Here I am at the Erie Canal Park in Camillus, a great place to stop for its outdoor exhibits and proximity to the restored aqueduct. Park info: http://www.eriecanalcamillus.com/
Potential tourists to our area are asking me about our slow, weekly trek along different parts of the Old Erie Canal so they can plan their trip. Since we only want to walk about two to four miles a day, at most we go a few miles out then return to our car. Therefore, we are concerned about nearby parking and if we will find benches for resting and port-o-johns along the way. For more information on the Erie Canal and how to plan to bicycle/walk the trail, see this interactive map: https://www.ptny.org/cycle-the-erie-canal/trail-map
Soon, I will post images and comments highlighting the following. In regard to the Erie Canal Park in Camillus, we found:
Parking: Available at the museum.
Bathrooms: None when we were there because the museum was closed.
Benches: Plenty along our trek heading east and west.
Restaurants: None in walking distance.
Lodging: None in walking distance.
Map of Erie Canal Park in Camillus section:
To get you in the mood the traverse the Erie Canal, hear the following classic Erie Canal song New York children learn in elementary school about a driver and his mule named Sal. I love the vintage postcards and unique movements used in this version: https://youtu.be/gIIM1mHfJ0U
Having moved with my husband Jim in 2019, to the upstate New York village of Baldwinsville (near Syracuse), from the boating community of Mystic, Connecticut, meant I could leave behind the shame of abandoning ship as told in my book, Mystic Seafarer's Trail, to embark on my next adventure—walking beside the longest artificial waterway in the United States. Our new plan is to trek the entire 360-mile Erie Canalway Trail, which follows both the active and historic Erie Canals between Lake Erie’s shore in Buffalo and the Hudson River in Albany. Although this engineering marvel is considered the 8th Wonder of the World for digging a ditch through rock and swamps to raise and lower boats as in an elevator, how hard can it be to simply walk the flat path beside it around the water falls and through the Appalachian Mountains? It can’t be as scary as sailing. If a mule named Sal could do it, so could we!
Sal, the mule featured in the Erie Canal song, “Low Bridge! – Everybody Down” by Thomas S Allen (1913), is taught to all of us who attended grammar school in New York. The song memorializes the Canal’s mule barges of the 1800s that made boom-towns across upstate New York and transformed the state into the “Empire State” it is today.
When my grandson sang these words to me one day after I picked him up from preschool in 2019, it took me back to my school days over half a century ago:
I’ve got an old mule and her name is Sal, Fifteen years on the Erie Canal
She’s a good old worker and a good old pal, Fifteen years on the Erie Canal
We’ve hauled some barges in our day, Filled with lumber, coal and hay
And ev’ry inch of the way I know, From Albany to Buffalo
Low bridge, ev’rybody down, Low bridge, we must be getting near a town
You can always tell your neighbor, You can always tell your pal
If he’s ever navigated on the Erie Canal...
Just prior to Jim retiring as a scientist from Pfizer, Inc., to move to Baldwinsville to be near our grandchildren, I had considered kayaking the entire active Erie Canal with my friend Sue, but decided that would require too much dedicated time and impossible paddling through the icy long long winters of upstate New York. Plus, Jim and I moved into an apartment rather than buying another house, making storing kayaks difficult. We also moved my mother nearby, and though a stroke survivor, she no longer drives so we must be available. Driving to walk different segments of the Erie Canalway Trail makes sense for now.
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- "Walking the Erie Canal Trail: Secrets of the 8th Wonder, CMV and Pandemic Pizza"
- Plan your own trip to the Erie Canalway Trail:
- Also check out completed Empire State Trail (includes the Erie Canalway Trail): https://empiretrail.ny.gov/
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