Visit the locks while spending a day in Lockport, one of the towns along the Erie Canal. (File photo by Derek Gee / News)
Becker Brewing at Becker Farms has a new special brew set for the fall. (Sharon Cantillon / File photo)
Reid’s at 150 Lake Ave. in Lockport is a hot spot for summer meals.
By Francesca Bond
The Erie Canal, in all its bicentennial beauty, connects Albany to Buffalo through its 363-mile-long man-made waterway. Once responsible for New York State’s burgeoning industrial economy, the canal now has more leisurely responsibilities, serving casual boaters, cyclists, strollers and wicked Canada geese.
Our curious predispositions to take things for granted sometimes translate into an underappreciation of what we already have. Tour the canals in Venice? Take my money. Visiting the Erie Canal? … Sure.
No offense, DeWitt Clinton, but Venice beat West New York when it comes to the beauty of the canals. However, on a clear summer day, when the brown and cloudy water gives the illusion of being blue, the trees hang over the towpath and the geese aren’t chasing you, the Erie Canal is beautiful. Through the right lens, it looks like something Claude Monet would have appreciated, or Charles Burchfield would have painted.
The three port towns in this guide, though barely scratching the surface of the 363-mile long surface of the canal, create a sort of assortment of small towns living close to home. Food is cheaper. The attractions are sometimes eccentric. Connecting them all is farmland, a few stoplights and (almost) 15 miles on the Erie Canal.