We were up bright and early Wednesday morning to head to Brockport, NY for Day 5 of our Erie Canal houseboating journey! The trip to Brockport is a bit longer than our trip from Lockport to Medina was the day before, but we got a good night’s rest and were ready to get on our way.
The night before, we were a little concerned about heading to Brockport because we received a “notice to mariners” that the Main Street lift bridge in Brockport was out of operation. Fortunately, by morning, the bridge was back up and running again and we wanted to make sure we got there before there were any more issues! Before your trip, be sure to sign up for canal alerts so that you can plan accordingly if there are any lock or bridge issues. (The week after we left the canal, we got a lot of alerts about bridge issues and felt very fortunate that we missed all of that on our trip. It’s a good reminder, though, to plan ahead but have a backup plan for where you might want to stay the night if you can’t physically make it to your first choice!)
As we were preparing to depart Medina, I noticed that it was actually quite chilly! For most of our trip we were pretty warm, or at least comfortable, but once we started cruising along the canal on Day 5, I actually had to wrap a blanket around my legs to keep warm. I imagine if you do this trip in the early spring or fall it could get a bit brisk during those early morning cruises. (FYI, the boats do have furnaces for those cold-season trips!)
The cruise from Medina to Brockport takes about 4-5 hours. We had originally planned to stop in Albion to stretch our legs halfway through, but by this point in the week, we were both starting to get a bit tired. The thought of getting to Brockport, settling in for the day, and spending some time on land was really appealing, so we just motored straight on through. And after our less than exciting night in Medina, we were looking forward to getting to Brockport anyway. It’s a college town, so we figured there would be a bit more to do and since it was summer, we also assumed it wouldn’t be overrun with college students. We were pleased to discover both were true!
When you arrive in Brockport, there is a little visitor center on the south side of the canal between the town’s two lift bridges (be sure when you pass under the Main Street lift bridge that you let them know you plan to stay in town and that you don’t need the other bridge raised). The folks working inside the visitor center seem to all be retirees who are volunteers, but they were VERY friendly and made us feel welcome (they were super chatty). There are restrooms and showers at the visitor center, and they have coffee available as well. They do charge a fee to dock in Brockport, though, that is determined according to the length of your boat. Our boat was 34 feet long, and we paid $12 to dock for the night. If you’re on one of Mid-Lakes Navigation’s bigger boats you’ll pay a slightly higher fee. You will also need to ask for access to fresh water when you check in, and they’ll come out and put an attachment onto the power/water stand so that you can hook up your hose and refill your fresh water tank.
After settling in, we decided to go have lunch in town. I had found a brewpub, Stoneyard Brewing Company, so we thought we’d go ahead and combine some beer tasting with our lunch! Sadly, they did not offer tasting flights, and they also didn’t have many of their own beers on tap. The beers of theirs they did have were pretty good, though, (I had their porter) and they also had a lot of other NY-state beers on tap, too. We then made the mistake of ordering their onion rings as an appetizer, which pretty much had us out for the count for the rest of the day. The bowl of rings is MASSIVE, and we still had our actual meals to eat as well! They were really good, but we were painfully full after lunch and pretty much the rest of the evening, too.
When we finished disgracing ourselves at lunch, we waddled over to the C & S Saloon, which I had learned in my pre-trip planning had a pool table (they also have darts and arcade games). This place is very much a college bar which I’m sure could get a bit crazy with students in the evening. In the middle of the day, though, it was mostly empty and a mix of older men and students all drinking beer, watching baseball, and eating wings. The walls were plastered with signs, outlining all of their various specials, which, basically, was everything. It would likely have been easier just to have a list of items that were NOT on special. In any event, if you like cheap beer and wings and bar games, this place is for you!
We played several rounds of pool and eventually decided it was time to move on and explore the rest of town. We pretty much stuck to Main Street, which had much more going on than Main Street Medina, and we scoped out some options for dinner, even though neither of us could even seriously consider eating more food at this point. We crossed the Main St. lift bridge to explore the other part of Main Street on the north side of the canal and then circled around to the Park Ave. lift bridge before asking the visitor center where we could buy some ice (which was, of course, back across the Main St. lift bridge where we started our walk and so back over the bridge we went).
It was really hot during our walk, so once we got back from our wander we both took a little nap and spent a bit of time reading in the screened-in bow of our boat, which was quite pleasant and all very relaxing. It was getting pretty late in the evening at this point, and we both agreed that we didn’t have a full dinner in us, so we had some sandwiches on the boat, kicked off another Scrabble challenge, and wrapped up Day 5!
Tomorrow we’re off to Rochester, NY for Day 6. To get there, we will take a 3-mile detour off of the Erie Canal itself and head up the Genesee River to Cornhill Landing!
For more in the Erie Canal Houseboating series:
- A Week Houseboating the Erie Canal
- Day 1
- Day 2
- Day 3
- Day 4
- Day 5
- Day 6
- Day 7
- Day 8
- Top 10 Tips for Houseboating the Erie Canal
- Full 8-Day Itinerary for Houseboating the Erie Canal
Wednesday – Day 5
9:00 am Showers and breakfast
10:30 am Head east to Brockport (4-5 hours)
- Pass through/by:
- Prospect Ave. Lift Bridge (mile 304. 13) – if you’re staying in Medina, you should be past this bridge when you start out, but there is one operator for this bridge and the Knowlesville Rd. lift bridge
- State Street Park (mile 303.47) – free dock west of the Pleasant St. bridge on the north wall, no cleats, no services
- Medina Terminal Wall and Park (mile 302.79) – free dock on the north wall, no services, no cleats
- Medina Guard Gate (mile 302.65) – free dock on the north side, west of the gate
- Culvert Road – the only place on the Erie Canal where the road passes under the canal
- Knowlesville Rd Lift Bridge (mile 299.47) – free dock west of the bridge on either side of the canal
- Anchorage (mile 297.94) – can anchor in the basin on the south side of the canal
- Eagle Harbor Rd Lift Bridge (mile 296.41) – can tie up a ½ mile east of the lift bridge on either side of the canal or you can tie up west of the lift bridge on the north wall. There are no services here and there may be a small fee for docking. Same operator at this bridge and the Albion Main St. and Ingersoll St. lift bridges.
- Albion – Main St. Lift Bridge (mile 293.15)
- Albion Canal Park (mile 293.06) – free dock, can tie up on either the north or the south side (preferred is east of the lift bridge on the south wall).
- Pass through/by:
12:00 pm Take a break in Albion (mile 293.06)
- Shore power and fresh water are available, and there is a comfort station with showers as well (the lift bridge operator has the code for the facilities)
- There are a few grocery stores in town (Tops Supermarket, Pawlak’s Food Center, Yellow Goose Market) if you need to buy more supplies
1:30 pm Head back out towards Brockport
- Pass through/by:
- Albion – Ingersoll St Lift Bridge (mile 292.98)
- Hindsburg (mile 288.65) – free dock, west of the bridge on the north wall
- Hulberton Road Lift Bridge (mile 286.58) – free dock, park with picnic tables west of the bridge. Same operator for this bridge and the Holley lift bridge
- Holley – East Ave. Lift Bridge (mile 283.48) – can tie up on either side of the canal. Park is on the south side of the wall, with water, power, showers, and restrooms available (get the code from the bridge operator)
- Brockport – Main St. Lift Bridge (mile 278.93) – same operator for this and Park Ave. bridge. Let bridge operator know you’re staying in Brockport and that they don’t need to left the Park Ave. bridge for you
4:00 pm Tie up in Brockport – Welcome Center (mile 278.85)
- Dock in *Harvester Park along the south side of the canal. Shore power, fresh water, internet access, tv lounge, laundry, restrooms, and showers are all available. You’ll need to check in at the visitor center to pay a fee and to get access to the fresh water.
- The fee for docking depends on the length of your boat (we paid $12 for a 34-foot boat). You can buy ice from the Kwik Fill two blocks north of the bridge on Main St. One mile south on Main Street is a Wegman’s and a liquor store
6:00 pm Dinner in Brockport
- *Stoneyard Brewing Company: Brewpub with salads, sandwiches, and more, happy hour til 6, pizza and beer special for $12 on Wednesdays
- *C&S Saloon: Dive bar with cheap beer and wings, pool table, darts, and arcade games
- 58 Main: BBQ, beer, and live music (this place was recommended to us by a few different people, but we didn’t make it there ourselves!)
- Barber’s Grill: Burgers, sandwiches, wings, tots, curly fries; recommended by the bartender at Stoneyard Brewing Company as a fun place to hang out
Mileage – Medina 303.65 to Brockport 278.85 = 24.8 miles, 7 lift bridges, 0 locks
*Denotes places we actually went to ourselves.