Houseboating the Erie Canal – Day 8

On Day 8, our houseboating adventure on the Erie Canal was coming to a close.  We were up super bright and early because we wanted to get back to the marina on time, but we also hoped to get there early enough not to have to be docking after all the other boats were already back in there!  Macedon is only about an hour from Fairport, but we got underway by 7:00 am. As we drove past the rest of the dock in Fairport, we noticed that all the other Mid-Lakes boats were still tied up, so we figured we would have a good head start getting back to the marina.

We took turns driving while we gathered up the rest of our belongings.  It was cool and quiet on the canal–this was the first time we were out and about this early in the morning and it seemed even more quiet than usual.  As we got closer to the marina, we passed a little neighborhood where I swear we could smell blueberry muffins being baked inside someone’s house.  Since we got up so early and had already cleaned the kitchen and packed up, we didn’t have any breakfast, so we were prettttty hungry by the time we got to the marina after smelling those muffins!  Also, I love food.  🙂

As we got closer to the marina, we saw another boat up ahead and slowed down to give them time to get tucked back in at Mid-Lakes.  When it was our turn, we found that there was a lovely gentleman standing there waiting for us, and in case you’re worried about getting back into the tight spot at the dock, never fear!  The marina staff was super helpful with giving directions on how to back into your space, so don’t worry if you’ve been thinking about how you were going to manage while on your trip.

Once we were all secure, the staff asked us to pack all the linens into a bag they provided on the boat and then we started to move our belongings back to our car. As soon as we were off the boat, their team got straight to work cleaning our boat.  You should try your best to leave the boat as clean as possible and just keep in mind that they have a pretty quick turnover from when all the boats come back at 9:00 am until the next batch of renters start coming on board around 1:00 pm or so. They are really nice folks, so please help make their job easier!

When we were done packing up the car, we bought another bag of ice from the marina to keep our leftover items cool for the ride home, and we set out for breakfast in nearby Seneca Falls!  When planning our trip, I was a little torn about whether to go east or west on the canal because Seneca Falls is to the east, and everything I had seen about it online told me it would be a beautiful little town to visit.  However, despite going to the west on the canal by boat, there was absolutely nothing stopping us from driving our car to Seneca Falls on our way back to NYC.  And that’s exactly what we did!

Trinity Episcopal Church, Seneca Falls, NY
Trinity Episcopal Church, Seneca Falls, NY

We were really starving by now so we went to a place called Cafe XIX so called for the 19th Amendment, which gave women the right to vote.   If you’re not aware of Seneca Falls history, this may seem like somewhat of a random theme for a restaurant, but the town played a very important role in the women’s suffrage movement, as it was the site of the first women’s rights convention in the U.S, the Seneca Falls Convention.  Today, Seneca Falls is home to the Women’s Rights National Historical Park, a seven-acre park that includes the location of the Seneca Falls Convention, as well as the home of suffragist Elizabeth Cady Stanton. And…Seneca Falls is also supposedly the inspiration for Bedford Falls in the movie It’s a Wonderful Life (there is even an It’s a Wonderful Life Museum in town you can visit as well.)  Since we were exhausted from our week on the canal and had a long drive ahead of us, we didn’t visit the park or the museum, but if we do return to the canal and do the trip to the east, we will certainly make a return trip to Seneca Falls on our canalboat and spend some time exploring the town.

Statue in Senca Falls of Susan B. Anthony meeting Elizabeth Cady Stanton
Statue in Senca Falls of Susan B. Anthony meeting Elizabeth Cady Stanton

After breakfast (which was delicious, by the way–the cinnamon rolls are amazing!), we got back on the road and passed by Lake Skaneateles and the town of Skaneateles as we worked our way back towards the highway.  The town has an adorable main street type of area that we passed through along the lake, and it looked like it would have also been a lovely place to stop for breakfast if we hadn’t already eaten in Seneca Falls. If you’re driving back east after your trip, it seems like the town is worth a stop and we will plan to do so on a future trip up north. (Mid-Lakes Navigation also offers boat tours on the lake itself if you have more time to spend in the area.)

Eventually, we made it to I-81 and continued our (long, traffic-filled) journey back to Brooklyn.  Overall, our week on the Erie Canal was an absolute blast!  It was so relaxing, and we liked that we could decide where to go and when and that we could take things at our own pace.  The canal scenery is diverse and beautiful, the canal towns all have their own unique qualities, and we really felt like we were able to see and do a lot of fun stuff. Houseboating, in general, is pretty unique if you don’t already own a boat, but doing it on the Erie Canal makes it all the more interesting.  It is an experience that I would recommend to anyone, and you won’t be disappointed if you make this your next vacation!

While I’m now done outlining our travels on the canal itself, I will post one last article with my Top 10 Tips for Houseboating the Erie Canal, as well as the full week’s itinerary, so please stay tuned for the final installment of our Erie Canal adventure!

For more in the Erie Canal Houseboating series:


Saturday – Day 8

6:00 am Showers

7:00 am Head back towards Macedon

8:00 am Arrive at the marina; load up the car

9:00 am Head to Seneca Falls for breakfast

  • *Cafe XIX: Breakfast burritos, pancakes, baked goods (amazing cinnamon rolls!)

10:00 am Explore town

02:00 pm Head home!

Mileage – Fairport 246.58 to Macedon 240.13 = 6.45 miles, 0 lift bridges, 0 locks

*Denotes places we actually went to ourselves.

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