dock for the night. More time for fishing, swimming
and exploring the areas around the boat. It gave us
a chance to explore small towns and get to know upstate
New York better. We also spent time in the Finger
There were numerous highlights to the experience.
A tube was provided to trail behind the boat. We had
a great time running with the tube behind the boat
in open areas. Yours truly also got in the tube and
was hauled around by my oldest son. One night we brought
the TV outside, barbecued dinner and watched a movie.
We also tied up at a State Park on Cayuga Lake and
went swimming and fishing there. One more highlight
was visiting one of the wineries with a dock on the
lake. After I had tasted the wines and we had our
picnic, the boys had a chance to tour the winery and
see how the wine is made. Then they were enlisted
to help fill and cork the bottles - a real treat for
When we returned the boat to Seneca Falls, we were
sad to have to return from the past lane to the fast
lane. We all have special memories and I was delighted
how much the boys enjoyed the experience. If there
was any disappointment, it was how few fish we caught...