Canalling as a Family Adventure


We 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 the walls.

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 for them.

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 Lakes.

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 them.

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...

 
Erie Canal Cruise Lines | 800-962-1771 | P.O. Box 285 | Cape Vincent, NY 13618
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